How Authors Can Use Pinterest for Book Marketing & Promotions

by Deborah A. Bailey

Back in 2010 when I published my first book, I spent most of time marketing on Facebook and YouTube. It was a non-fiction book, "Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life," and at that time I could still get good organic reach on my Facebook fan page.

I uploaded a few book trailers to YouTube and got "likes" and subscribes pretty quickly. Around that time I joined Pinterest (you had to get an invitation to join back then) but I didn't pin anything about my book. In fact, like most others, I had no idea how to use this new platform.

It seemed to be a fun place to find images, but at the time I didn't consider it to be a platform for book marketing.

I changed my mind when I read about an author who had an account there. She had about 20 or so boards (which seemed like a lot to me at the time) featuring a variety of topics. One board was about her books, another about travel, another about fashion, etc. In addition to marketing her books, she was using Pinterest to give readers a snapshot of her interests.

Though I was impressed by what she'd done, at the time (since I only had one book) I didn't see the need to duplicate what she was doing. In fact, I was dismissive of the usefulness of the site for anything other than searching for interesting images. So, I stopped using it for quite some time, choosing instead to focus on Facebook and on my blog.

But as time went by, and the social media scene began to evolve, I went back and rediscovered Pinterest. What I found was that the platform had also evolved into a search engine. By that time I'd written a few novels. I found that I couldn't do the same things to promote them that I'd done for my non-fiction books. Not to mention that there were more authors and more books being published (once self-publishing began to take off). The same old things weren't going to work.

Online Marketing Overwhelm


When I started my original Twitter account, I did it to promote my freelancing. Once I started to promote my books, I didn't want to throw my novels and fiction-related topics into the mix. So, I created a separate Twitter for promoting my novels (just as I'm in the process of creating a Facebook fan page for my fiction books). Yes, I'm probably making more work for myself, but it actually gives me freedom to have dedicated accounts for the two parts of my life.

As platforms like Blab (now extinct), Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram came on the scene, I was ready to throw my hands up. Was I supposed to be on everything? Was that even possible? And don't forget Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Tumblr (to name a few others). At some point I had to make decisions about where I was going to spend my time.

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The Changing Social Media Landscape


Social media platforms are constantly in a state of flux. It's hard to have rules when the algorithms continue to change, not to mention the various other design changes. One day your FB cover dimensions are one size, then that changes to another. You may not be able to use affiliate links on another platform, then suddenly they're allowed.

A few months ago when I was presenting a social media workshop at the local library, a young man in his 20's said he stopped using Facebook. Snapchat was the place to be for him and his friends. So an author who might be trying to reach that demographic might find that they should give Snapchat a try. Meanwhile, Instagram has added Stories, which puts it in direct competition with Snapchat. So, yet again, another change that might impact your marketing.

Organic reach has been reduced as the platforms look to grow their revenue through advertising revenue. I recently read of something on Instagram called a "shadow ban." It can happen if you use certain hashtags - or too many hashtags. A few commenters on the post speculated that this might make hashtags less beneficial. Yet again, less organic reach will encourage more ad buys. If that's where things are heading, it's going to change how people use that platform to market.

Marketers say that someone has to have several touch points before they're ready to buy (or even to click). Some say 7, other say 20 or more. So that means you have to get your book in front of your prospective reader many times before they might click for more information.

We're already overwhelmed with so much information coming at us. How much is too much? It's a tough call. We'd like to have rules so we can feel like we're in control, but I don't think that's going to work right now. The platforms are continuing to change and adjust (and compete) so things are not going to be static.

Using Pinterest for Book Promotions


When I returned to Pinterest I started creating boards related to my books and my freelancing. I also added board based on popular Pinterest topics, like food, quotes and home décor. Then I added boards that reflected my interests: books, science fiction, writing and blogging. Not only are the boards giving prospective readers (and other writers) a snapshot of who I am, but they've also helped me to connect to other Pinterest users.

Because of my pinning, I've been asked to join a few group boards for writers and bloggers. Group boards will help your pins to be seen by even more people.

Remember I said Pinterest is a search engine? Well, that means when you search for various items, Pinterest pins will show up in the results. Those pins also identify the pinner, so someone can find your pin (and you) when they're searching for other things. There are many ways to be found!

Speaking of demographics, here are a few: as of Jan 2017, Pinterest had 150 million users, with 70 million from the U.S. 81% of Pinterest users are females. 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest. 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline. (Stats from:
https://www.omnicoreagency.com/pinterest-statistics/.)

Not only is Pinterest a good platform for creating your profile, but you can do so much more. You can also pin your book covers, create boards for blog posts and visuals for inspiration, and join group boards.

Pinterest has a lot of advantages for authors who are looking to market, to connect and to collect pins to help you with your writing. Even better, book cover pins look great on the boards. What's not to like?

This article originally appeared on Savvy Authors.


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