In Your Corner: Nail Down New Readers with Pinterest Book Marketing Tips

Think of Pinterest as a highly sophisticated scrapbooking or bookmarking tool – one that allows you share with and borrow from other users. That element of sharing can be a powerful tool, if you use it to your advantage.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a unique opportunity to reach out to readers and to the writing community in ways you may not have thought of. Once you’ve signed up for an account, apply these techniques to make a positive impression:

  • Build your presence. Once you’ve signed up, get started by building the identity, or brand, you want to project to other Pinterest users. First and foremost, fill out that profile as completely and creatively as you can. The more information you give, the more likely it is that people will follow you and pay attention to what you pin. Then get started pinning the things that resonate with you and define you as a writer.
  • Build pin boards. Create a separate board for each of your books, and perhaps extra boards for other books in your genre that have inspired you.
  • Promote visually. Writers illustrate with words, but Pinterest represents an opportunity to attach memorable visual images to your project. Do you have a book in progress? Consider pinning photos of locations represented in your book, or even actors who resemble how your picture your characters.
  • Go behind the scenes. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate how the “magic” happens with pictures of your writing desk, photos from book signings or industry-related events you attended. Allowing readers a peek inside your world puts a human face on the writing process and helps build a virtual rapport.
  • Pin promotions. Are you offering buy-one-get-one specials or redeeming coupons for discounts? Pin ’em! Post printable coupons, or offer a promotional code with links to your website or author page where your book is available.
  • Engage. Just as you would with Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and other social media, interact thoughtfully with other users. Post comments and useful links on their pinned items, and re-pin the ones you like.
  • Get “pin-able.” PSome studies suggest that users are spending more time pinning than they are Facebooking. Feed the sharing need by making sure that distinctive red “P” appears on your own website.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

From the Archives: “Using Listmania to Promote your Self-Published Book”

Welcome back to our new Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: August 22nd, 2008 ]

If your self published book is available on Amazon.com, there are a lot of ways to promote it.  Since Amazon sales should account for a large percentage of your overall book sales, this site is a good place to concentrate a lot of your efforts.

I’m going to tell you about creating a “listmania” list on Amazon. Have you ever noticed when you browse for something on Amazon, there are lists that are related to that subject that are mentioning other books and/or products?

By strategically listing products on your lists, (including YOURS of course), you can start to generate more traffic to your book listing.

Here’s how YOU can create just such a list:

Sign up for an Amazon Author Connect account if you don’t have one yet. Or sign-in to your current account.

Click on your personal “store” on the top tabs. Then select “Your Profile” from the sub-menu.

You will see lots of things you can personalize, including your bio and your online photograph.

But scroll down and you will see a section called “Listmania!” And this is where you create a listmania list.

Creating a Listmania List is a good way to increase exposure for your book.

Obviously, you want to ensure that your book is on your list.

But the real trick to a successful Listmania list depends upon the OTHER books you put on your list, the ones written by other people.

There are two ways to go about it.

1 – Adding books to your list that are applicable to your subject. The idea behind this concept is easy — if someone reads your list because they were browsing a similar book, they’ll be more apt to buy YOUR book because they’re interested in the subject.

2 – On the other hand, you can add very popular books to your list, since more people may have a chance of seeing it, even if fewer of them will be interested in your book.

I recommend creating multiple lists and trying different tactics to see which is more successful. Amazon lets you track the number of times your list was viewed. Use these numbers to create better lists in the future.

If you have more specific questions about creating a listmania list, the Amazon FAQ will help you.

Amazon Listmania

So here’s the thing: Listmania doesn’t really exist anymore!  Back in 2013, Amazon ceased offering support and guidance on using the Listmania interface, and it was entirely dismantled and rendered unusable over the months following.  (Adrienne Dupree over at Leave The Corporate World Behind even wrote a lovely little lament to mark its final passing.)  And this fact means that, on the one hand, we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to our original post … but on the other hand, this presents the perfect opportunity to present you with new and fresh ways of utilizing Amazon for your self-promoting and self-marketing ends (as a self-publishing author).

