An Author’s Guide to Utilizing Pinterest

By Colleen Oakes

I love Pinterest. Pinterest is my JAM. I have 77 boards and counting. I find it so refreshing and fun, like a game plan for my life.  It's a place for ideas, for inspiration and for useful tips from everything from tacos to finishing your deck, hipster dressing to social media savvy.  It's the internet bulletin board, and it's the easiest place found to organize your life, your ideas and images.

Like most social media, Pinterest can be used to further your author platform, though also like most social media, this can be a landmine of information.  How then, does an author use Pinterest to sell books and boost their online platform?  I think there are three easy ways for authors to use Pinterest.

First: Get on Pinterest, and get comfortable.  This means setting up an account, and using your real name so readers can find you.  Spend some time setting up your boards. Your boards can be anything that interests you. It can be boards about food, old cars, decorating, colors, or things that you find amusing. Pinterest boards can be about anything - literally - and the more niche you get, the more diverse your board collection will be. With that being said,  the most popular boards tend to be For The Home, My Style, Books To Read, Recipes, Crafts and Products. A good idea for authors is to have a mix of eclectic boards that apply to them and broader boards to apply to the masses.

Second: Make your author presence known.  This is very important: are you, as an author, easy to find on Pinterest?  Check and make sure. When you are signed in, search for your name. For example, when I search my name, I see images of my books, a few author pictures and then some random images that have nothing to do with me (Top 10 Shade Plants?).  This is pretty normal.  If you search your name and nothing comes up, than you have some work to do. First of all - and this is very important - you need to load pictures of your book cover and author pictures onto Pinterest.  To do this, go to your home page (with all your boards) and click on Pins. The first block should say "Add pin" - go there and follow the directions to upload your image. Make sure it's a clear, good picture - poor and low-res images don't last long on Pinterest.  Load your cover and make sure the description is short and clear. Add hashtags to your image in the description. Hashtags let your audience know what the pin is about and enables them to find it. For example, under my new book, I tagged #Colleenoakes, #WendyDarling.  I will also use other descriptive tags: #ya, #ya2015, #fairytalebooks, #Peterpan and so on. This is very important to do with every Pin you upload.  *A note: Pinterest is public. It's not like Facebook. Anyone can see the pictures you pin, so be smart, and be respectful. Don't share anything you wouldn't post on a public forum. You know, don't be an idiot.

Third: Participate in the fun!  If you are obviously on Pinterest just to drum up interest for your novels, other Pinterest users won't care. Why should they?  So jump in and pin away. Make your homepage and boards a fun place to be. Share tips.  Create helpful boards for readers. Do you write paranormal romance? Than make some boards with your favorite paranormal romance books or authors. Love to bake? Make a baking board! Is Halloween your favorite? Make a party inspiration board. Have fun with it, and others will too.

Okay, I have one more step for you: Visit and follow the RMFW Board. We have a ton of great boards and pins for writers from all over, but also some specifically for Colorado writers.  Some of our boards include: Writing Quotes for motivation, What to Cook While Writing for recipes, Tools for Writers, which is a huge board of resources, boards on Publishing and Social Media, Gifts for Writers, Writers Humor and various others. One of our most exciting boards is the RMFW Member Books Board. If you are a RMFW member and your book isn't on our board, please send it to us (at the top of a pin,there is a little paper airplane. Click it and send it to us!).  We also have genre specific boards for Horror, Historical Fiction, Fantasy and Crime writing, with more on the way. You can find us here.

This is an exciting time to be an author, and a place like Pinterest can make it much more fun, and be a valuable tool in getting yourself - and your amazing book - out there.

Colleen Oakes
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Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series (Sparkpress) and the YA fantasy The Queen of Hearts Saga (Harper Collins, 2016). She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the third Elly novel and another YA fantasy series titled Wendy Darling.
You can visit her webpage at: www.colleenoakes.net or at her very lengthy and sometimes embarrassingly personal blog, The Ranunculus Adventures: http://ranunculusadventure.blogspot.com/

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