In Pinterest for Fiction Writers Part 1 we explored how Pinterest can help you as a writer while you are writing. But of course, there is the other side to writing: selling the book! Pinterest can help there too. (Note: If you are not sure what terminology like “boards” and “re-pinning” mean, please read Part 1 first.)
Why consider Pinterest for sales?
According to Omnicore Agency’s January 2018 report:
- Monthly active Pinterest users numbered 175 million (75 million in the USA.)
- 93% are women
- 2 million shopping pins are saved daily
- Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
- Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.
- Nearly 85% of Pinterest searches happen on mobile devices
One of the reasons I prefer Pinterest is that what you post is always there, easily found and well-organized. You don’t spend time creating a post that disappears into a long news-feed and may never be seen, like on Facebook and Twitter.
Two kinds of Pinterest accounts
Pinterest offers registration as either a personal user or a business user. Both are free.
A personal account allows you to create boards and pin to them. You can also pin from other people’s boards and send to other people’s boards, social media accounts, and email.
If you have a business account, you can additionally:
- place links on your website to take people to your page on Pinterest
- get visitor analytics and what they’re looking at the most
- use rich pins to let users do special stuff with the content on your website or Pinterest page, and add prices to your images.
The right Pinterest mindset
Pinterest is not a point of sale. It drives people to click through to your website or to Amazon or wherever your point of sale is. It’s great for building an author presence, (see how below) but never lose sight of the fact that your end goal is sales!
But, and it’s a BIG BUT, like all other social media platforms, avoid incessant self-promotion. The immediate goal is for vistors to pin and then to click through.
Pinterest is a quieter, more subtle platform where sales are made indirectly by building trust, loyalty and engagement. On Pinterest you express yourself through images. So if you want to showcase a review of your book you’ll have to make a visual for it.
Also remember that most pins are re-pins, so if you provide original content, pinners will happily spread it for you. Just give them a good visual with a few, repeat few, words that hook them and you’re on your way.
Become a Business Author
I’m a personal pinner and I have over 60 boards covering all my hobbies, dreams, and plans. Some are general: gardening; art; books I recommend. But there are also more personal boards: my daughter’s wedding; things I want to do with the grandkids; travel plans and of course, unpublished book boards.
When selling your book, you don’t want your efforts buried in clutter and you want to be accessible but stay professional. The best way is to register as a separate author persona with a business account. Use your name, and simple add “author”: Jane Doe, author. And just like Twitter and Facebook, a decent head shot and succinct profile that sells you and your products is a must. Notice in the author page below that Rachel Thompson has 6,000 followers and 22,100 monthly viewers. Wow!
What boards could I create?
You can still have multiple boards, but keep them associated with the book or you as an author. In a business account, Pinterest allows you to have “featured boards” and “latest pins” that show up when you first go to the Pinterest page.
Remember sales is the goal, so make sure to put links to your sales page/s whenever you can. You can put them in your profile, in the description portion of your images, and add the URL to images you create.
Here are a selection of boards to consider:
Boards about the book
- The book/s.
Create a separate board for each book you want to sell. Pin pictures of the cover, back page blurb, reviews, and enticements to read excerpts. Link all the images to your sales page and where appropriate put prices on your images. In the image below, notice that Carla Laureano has 8 separate book boards. (She also has her website URL prominently displayed and a URL to a free book in her profile)
- Behind the book/s
Glimpses into the book in the making: pictures or quotes that inspired your characters, settings etc. (all poached from your initial vision board.) Cover choices that didn’t make the cut. Characters and/or excerpts that didn’t make the book. Story boards, notes.
- Special offers
Freebies, contests. New book ideas: Invite people to post pictures of what the villain could look like, or what kind of car the protagonist might drive. Give a free book to the winner when the book is done. In the board below, 75 authors collaborate on this board to offer giveaways. The board appears like this on each of their pages.
Boards about the author
- About the author
You can get personal here or stay all business; it’s up to you. You can cover how you got started writing, your mentors, your writing resume, your future plans, your passions, causes you support, hobbies and views on life.
Reading and signing events (use your photos and posters as the visual); conferences, guest posts, speaking engagements, workshops you’re giving; TV, print or radio interviews. Again add links in the description portion of the pin.
- Fan club
More photos of happy fans holding your book; book club group shots; quotes from fans or fan letters. Tag people using the @ sign in your pin descriptions (tagging in Pinterest works similarly to Facebook.) Plus, other people can pin things to your page (if you allow them to become “contributors” to a particular board), which encourages more sharing and interaction.
- Behind the scenes
Pictures of you writing, your cork board of favourite inspirational quotes etc, your waste basket of discarded scenes, the view from your window, your cat lying on your keyboard. Let your public see you as the person behind the book.
Boards that support the content of your book/s
- Topic boards
If your book features a mental health issue, have a board about that mental health issue; if your books are Georgian romance, boards of all things 18th century would be of interest to your readers.
- Books you recommend
Can be in your genre only, or anything you recommend. Alternatively, have a board about “reading now” or “my to-be-read list.”
- Related activities
If you have written a kids book, have companion boards for teachers or parents or libraries.
- Any other book-related topics
Libraries you love. Book stores you recommend. Books you loved as a child. Quotes from writers ……..
And there’s more
Once you’ve created your Pinterest author account, don’t forget to grow your audience by adding a Pinterest Follow button on your website so people can follow your Pinterest account from your website.
You’ll also need to brush up on some of the technical stuff, all of which could warrant a separate blog post, but there’s plenty of help out there. Here are a few links to get you started.
- Creating effective Pinterest images
- How to create a brand board using canva
- What are the best times to pin?
- 4 scheduling tools for pinning
- Creating rich pins
Of course you can search on Pinterest yourself! Here are three pins I found in a search “selling books”.