First, we need to break down exactly what Listmania offered the average author.  Essentially, this featured compiled lists–and this makes sense, given its name–but it was not to be confused with Amazon’s wish lists, gift lists, and registries, or even Goodreads’ Listopia lists (which still exist).  These lists were designed to focus a reader’s attention on products that were similar or in some way related to products that a customer had already been viewing. By strategically listing popular products on your lists, including your own book, you were–in theory–able to generate more traffic to your book listing when people viewed your Listmania lists.  This brings us full circle to that one key word I’ve been lobbing around a lot lately: findability.  An Amazon Listmania list was supposed to render you and your book more findable, but to many people it remained just another one of the giant retailer’s many algorithmic mysteries.

And yet … findability remains important.  There simply are better ways of going about it!

Here are my top 3 recommendations for filling that gaping hole in your heart once occupied by Amazon Listmania:

  1. Start a Pinterest page.  Not just any Pinterest page, mind.  (And I’ve written about Pinterest recently in depth, so I won’t make like a broken record and repeat myself too much here.)  Whip up a Pinterest page (or “pin” to a “board”) where you collect together other books along with other somehow related objects that your ideal reader might want to purchase.  For example, someone who reads Hugh Howey’s Wool might want to pick up some tickets to tour the Titan Missile Museum outside of Tucson, or perhaps some Wool-inspired art prints.
  2. Create a public Amazon Wishlist.  This is easy to do, and it serves much the same function as a Listmania list–only, you’ll have to do a touch more legwork to advertise the list’s existence, since these wishlists aren’t necessarily designed to be searchable.  For more information, hop on over to the Amazon how-to page for wishlists, and peruse at your leisure.  Each wishlist is shareable across any platform you might wish, and you can snag a web link to copy and paste into emails or Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, or any other kind of social media feed you can imagine.
  3. Take a stab at an entirely new social media platform.  The reason why Listmania disappeared is that nobody was using it, or at least, too few people were using it to make it worth Amazon’s efficiently allocated time to advertise and maintain.  It had a function, but it wasn’t one that really connected with Amazon’s user base.  To make yourself findable these days, you must needs throw yourself into the post-millennial age, and go where your readers are.  I’m not necessarily an advocate of just trying anything–you should always do a little cross-demographic market research to see if your readers actually are the sort who use Snapchat or Instagram or Tumblr or Twitter–but as a good friend told me last week, “Just doing what you’ve always done and expecting things to improve is a special kind of lunacy. Sometimes you have to innovate.”  So–innovate, with calm but cautious optimism. ♠
KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

An Indie Author’s Social Media Primer | Summary Edition

Well, it’s been quite a project, this social media primer of ours!  I hope it’s proven as useful to you, our readers, as it has been enjoyable for me to write!  I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to take a lingering glance in the rear-view mirror, and write a bit of a retrospective on what it means to carry out a social media marketing campaign–and how a primer fits in.

We’re here,” I wrote in that initial blog post, first and foremost, to talk about how to market your self-published book.”  And therein lies both the value and danger of social media as a marketing tool.  If you really are using social media effectively, as a natural and organic extension of your existing work and personality, then you’ll most definitely benefit, and your book sales will most definitely benefit as well.  If you approach social media as an all-purpose tool and the only tool you need in your toolbox–or if you present yourself falsely, inauthentically, or otherwise find yourself at odds with your fans–or if you bite off more than you can chew–or if you find yourself slipping into social media as just another time-waster–then you’re missing the point of being an author on social media.  These are the pitfalls, or at least a few of them, and they should not be taken lightly or underestimated.

social media

Here’s the trick to being a self-published author on social media:  You must always remember that you are, first and foremost, a writer.  And as we’ve said before here on Self Publishing Advisor, the absolute best decision you can ever make in marketing your book is to write another book.  If social media helps you spread the word, and helps you keep writing, then it has a place in your campaign.  If it distracts you, or distresses you, or eats into time you would otherwise spend writing, then you should revisit the expression “effective marketing.”  There is, however, a great deal of value to trying something new, especially when you hit a roadblock.  It is my hope that, by providing a primer guide to each of the major (and some of the minor) social media platforms, I may take some of the guesswork and fear out of launching yourself into the world of social media.  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to bypass some of the misery and second-guessing and mistakes that I myself have made over the years–and find a new home, a new community, and an engaged readership in some unexplored corner of our digital universe.

