Pinterest is a fun, image-based social media platform that allows users to “pin” all sorts of pictures on boards. As a writer, you might be wondering how you can use Pinterest to promote your book. One powerful aspect about Pinterest is that pins give a visual element to your story. Pins can get “repinned” for months or even years to come. For tips on how writers can use Pinterest, we decided to ask Book Country members Jaycee Ford and Alex Rosa how they use Pinterest to promote their books.
Janet Umenta: How did you get started on Pinterest? What advice would you give to writers who are hesitant to join “another social media site?”
Alex Rosa: I think Pinterest is this beautifully organized chaos, which makes it less daunting than other social media sites. So when someone tells me they aren’t sure of giving it a go, I tell them that there’s no pressure. If anything, you can use it as a creative outlet rather than as an output of information.
With Pinterest you can really make it about yourself. If people want to peek into your mind by “following” you, then I’d say, “Be my guest.”
Jaycee Ford: When I first joined Pinterest, it was for reasons any 30-something-year-old would have: complex recipes noted as easy and DIY crafts that no one will ever have the time to do. I began to associate different boards with the southern lifestyle when I stumbled upon a wide variety of uses for mason jars. They really can be used for more than just canning vegetables!
It progressed from there with a board specifically designated for all things cowboy (i.e. hot guys in cowboy hats) and a board showcasing the landscape of North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the visual backdrop of the Love Bug series.
I don’t view Pinterest as another social media outlet, even though that’s essentially what it is. Pinterest is an easy way to highlight your stories with pictures instead of just words in a book or on a Twitter feed. It also feeds into every writer’s pastime: Procrastination.
JU: On Pinterest, I see a lot of authors just pin the covers of their books. Both of you have beautiful quote images on Pinterest that provide a complementary visual element to your stories. How do you choose the images, fonts, and typesets?
JF: Picture quotes give potential readers a way to visualize your story. As most authors know, pictures receive more likes on Facebook and more retweets on Twitter than posts with just text. Putting a quote within a picture shows them a little piece of the book. It’s “Show, Don’t tell” in its finest element.
I’m the worst with fonts, and frankly, just designing anything in photo editing software. I usually just stumble upon a quote while writing or editing, find a hot guy or a steamy picture, and go from there. Whatever will grab a potential reader’s eye is great because, in the end, the most important thing is gaining new readers.
AR: I’m kind of a graphic design/Photoshop nerd; I love streamlining themes to certain ideas as far as fonts and design types. I think it helps readers identify with my books.
Usually, I base design elements off my novel’s cover to make sure they complement each other. As a rule of thumb, I use a maximum of three font styles for my personal book-teaser images.
Go crazy with the boundaries you’ve given yourself. For me, it’s less stressful when I already have my main design elements to pick and choose from when designing something new. I can play with these options in abstract ways without feeling overwhelmed by a mass collection of fonts.
Then it’s all about finding a perfect picture to go with the quote. I use Pinterest for this by utilizing their search bar, using keywords that might apply to what I’m designing.
One social media tip: Keep these images square so they are easy to share on all levels of social media, like Instagram.
JU: Alex, your Pinterest boards for TRYST, UNWRITTEN and RASH DECISIONS are so creatively curated. How do you use these boards for inspiration?
AR: I find pinning and creating boards on Pinterest a vital part of storyboarding a novel idea. Sometimes I create a board before I’ve even written the story to get the “feel” of it. This can involve pinning quotes, colors, pictures of people, and places. It helps set the vibe for a story idea in its infancy and can help with the writing process.
Another way I use these boards is to gather information. I have a story set in New York, a place I’ve never been to, but I have subway maps, aerial views of Central Park, and pictures of Times Square on Pinterest.
I’ve used Pinterest to help me with descriptions and to fact-check myself as I write. Pinterest is a great research tool.
JU: Jaycee, as someone who follows you on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, it was amazing to see the response around your hashtag, #DoYouHearTheBuzz, for your Love Bug series. How do you come up with hashtags? How have they helped promote your book on social media?
JF: Hashtags were something I was never sure of early on. But when I came up with #DoYouHearTheBuzz, it became something excitable to the fans. My three published books are all titled after bugs (WATCHING FIREFLIES, DRAGONFLY AWAKENING, and HORNET’S NEST). I was literally getting people to hear the buzz about my series. A hashtag was then formed. Like all great ideas, it just popped into my head and I flew with it.
JU: How has using Pinterest improve the engagement and trust between you and potential readers?
JF: Along with the boards specifically for my series, I also have a board recommending friends’ books or other authors I would love to be friends with (like Cheryl Strayed). It’s a way to show that it’s not about me. It’s about the love of reading.
Boards like these show potential readers that regardless of how people think publishing is a competitive business, we all have a common goal: To show the world our love of books.
AR: Currently, I post a lot of my work online for readers to comment and critique on. Some (awesome) readers get really hooked on a story and tell me about all this imagery the book gives them. They send pictures or make teaser images of their favorite lines. It’s fantastic.
If readers love a book, I like to invite them to post on my Pinterest board for that novel. It creates this bond I love because I really like to think of my novels as much mine as it is the readers who fall in love with my work. I know some authors might be conflicted with inviting readers to post on their boards, but I’d like to tell authors not to be scared.
The creative process can be a joint effort if you let it.
Usually when I invite readers to a Pinterest board, it’s after a novel is completed or nearly there. Seeing their imagery can help me through the writing/editing process. I can see what they loved, and I can also get a glimpse of how well I’m explaining myself by what they latch onto. It’s very cool.
It’s especially awesome when I see character castings or when readers pull their favorite quotes from the book. I love this interactive creative process. It’s tons of fun and my favorite element of creating Pinterest boards for my novels.
About Jaycee Ford
Jaycee Ford is the Amazon Bestselling Author of the Love Bug Series. Her most recent novel, HORNET’S NEST, came out last February. Jaycee Ford grew up chasing street cars around the city of New Orleans.
After doing a four-year stint at Louisiana State University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and fled for the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. New Orleans beckoned her home again where she discovered her love of writing romance novels. Connect with Jaycee Ford on Book Country, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.
About Alex Rosa
Alex Rosa lives in San Diego, California. When she isn’t scouring city parks or cafes to write in, she is more than likely trying to convince her friends to join her on her next adventure.
Alex was offered a book deal with their digital imprint, Intermix, in June 2014 for her New Adult novel, TRYST, which was released in March 2015. Alex also signed with Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management. Connect with Alex on Book Country, Pinterest,Twitter, Facebook and her website.