3 Ways to Use Pinterest for Book Publicity

PhotobucketIt seems like as soon as we tackle one hot “it” tool and capture ways to use it for publicity (first Facebook, then Twitter), something new and even cooler comes along and grabs everyone’s attention. Right now that “it” tool is Pinterest and I’ll admit – I’m hooked.

If you’re not familiar, Pinterest is like an online scrapbook or a place to create an online inspiration board. Basically, you find images and videos you like and “pin” them to your online boards. Others can see your boards, see what’s inspiring you and be inspired too.

For instance, I used Pinterest to help create a story board for a client photo shoot I recently did – we found some amazing images of the look and style we were trying to achieve in the photo shoot and shared the board with our models and photographers. It was a great way for all of us to see the vision and get inspired for the photo shoot.

I’ve seen others use Pinterest for dinner ideas (a “must make” board), for gift ideas, for room makeover ideas and even one recently called “books worth reading”, where the creator had pinned up book covers of books she recently read and loved. This inspired me and starting feeding my creativity as a book publicist – as I’m always trying to find new and exciting ways to help authors promote their books online. I thought, how can I counsel my clients to add Pinterest to their social media strategy in smart and creative ways? Would it work?

After doing some research and talking with some Pinterest fanatics as well as book lovers, here are a few ways authors can engage potential new readers on Pinterest and help spread awareness and interest in their books.

#1 Add the “Pin it” widget to your site
Just like you have the social network widgets for Facebook and Twitter on your website and blog, you can add the Pin It widget. This allows readers and visitors to automatically share something they like on your site with their networks, including your book cover. As book lovers, book bloggers and avid readers flock to Pinterest and join the bandwagon, you’ll see more of these “Books I Want to Read” or “My Favorite Books” type boards. Make it easy for book lovers to add your book to their boards.

#2 Hold a contest
Facebook contests have sort of worn their welcome when it comes to books. What used to be a really cool way to connect with readers and give them a chance to win books and prizes is now common place and these contests are a dime a dozen – what started out as “win one book”, quickly became “win 30 books”, “win 90 books”, “win a year of books”, “win a brand new car and a year of books!”. Put a cool new spin on your giveaways by doing a “Pin It” contest. Encourage readers to visit your website or blog, pin photos of your book(s) to their personal boards, and share with their networks. Because Pinterest incorporates Facebook and Twitter, the sharing capability is automatic and the viral effect is large. Award the best book board or the person who uses Pinterest in the most creative way or shares their board the most, or have them create a cool book board with their favorites of all time. Have them incorporate your book into a board that explores the themes of the book.  The options are endless.

#3 Create an inspiration board
One cool way to engage readers and bring them into your process is to create an inspiration board for your book(s). I know many of the authors I work with create story boards as part of their writing process anyway. Pinterest allows you to share your storyboard online – what pictures, songs, other books, characters, videos, settings, photography, articles, history inspired your novel? Use Pinterest as a storyboard tool and bring your readers into the process. Create one board for the entire book or create separate boards for each aspect of the book – for instance, you could create a board solely on the setting with pictures of the town and places described within and then another board that focuses solely on your main character. Create your boards during your work in progress stage to entice readers and get them emotionally engaged in the story during the process or what until the book is final and release your board after the book is out to engage those who have read the book. Again, the options are endless but you create your boards and readers will share and become engaged in your process. Cool boards could even be used in the pitching process – “see what inspired XX author to write her breakthrough novel”.

I know I’m hooked on Pinterest – and I can’t wait to see what inspires you!

Photo courtesy Flickr’s stevendepolo


About Crystal Patriarche

Crystal Patriarche is founder of BookSparksPR, her full-service boutique PR agency that provides strategic public relations and book publicity support, social media, branding, marketing, and consulting to authors - from digital campaigns to traditional media. She’s also a journalist. Her articles and her clients have appeared in many national magazines, newspapers and websites. For more, visit <www.BookSparksPR.com. Follow BookSparksPR on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. says

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve just become aware of Pinterest, and I wasn’t sure if it was applicable for writers. You have given me some great ideas.



  2. says

    I’ve been straying away from Pinterest because I was afraid it would zap my time, but now that I know the benefits, I really have no excuse anymore… I love the idea of making boards based on characters! I’m sort of already doing that in a file already, may as well make it public! Thanks so much for the tips.
    Raquel Somatra´s last blog post ..Mountains

  3. says

    Crystal, this was so helpful — thank you! I’ve actually started creating Pinterest boards around my WIP for myself, but sharing them with readers is such a good idea. Thank you!

    • says

      I do have a “Follow Me on Pinterest” widget, under the others.

      HOWEVER, I’m thinking most avid Pinners already have the PinIt button in their personal toolbar anyway. I don’t think you’d get many extra hits to a site by having the PinIt button as a sidebar widget, but it would be interesting data to have.