The List:

  1. First Thoughts
  2. Twitter
  3. Tumblr
  4. Instagram
  5. Snapchat
  6. YouTube
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads
  9. Etsy
  10. LinkedIn
  11. Flickr
  12. Facebook

Thank you for helping me build this Social Media Primer!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

An Indie Author’s Social Media Primer | Pinterest

We’re not the first to write about the ways in which you can use Pinterest to help market your book, and we won’t be the last.  Why?  Because books are first and foremost a tangible object with incredible visual (and tactile) appeal, and Pinterest is a social media platform designed and built to showcase beautiful things.  Emphasis on “things.”  Pinterest is often described as a kind of digital bulletin board, and whether or not you actually use bulletin boards in real life, it is a powerful tool for collecting objects–most of them real and actual physical objects–together into one easy-to-access-and-modify place.  It may not have been specifically designed for books, but Pinterest is definitely a book-lover’s dream … and a haven, too, for self-published authors.

Pinterest

How does Pinterest work?  Users create profiles, find and follow their friends, and have the freedom to tag these friends when “pinning,” not to mention respond to or “re-pin” these friends’ “pins.”  You can create just one Pinterest “board,” or many.  You can even determine which ones are public and which ones are private, and invite your friends to pin to your private boards with you!  (As with every other social media platform, Pinterest has created its own semi-exclusive vocabulary.)  Depending on whether you’re using the mobile interface on your smartphones or other smart devices, or whether you’re using the desktop interface on your computer or laptop, these pins are displayed tiled across your screen in a visual “feed.”  So far, you’ll note that Pinterest provides many of the same services as any other platform–like Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter–only with a more visual twist.  In fact, I would say that Pinterest resonates with Instagram the most, since both of these mediums were designed exclusively to showcase visual content, and as such have attracted users of a more artistic bent.

So, how does the indie, hybrid, or self-published author take advantage of Pinterest?  First, we have to address a certain … stigma … that Pinterest has acquired.

Debunking the Great Pinterest Myth: “Isn’t it mostly just recipes and wedding ideas?”

Forbes has published an article on it.  So has the London School of Economics.  And a whole host of marketing professionals (such as SiteLogicMarketing).  In the United States, yes, some 83% of Pinterest users were female–but in the UK?  That number drops to 44% female.  And even in the predominantly female American user base, many big brands are making use of Pinterest to market meaningfully to men.  In her Forbes article, Michelle Greenwald writes that Pinterest’s emphasis on “lifestyle” makes it prime territory for companies to “[add] brand value and [communicate] all the ways the brand can fit into its customers’ lives.”  Yes, wedding companies and Etsy entrepreneurs and watercolorists have a good handle on the marketing potential of Pinterest, but so too do companies like Bit9, Go Pro, ESPN, IBM, and GE.  When push comes to shove, purchasing a new washing machine or scoping out a new piece of tech is just as much a lifestyle-building decision as collecting ideas for bridal bouquets.

Top 5 Best Practices:

1. Take advantage of your own cover art.  Your book is beautiful.  Own it!  Throwing together a Pinterest board that features your own book’s cover art should be amongst the first things you do with Pinterest as an author; the existing visual impact of your book is simply too great a resource to waste!  You can fill the board up with illustrated quotations from your book, or perhaps photographs of your book in various locations–out “in the field, in its natural habitat” so to speak.  And don’t forget about your book trailer, if you have one!

2. Put together an “inspiration board.”  What inspires you when you’re writing?  Art?  Music?  A really well-executed NPR interview?  Set the mood for both you and your readers by putting together an inspiration board that features images, sounds, and atmospheres that evoke the world you’ve created within the pages of your book.  You know those playlists that authors will put together to go with their books?  An inspiration board is kind of like a playlist, only the content can be much more varied (and usually, much more visual!).

