When a friend first introduced me to Pinterest several years ago I let the app sit idle on my phone for a number of months, until one day I decided to see if there was more to it than I realized.
Hello! Now, I LOVE Pinterest, and today, even though I'm still a very long way from expert, I want to share some of the reasons why Pinterest works for me, and might well work well for you, too.
Firstly, what is it? Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you can pin images from other sites, which ends up linking back to the original source. Other Pinterest users can then use these images by re-pinning to their own boards. Pinterest is “the visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.”
I write Regency romance, and can happily trawl through hundreds of images related to my novels. When I find something I think encapsulates what I am trying to portray I ‘pin’ it to my relevant board. My novel ‘The Elusive Miss Ellison’ is being published towards the end of the year (yay!), and my board by that name has images of Regency dresses, English manor houses, scenes from Gloucestershire gardens and walks, all selected to show what the novel is about.
Last year’s NaNoWriMo project has its board. Another Regency, Miss Serena's Secret concerns a young artist who spends time in England’s Peak District, so there are pins about art, Somerset House, Robert Adams-designed interiors, Derbyshire, fabulous gardens complete with Grecian temples, the list goes on.
Recent research from the Pew Research Centre says that 42% of all online women (and 13% of all online men) use Pinterest, which means it is one of the largest social networks. It does tend to be a bigger hit amongst younger users, which might work well if you write romance, or for young adults.
Pinterest records who likes and saves your pins, and who becomes a ‘follower’ of a board, or even you, which means it’s tracking who your potential readers might be, people you might be able to target a little more strategically when your (next) novel releases. Every little bit of social media helps!
While I use Pinterest mainly to create boards for different novels, providing visualizations of different scenes and characters, there are heaps of other ways authors can use Pinterest, both for personal uses (some boards can be kept private, or viewed only by certain people), and for connecting with readers.
· * Research – pin your links in one place (like Evernote, only more visual). This could be for your own private use, or by including notes, you can show readers why you have included / imagined this for your story. This could be anything from clothes, characters, settings, houses, gardens, animals, right down to props or period specific items, such as a picture of a quizzing glass.
* Writing inspiration – quotes, writing tips, humour. Gives insight to the creative process.
· * Image Inspiration – showing what inspires you, or perhaps you can be a little more interactive, and have readers pin what they envisage when they read your work.
· * Promotions – book tour info, contests, book releases, recommended books by other authors. Some authors get readers to create their own Pinterest board for their novels – how cool!
· * Giveaways – book previews, free short stories, poems, that people can download for free. Like the bonus goodies of a newsletter, only people are coming to you. This can be a great way for people to get to know your writing style.
On its home page, Pinterest will have a wider circle of images recently pinned, so at book launch time, it can be a great way of keeping your novel in people’s frame of reference.
Pinterest links to other social media as well. I’ve included some pinned images on my website (www.carolynmiller.org), which provides hints about my books while also being available for people to pin to their own boards (and getting the title of my novel known).
Pinterest can also be linked to Twitter, Facebook and Google+, so your boards can be shared on other social networks, giving you a broader audience, and potentially greater platform.
Being a visual kinda gal, I enjoy how Pinterest collates images, and the ease with which it can be used. As an app on my phone, I find it a great way to ‘research’ during TV advertisements, pinning the occasional image, knowing it keeps my name and brand ‘out there’.
If you haven’t given Pinterest a go, I encourage you to find a friend who has, and search through their boards to see if this is a tool that could work for you. If yes, download the app (it’s free).
If you have used Pinterest, what are your favourite sites? What do you use it for? Any tips or suggestions for newbies?
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of the Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her novels have won or finaled in over a dozen contests, including the 2014 RWA ‘Touched by Love’ and 2014 ACFW Genesis contests. Carolyn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Her Regency novel 'The Elusive Miss Ellison' releases at the end of 2016, published by Kregel.
Connect with her: www.carolynmiller.org