You’ve heard of Pinterest, I’m sure. My girls have been raving about this online, visual bulletin board site for quite some time. Fine for young women looking for home decorating and recipe ideas, I thought, but not something *I* needed to get involved in.
I took a closer look recently and changed my mind. It can be a fun, visual tool for authors. Let me show you how I use it, but first, a bit about how it works.
Once you have access, you check areas of interest and they recommend people for you to ‘follow’ who are popular in that area. You can uncheck them if you like, and look for your own! You can connect through Facebook or Twitter, and find people who are already your friends, or just browse. The search bar works better for items than usernames, which is too bad.
When you have your own account, you may create boards and name them anything you like. Then, when you see something someone else has pinned that you find inspiring for some reason, you can ‘repin’ it to your board. This isn’t stealing! The idea is that every image links back to its original internet debut. (Of course this doesn’t always happen, but most people put in a good effort.)
You may want to pin things that you find elsewhere on the web. Pinterest provides a little button you can bookmark–mine is on my browser bar with other sites I check often. When you’re on a website and see an image you like, click your ‘Pin It’ button and a page overlays the one you’re on, showing every image on the page. Just click ‘pin it’ on the one you want and a little box will pop up asking you which of your boards you’d like to add this image to. You also enter a word (or a few) of text, then set the pin. If you highlight some text before clicking ‘pin it,’ Pinterest will automatically add those words to your entry, though you can change them.
Nearly every time I pin something–anything!–I get an email (you can set the frequency of notification) to tell me a bunch of people have repinned or liked it. Usually these are people I don’t even know, but now they’ve seen something I like and might check out the rest of the board, or all my boards. They might choose to follow that particular board, or me (meaning all my boards).
So, what’s an author to do? Here are 4 ways to use it:
1. It’s great for co-authors, as you can share boards. Here is the board I started for Rainbow’s End. Once I had pinned a few images to the board that related to the novella collection, I invited my co-authors to be contributors to it. Now it shows up on all four profiles. Any of us can add to it, and all our followers can see it. Fun!
2. You can create a board for general inspiration. Tricia Goyer has a board for characters. Cara Putman has a board for character clothing ideas. Angie Arndt has this board for settings that inspire her. Rachel Wilder has boards for historical fashion by the decade.
3. You can create a board to give your readers more visuals for your novel. Catherine West created a board with Vietnam images for Yesterday’s Tomorrow, which is a romance novel that takes place during the war.
4. You can create a board for specific inspiration. I’m working on a story set in Victoria, BC, so I started a board on the city. Debby Mayne has a board for hairstyles in her Class Reunion series, which features a beauty salon.
Warning: Pinterest is addicting! But still, why don’t you follow me, or some of my boards? There’s a button in the sidebar!
Any other ways you can think of using this site as an author? Share in comments!