Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pinterest 101 for Authors

Today is a marketing day on Writer's Wisdom Wednesdays and we're looking at Pinterest. For this post, I went to writer Nicole Miller with my questions, because working with social media is Nicole's niche.

Nicole, you have social media knowledge and use it in your day job. You’re also a big believer in writers participating on Pinterest. As writers, we’re taught that there needs to be relationship in all our social media posts so we won’t come off sounding like one big advertisement. What types of boards and pins do you find most effective for writers, and what ratio of balance should a writer have between personal and professional boards? What kind of boards or pins might be considered undesirable?

For most authors, the mention of a new social media platform strikes fear straight into the heart. So my first rule in considering new social media outlets is considering: Is this something I enjoy? 

If you don't like using the platform and are participating because you "have to," it will come across that way. If you're not genuine, engaged and consistent, there is no need to even bother. Trust me, you'll be happier in life for it.

But for those who have dabbled in Pinterest, the online pin-board for images and videos that easily lets you comment, like or "repin" items, you probably knew right away whether or not you were into it. 

As writers, Pinterest offers you a way to visually display your plot locations, character influences, published books and even recipes inspired by or from the book. This is a way to bring your words to life. 

Create boards and pin items that resonate with you, your novels, your interests. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, but a general rule of thumb for authors would be to have a board for each of your published novels, topical boards (historical time periods), books you love, other personal interests (cooking, decorating, photography, etc.) 

Pinterest is also a powerful tool for your own story creation and brainstorming. The outlet offers "Secret Boards" that are visible only to you until you decide to publish it. This allows you to draft a manuscript without giving away too much.  

For examples of fiction writers using Pinterest well, see Jody Hedlund ( and Tricia Goyer ( An example of a nonfiction writer/blogger using Pinterest to engage with his audience is Jon Acuff: These writers also do a good job of interacting with other pinners and posting their own content.  

Quick Pinterest Tips: 

1. Always properly attribute your pins. If you pin from a website (including your own) then the pin will always link back to that page. 

2. Keep to the social media 90/10 rule. Spend 90 percent of your time engaging in conversations, re-pinning, liking and engaging others, and less than 10 percent of the time promoting your own work.

3. Consistency is key. A handful of posts a week will pay off more so than a hundred posts at one time. 

4. Make things pretty. There are free photo editors ( and quote generators ( at your disposal. Take a quote from your book or add words to an image to make things more enticing to "share."

5. Be genuine. Be interesting.  

Pinterest generates a vast amount of traffic and taps into a small, highly engaged audience of pinners who could fast become your readers. So take a deep breath, check out the platform, sign up, install a "Pin it" button into your browser and pin away! 


Nicole Miller is a social media coordinator by day and a historical fiction author by night. Catch her daily "Confessions of a Former Rodeo Queen" at Yes, she really was a rodeo queen. In spare moments, she consults small businesses on social media marketing and runs Miller Media Solutions, Follow Nicole on Pinterest: (

Thanks, Nicole! I've found Pinterest a bit addicting and can be on there for hours. What about you? What kind of writer boards have you set up on Pinterest? What kind of boards attract your attention? Do you have any of those...shhh...secret boards? Any questions for Nicole about Pinterest?