How Authors Can Use Pinterest to Promote and Sell Books

What is Pinterest?

As a published author, you probably hear pretty often how important it is to utilize social media to sell your books. But with so many options, how can you find time for them all? Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all very different platforms that may seem to do the same thing, but really, they all have their own separate audiences and benefits. As the author, you have to decide which ones are the best fit for you, based on where your target reader can be found.

Pinterest is a unique platform because it is highly visual. It allows users to share and discover interests by posting (called “pinning”) images and videos to organized boards (a collection of pins, usually with a common theme). With over 400 million active monthly users, this social site aims to connect people through the things that interest them, which means it can be a great platform to find people who would be interested in your book (especially if your book targets women). 

How Pinterest Benefits Authors

Just like other social media sites, Pinterest is a great way to tell readers about you, find common interests, and share the things that are important to you. But there are some things that set the social site ahead of the rest.

  1. Highly visual

Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a highly visual platform that grabs attention with pictures rather than words. However, unlike Instagram, Pinterest is less about sharing the little moments of your day and more about sharing information and creative ideas. Think of it like a virtual scrapbook of all the things that interest and excite you.

Whether it’s a delicious-looking meal, an impeccably-decorated living room, or an inspirational quote, Pinterest attracts users to save these images to their profile and share them with their followers. What you decide to pin is up to you, but you should make sure your pins are eye-catching enough that users can’t help but save them!

  1. Drives consistent traffic

It’s no secret that Pinterest is often a top referrer to blogs and author websites compared to other social media sites. But how? Pinterest isn’t as fast-paced as other platforms. Where Twitter and Facebook posts see some traffic for a day—maybe two—before dropping off, Pinterest posts seem to generate traffic longer.

However, just like with other social media traffic, getting them to your blog or website doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stay there. Pinterest traffic can often come with a high bounce rate, so make sure your blog is doing everything it can to entice readers to stick around once there!

  1. Doesn’t require constant maintenance

This steady influx of traffic from Pinterest means that you likely won’t have to spend as much time maintaining this platform compared to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. While you should try to be consistent and stay as active as you can, skipping a month probably won’t drastically hurt your numbers.

If you create a great pin, it will take on a life of its own. Whether it’s days, months, or years old, people could still be sharing it, which means you could still be getting site traffic without having to do any promotion whatsoever!

  1. Not super social

If you’re overwhelmed by all the conversations to be had, comments to be responded to, and people to engage with on other social platforms, Pinterest will probably feel like a breath of fresh air. You don’t have to be social to be successful here. No one is expecting you to comment or interact with posts, they just want to see what’s catching your eye!

That makes Pinterest a great supplement to whatever interactions you’re facilitating on other social platforms. While it’s not a great place to form collaborative relationships—there are much better social media sites for that!—it’s great for the authors that want to be creative, share interesting information, and gain traffic without the pressure of social engagement.

  1. Great search functions

Pinterest has a great search function that makes it incredibly easy to find the pins you’re looking for—and for others to find you! When looking for more creative, visual, or genuine posts, people will often search Pinterest over Google.

And better yet, in 2015, Google started adding pins to their search results, which means you now have a chance for your pins to rank on Google and get even more traffic to your site!

How to Get Started with Pinterest

  1. Build your profile

When you’re setting up your Pinterest profile, make sure you’re using a business account rather than a personal one. At the end of the day, you’re promoting your author brand! Make sure people know that. Using a business account will give you access to free analytics for your pins, the ability to turn your pins into ads, and create pins that are more likely to lead to site traffic.

Just like with other platforms, you want to make sure your profile is clear, attractive, and easily discoverable by others. Upload a nice profile photo and write a description that clearly tells users who you are and what sort of information you’ll be sharing with them.

  1. Create boards

What you decide to pin is ultimately up to you, but make sure to have at least one (if not multiple) boards for your own content. Your blog posts, books, and any other creations of yours should be front and center!

Aside from that, you may choose to have boards about writing tips, your novel’s characters, different aspects of your book’s topic, general writing inspiration, or just boards centered on your personal interests like recipes or home décor. It’s up to you!

Your Pinterest profile doesn’t have to be 100% business. Be personable and let readers know more about what excites you by creating a visual experience of your brand and author personality.

  1. Start pinning

While it’s tempting to just start pinning others’ images, don’t forget to make some of your own! Use tools like Picmonkey or Canva to create vertical, eye-catching images that make readers want to click and visit your site.

Make sure you’re writing great descriptions and using keywords that help your pin become more discoverable. SEO is just as important on Pinterest as it is on Google. Make sure your description is short, clear, and concise so users don’t have to read a lot to get the gist!

Once you start pinning, try to stay consistent. Make sure you’re getting on Pinterest frequently to pin images and create some of your own. That way, you’re building up a profile that entices users to look around and follow you.

  1. Grow your audience

Once you feel established on Pinterest and you know your way around the platform, you can start looking for ways to grow your following even more. Because you’ve created a business account, you have an easy way to turn your best pins into ads and reach an even larger audience.

You can also try hosting contests or giveaways that get readers to click and share your pins for a chance to win! Ask participants to pin their favorite place to read or just a place that gives them inspiration with the use of a clever hashtag on each pin that you can search. Get creative! But don’t forget to follow the guidelines.


To learn more about Pinterest, how to use it, and how to get the most out of the platform, check out other Pinterest articles on the ALC or the Pinterest blog.

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