12 Most Successful Ways for Writers to Win with Pinterest

12 Most Successful Ways for Writers to Win with Pinterest

Some people don’t get Pinterest yet, but did you know that it was the fourth largest traffic referrer for all U.S. websites in 2012? It’s time for authors to get with the program and start pinning! Talking with writers in the APE Community for Authors, Publishers and Enterpreneurs, I found that many people were overwhelmed by the options for social media and not sure how to use Pinterest as a writer.

The good news is that Pinterest requires less effort than Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn because you don’t need to respond to commenting as much as say Twitter or Facebook. By spending ten to fifteen minutes a day pinning new content or repining other people’s pins, you can establish a presence. This makes Pinterest great for writers who don’t have time to spend on social media.

Here are best practices for authors to observe when using Pinterest:

1. Build a foundation

Start by completing your Pinterest profile. Use your name, not the name of your book, to create your Pin account because you might write more than one book. Add the links to your Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts as well as your website. Include keywords such as “author,” “book,” “writing” and words that describe your genre such as “romance,” “mystery,” and “entrepreneurship.” This is my APE Pinterest board.

APE pinterest

2. Start a collection

Pinterest is different from other social media sites where one’s timeline contains everything that you post. On Pinterest, you create multiple boards for specific topics such as reviews, interviews, ideas, and resources.

3. Rename your boards

Your board names should communicate what people will find on your board. Do not keep the default board names. Make sure you use all the real estate available by completing the description for each board and use good keywords to help people find your pins and boards.

4. Pin pretty stuff

Pinterest has the highest aesthetic standards of any social media platform, so ensure that your pins stand out by using bright and interesting photos. The maximum width of a photo is 736 pixels but you can add taller images.

5. Write an original description

Each pin has a section to add a description or comment. This content provides the text for shared pins so think in the form of a tweet: brief, interesting and/or funny.

6. Customize your boards

Take advantage of the custom board cover option. Choose interesting photos for the cover and drag to put them in the perfect position.

7. Repurpose your content

Pin your blog posts so that your Pinterest followers will read your blog. You can also pin your longer, more involved Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts too. The big picture is that you’re trying to present a personal brand that is interesting, intelligent, and enchanting.

8. Cross-pollinate content

One of the biggest challenges in using social media to build a marketing platform is finding good content every day. Here’s a little secret: If a post is hot on a service such as Google+, it will probably also be popular on Pinterest. Thus, a viable strategy is to monitor what’s hot on other social media websites and then pin the hot stories with nice pictures to Pinterest.

9. Be subtle

Don’t pin only things about your book. Pinterest is for sharing ideas and inspiration, not selling your wares. Just like all social media, you shouldn’t talk only about yourself. Focus on attracting followers because of your content and curation in order to earn the privilege of promoting your book to them.

10. Collaborate

Use a board to collaborate with other pinners and crowdsource ideas. Don’t blindly accept board invitations because the board will be on your Pinterest page. If these boards feature inappropriate content or spam, your participation in them, no matter how small, will harm your reputation.

11. Show your personality

Pinterest is a great place to highlight some of the things that make you unique. Show your hobbies, places you’ve lived or your travel bucket list.

12. Use your secret boards

You can create three boards that are private. Use them wisely to curate content, save ideas for future projects, or keep time-sensitive items that you’ll want to make public later for a bigger splash.

Pinterest has broken into the mainstream and should be a part of your social media marketing mix for your book. Being a writer gives you an advantage over less creative folks so use this space to help build momentum for your books and stretch your social media efforts. Before you know it, you’ll actually be having fun there!

This post is an excerpt from APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, published with their permission.

Featured image courtesy of Thomas Hawk licensed via Creative Commons.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg Fitzpatrick


Peg Fitzpatrick is co-Editor-in-Chief of 12 Most . She's co-author of the best-selling book, The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users co-authored with Guy Kawasaki. Peg works with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere every day. She's spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. All about being positive and connecting, she is a true social butterfly. Tweet her and say hi at @pegfitzpatrick, find her Stumbling on StumbleUpon, rocking Google+ here Google or happily pinning on Pinterest.

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That's right Peg. Pinterest is a dual purpose social media site; to socialize and to market your product and services. Indeed Pinterest is a new social media any marketer should have. With it you could create connections and increase your visibility on web. :)


Peg, these are such great suggestions. I think a lot of people forget what a great resource Pinterest can be for even writer's. 

Loved this. Thank you!

Barbara Fowler
Barbara Fowler

Great suggestions. I use Pinterest to pin interesting articles for my International Business Class, Interesting Infographics on Social Media and to have fun with some of my passions! 


Great article, Peggy. I was curious to know how Pinterest can be beneficial to writers and I think your tips just nailed it. It makes a lot of sense. All the best to all!


Confirms my suspicion that what I really need to do in order to get pinners to my blog is spend more time on Pinterest.  Maybe if I rename my Our Farm board to My Blog or something for starters?  Plus all these other great tips!