Okay, So I Was Wrong About Pinterest: An Author’s Guide to Using Pinterest

Image via Pixabay

Recently, I had to eat crow when it came to Pinterest. Though I never said anything publicly, I did once joke (privately) about how Pinterest was social media for people who couldn’t read. However, on June 18, that all changed when I was graced with a repin by a Pinterest power user. From that one user, I got almost 150 new visitors to my blog, as well as 5 new subscribers in just a few hours. The last time I’ve seen results like that it was from StumbleUpon.

But I’ve been wrong before remember, when I talked trash about Wattpad last year until I learned how to dominate that site? Honestly, I don’t mind being wrong, however, I do mind staying that way. When I realized there was something to Pinterest, I had to investigate and of course, share what I’ve learned with you.

Do SEO & Hashtags Matter?

Yes, Pinterest is heavily focused on all things visual, but they also have an algorithm that favors certain keywords.  However the jury is out, when it comes to hashtags, not everyone agrees that hashtags even matter.  That’s because recently, Pinterest changed their algorithm so that certain hashtags aren’t searchable.

The Pinterest experts suggest that in order to get repinned you must have a good photo with key words in it as well as keywords in the description!  Notice how it isn’t as simple as post and run?

Meeting the Pinterest Superstars

As with Facebook and Twitter, there are power players that you should know about. In fact, it would wise to befriend these people so that you can enlist them in your Pinterest army. Pinterest itself makes it real easy to find power users.

As if that weren’t enough, there are also Pinterest boards that authors should be aware of. Here’s a list of “Bookish Pinterest Boards” via Book Riot.  Some boards are public like this one, which means you can post on their boards but only if your pin is relevant to the board.

The Time You Pin Matters Tremendously

Just like with any social media site, you need to be most active when your audience and the power users are online, otherwise, what’s the point?  If you haven’t noticed, Pinterest buries old content further and further down the timeline with newer, fresher content like Twitter.

From what I’ve noticed, my best results have been around the late afternoon and evening hours. It makes sense, people are most active online after school and work.  You can even schedule your pins using sites like; Hootsuite, Viraltag, and GoPixel.

Authors Who Would Benefit From Being on Pinterest

Pinterest’s audience consists predominately of women, at 68% and of those women 50% are parents. Their ages range anywhere from 25- 44 but keep in mind, some of them are teachers, librarians as well as authors. If you’re a man don’t worry, this isn’t an anti-male site.  For example, I know of a male author on Pinterest who writes about mobsters as well as crime and he not only pins his books, but also articles about famous mobsters.  His account is well set out and you won’t catch him pinning things that don’t exemplify his personality or his work.  Same goes for Orna Ross author and founder of The Alliance of Independent Authors she also has an awesome account as well.

Tip: Don’t just use your boards to promote yourself, create one or two to help to promote others. I did so here with my board, “A Few Authors I Know” and another called, “Stories on Wattpad.” Even if you don’t have a large following, people will appreciate the effort and will reciprocate. This is how you build a loyal following on any social media site.

Short Cuts: Building Your Following Quickly

It was only a matter of time before people starting looking for ways to increase their following numbers and there is one website that caters to just that.  Hat tip to Hazel Longuet and her site “The Novel Experience” for the awesome Pinterest hack.  Viralwoot is a website that is similar to Twiends and ILikeTraffic where you pay for seeds and those people collecting seeds repin one of your pins.  It’s almost like cheating the system but not quite.  Those people who get free seeds can then use them to promote their own pins and yes, they can unpin or unfollow you quickly, it’s not unheard of with sites like this.

Well I hope I gave you a few ideas for using Pinterest to promote your book. I also hope I showed you not to knock a site until you’ve actually tried it.  I’ve opened the comments section if you want to share a link to your Pinterest account please feel free.


  1. Hi, Rachel. I’ve had a Pinterest account for a while, but I have not been using it to full effectiveness by any stretch. I’ve been pinning reviews and interviews mostly, and a lot of them have my book cover as the picture, so it is not ideal. Here’s the link to what I have so far: http://www.pinterest.com/katewrath/

    You’ve inspired me to work on my Pinterest account a bit more. Hopefully I’ll get my boards more organized soon, and get some content on there that people might want to repin. Any suggestions for content?

    • Hi Kate, I looked at your account and here’s what I’d do: First, I would create an “About Me” board and upload interviews, and any content about you and your books. If you’re worried about pics, go to a place like the Flickr commons and type in key words that are relevant to your work and choose something eye catching to pin. Just make sure to attribute everything to the owner in the description, not the link.

      I’d also create a “My Books” board and individually upload the links to wherever my book is being sold like; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo etc. However, this isn’t about selling, it’s about showing proof that you have actually written something. I also posted quotes from my book using PowerPoint and Flickr then, named that board, “Street Team Shareables” http://www.pinterest.com/rachelrueben/street-team-shareables/ Hey, a girl can dream right?

      If you are interviewing authors, or doing reviews create a separate board for both.

      Above all make sure to have fun with your account and make your boards fun for readers and Pinners. Otherwise, social media just becomes a chore like scrubbing toilets. Hope that helps. 🙂

  2. Hi Rachel, I’ve had a Pinterest account for a few months but I really haven’t been using it effectively. I love Pinterest and find it a good place to pin articles – like this one – and other information I don’t want to lose track of, but I’ve been pretty hopeless at using it as a promotional tool, so thanks for this post it has some great info in it. Now I’m off to look at your post on Wattpad. http://www.pinterest.com/chrislongmuir/

    • Thanks for stopping by Chrislon, I’ve seen your boards and they’re on the right track. The only thing I would change is the placement of the “My Books” board, I would put it near the top of the page. You can click on it and drag it to the top manually. Also, I would have an “About Me” board as well where you put all your interviews and me related content.

      I like your “Forensics” board, particularly, because it seems to tie in with your book. That’s what Joe Bruno (the author in the example) did with his boards. Also, try to put quotes from your book in there. I did this by creating some in Power Point and by using photos from Flickr Commons. I named that board “Street Team Sharables” http://www.pinterest.com/rachelrueben/street-team-shareables/

      Like I said in the previous comment, have fun and make it fun for your readers.

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