By Carol Ekster
As authors, we want to spend much of our time writing. But writing work is no longer just creating clever plots and stringing striking words together. It is important to get your name out there on social networks so that when your books get published you have a following or interested parties who will hopefully purchase those books. That is why you write, right? You want others to read your creations.
So what networking sites should you get involved in? Personally, I say, all of them! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads… each has their benefits to you as an artist. But my focus in this blog post is Pinterest, which I strongly suggest for writers and illustrators. Pinterest is a theme-based collection of images such as events, interests, and hobbies. But on Pinterest, you don’t post or tweet. You “pin” images to “boards” that you create on your account. Each image that you pin links to the site where you found the image. On Pinterest, you follow others and have others who follow you. Sometimes you’ll follow all the boards of another pinner, or you might just want to follow specific boards. That’s completely a personal decision. As with all social media, Pinterest gives you opportunities for some self-promotion. Of course, you’ll have a board entitled My Books when you get your work published. But self-promotion isn’t its intended purpose.
Everyone reading this blog is interested in books. Start there. And you’ll get to help other authors and illustrators, too. I’ve built boards such as Other Authors, Picture Books I Love, and Books I Loved. I know two fellow writers whose picture books have a monster theme. So one of my boards is Terrific Monsterly Picture Books. If you check out my boards, you’ll notice many of my boards fit with my brand as an author-educator. (I am a retired teacher.) I have a variety of boards relating to teaching including Mentor Texts and Common Core and boards for librarians like, Libraries Are The Perfect Place where you can find my article by the same name that was in LibrarySparks Magazine. I’m looking to attract teachers, librarians, and counselors as well as parents to check out my pins.
My first book was Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?-A Story of Divorce. You’ll notice I have boards like School Counselor Resources and Divorce and Children. My second book was Ruth the Sleuth and the Messy Room. So I have boards for Organization for Teachers and Families and Get Organized! among others on parenting and family. My third book coming out in 2015, Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You is a bedtime book encouraging the practice of gratitude. My Gratitude board is already up, and as soon as I am able, I’ll be pinning the book jacket to that board.
When you’re ready to add a pin to a board, you get a choice of choosing that image from your computer, the web, or Pinterest. You also get the option to add a description as well as comment on or like another person’s pin. You can click the “pin-it” button to add any pin you find on another person’s board to put it on your own. Wherever you pin it from, when someone clicks on it, it will note the source.
If you do pin something from another’s board, that person will get e-mail notification that you repinned one of their pins, and you will probably get a new follower that way. When I get a notification that someone pinned one of my books to their board, I click it on and usually write a comment to them letting them know of my appreciation for sharing my book. Also, you can join a community board with multiple pinners. I joined a teaching board but get so many e-mails every time someone adds a pin, I wouldn’t do it again. However, I do follow everyone who adds pins to that board. Teachers are a group that I want to be connecting with.
If you’re looking for specific pins, Google your topic and the word Pinterest. For example, I Googled “picture books and pinterest.” You can click on those links and find pins for your boards. Play around with it and have fun. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. That’s how I learned, by doing.
I’m sure your creativity will help you create the boards that will be the perfect representation of who you are, as an artist and an individual. Just don’t get too carried away so that it cuts into your writing or illustrating time. Oh, and if you blog, you can consistently pin photos from your blog, hopefully getting some attention so that visitors click through and find your post. I pinned a popular post from Writers’ Rumpus on pacing the picture book on my Blogging board.
What boards tie into your craft? Do you have another way for writers or illustrators to use Pinterest that I didn’t mention? Share your Pinterest site in the comment section below so we can follow eachother. Happy Pinning!