Pinterest Book Marketing for the Self-Published Author

With all the focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s easy to overlook Pinterest as a platform for authors. Yet when it comes to selling anything – self-published books included, Pinterest users are the most inclined to buy compared to users of all the other platforms.

There are over 70 million Pinterest users, and 87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest. 93% have used it to plan a future purchase. While it’s perfect for planning home decorating projects and collecting recipes, its visual nature also makes it the perfect place to advertise your books.

Pinterest is often referred to as a social media platform, but it’s actually a search engine in its own right. It isn’t quite like any of the other platforms, but it’s well worth taking a little time to learn as it’s a powerful marketing tool.

Read on to find out how to make Pinterest work for you.

Why Should Self-Published Authors Use Pinterest?

Pinterest has lots of benefits over the other platforms, including:

  • Pinterest is great for SEO ranking – consider how often a search for a product brings back a Pinterest result or two in the top results.
  • Unlike tweets and Facebook posts, pins have a very long shelf life, and one viral pin can bring you traffic for months, or even years!
  • On most other platforms, engagement is key, yet on Pinterest, you don’t have to engage or interact with other people to be successful. It’s not completely passive and you’ll need to do a little pinning and repining to see results. Still, for busy authors or the more introverted among us, it’s the perfect platform to get a return with minimal time or money investment.
  • You’ll need to be active daily – or at least 4-5 days a week, but you can take as little as ten minutes per day and still see results. Ideally, pop on and pin or repin 2-3 times a day for a few minutes.
  • You don’t have to run a blog to benefit from Pinterest – but if you do, you can drive traffic to your blog as well as to your books, giving you multiple ways to catch a reader’s interest.

Create a Business Account

To get the most out of Pinterest as a self-published author, you need to set your Pinterest account to a business profile. Doing this gives you access to business tools and analytics that you wouldn’t get with a personal account.  It also allows you to run paid ads if you choose, although for this article we’ll be concentrating on organic Pinterest marketing.

If you have already been using Pinterest, you can easily convert your account to a business one. If you’re brand new to Pinterest, you can set up a business account straight away.

To convert your personal account to a business account, simply log into your existing Pinterest account and then visit the Pinterest for Business section. All you need to do is click the big red button to convert your existing personal account to a business account. Whether you convert your account or create a new one, make sure you add and verify your author website

Next, you’ll need a good profile description. You could use your author profile from websites like Amazon’s Author Central, or Bookbub. Make sure it includes keywords related to your genre so that your readers can find you easily.

Creating Boards on Pinterest

Your profile is organized into boards. You can create boards for anything and have up to 500 boards. While 500 is probably more than anyone has time to keep up with, you’d want to create a reasonable number of boards. Aim for 20-50 boards and add to that if you have the time or the ideas for more boards.

Create one board for your own books, and another for popular books in your genre – where you can also pin your own books. You can create boards for showcasing reviews, quotes about reading, characters in your books, boards about writing: anything that relates to your books and your writing.

Alongside boards of your work, and boards of other books in your genre, think about what else readers of your genre might enjoy. Historical Romance authors might create a board dedicated to styles of dress in a particular period. Crime Thriller authors might choose to create a board dedicated to criminal psychology. Non-fiction authors can create boards around any of the topics they write on.

With a business account, you still get private boards that nobody else can see. Anything you want to pin personally that you might not want your readers to see can be kept on a private board.  Don’t be afraid to let readers see some of your more personal boards – but do make any boards that are way off your author brand private.

Getting Your Pins Seen

There are four ways that potential readers can find your pins on Pinterest:

  1. The Following Tab – shows you Pins only from people you follow
  2. The Home Feed – shows a selection from people you follow, and what Pinterest thinks you’d like to see based on past pins and searches.
  3. Search – shows your pins with your keyword in their description
  4. Hashtag Feed – like Instagram, shows you recent pins with a hashtag you’ve searched

Each pin you create should have:

  • A compelling description, including keywords and 1-2 relevant hashtags.
  • A website link – to your books, blog or author website. Whatever makes it easy for people to buy your work
  • A clear and compelling image – such as your book cover, in a high resolution.
  • An image size of 600 x 900 pixels – or any 2:3 size. This is what Pinterest defines as ‘optimal,’ but if you’re pinning your book directly from Amazon or elsewhere it will be a pre-set size, which will work fine too!

If you’re unsure on pin sizes, Canva has a Pinterest template that’s the correct size if you want to create your own pin graphics.

Scheduling Your Pins

When you’re first starting to pin, I highly recommend doing it manually to get a feel for the platform and what works well for you. Try to pin to each board daily, and repin high-quality content from other Pinterest users for the best results overall.

Your first five pins after UTC midnight are prioritized for distribution in the following feed, so make sure your first five pins of the day are the ones you most want your followers to see.

Once you have your manual Pinterest strategy down – if it’s working well and you want to automate, you can start to schedule. There are numerous schedulers that allow you to upload content in bulk and have it automatically pin over time to your boards.

Scheduling pins is great for book launches, and you can create a whole campaign from cover reveal to launch day, and just schedule it to go out. Once it’s scheduled you don’t have to do anything else with it – unlike other platforms where you’d need to set time aside to engage with comments.

Pinterest is Global

More than 50% of Pinterest users are outside the US. If you have translated versions of your books available, make sure to also pin those onto their own board so that you’re not missing opportunities for extra sales.

If you haven’t yet had your work translated, then don’t miss out on the opportunity for additional readers and sales. Babelcube connects authors and translators to allow self-published authors the chance to have their books translated with no upfront costs.

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