Social media for mystery authors can be a wonderful way to connect with readers. And one of the most enjoyable is Pinterest — but it might be one of the least used, so far, by authors. Yet it is fun and, after an hour or so of practice, it’s pretty easy to use. And here are the big pluses:
1. Pinterest appeals to the picturebook reader and image lover inside most of us — it gives words a break and is bright and usually cheerful.
2. Pinterest takes readers to locations that the authors know well … but for which authors work very hard to describe in words what a single image may top in an instant. If you want your readers to know about the tiny corner of the city where your protagonist is the only available detective, or about the abandoned mansions that strike you as so spooky, or even about what your characters are cooking up for breakfast … well, Pinterest is ready for you!
3. A book’s “front window” is its cover, and Pinterest is a great location for showcasing book covers. After all, what’s the first thing that makes you curious about the contents?
4. Authors get three ways to play with Pinterest: (a) Build your own site with its multiple boards (a board is a topic to which you add images), where you can share your interests with readers and browsers; or (b) participate in pinning on other sites — where, done right, Pinterest carries readers directly to author websites. Because — go take a look at http://www.pinterest.com/sincne right now! — Pinterest images (done best) have live links to those sites. And then there’s (c) my favorite, using a Pinterest board as a lively location to store images that relate to a book you’re going to write, so you’ll be inspired and ready when the time comes!
Here’s the process: Put up a Pinterest site by going to Pinterest.com (you’ll need your e-mail address and, if you want your site to be a business one, your website). Create a few boards — the ones on the SinC New England site so far are “2014 Mysteries by Our Members,” “Mysteries from Our Members Through 2013,” “Sisters in Crime, Collaborators!,” and “Featured Recipes from SinC NE Mysteries.” Now, when you see an image or video that you like, “pin” it to your board (and if you have multiple boards, be sure to double check which one you’re pinning ont0).
You can pin in a couple of ways. Some websites already have “Pin It” buttons on them; use this to direct a pin to your board. Or, from one of your boards, click on the part that has the board title, and then on the + sign where it says “Add a pin.” If you want the pin to include the website where you located the image, be sure to then click on “Add a pin from … The Web.” Or, if you just want to add a photo or image from your own computer, click on “Add a pin from … Your computer.” A third option is “Add a pin from … Pinterest.” Here the system offers you what it thinks you might like — pretty cool!
That’s enough to get you started. And when you’ve had fun exploring the SinC New England Pinterest site, and maybe set up a starter version for yourself, you’ll know right away if you’re a person who enjoys this image-based social medium. Oh yes, it does get very social, especially when you find yourself re-pinning another writer’s images (and thus giving that writer some promotion), and vice versa.
I recommend this site for more in-depth guidance on Pinterest: http://amylynnandrews.com/pinterest-tips — especially if you’ve already been using Pinterest and would like to weigh its value and make it more useful to you and your writing and your books!