3. Pin contests and giveaways.  There are all kinds of giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes running on Pinterest at any given moment, but often the most exciting ones involve books!  Consider offering ARCs (Advance Reading Copies), singly or in bundles, to your readers via a Pinterest contest–and to enter, perhaps challenge each contestant to pin a picture of themselves holding your book in their favorite reading nook or space.  This kind of contest turns into loads of free marketing for you, in part because it requires creative thinking and engagement on the part of your readers, and in part because for every person who enters and pins a picture, dozens more of their friends and family will be exposed to your book as it crops up in their Pinterest feeds.  Just be sure you know how to navigate the fair use guidelines and contest requirements as stated by Pinterest!

4. Never underestimate the power of similarity.  Those “if you like this, why don’t you try this?” ads are on to something, and Pinterest-savvy authors are taking note.  One of the best things you can do on Pinterest is to dedicate a board to books that resonate with yours.  Pin books (or book covers, with their Amazon listings linked in the descriptions, to be more specific) of the same genre, or featuring characters you like, or that employ plot devices that somehow exist in conversation with those you use.  What purpose does this serve?  As with any social media platform, you have to do a little creative manipulation to make yourself “findable” by your ideal readers.  The more links you generate, the more connections you make easily accessible, the more people will find you and follow you on Pinterest.  And don’t be afraid to “send” pins to or otherwise get in contact with other pinners whose interests resonate with your own; the worst thing someone can say is “no, I’m not interested in featuring your pin on my board of recently self-published historical fiction novels” … but they might be eager to pin it!  You won’t know until you ask.

5. Don’t be afraid to set up or convert to a “Business” account.  That’s right, Pinterest is doing its best to make it easy for you to build your brand!  There are certain advantages to using a Business Profile as opposed to a Personal Profile, including access to analytics and other platform-specific tools that help you track what pinning activities are proving successful, and how to focus your time, energy, and attention where it’s going to do the most good.

Most Overlooked Feature:

If you haven’t heard of your “source page,” then you’re missing out!  Pinterest sends out notifications when users re-pin your pins, but often these notifications don’t actually tell you how many users are pinning directly from your page and how many are re-pinning from other peoples’ feeds or from Pinterest’s built-in “suggestion” algorithms.  Your source page is pinterest.com/yoursite.com, so if your username was “selfpublishingchampion,” your source page would be pinterest.com/selfpublishingchampion.com.  Hop on over to your source page to see which pins are or are not performing well on Pinterest–it’s a good sign if users are pinning directly from your site, since that means they’re more likely to have seen more than just the one pin; they will have seen more of the content surrounding your book!

I hope you’ll join me in building this Social Media Primer!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of social media know-how. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

5 Pinterest Marketing Tips for Self-Publishing Authors

When used appropriately, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be effective tools for book marketing.  The hottest social media trend right now is Pinterest! Like the other social media sites, it can help self publishing authors  facilitate communication with current and potential readers, generate sales, and increase awareness of their books.

This photo sharing site enables users to “pin” images and videos to virtual pinboards, or “Boards,” and share them with others.  Users can organize their pins based on their interests; a few popular examples are food, books, travel, and style. When other users see a pin they like, they can repin it onto one of their own Boards.  Think virtual word-of-mouth marketing!

The visual and social nature of Pinterest make it a perfect fit for book marketing.  Here are a few ways you can use the site to promote your self published book.

1.  Become active on Pinterest and begin networking with people who are pinning in your areas of interest.  People are more likely to want to support people that are active in the community versus people that are just pinning to promote a product or service. You can search on Pinterest for topics related to your interests and your book and start following Boards you find “Pinteresting.”
2.  Create your own Boards.  Keep in mind, Pinterest was created for people to share images and interests.  Your Boards need to be visually appealing, contain lots of images, and they should give potential readers some insights into your interests and why you wrote the book. If you have a poetry book, for example, you may choose to Pin graphics with quotes from your favorite poets, thus allowing you to begin connecting with other Pinners who also like poetry.
3.  Upload images related to your book.  These may include cover images, illustrations, locations that were featured in your book, and/or people that provided inspiration for your characters.
4.  Pin quotes from your book or short selections to entice people to learn more about your book, spread the word and purchase their own copy.
5.  Include links to your website, your publisher’s website or book retail sites so people know where they can purchase your book once you’ve got them “pinterested.”

Pinterest is gaining in popularity, so now is the time to get active, have fun and start promoting your self published book if you haven’t already.