Pinterest offers a variety of opportunities for authors and illustrators. It is one of the biggest social media channels for promotion and for sales, and it is drawing record traffic. As of 2015, there were more than 100 million monthly active users, which is more than double the 48.7 million users reported in 2013. While it is still well behind social platforms, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; Pinterest views itself as having a different role than the others – one that’s more about search and discovery – and it is good for both visibility and sales. As of 2016, Pinterest reported it has 2 billion searches per month, that 55 percent of online shoppers named the site as their favorite online platform, and that there are more than 2 million users pinning on it every day. The demographic is ideal for children’s books given that eighty-five percent of the users are female and 67 percent are Millennials.
While it’s easy to think of the platform as a virtual scrapbook to use to pin and share images and ideas, Pinterest also provides a massive sales channel for business. It enables users to purchase products by directing them to a company or online store website, or by purchasing directly within Pinterest using the “Buy Now” button in conjunction with Shopify. For authors and illustrators, Pinterest offers the opportunity to reach readers, parents and teachers in a variety of creative ways.
Inspiration on what to post about is easy. You can look at author and illustrator boards and also browse some of the more than 30 million education boards designed by teachers and parents to help kids learn in creative ways. Each board that you set up should have a theme or concept. Themes can focus on your body of work, individual books, background research, inspirational quotes, or personal information you want to share about your work or yourself.
Lists are always popular, so you can do a themed board of your titles by genre, by age, by publisher or by series. You can group books with images of related products, like games and toys; or you can group your books with books by other authors and illustrators. You can then encourage others to share the information. If you decide to allow access permission to your boards, you can invite others to add images and information.
Boards are great for highlighting educational concepts, so you can include boards with book recommendations tied to holidays and events, classroom activities or resource recommendations. You can also use boards to provide glimpses into your writing or illustrating process.
When signing up you should be sure to provide a biography, your author photo and then include descriptions with images you share. Once you’re underway, you can make pinning easier by installing a ”Pin It” button on your browser that allows you to pin images while surfing the web. You should also link your account to your other social media platforms, so you can share news of pins as you add them. To encourage direct sales, you can link back to your website or to your publisher’s site if books can be purchased there; or link directly to online booksellers or other online retailers.
In addition to posting your own material and information on Pinterest, you should look for ways to engage by commenting on, liking and following boards other people have. You can also set up group boards for collaborating. As you experiment with different types of formats and engagement, you can assess what’s working well by looking at what has been clicked on and how often your items are getting repinned.