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?


  1. Great ideas! Thanks for the info about the secret boards. That's a wonderful resource.

    I've got character inspiration and setting boards on Pinterest. I also subscribe to a couple of magazine boards that really help with research.

    Thanks, Nicole!

    1. Angie, what kind of magazine boards help you with your research?

      I also use the secret boards until I'm ready to put them out there for everyone to see.

    2. Thanks for reading, Angie! Those secret boards will be author's secret weapons. ;-)

    3. Thanks for reading, Angie! Those secret boards will be author's secret weapons! ;-)

  2. Nicole, thank you for the ideas. I adore Pinterest! I'm really happy to know about the quote generator. I haven't made use of the secret boards...will have to try those.
    Have a tea-lightful week!

    1. Thanks Kathryn -- those quote generators can be fun... Maybe too much fun. :-)

  3. Thanks Nicole!

    I would add that group boards for similar interest topics (such as homeschooling, gluten-free living, etc) are both a fantastic way to network and to attract readers.

    80% of my blog interest came from 2 group Pinterest boards last week, with over 30 new subscribers to my blog. One of my articles was repinned multiple times, shared on facebook -and recieved nearly 3,000 views. The best part? The post was more than two years old. I can slowly repost 2 years of blog posts on these boards, and bring new life to posts written when my audience consisted of a few loyal friends. (Thank God for loyal friends!)

    If your audience is on Pinterest, group boards can be a powerful tool. And with enough contributors, a little self-promotion isn't so bad. After all, a few pins a week are just a small percentage of the overall board.


    1. That is all amazing, Danika -- you've really tapped into your audience and are going strong.

      I also love seeing the "personal" side of authors -- even if it is something as silly as sharing a love for chocolate desserts or something. Thus, why Pinterest is so magnetic, I think.

      Keep at it!

  4. Thank you, ladies.

    Kathryn, the secret boards are great for when you're not quite ready to introduce them to the world or if you're collecting things for your eyes only.

    Danika, congratulations on figuring out the best ways to use your boards. I've been reading a lot about group/community boards. That sounds like an interesting idea.

  5. Because I'm so visual, I love using Pinterest. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thanks for reading, Dawn! Pinterest is truly perfect for the visual people. :-)

  6. I have couple of questions for Nicole concerning pinning.

    1) I'm leery of copyright issues and am in the process of deleting pins when I can't follow them back to a website that shows it allows pinning. However, just because it's on a website doesn't mean it's the original source and not a copyright problem, correct?

    2) I see many photos from Tumblr, Photobucket, Flickr, etc. Tumblr's website says people put photos on their pages with the option of choosing not to allow sharing on other sites. I'm assuming that means those that don't have that setting in place are fine for Pinterest, true? (I haven't checked the others.)

  7. Sandy:

    1. The fear of copyright issues and Pinterest go hand in hand. But what it comes down to is this: if you're pinning items directly from a website, you're assuming that website has permission to use the image, and you're "curating" that content by sharing it to Pinterest. If you pin items from your own site, you'd better have permission to use the images (purchased or rights-free images).

    2. Tumbler, Photobucket and even Facebook doesn't allow you to Pin images and that is a deliberate decision on their part. They have coding in place in their sites that prevent your "pin it" button to work. Part of it is proprietary and part of it is that they want the web traffic to remain on their own site.

    I hope that helps! Thanks again for having me!

    1. Thanks, Nicole!

      I'm cleaning up my pins by going back to the original source and making a list of those websites that have the "pin it" button, so I'll feel comfortable in repinning images from those places.


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