Pinterest for Authors: Generate Traffic & Gain Readers

Pin a paw printToday, I have Janice from Mostly Blogging to show us how authors can use Pinterest to generate traffic and gain readers. Thanks for joining us, Janice!

Pinterest for Authors

If you are going to generate interest in your writing, you need to go where people congregate. According to 2015 statistics, 47 million people, called pinners, use Pinterest.

There are more than 30 million boards with over 750 million pins. Clearly, this platform has potential, but does it have potential for writers to generate new audiences?

Absolutely! This article will tell you how to tap this enormous market in order to get new readers.

The Background

While meandering through the blogosphere, I came across a reader’s inquiry to a blogger who had just written an article about Pinterest. The commenter asked if Pinterest had potential for writers.

Immediately my proverbial wheels started spinning. I devised a method that would generate audience interest in writers’ plots using Pinterest boards.

The Method*

I invented the strategy based on the format for plot structure I used to teach my middle-school English students during their unit on narration.

Step 1: Break down the plot of your story into elements.

Step 2: Many elements comprise the parts of a plot. Make a Pinterest board for each element.

Step 3: Break the plot down even further using the structure of the Brace Map found below.

An example is done using Characters. You would have a board for the characters in your plot. The graphics would show pictures representing the people. Caution: pictures without faces generally perform best on Pinterest.

Therefore, you should think of graphics that would represent your characters. For example, a stethoscope might represent the doctor. Over time, as your writing portfolio increases, you could break your characters into two boards, one for the protagonists and one for the antagonists.

pinterest guest post

What you want to do is think of each element of your plot.  The parts of your plot structure would be the names of your boards, the examples would be the graphics on the boards.

In addition to characters, other Pinterest boards for authors could include

  • Exposition
  • Rising Action
  • Problem Complication
  • Climax
  • Resolution

The Aftermath

Chris, the Story Reading Ape, asked if I would write a guest post for his site. His audience consists primarily of writers. His blog offers support for them. When I received the invitation to guest post, I wrote up the method, Pinterest for Content Creators, and gave it to his readers as a guest post. Based on the numbers of likes, comments, and reblogs, and Chris’s own praise, the article was enormously popular.

Here are some of the tips from that post:

How to Use Pinterest Boards to Create Interest in Your Writing

The diagram below shows a basic plot structure. If you make a Pinterest board for each element of your plot, you will create and maintain interest in your story.

untitled (14)

Exposition

The exposition of the story establishes the setting—the time and place of your action—and establishes the characters.

  1. Make an account at Pinterest.com.
  2. You will have an opportunity to identify yourself as a writer and to give the link to your website.
  3. Click the + sign to create a Pinterest board.
  4. Name the board. Use hashtags, so when Pinterest users look for graphics, they can find your board.
  5. Describe the board as the time your story is set in. Past? Present? Future? Be specific—the Stone Age? The Space Age? The Age of Exploration? You get the idea. Use hashtags in front of key words, so people looking for the images you place on the board can find your pins.
  6. Find pins to add to the board.
  • Go to the search bar and type in the time period in which your story is set.
  • When you find graphics that represent your plot’s time-period, click “pin it”. Hovering over the graphic will bring this up.
  • Look for an icon of a pencil. Clicking it will bring up an editing function. You want to edit the description of the pin.
  • Use hashtags in front of relevant key words.
  • You will be asked which board you want to pin the graphic to. Click “Time Period” or whatever you named your board.
  • Continue to do this until your “Time Period” board has at least six pins.
  1. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for your “Place” board.

In the Pinterest search bar, search the place your story is set. You can be as broad or specific as you want. However, the broader the place you identify your setting as on your Pinterest board, the easier it will be to find at least six graphics to pin.

Note when tagging your “place” pins:

“Travel” is one of the nine most common Pinterest hashtags there is. Since your board is about a place, and people travel to places, this is a relevant, and extremely popular, hashtag. Use it when tagging your “place” pins. (Do people travel to places during the action of your story? Remember to tag those pins “travel”.)

  1. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for your “characters” board.