      I think we should periodically pin original photos from our sites or blog posts to Pinterest. And I already used Pinterest to “dress” my characters for an Ugly Holiday Sweater party they attended.

      I like the idea of a Pinboard per character – hair styles, fashion choices, favorite books, etc. If you’re writing a series, you could invite readers to join in that way, but even if you’re not, it could be a way of working out your own ideas.
      Beverly Diehl´s last blog post ..Got Racism? Discrimination? MLK BlogFest on these Issues

  4. says

    As happens so much of the time “I heard it here first.” Wildly, insanely, crazy cool! I love this and can absolutely see how easy it would be to fall into Pinterest and not come out for days. Thank you, Crystal for the wonderful intro!

  5. says

    I love this post – and Pinterest!!

    I created a board for my NaNo novel last year and it was so much fun. Having the board for reference was a terrific inspiration when I felt lost or out of steam – and kept the faces, places and themes as visual markers of the story.

    I use Pinterest for all my ‘visual’ curation and the bookmarklet makes it so easy!!

    Hadn’t thought about adding the Pin It button to my site but you can bet I’m gonna do it pronto!!

    Thanks for such a fun and inspirational post! ;)
    Ruth Long´s last blog post ..Confessions 01.15.2012

  6. says

    What worries me about a new tool for publicity is the way you started out your post. “It seems like as soon as we tackle one hot “it” tool and capture ways to use it for publicity…something new and even cooler comes along and grabs everyone’s attention.”

    From your description, pinterest sounds like an interesting idea, but my concern would be how long will it last. Will it be cool for a month before something new comes along? A year? Five? At what point does the amount of time one has to invest in these new tools outweigh the time one could invest in traditional means of publicity that have been working for a while (word of mouth, conventions, etc.)

    In addition, it seems like pinterest has the same flaws of other online tools for publicity, in that you already need a following base to view it. If I’m wrong here, I’d love to hear it, as I think the internet is the future, but as we’re in the early stages I’m hesitant to invest in an idea that might be cool in principle, but will disappear before it’s become worth the time.
    David´s last blog post ..A Brief History of Writing Groups: Written by David

  7. says

    I’m afraid that the P in Pinterest might lead to the p in procrastination for me… nevertheless, I’m very tempted by the idea of making up a mood board for WIP.
    Chris Stovell´s last blog post ..Can Do?

  8. says

    I just discovered Pinterest recently. I’m waiting for my invite. It’s almost like a status feed/twitter/tumblog all rolled into one. As someone who has spent way too much time on Polyvore putting together the Wardrobe themes of her characters, Pinterest looks right up my alley.

    As long as I have a strict time limit on when and how much I use it.

    Of course, like anything, the key to using the social media as the promo is to not just use it as promo. You’ve got to engage and connect, and let the promo flow naturally out of that.
    Athena Grayson´s last blog post ..Worldbuilding Wednesday: Be The Blockbuster

  9. says

    Pinterest is a great little idea and it seems to have grown in users dramatically over the last 12months. I really like being able to create inspiration boards and connecting with others by repinning their work. It’s a shame that something like SOPA may come in and change of all of that
    LLE´s last blog post ..Insuring A 17 Year Old

  10. says

    Thank you for this great post! I love the idea. As an avid Pinterest addict already I am psyched about finding photos my childhood haunts and creating boards to augment my memoir. How fun! Great post.
    Grace Peterson´s last blog post ..I Love The Internet

  11. says

    Thanks for this post. Creating a story board is an excellent idea! This may help me reign in my focus. I added the Books Worth Reading Pin. Just need to figure out how to link the Pinterest Pin to my blog…

  12. says

    I’ve been Pinteresting for a while now http://pinterest.com/mjroseauthor/ and I’ve done boards for my author’s wardrobe and I illustrated the prologue to my book.. but for fun. I’m all about enjoying it. I think when its about publicity for your book it shows… I think we need to dial back the constant effort to get attention sometimes and be creative.

  13. Crystal says

    The beauty of pinterest is bringing readers into the process of creating the book – the inspiration behind it, how you created the setting, how you created/visualized the characters. How you storyboard. It’s not about attention it’ll all about being creative – that’s the point here. Publicity is not simply attention, especially not anymore. It’s about being creative, it’s about emotional investment and adding that intimate/social connection that readers crave. If I could see a Pinterest board of my favorite authors – a sneak peek behind some of my favorite novels and how the entire work of art came together, I would jump on that. From the pictures that inspired them, the quotes, the things they cling to and what motivates and resonates with them. That’s the power of social media, the power of a tool like pinterest – bringing readers into the creative process, creating that connection to readers. Thank you for all these wonderful, inspring comments!

  14. says


    I haven’t got any invites yet from pinterest.

    I used to think pinterest just wastes time, and I don’t have it.

    However, a few days ago, I saw one of my images from my photography image being pinned there, and I saw some visitors, I have another good thoughts about pinterest, or social networking sites generally.

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