Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pinterest: 5 Best Practices for Writers -- Or Anyone

1.)   Before you join, look at other people’s boards. What are the boards called? What kind of pictures are in them? What boards would you have, what would they be called, and what would be in them.

This involves deciding how you’ll be using Pinterest. If your answer is, “to promote my books”, don’t bother. You CAN promote your books, but Pinterest is much, much more. It’s a way to share who you are -- or, at least, who you want to present yourself as being. 

2.)   When you join Pinterest, you’re automatically set up with some boards. The first thing you should do is delete or rename any that you won’t be using. Pin stuff into at least one board other than “my books” immediately. When you follow somebody, he or she will go look at your profile. You want to have some interesting pins to offer. Upload a profile picture and fill out the profile information, including your web site or blog address.

3.)   Pin your pictures directly from the source. If you pin a book cover, pin it from the buy page or a page where it’s reviewed. People on Pinterest expect pictures to lead to the source, not to a page that has ganked the picture without attribution.

4.)   When you hover your cursor over a picture on Pinterest, three little buttons appear: Repin, Like and Comment. Do all three. Repinning means pinning the picture to one of your boards (you can make a new board right then and there, if you need to). People get a notice that you repinned their pins, and it might encourage them to look at your profile and follow you. Like pins you don’t want to repin but want to approve. Comment on other people’s pins occasionally. It’s friendly.

5.)   Now that you’re obviously a real person, feel free to be your authory self. Or your cooky self or your vacation rental self. Some of your pins can and should be about your business, but they should also be interesting. Book covers are nice and visual. You can include the price, and the covers will automatically be included in searches for gifts.

You can pin pictures of people to represent your characters, or actors you would like to play your characters. You can pin pictures of settings, houses, furniture, clothes, jewelry relevant to your stories. I have pinboards about my books, but only one is just covers: the rest are book trailers, characters, settings, and so on. I’m working on a series of mysteries set in a neighborhood of Storybook Style houses: I have a pinboard of Storybook Style architecture and elements. When the books are available, people following me will be familiar with the setting already. See how it works?

BONUS:  If you have a blog, be sure to include pictures and a Pin It button (which you can get from the Pinterest site). That way, pinners who find your blog and want to share it or a particular post with the eleventy-bazillion other people on Pinterest will have something to pin, right?

Now go forth and pin!

Marian Allen
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/marianallena


Holly Jahangiri said...

Eleventy bazillion!! That's my kind of math, Marian.

This business of not diving into a new community saying, "Lookit, lookit, lookit ME!" is just good practice in general.

Ask yourself if you want people to visit because you and your work are interesting, or if you just want to USE Pinterest as a high PR backlinks site? (Yep, there are folks doing just that, but they're not interesting unless you're doing research on rabid marketing practices and the human devolution into spammerbots.)

Come pin me, baby - doesn't that sound so SORORITY? LOL Did you see there's a men's version of Pinterest? Gentlemint? It's great - or was, last I looked. It's too bad they felt they needed a separate playground, but it's great for finding gift ideas for that special guy.

Morgan Mandel said...

Pinterest is a good place to go for relaxation and looking and repinning pretty pictures.

Also, an indirect way to draw attention to your books. When people see your book cover somewhere else, they may remember it better.

Morgan Mandel

Dani said...

Pinterest seems sort of like Twitter with pictures instead of 140. I've only been on a couple of days, and am glad that Hubspot says it drives traffic like crazy, otherwise I'd have to feel guilty about goofing off so much. LOL. Loving it so far. Thanks for the tips, Marian!

Marian Allen said...

Ooo, Holly, I did not know that! There are plenty of fellas on Pinterest. I'll have to look in on the "men's version" and see the difference. It's all research, right?

Morgan, it's also a great way to do research for your book. Settings, wardrobe, hair, characters -- and some great recipes and DIY projects!

Dani, I see what you mean. I think it's more like a cross between Google+ and Twitter: You can write a short blog post or blurb in the Description setting. It's very flexible, and I don't think we've even begun to explore its possibilities.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Unknown said...

The Universe is a strange thing! This morning I saw a button on someone's blog for Pinterest and wondered what it was all about. But being time-pressured I didn't follow it up. Then you come along with this post. Talk about synergy. Thank you, thank you. Pinterest sounds like such fun. I now can't wait to get started. I'm a Facebooker who has dabbled with Google Circles and just cannot get her head around Twitter. This sounds like just the right place for me. Great blog. Glad I subscribed.

Ellis Vidler said...

Thanks for the explanations and ideas, Marian. I've been wondering what Pinterest was, and now I get the name. I'll have to think of something interesting. Meanwhile, I'm mired in the trailer process.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Where do you put the Pinterest pin on your blog? And are you allowed to pin pictures of celebrities and actors without worrying about copyright issues?

Marian Allen said...

Gwynneth, look me up on Pinterest so we can swap pictures of stuff. :)

Ellis, anything that interests YOU will be interesting to lots of people. Look around on Pinterest and you'll see.

Nancy, I put the pin above and below every post, to make it super easy for people to pin. The best thing to do with celebrities and actors, to my mind, is to pin the pictures from IMDB or the celeb's official web site or fan site. That way, the attribution goes back to the source. And thanks for following my Storybook board. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Maryannwrites said...

Still trying to decide about using Pinterest. I have been at work in my office since 9 and it is now almost 11:30. Got no writing done yet. Most of the time has been spent getting two blog pieces up. Promoting said pieces, checking in with some blogs and groups to support fellow writers there, and fielding some calls for the art center. Do I need one more thing to take up my time?

Helen Ginger said...

I haven't gotten the Pinterest bug yet.I hardly ever take pictures, so I feel like I need to do that first.

Anonymous said...

I still haven't done the Pinterest thing yet. Just too busy. But I'll look into it this weekend and see if there's something there for me. I'll also Bookmark this link and refer back to it. Thanks!

Red Tash said...

Great post!

There are tons of dudes on Pinterest, indeed! Lots of my followers, in fact.

Ditto, look me up over there, y'all.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not jumping into Pinterest just yet - too much going on right now.

Heidiwriter said...

Interesting. I'm just wondering how much more of a "time suck" this will be! LOL But it does look like fun.

Marian Allen said...

Maryann, I certainly know what you mean about spending the whole morning not writing! It's easy to do. I spent most of today tending to blogs I follow. Did a LITTLE writing, so I'm happy. lol

Helen, you can start out by sharing web sites you like that have pictures. Maybe a writer you admire or a site for a hobby of yours. Dani is getting into the swing of it!

Stephen, do keep it in mind. It's huge right now, and there is a certain amount of networking there. I'm following a Style pinboard of a man, to see how he would LIKE to dress.

Thanks, Red! Pinterest has a reputation of being a "woman's network", but one of my first followers there was a guy. Drop your Pinterest address, so people can find you from here.

Alex, I hear you. I don't know how you do so much! You wear me out, just reading about it all. lol I wanted to get squared away with Pinterest and Polyvore before the A-to-Z challenge in April. I plan to have a picture with each post so I can pin them. :)

Heidi, it can be a time-suck, but I think it will also be very productive. I tend to be a visual writer, and seeing/finding elements that fit my writing makes it easier to write.

Thanks for all the comments!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Shirley said...

I just joined Pinterest. still learning, but kind of fun. I'll be glad when the DUMMIE book comes out, though. I hate stumbling through sites.

Marian Allen said...

Shirley, just follow me! We'll stumble through it together. :D

Marian Allen on Pinterest