Is one of your main characters a housewife? Show pictures of housewives. Sue Coletta is a crime writer. If one of her main characters is a homicidal killer, she could pin graphics of killers, for example. [Note from Sue: I do have a serial killer board]

“Kids” and “pets” are also extremely popular trending hashtags. If these are important characters in your plot, be sure to use these hashtags to identify your pins.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@SueColetta1″]How authors can use Pinterest to gain readers & generate traffic.[/tweetthis]

My prediction turned out to be correct. The reader whose question was the impetus that led to my devising this process for writers did not have a unique experience. It turned out many writers had no knowledge that Pinterest could help them.

Consider this comment from a reader on Chris’s site, “I thought Pinterest was mainly for posting recipes and pretty pictures. I did not see how it could help me as a writer.”

I was happy that I could come up with a method that could help writers use Pinterest to get new readers interested in their work. My experience ends with a twist. About a month after the publication of my article, I saw almost the exact same method that I thought I had created written on another blog.

The truth is that if an idea is a good idea, it is probable that more than one person will devise it.

*For basic instructions on how to use Pinterest, you might want to consider checking out some of my earlier articles which include Pinterest instructions:

http://mostlyblogging.com/4-simple-ways-to-start-blogging-more-creatively/

and

http://mostlyblogging.com/4-practical-reasons-pinterest-will-make-you-a-better-blogger/

untitled (13)I am Janice from MostlyBlogging.com. If you are looking for more traffic-inducing blogging and social media tips, subscribe to my blog. You will get an invitation to pin to our exclusive group Pinterest board.

What do you think? Will you try using Pinterest this way?

 

 

About Sue Coletta

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is the bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers and mysteries. Sue’s short stories and flash fiction have appeared in OOTG Flash Fiction Offensive magazine and numerous anthologies, and her forensic articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly.

In 2017, Feedspot awarded her Murder Blog as one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net. Sue’s the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project, and co-hosts the radio show “Partners in Crime” on Writestream Radio Network. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. She’s also a proud member of the Kill Zone (see details in full bio — menu bar).

40 Comments

  1. Hi, Ladies! I enjoyed your post, Janice, and thought it had some wonderful tips. I started a Pinterest account last year and went gung-ho for a while, but just couldn’t keep up for lack of time (so many social media sites and only so many hours in the day). I fear I’ve woefully neglected it, but this post has me thinking I need to make an effort again. I really enjoyed Pinterest and found it a highly creative way to share my interests and my writing.

    P.S. to Sue…sorry for the late reply. I hurt my back last weekend and have spent the week (including Thanksgiving) recuperating. A doctor appointment, x-rays, muscle relaxants, lots of time on a heating pad and future therapy appointments later, I’m back to functioning, although slowly and in small allotments. Getting older sucks, LOL.
    Mae Clair recently posted…New Release: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Christmas #Cats #SweetRomanceMy Profile

  2. Pinterest done right. As someone who knows nothing of the medium, this was an eye-opener! Thank you 🙂
    Nicholas C. Rossis recently posted…Fantasy and Sci-Fi Bundle Release and Help NeededMy Profile

  3. Cool as always Sue ! Personally I pin a lot of Chicken coups and gardening pics ! Nothing to do with my writing just a personal wish list !

  4. LOL. I loved the paw, so thank you. I shared the post on my other social media as well. I am checking “Notify me of …comments by Email,” so if your readers comment on the article, I will be notified.
    Thank you again.
    Janice
    Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

  5. Hi again Sue,
    I wanted to add–
    1. You did a great job collating my guest post for you with what I wrote for Chris. This definitely gave a comprehensive article for your readers.
    2. I love your paw print graphic. I am going to share it on my Pinterest board!
    Thank you again for hosting me.
    Janice
    Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

  6. I wanted to thank Sue so much for hosting me today. I love Pinterest and genuinely feel it can be an asset to writers in getting new interest in their writing. It was a great experience guest blogging for you, Sue. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Janice
    Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

  7. My daughter has been using Pinterest and loves it. Thanks for sharing this. I will add some images to by boards.
    pauldaleanderson recently posted…The Devil Made Me Do It Again and AgainMy Profile

  8. I’ve set up Pinterest boards for my series settings. I have An East London board for the Ernie Bisquets series, and I’m about to put a board in for New England for the new Auburn Notch series. It’s tough to quantify whether “likes” and “repins” turn into sales, but it’s at least a good indicator of the interest the pins generate for the series. I’ll be adding a direct link for the book to the pins for the new series, so I’ll keep you posted on those results. As always, Sue, great post!

