Authors, How to Promote on Pinterest

by Guest Author, Sherri Browning Erwin

By now, most authors recognize the importance of establishing a presence on Facebook and Twitter to help drive promotions that can lead to sales. But what about Pinterest?

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, a way to organize and share things that you find on the web.

My initial reaction to Pinterest was that I didn’t need another way to waste time. But finding ways to waste time is what I live for when I’m between words, and I joined. At first, I thought it might be a way to gather ideas for current projects. I signed on with my picture and author profile and arranged a few boards, representing various categories or interests, one for recipes, one for fashion, one for recommended books. At best, I thought I could recommend some of my books and books by friends.

Good Thing about Pinterest Number One:

Recommending books by simply posting a picture and short description of book from any bookseller site, no need for hashtags or blatant shout-outs.

Then, I started pinning pictures of pretty historical gowns, gardens, teapots, actors who reminded me of my characters, settings I might use in a novel, on the board I called The Muse. Pinning doesn’t actually take a lot of time because all you need to do is click to link a picture you find on the web with your Pinterest site, select a Board to pin it on, and add a brief (one line) description of the picture. Before long, I noticed that my pictures were being repinned (noticed and pinned by other users to their own boards) and drawing new followers to my Pinterest page.

Good Thing about Pinterest Number Two:

New followers to my Pinterest page means new people looking at my profile, which mentions my website and my books, a good thing. But even better…

After a few days, I noticed that when I pinned something from a website, Pinterest provided a link to the site that I pinned from. AHA. So, if I pinned something interesting from my personal website, it might be repinned by other users with a link to my site attached, encouraging other pinners to perhaps come back to check out my website? Yes indeed. I started a board dedicated to my blog, The Whine Sisters. The Whine Sisters is the blog I share with six bestselling author friends. We take turns blogging on various topics like favorite TV shows, movies, restaurants, writing tips, fashion, life events. I pin a picture from each author blog to the Whine Sisters board and try to keep track of repins, to see how a pin can spread.

Recipes and fashion are most often repinned. Each repin carries that Whine Sisters link with it to the boards of tens and sometimes hundreds (thousands?) of Pinners, Pinners who might just click the link and come over to see what The Whine Sisters are talking about next, and catch a glimpse of the books we’re each currently promoting.

Good Thing about Pinterest Number Three:

I can spread links to my websites and blogs with every picture that originates from my own sites and gets repinned.

After I saw lots of repins from the Whine Sisters board, I added new boards for new promotions of my own, like a Proper Victorian Vampyre Slaying board which features things that relate to my most recent releases, Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. When possible, I try to post to my personal websites or blogs first and pin from there, so that all repins lead back to me, and to my books. It’s not blatant self-promotion. No need to mention me or my books by name or at all. And yet, I’m posting things that intrigue and lead to repins, and have the potential to bring people back to my own websites, or the book directly at a retail site.

According to website Shareaholic, Pinterest was getting nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors in early 2012, and driving more referral traffic to websites than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Pinning items of interest on Pinterest can drive traffic right back to you or your books, which makes it effective, fast, and easy promotion.

Happy pinning!

About Sherri Browning Erwin

Sherri Browning Erwin is an author of contemporary and historical fiction, often with a paranormal twist, most recently known for critically acclaimed “monster classics” Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations.

Find Sherri at her Author Website or

Sherri Browning Erwin on Pinterest
Sherri Browning Erwin on Tumblr
Sherri Browning Erwin on Facebook
Sherri Browning Erwin on Twitter: @SherriErwin

15 comments

  1. Sherri, thank you so much for this post. This is giving me all kinds of ideas for how to use Pinterest to promote my Pearl Island series in a fun way.

  2. Teresa Hill says:

    Hi,
    I love all that about Pinterest.com, but my favorite is both a great promo and a real help with writing. I’ve known so many writers who’ve done collages of images for their books as part of the writing or pre-writing process, and now we can do it on Pinterest so easily. Here’s my board for my MIP: http://pinterest.com/teresahillbooks/five-days-grace/
    Finding and having the images truly helps me in visualizing the book, and it’s a chance to talk about things that are going on in the book to readers as I write. When you’re done, you have a great promo tool for your work. It’s like someone invented this site for writers.

