Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ … these are a few of the social media sites that I don’t feel a great need to push on authors. Their usage is minimal, their markets are niche and their options are limited. But while we’re at this whole platform thing, I figured I should spend some time at least touching on these sites.
Social media sites come and go, and Pinterest is the most recent site to see a major usage spike. Consequently, businesses and brands and marketing teams are just now beginning to infiltrate the site and use it for their evil purposes of getting you to buy, want, need things or experiences that you normally could care less about. So naturally, there’s buzz in the industry about how to use Pinterest to promote books.
But let’s be clear about what Pinterest is…Pinterest is a site that allows users to “pin” images found on the web onto their virtual pinboards. There’s minimal text involved because it’s a visual site. It’s all about virtual scrapbooking. To give an even better idea of what/how Pinterest is used, I’d say right now it’s probably the biggest fad among brides-to-be. They can have their wedding pinboards where they gather all of the pretty photos they see online…photos they’ll then use as wedding inspiration.
So why are authors feeling the pressure? I honestly can’t say, and if you’re reading this, baffled by corporate America’s desire to turn Pinterest into a marketing trap, then you and I can have a drink sometime and shake our heads at marketing teams who feel they have to have all of these online presences just because “everyone’s doing it.” Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time with Pinterest. I think it’s a fad that will fade, and your time would be better spent with more tried-and-true sites.
But, if you must do some pinning, here are my thoughts:
1. Create a pinboard of your novel covers. People are very visual, so what better use for Pinterest than to gather all of your book covers (provided you’re a multi-published author) and put them on one pinboard that can be easily shared with fans/friends? It’s a great way to promote old titles and hopefully get them circulating around the Internet. (You may even want to ask fans to re-pin…or create a contest that encourages them to do so.)
2. Create a “novel inspiration” pinboard. Novel characters are usually inspired by celebrities, and settings are inspired by real places. So why not tease your fans by creating a pinboard that holds a bunch of photos of people and locations that inspired the book? This would also be a great thing to pass on to your publishing house’s design team . . . it would give them some help when creating the perfect book cover.
3. Create a novel comparison pinboard. This can especially work for unpublished authors. Think of the authors within your genre who write similar stories to your own. Gather their book covers, author photos and what-nots, and put them on a pinboard. This can be your “If you like ________, you’ll also like my book!” board. You never know when it might hook some potential fans.
4.Create an upcoming cover art pinboard. Fans love leaked images, so when you begin working through cover designs with your publisher (or even if you epublish!), be sure to “leak” the images to your pinboard. Ask for fan input and make them feel part of the process. Plus, Pinterest is designed to make it easy for users to share images…so again, if you start seeing your book’s cover appear on multiple boards, you know you’ve got a winner. (You may even want to ask them to re-pin…or create a contest that encourages them to do so.)
5. Leave comments on other cover art/novel images on Pinterest. This is where you can go out and get new fans…When you see a cover that has been grabbed by another Pinner, and the cover happens to be in the same genre and to the same audience as what you write. Feel free to leave a comment, pointing people to your fan page or book. Don’t be too aggressive with this, but a nice, fun comment followed by a simple link is always welcome.
If you’re interested, you can check out how agents use Pinterest. As soon as cover art is available, I pin my authors’ upcoming books. It’s a great way for potential clients or editors to get a feel for what types of books I do.
Anyone else have any thoughts, questions or great Pinterest ideas? Share them below!