In this digital age, a strong online presence is a must-have for most authors and (probably*) all aspiring writers. Facebook and Twitter are the immediate go-tos, but Pinterest is another social media platform every writer should consider.
In fact, if you look specifically at social media referrals to publishers, Facebook wins. However, Pinterest generates more traffic to publishers than Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn combined. And it’s booming!
Beyond platform building, Pinterest’s versatility makes it a great tool for every stage of the writing process, from pre-writing to marketing.
Pinterest’s Top 5 Uses for Writers
- Skilling Up – Curate articles about writing craft and publishing, favourite authors, and literary events. Write Now is an example of one of my writing craft boards. I link to great websites about blogging and writing.
- Creation Tool – Use it for creating Vision Boards, where you collect images, words, quotes and more to fertilise germinating ideas. Pinterest rules as a tool for channeling creativity. As an example, I know one day I want to write a Gothic novel. Here’s my atmospheric vision board Good Gothic!
- Character Laboratory – Fewer than 20% of pins have faces, but that doesn’t have to stop you using Pinterest as a head catalogue. Everything from hair colour, clothing, and quotes can sum up the character you’re creating. (Tip: Pinterest offers private boards where you can secretly play Dr Frankenstein with your characters to your twisted heart’s content.) I used this board for inspiration and place-marking of images as I wrote my middle grade novel, Summer of the Silk Dragon. This face helped me envision my character Rudy. (I know. He’s ridiculously hot).
- Writing Community – You can generate traffic to writer-friends’ blogs and help them with promotion and sales by pinning their books on group boards (Be sure to link the pin to a bookseller of choice or GoodReads). It’s really useful to join group boards with huge followings, like this one called Interesting Books which has 435+ followers. (Yes, now you’re seeing the potential!)
- Author Profile – Promote your own work by linking to your blog and online articles. Pinterest links result in an average of 6 page views, hardly viral, but that’s 6 visits you might not have had otherwise. Here’s my board that displays my articles and a few choice blog posts.
- Pinterest has experienced record-breaking growth–reaching 10 million unique visits in 9 months, which outpaced Twitter and Facebook by a social media mile.
- Tweet-value lasts mere minutes, FB posts last an hour or so, while pins hold their clickable value for months. This is super news for authors. There’s something to be said for putting your social media effort into the platform that keeps working for you and doesn’t disappear into the ether in seconds flat.
- 80% of Pinners are women. Good news if you’re writing for a female audience!
- As of July 2013, the most followed board has 6.9 million followers and the most liked pin had 16,500 likes.
- Pinners are also shoppers, spending on average $140-180 per order (compared to Facebook shoppers who spend $70-80).
A Word of Warning…
Pinterest is a powerful tool–maybe because it taps into our most basic hunter-gather instincts. If you haven’t started using Pinterest and you have even the slightest, most latent tendency toward hoarding collecting, be forewarned that Pinterest can be addictive–and highly time-consuming. It’s as soothing as flipping through a glossy mag or a fabulous catalogue. You can easily chew up hours of writing time if you’re not careful!
On a final positive note, Pinterest’s virtual hoarding is way cheaper (and less space hogging and did I mention less dusty?) than physical collections of Chinese tea implements and turquoise. My Pinterest boards have saved me a bundle by virtually satisfying my cravings for fine pens and irresistible stationery. (Okay, I may have ordered a drool-worthy fountain pen from Taiwan. And some luscious midnight blue ink.)
Just remember, if things get out of hand, you can request a pintervention by your closest writing buddies. (…Buddies??)
Check out my sources:
Image courtesy of The Modern Mrs Darcy
* I know there are writers out there who refuse to board the “gotta-be-on-social-media-or-else-bandwagon” and some of them are doing fine and enjoying the luxury of privacy. The way I see it, social media is an opportunity–and an easily accessible, relatively inexpensive one at that. You can take it and wring everything out of it, or you can walk past it.