By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a HUGE Pinterest fan! I love the visual appeal of all the pictures. I love the organizational structure of the site. I love all of my various collections of pins (especially my chocolate recipes!).
Most of all, I love the venue it provides for interacting with readers.
As I've studied and experimented with Pinterest over the past couple of years, I've realized that there are many ways for authors to relate to readers on the site. Here are four simple ways:
1. Share the love of reading.
One of the best ways to connect with readers is to promote books. There are LOTS of different ways to do that. Some users have boards that showcase their favorite books which can draw like-minded readers (via searches).
Others (like myself), have boards that relate to reading in general. For example I have boards for pins that have Reading Humor, Fascinating Book Art, Stuff for a Book Geek, and more. Such boards attract others who have the same interest. When they visit one board, they're likely to browse some of my other boards that promote reading. And while visiting, they're bound to see my Novel Boards, which leads to the next simple way to connect with readers . . .
2. Develop Novel Boards for your books.
Whenever I have a new book release, I also create a Pinterest board that gives a visual summary of the book. I showcase characters, setting, historical events, etc. And within the description of the picture, I share a little bit about the story (without giving too much away). For an example of how I set up a Novel Board, check out the board for my latest release: Captured by Love.
3. Make Pinterest-worthy pins for your website or blog.
I try to make a pin to go with every blog that I post. I also make pins for book releases, giveaways, or anything else worth mentioning. I use PicMonkey to doctor pictures I've taken or pictures that are "free" for doctoring.
Of course, I make sure to add my website address to each pin so that no matter where the pin ends up on Pinterest (even if the link back to my site is lost somewhere along the way), at least my web address is still visible. Ultimately, I want to draw people back to my website or blog to find out more about me and my books.
4. Develop topical boards that showcase elements in your books.
For example, if your book is set in World War II, consider having boards that have various pins from that era. Or if you write about lighthouses (like I am with my upcoming series), then develop a board devoted to lighthouses.
When other Pinterest users search for World War II or lighthouse pictures, they could end up being directed to your board and thus your site where of course then they'll see that you write novels about that particular topic as well.
My Summary: Pinterest is a visually stimulating way to connect with others. But I offer a word of caution: Make sure that you don't over-promote your books. As with any social media site, your followers will feel spammed if they see you pinning pictures of your books over and over and over.
Readers can sense when we're using social media with ulterior motives and they tend to run far away from pushy authors. Instead we need to join in the fun of creating interesting boards that not only will bring us pleasure, but will also be attractive to others.
Do you use Pinterest? What are some other ways you try to connect with readers there?