  9. I created a board on Pinterest for my novels, and then used a series of teasers printed on art or dramatic photo images to hint at book’s contents- works quite well.
    Rob

  10. This is really useful! Thanks, both. I have a Pinterest account, and have a few things up on it, but hadn’t thought of using it this creatively. It’s a solid marketing tool, too, when used well.

  11. Thanks so much for this article, Janice and Sue.
    Janice, I actually think I read another of your article about Pinterest. I haven’t use this methode so far because I don’t have a published story, but since I plan to self-publish one soon, I think it’s time to try it 🙂

    You know, I really like Pinterest, I use it everyday, but so far I haven’t been able to really make it work for me. At the moment, I mostly pin things that I like (thought many are related to my brand) and all the posts from my blog. But I’m not having great results so far.
    Any tips on how bloggers can use Pinterest? 🙂
    JazzFeathers recently posted…8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #56My Profile

    • Excellent question, Sarah. Let’s see what she says.

    • Hi Jazz Feathers,
      Did you publish your question initially under “anonymous”? Do you mind if I paste the answer I just gave to your original question?
      Hi,
      Thank you so much for your comments, your interest in my article, and my method for how Pinterest can help authors.
      As far as how Pinterest can help bloggers, that is one of my very favorite topics to blog about.
      I’ve actually written eight articles answering that question, and I have a draft of a ninth one almost ready to publish as well. I’m even considering writing an Ebook about it.
      The bottom line is follow the instructions I detailed in my Pinterest for authors method:
      You break your niche into subtopics. Create a board for each subtopic. Make sure your board name specifies how that board will help your potential blog readers. Tag your pins using a hashtag that people who search Pinterest might use. For example, Sue might tag the pin for this article #Pinterest. As always, long pins with bright colors with help your pins get noticed.
      On my site MostlyBlogging.com I have a list of tags on the right. Feel free to come check out the “Pinterest” tag to see my articles. Two of them are listed here above my biography.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

    • Hi Jazz Feathers,
      I saw you on Greg’s site today!
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

  12. Thanks Sue and Janice, this is such an intersting post.
    Janice, I actually think I read another of your articles about Pinterest 🙂

    You know, I really like Pinterest, I use it every day, but I haven’t been able to make it work for me yet.
    But now I’m going to self-publish a story (probably) and I want to try this methode.

    Can I ask something? So far, I’v emainly use Pinterest to pin the things I like and to try and move some traffic for my blog.
    Do you have any suggestion as for how Pinterest can help bloggers? 🙂

    • I’m interested to see how she answers this, too.

    • Hi,
      Thank you so much for your comments, your interest in my article, and my method for how Pinterest can help authors.
      As far as how Pinterest can help bloggers, that is one of my very favorite topics to blog about.
      I’ve actually written eight articles answering that question, and I have a draft of a ninth one almost ready to publish as well. I’m even considering writing an Ebook about it.
      The bottom line is follow the instructions I detailed in my Pinterest for authors method:
      You break your niche into subtopics. Create a board for each subtopic. Make sure your board name specifies how that board will help your potential blog readers. Tag your pins using a hashtag that people who search Pinterest might use. For example, Sue might tag the pin for this article #Pinterest. As always, long pins with bright colors with help your pins get noticed.
      On my site MostlyBlogging.com I have a list of tags on the right. Feel free to come check out the “Pinterest” tag to see my articles. Two of them are listed here above my biography.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…How to Easily Install a Click to Tweet in a Welcome EmailMy Profile

  13. Interesting post, Sue & Janice. I started a Pinterest account some time ago but never got back to it to use as a social media site – just too much time already involved in the main ones – Twitter, FB & my blog. But this gives a new use for writers – I’ll keep it in mind.

    Also Janice – I took a quick look at your blog. Good job! You got me to sign onto you mailing list. Who says guest posting doesn’t increase traffic and build the list 🙂
    Garry Rodgers recently posted…THE GRIM SWEEPER – MAKING A KILLING IN CRIME SCENE CLEAN-UPMy Profile

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