  3. Teresa Hill says:

    Forgot — I just found a widget that let me add my Pinterest feed to my WordPress blog, and it was the easiest widget I ever configured for WordPress. See the Widget at work here: http://www.teresahill.net
    The Widget is free and available here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-pinterest-pins/

  4. Thank you for this widget. Fabulous tool. Can’t wait to install it on my the site for my Pearl Island series.

  5. Teresa, I love your approach to pinning. I’m planning to do the same for my work-in-progress.

  6. Teresa Hill says:

    Julie,
    You’ll love the MIP boards. I do. I keep learning more and more about my characters, how they dress, what their homes look like, even the emotions involved. It’s a way for readers to see inside your writing process, I think.
    And I’ve always found it’s so much easier to describe something in a book if I have a real picture of it.

    The Widget — I love this thing. Went through four Twitter widgets before I got one to work, but the Pinterest one was up and running in minutes. No problems at all.

  7. Great post, Sherri! And thanks for the widget, Teresa! I joined Pinterest a few weeks ago (http://pinterest.com/shellythacker/) and I love it. I created boards for each of my books, my MIP, and a Recommended Reads board to promote my friends’ books. I agree that it’s important not make it 100% promotional. I’ve unfollowed pinners who do nothing but promote their own books — nobody wants to get hit with a steady stream of advertising. I have several personal boards (recipes, fashion, craft ideas for kids, etc.) and it’s amazing how many people find me through those. My most popular pin so far was a recipe for Bunny Chow (think Chex Mix for Easter) that I pinned from a mommy blog.

    I’m off to pin your blog post! :)

  8. Teresa Hill says:

    Shelly,
    Should have warned you about the Food Porn there. It’s… amazing. I’ve found a number of recipes I’ve used for food I’ve loved. But for own sake, try not to follow too many of the Foodies, because you will want to cook all the stuff they Pin. It’s all so pretty and yummy looking.

  9. Julie Kenner says:

    Sherri, you are my social media hero! I knew you were doing the Whine Sisters pin board, but (major head-thwap) the whole “it leads back to the site” thing didn’t register with me. Major duh!

    So far I’ve just been piddling around with Pinterest, but it is addictive! I need to organize my boards and play more. I do have the iPhone app!!!

  10. Cora Blu says:

    I whole heartedly agree about Pinterest. I began posting a Tuesday Teaser on my blog and post pictures on Pinterest that relate to the excerpt. My blog hits went up by four, five hundred on Tuesdays. I posted a picture of a flower important in an upcoming release which has gotten more repins than I could have imagined. When the book came out last week I immediately received a 5 star review on Goodreads and people began adding it to their to read list.
    I love Pinterest.

    Cora Blu

  11. Terry Spear says:

    I love using pinterest! I’ve got a big promotion chat/blog going on tomorrow from 7-8 pm CST, on Discover a New Love, and one of the giveaways is a golden mohair bear I make, value $45. I told my editor where she could see my bears, and they included the pinterest link! My bears are linked to my bear website where bears can be ordered also. I’ve had some pick up the bears to highlight on their sites too, which is fun!

    Discover a New Love Terry Spear Party

    But I also do the same with my other interests–Fantasy, Jaguar shifters, Wolf shifters, etc. It’s fun to have a pictorial show of interests!

  12. Julie K, I have it on my iPad. Love! Must get the iPhone app.

  13. Wow, Cora, that’s impressive. I’m about to start a blog for my Pearl Island series, and want to do the same. It’s so fun!

  14. Dee Davis says:

    Great post and some new thoughts (to me) about Pinterest that I hadn’t considered before. Must go and reorganize!!!!!!

  15. I was thinking the same thing after Pebble Beach! I just don’t see it. It is kind of homely!

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