Monday, January 20, 2014

A Baker’s Dozen Tips for Writers Using Pinterest

By Donna J. Shepherd
Last Updated: 01/15/2014

Have you become addicted to Pinterest yet? I have to admit that I have – and I’m certainly not alone. The social network Pinterest grows increasingly as users post images and links to virtual pinboards.


Donna J. Shepherd
The official definition from Pinterest:

"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."

Here are my top tips for writers in particular, although many will apply to anyone learning to use Pinterest.

1. Pin images of your favorite books. Personally, I like to see what other writers are reading. I’ve found useful recommendations of books in the genre I write, along with teaching helps, tips, and books that help me develop as a writer.

2. You will want to devote one board to your own books. For instance, I have one board devoted to my children’s book, “Ava’s Secret Tea Party.” I’ve pinned images of the book and examples of the interior artwork, but I’ve also gone a step further and pinned images of unique teapots, beautiful tea party settings, and pretty much anything related to tea parties.

3. Be sure to have other boards devoted to books and authors you like. Avoid giving the impression that your Pinterest profile is being used solely to promote yourself. Be sure to follow the site's rule: "Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you're proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."

4. Find other writers on Pinterest and follow their examples. I’ve found that many writers will use boards for characters, clothing, research, and scenes.

5. Someone said a Pinterest board is like your high school locker (remember those?) as it is a way to show your readers what interests and inspires you as well as what you're working on right now.

6. Look for book recommendations or comment on other boards in the Film, Music & Books section.

7. Share writing tools, stationery, journals, books and writing-related items in the Gifts section of the site.

8. Use #hashtags and keywords. Much like using Twitter, tagging your pins with trending hashtags and/or keywords will help you find new followers. Searching for other pins and boards using hashtags will also help you find similar interests on Pinterest to follow.

9. Add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser's bookmarks bar. This is a time-saver, because it allows you to easily pin things you find while browsing without going to the Pinterest website first. To get it, visit the Pinterest "Goodies" page and drag the "Pin It" button to your browser toolbar. Now, when you see something you want to pin, click the bookmarklet and you'll be prompted to create a new pin. Be sure to scroll to the correct board for each pin.

Another vital tip from Pinterest - "If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry."

10. This tip has saved me a lot of time. If you're pinning an image from a website using the Pinterest bookmarklet, you can highlight the applicable text on that page before you hit "Pin It" and the text will automatically show up in the description box. Still edit and add hashtags.

11. You can also tag other Pinterest users by using the @ symbol with their Pinterest user name. You have to be following at least one of their boards. That user will see the pin, and it will link to their Pinterest profile. Use this tip to help promote each other on Pinterest.

12. Cross-post to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. When you pin something to one of your boards, you are given the option of posting to your Twitter account as well. Under your ‘settings,’ click ‘on’ under “Publish Activity to Facebook Timeline.” In this way when you pin, you’re actually posting to three different places at once. Now that’s multi-tasking!

13. And finally, follow me! I'm at http://pinterest.com/donnashepherd. My boards are a hodgepodge of recipes, crafts, interesting and funny pictures (Bonus tip - funny pins gets re-pinned more often!), and of course, a few are dedicated to my books. I hope you'll check them out.


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Donna Shepherd has been a columnist for The Dabbling Mum, National Association
of Baby Boomer Women, and Christian Work at Home Moms. She has hundreds of articles and devotions to her credit with stories and devotions in Daily Grace for Women (David C. Cook), Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (FaithWords), and The Best Grandma in the World (Howard Books) to name a few. Donna’s books for children - Topsy Turvy Land, No More Gunk! & OUCH! Sunburn!, Chizzy's Topsy Tale, Dotty's Topsy Tale, Poodle and Doodle, Sully's Topsy Tale, Bradybug, Where is Salami? and Ava's Secret Tea Party feature short, playful rhymes and humorous illustrations. Donna is founder of Greater Harvest Workshops and Middletown Area Christian Writers, and in demand as a Bible teacher, conference speaker, and singer with over thirty years of experience.

Donna J. Shepherd has hundreds of articles and devotionals to her credit. Her children’s books feature short, playful rhymes and humorous illustrations. Her newest book for children is “Ava’s Secret Tea Party” – available in both paperback and hardcover.

Donna’s devotionals and stories appear in Daily Grace for Women, Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms, and The Best Grandma in the World to name a few. Her newest release is a ‘hen-lit’ called “Love Under the Bubble Wrap – a novelette.”

For more writing tips, useful links, and updates about Donna’s books, visit her Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/donnajshepherd or http://www.donnashepherd.com 



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