Promoting Your Book on Pinterest

Chances are you are already familiar with Pinterest, which is a social media “tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you.” Perhaps you already use it to save (or “pin”) the things you like, such as like recipes, craft projects, home decor, clothing and/or travel ideas, which are some of the most popular topics pinned by users, but as an author, have you considered how you may use Pinterest to promote your book?

Pinterest allows users to categorize the things they like and organize them into “Boards.” As users encounter other people or Boards in their particular areas of interest, they can choose to follow them. New items pinned to those Boards will show up in their newsfeed where they can “like,” share or pin the items to their own Boards.

The development of Pinterest began in late 2009 and started as an “invitation only” site. Within the first year, the website grew to 10,000 users. In August 2011, Time magazine listed Pinterest in an article about the “50 Best Websites of 2011,” and by the end of 2011, Pinterest became one of the top 10 largest social media sites (according to Hitwise data), with 11 million total visits per week.

Considering the topics that are most popular on Pinterest and the fact that the majority of users are women (over 80%), Pinterest may not be best platform for marketing every type of book; however, there are definitely ways that you can take advantage of Pinterest, whatever your genre may be. We’ll start with the basics today and I will cover more about marketing your book on Pinterest later this week.

First of all, it’s important to understand that Pinterest is a visual platform, and each pin contains a link to another website that is related to the pin itself. For example, if I were to pin a photo of chocolate chip cookies, my link would direct the viewer to a website where they can find the recipe for those cookies. As an author, here are a few of the things you may want to pin to get started:

  • Book cover — You have probably heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, realistically, people do, so be sure your cover draws a potential reader’s attention. Pinterest allows you to enter a description for each of your pins (with a maximum of 500 characters), so use that space to give a brief synopsis of your book. Keep in mind that including your byline will help users find this pin if they search for you by name. Then link the pin to your website, blog or the listing for your book on Amazon where viewers can purchase a copy once you’ve got them hooked.
  • Book video trailer — If you have a video for your book, you can pin it with a link to the video on YouTube. The video will play from within Pinterest, and users can also click below the video to watch it on YouTube (where they should also be able to access all of the important information about your book).
  • Illustrations (if you have any) — This is a nice touch for any book that contains illustrations or graphics as it gives the viewer a sense of what is inside the book. Some of your graphics may even be used to generate interest by providing information or something inspirational that Pinterest users want to share (viral marketing at its best). These pins can link to your website, blog or listing for your book on Amazon where viewers can get more information about your book and, of course, buy a copy.
  • Your author photo — Whether someone is a potential new reader or they have already read your book, they will likely want to know more about you as the author. Providing a photo of yourself and brief bio will help readers connect with you. The description in this pin may contain a list of your published books and the link can direct viewers to the “About the author” section on your website or blog.
  • In all of the examples above, be sure to include the title of your book, byline and general keywords which might help users come across your pins when searching related items. For example, if your book is a gardening book called “Growing Vegetables,” you will want to include the word “gardening” in your description since users who are interested in gardening may be more likely to search by that term rather than the word “vegetables.” Including both the actual title and important keywords will help users discover your book in their search results.

    You are now ready to set up these basic pins on Pinterest, if you haven’t already. Come back this week as we dive deeper into promoting a book on Pinterest.

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    About Kelly Schuknecht

    Kelly Schuknecht works in publishing and book marketing. As an avid reader and blogger, Kelly posts book reviews at Read & Tell Reviews (www.readandtellreviews.blogspot.com) and writes here about writing, publishing and book marketing here.
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