Pinterest for authors and illustrators? You bet!

By Carol Ekster

typingonlaptopAs 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.

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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.

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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.

Have you signed up to Pinterest? If you need more information about getting started these Pinterest FAQs should help.

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!

17 comments

  1. Carol, thank you for the post. I have been considering using Pinterest since I went to my last writer’s conference, but just haven’t found the time until now. I noticed that there are two different types of accounts, personal and business. I write and illustrate children’s books, but also sell illustrations through Cafepress. Which would you suggest for an author and illustrator like myself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure about this, but I think if you want to sell things, you probably would want the business account. I have a personal account as I don’t sell anything, even if I hope people will see my books and want to own them or borrow them from the library! Good luck!

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  2. As an illustrator, I’m all about images, so Pinterest is a natural fit for me. It took some time to figure out the boards could be just as useful to me as a writer.

    Besides pinning books, you can pin contests or writing events. Some of my boards are images which inspire world-building. I have pinned ideas for marketing, school-visits, and book-signing giveaways. I have a board for writers tips, inspiring quotes, business forms, and spreadsheets. I even started a few boards for my non-fiction research. Some of my favorite people to follow are teachers who use the pins as story starters.

    Have fun exploring!

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  3. I specifically use Pinterest to engage educators, parents, and homeschoolers by sharing books they can use with kids. (I’m an educator, too. I specialized in curriculum development, so this kind of boards made sense for me). My boards are built around topics that also fit with the focus of my blog (nature and culture). Every book I pin has been vetted by me, so no random re-pinning from other people’s boards. If I haven’t read it and found it an excellent resource, I don’t pin it.

    And here’s something you didn’t suggest (But Cathy did): I also have two secret boards. I’m pinning resources that I can use for my WIPs. Some day, once the books are published (fingers crossed), I may make them public. Until then, they include loads of material for me to use in my research. For example, I’ve pinned sites that will help me complete research for a PB biography I just started on one board. On the other, I pinned news accounts of events that happened during the year of my YA novel. I know other authors use Pinterest in a similar way, too, by pinning photos of people who look like their characters, setting, etc.

    Here are my boards: http://www.pinterest.com/mcusolito/

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    1. I already follow you, Michelle. You have many great boards! I’m excited to learn from you and Cathy about the “secret boards” and how I might use them. It was Emma Dryden’s post on FB about Pinterest for writers that got me started.

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  4. Pinterest also allows users to pin onto “secret” boards which are a fun way to save ideas for topics you are researching but not yet ready to share publicly. Pinterest is fun, but I have to limit my “pin” time so I don’t get too distracted to write!

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    1. Cathy, thanks for the tip on the “secret” boards. I did not know about them! When I get time, I’ll investigate. What I like about Pinterest, it’s something you can do when you have the inclination, and it isn’t too time consuming. Thanks for responding!

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