This article covers Pinterest tips for authors, a platform that gets overlooked by many writers and publishers. Pinterest is a long-term game, not a short-term one like Facebook or Twitter. With a little time investment, the payoff is much larger than that of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram combined.
Here are a few specific Pinterest tips that are essential for authors to know:
- Use a profile image like an author headshot rather than a book image. Humanize your profile so that followers connect with you as an author and relate to you. They want to know who you are and giving them a chance to fall in love with your books starts with you as the writer. Remember – you are the brand (not your books)!
- Contemplate adding the word “author” or “romance writer” (using your specific genre) with your profile name. It’s easier for people to find you based on “author” keyword searches. By inserting this extra word or phrase, you’re setting the audience up for what they can expect from you. Authorish stuff. Books. Reviews. Bookstagram images. Because I’m more of a blogger and designer with the use of my time, I don’t have author next to my name. But you can do whatever you wish or whatever you feel is appropriate for your brand.
- Just because Pinterest is visual, doesn’t mean that you don’t need to focus on words. But all we’re talking about here is the use of keywords. I can’t express how many times I see authors uploading images of their book covers with little more than the title of the book or the file name and their author name. That’s not what to do here. Use the Pinterest search bar and type in a keyword phrase related to your book or genre, and use the supplementary search ideas to create full sentences using those phrases or words.
What makes certain book or bookstagram pins stand out from others? What gets readers on Pinterest to take action and buy?
- Bookstagram images stand out more than simple book cover images. If you want to grab the attention of readers, and make more sales, use bookstagram-style images, real scene mockups, and real photographs that have been run through Lightroom (for brightness or correction). Avoid cheesy mockups like 3D or basic iPad/hardcover mockups. Those will not do anything for you. As someone with a huge bookstagram board with a ton of comments on my pins, users on Pinterest love the bookstagrams and comment regularly, engaging with those photos. I have not had a single person comment on a standard book cover (they’re just not that interesting), and the re-pin rates on book covers only is extremely low.
- You don’t need Photoshop to create stellar book images. You can use Canva, as well, and Lightroom’s mobile app is completely free, so you can correct images and create them quickly for Pinterest. Make sure you use long, vertical sizes and not squares for your pins. The new recommended sizing is 1000×1500 for best practices.
- The best-performing pins that lead to book sales on your site and Amazon have a free download associated with them. The best ones are actually NOT a free book already in your backlist. The best ones are actually helpful magnets about reading, book lists, bookish-related things like book clubs, wine/cheese/book parties, or for non-fiction, lead magnets about the topic in question.
- This is not the time or place for poorly-lit or amateur photos, or spamming your book images all over the place. Pinterest recently came out and said that they place value on NEW pin images. So you’ll want to create a variety of pins for each URL on your website regularly and only re-pin the same image (called looping) once every 4-6 months or so. Fresh, new pins of your books and posts are what counts.
So those are my best tips for authors who want to market themselves free on Pinterest. I use Pinterest for many of my books, and create bookstagram-type images, and lead the Pinterest users back to my website, where they can learn more about my books and other writing projects. I’ve been able to meet a lot of wonderful people who have found me on Pinterest and have read my books they found on there. To say that it’s a worthwhile time investment would be an understatement!
Just remember, Pinterest is a community and it’s not all about you, you, you. Be sure to re-pin your favorite book bloggers, some of your fans’ pins, and other authors in your genres. You’re much more likely to be found on Pinterest when you engage in community-oriented behaviors.
Also published on Medium.