Pinterest for Authors - Part One

Happy August. I hope your summer has been productive and pleasant.

How many of you turned to Pinterest for recipes or decorating ideas during the Independence Day holiday? The platform has become the go-to for sources of inspiration, connection, and search results. The site is different than other social platforms. It works as a search engine and focuses less on “likes” and more on specific outcomes for users.

In June, I began writing about social media for authors. For the next two months, I’ll offer tips about using a specific platform, Pinterest, to assist with writers’ marketing goals. Social media is a necessary evil. Writing a novel is difficult enough. Then, writers must become marketers to sell their work!

There are arguments against social media. This article claims that the best thing a writer can do is write. Given that social media changes so often, a writer is better off focusing on producing a novel than posting images on the Internet. The writer of the article offers a strong argument and excellent tips about the pros and cons of social media platforms. However, for new writers seeking literary agents, a social media presence is more recommended than not.

Where does Pinterest fit in? While opinions vary, some claim Pinterest is one of the top sites for authors.

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest provides different benefits than other social media sites. It’s genre-oriented, which is helpful for authors and book lovers. Users can search for Wisconsin cozy mysteries and find the books quickly. (Other social sites are broad-based and greatly affected by mysterious algorithms, making it difficult for writers to gain traction, followers, and book buyers.)

I’m offering this introduction to Pinterest in two parts. This month, I’ll outline why it should be part of a writer’s social media tool kit and the basics of creating an account. Next month, I’ll discuss creating boards and how to use the site for maximum benefit.

Pinterest as Part of a Writer’s Social Media Strategy

A novelist’s time is limited. Creating social media images takes mental energy and time. One of the best things about Pinterest is that it’s relatively user-friendly. Creating boards and “pinning” takes only a few minutes. Creating a post involves more effort; however, it takes less time than making a Reel or video post for other sites such as Instagram, which can be glitchy and frustrating.

Pinterest’s benefits include:

•   Time-saver

•   Ease-of-use

•   Boosting blog posts

•   Better search results for readers/potential book buyers

•   User demographics: Pinterest fans are less focused on entertainment and more on inspiration and product research

Thus, the site's benefits outweigh other platforms. In fact, popular blogger and “How Are You Really?” novelist Jenna Kutcher has recommended using Pinterest for years.

The Basics of Getting Started with Pinterest

This month, I encourage you to make an account. Instructions about creating a professional account are on the site itself. Also, this article has a helpful list about building a presence on Pinterest.

Make a professional (or business) account, upload an author headshot, and fill out the profile information. Then, search for favorite authors. Study how they’re using the site. Take steps to make the experience pleasant rather than intimidating.

The key to social media success as an author is to not get overwhelmed. Don’t try to learn a new social media platform in one day. Remember that learning a new skill takes time. Use your best energy to write your novel first. Then, when you have an extra fifteen minutes, look at Pinterest. Search for your favorite genre. Create a few boards about the things you love about writing and books. Enjoy the user experience before attempting to set up your own account. A positive mindset helps overcome the frustration of learning a new social media platform.

Next month, I’ll discuss additional strategies for using Pinterest.

Upcoming Conferences: Midwest Writers Gather in Superior, Wis!

One of the methods I used to acquire a literary agent was to attend conferences. It’s a fantastic way to learn pitching skills, polish the first pages of a manuscript, and meet other writers. Check out the list of upcoming conferences, including an event held by the Wisconsin Writer’s Association at the Barker’s Island Inn and Conference Center in Superior, Wisconsin. It has an impressive lineup of speakers and workshops. Also, it has an online option for those interested in attending but can’t travel.

NOW is the time to research fall events and sign up!

Aug. 5-6: Kansas City Writer’s Workshop, Writing Day Workshops, (online)

Sept. 8-11: ACFW Conference, St. Louis, Missouri

Sept. 30-Oct 1: Wisconsin Writers Association Fall Conference, Superior, Wis.

Oct. 7-8: Minnesota Writing Workshop, Writing Day Workshops (online)

Oct. 14-15: Children’s Literature Conference, Sturgeon Bay

The Midwest Writers Workshops (ongoing)

Write On Door County (ongoing)

Watch for Part Two of Pinterest for Writers in September. I’ll talk about creating boards and reposting content such as blog posts. Also, check out this great site for hashtag generation for social media platforms.

Happy August—and happy writing! ~ Tracey

T.K. Sheffield, MA

Pre-published author, The Seymour Agency

The Backyard Model Cozy Mysteries: A retired fashion model uses her skill at spotting posers to solve murders in her touristy Wisconsin town. (The first book in the series is on submission to publishers.) Follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for writing tips, author news, and to share my Wisconsin backyard.

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