Monday, November 18, 2013

Pinterest for Writers: Another Way to Waste Time with Social Media?

Looking for another way to waste scarce writing time with social media? Look no further than Pinterest.  The claims: It's easier to use and less time-consuming than other social media tools. It's a great way to find women readers. But other experts claim Pinterest is a waste of time. This article offers a quick overview and brief guide to getting started with Pinterest

I) Pinterest for Writers: Pros and Cons

1) Easy to Use
- I created a profile and started adding images from my blog pages and Youtube within 15 minutes. Yes, it's pretty quick to get started. After you add images, you write short descriptions of them -- no blogging or Tweeting.

2) Less Time-Consuming: Hmmm
- Pinterest has a free browser button/add-on called Pin It, which lets you surf the Web and pin Web pages. A time-saver.
- But, I could not find a free tool that lets you preschedule posts, or Pins, as a Pinterest calls them. A prescheduling tool called Viraltag has a 14-day trial period but then costs $5 a month. (Facebook has a prescheduling tool for business pages and a tool called Hootsuite provides free prescheduling for Twitter and Facebook and Linked In.)

3) Popular: If women are your audience
Pinterest has a large user base and experts claim they spend on average more time on the site (16 minutes) than Facebook users (12 minutes) or Twitter users (3 minutes.) Youtube visitors spend the most time of any social media platform (more than 16 minutes).

4) Popular with Women
- Pinterest: 84% women
- Google+ 70% male
- Linked In is also dominated by men.
*source: same Business Insider article cited above as well as Pinterest's own numbers.

5) Other Gripes
- You can get sued for appropriating copyrighted images. (Common sense suggestions for avoiding the slammer down below.)
- If men are your audience, this may not be worth your time. When I asked Pinterest to suggest content for me, it was mainly women's clothes, cookie recipes, and advice for raising children.

Content Pinterest recommended for me, a single, bald guy on a low-carb diet.

II) Getting Started


How it Works:
Pinterest is a digital scrapbook that lets you post images to a page you create on their site. First you create a profile. You follow people. People follow you. You can post images from your own blog or other people's sites.

Creating a profile was quick, but for some reason Pinterest could not verify my Website, even after I followed the instructions.

Installing the free Pin It button on your browser can save time populating your Pinterest page.

Setting up my page and adding Pins (links) was pretty quick. You'll want to add captions to your Pins. Pinterest captures links to pages you've pinned. I've divided my Pinterest page into different topics, or Boards.

III) Strategies for Writers

Here are a list of tips and strategies that seemed worth trying. For writers, tips tend to be focused on posting great stuff. Note: I have not tried these out and cannot vouch for their effectiveness.

1) What to Pin
- Your own: photos, blog posts, Youtube videos, audio, Powerpoint presentations saved to Slideshare. More on this.
- Other peoples' images etc: As with all social media, people will tune you out if you're just flogging your own stuff.

2) Don't Pin Hundreds of Things at once
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a prescheduling tool, so you'll have to spend some pinning images regularly.

3) If you Pin a book cover, get the image from a page selling the book or a page with a review of the book. More on this. Pin your own book covers -- if you have a book. And create a Pinterest page, or Board, for your friends' books.

4) Create a Pinterest Board for writers similar to yours The old, "if you liked these folks, you'll like me."

5) Create a Board for characters in your novel, destinations mentioned in your travel blog, other background you've used in your writing.

6) Use Powerpoint to create slides that include original tips that link back to your own blog posts.

IV) Copyright Issues

If you Google "Pinterest," you'll find scary articles written by lawyers. If I get sued, I don't have much worth taking, except for maybe my vintage car.

The babe magnet

You may have more to lose -- and you're a writer, so respecting the rights of other artists is worth a little effort.

Some common sense:
- Use photos and images you've created
- Use photos of actors, book covers, and other publicity seekers, particularly if the images are popular online.
- If a site has a button encouraging your to pin or embed their images, you should be OK.
- If you're using other people's art, include a link to the artist's site or the original piece of art. (Be sure to find the artist's link -- not just the link to a site that stole it from the artist.)
- In my blog, I use images from Creative Commons that are free for public use. I always include a link to the artist. For Pinterest, I'll cite the artist and include a link in the Pin's description.
- A clever way to attribute the image: "I found this picture on (artist's site) and it reminded me of (link to something you've written or want to promote)

Mercifully short, plain English discussions on Pinterest and copyright.

- From Possesocialmedia

- From Jane Friedman

V) More Pinterest Tips

- 12 Pinterest Tools

- 12 Tips from Writer.Ly

- Pinterest Strategies from The Book Designer Web site.

- Tips from agent Rachel Gardner

- Tips from an agent's guest-post on

- My barren Pinterest page

Top image attribution: By Pinterest-Anti-Christ (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons




If you find my book marketing blog useful, sign up to have it delivered to your inbox each week:

Enter your email address: