Social Media Update: Pinterest for Authors

How can you use Pinterest to sell your books?Pinterest is a freight train barreling down the social media tracks. It’s hugely successful, currently valued at one billion dollars (maybe more!). Self-publishing authors, in particular, should pay attention to the pinboard-inspired site as it proves an effective way to drive web traffic to your site and increase your overall book sales.

Rachelle Gardner, literary agent extraordinaire, mused on her blog, “From what I can tell about Pinterest, I believe it might prove to be more effective than any other current social network in driving READERS (not other writers) to your books.”

With that knowledge in hand, what can you do to use Pinterest to sell your books and build your author platform?

Well, there are a few things that I’ve picked up through the copious amount of time I spend doing valuable research on Pinterest (or pinning recipes I’ll probably never try):

First, really think about your audience. What are they pinning… and what will they like to see pinned? The way to keep possible reader’s eyeballs on your boards is to pin things their eyeballs WANT to see.

Let’s say you’re a writer preparing to self-publish your memoir about your youth in the American south. What would your prospective readers like to see? Create a board for best restaurants in Louisiana. Have a board for era-appropriate music that inspires you to write. Be mindful of what your audience wants to see and you’ll find their eyes on your work.

Second, make use of collective boards. Ask your audience: What do YOU want to hear about? Let them pin memories inspired by your work. Encourage them to take a trip down memory lane by sharing favorite southern recipes.

Make your audience a part of your writing process and they’ll invest themselves in your work. Working with potential readers to create a great book will lead to great success as a self-publishing author, in particular.

Third, pin yourself sparingly. Now, don’t NOT pin your latest blog posts. Don’t NOT pin your new publications. But, if that’s all you’re pinning, fans will inevitably retreat. A self-publisher’s worst marketing mistake is to halt the conversation.

This means that you should be re-pinning about as much as you’re pinning. Keep up the conversation. As with all social media, you’re advertising yourself because you want people to buy you. Your presence online invites your readers into your life and gives them a reason – beyond your awesome stories – to buy your books. Keep your presence welcoming. Have a dialogue.

Pinterest can be a powerful tool to talk to your audience and learn about your audience. It serves self-publishers very well because most are doing the marketing legwork themselves. Take some time, learn how to use Pinterest, and it can grow your author platform dynamically and effectively. And, maybe more importantly, it can change the way you shape your stories through communication with the most important people in your experience as an author: prospective book buyers.

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