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Winter Author Blog Challenge #5: Nine ways authors can Pin for success

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

And now we unveil the FIFTH prompt:

One of the newest and fastest growing social media platforms is Pinterest? Have you jumped onboard? What kinds of images do (or could) you post that are related to your book or the topic of your book? What other kinds of images do you post? Are you linking each post back to your blog, website, or Amazon page? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Pinterest, what’s holding you back? Take a look at book marketer extraordinaire John Kremer’s Pinterest Boards. After perusing them, how MIGHT you use Pinterest to brand yourself and your book? Is it something you’re considering? Be sure to give us your Pinterest link.

As with everything we post on the Marcie Brock blog, these are our opinions (and suggestions) only. And it is our opinion that of all the current social media platforms, Pinterest is one of the most fun. If you haven’t jumped in yet, we caution: B-E C-A-R-E-F-U-L!!! It can be a monstrous time-waster, but you will probably have tons of fun while you’re wasting it.

I have 27 boards – and as I looked them over again for this post, I was so pleased by all of them that  it’s almost hard to say which is my favorite. Of course, Ireland wins because … well, it’s Ireland! Elegant Christmas comes in a close second. After that, I like all of them.

Pinterest boards

I love Client Books because it’s a chance to both promote my clients’ books and my company’s range of skill and offerings. In the image below, the only cover I didn’t design was Honor O’Flynn.

Pinterest client

  • I post on Marcie and ABC sporadically, doing a bunch at one time.
  • Since TRAVEL is one of the most popular categories on Pinterst, I created the Writers’ Retreats and Author Birthplaces boards.
  • Inspirations by Laura is a grouping of inspirational images I created and posted to Facebook over the last couple years.
  • I worked so hard on the Social Media Icons for my newsletter that I decided to post on Pinterest because I’d love to come across them on someone else’s site someday.
  • Moon Glow seems to be getting the most likes and repins. And Open Sesame is a collection of mesmerizing doorways and passageways.

Some of these are just for enjoyment, but a good number are “work related.” The thing is, your Pinning needn’t be a time-waster. If used properly, Pinterest can be a phenomenal tool for marketing your books. Here are nine ways authors can use Pinterest to grow their platforms and sell more books.

1. Literally sell books. Your cover image becomes vital here (for those of you skimping on a cover designer or having your next-door neighbor’s kid do it), because Pinterest is all about the images! In the edit window, if you include a price, Pinterest automatically inserts a tab with the price in the upper left-hand corner of your image.

Pinterest pricing

The illustration above is purely for explanatory purposes. In this case, I’ve linked the pin to my Amazon store, so a book by Thomas Aquinas is for sale there, but that’s not entirely clear from the image.

2. For fiction authors, create a Pinterest board for the main characters or settings in your book. You can encourage reader/fan involvement by asking them to suggest images your words evoke. Of course, this might not work for me personally, as one of the most delicious aspects of reading fiction is getting to imagine the scene in my own head – so I might not want others’ ideas influencing my reading pleasure. Then again, maybe once I’d finished the book…

3. Offer your readers an insider’s look at your process: your writing space, the view from your office window, your dog asleep at your feet, your favorite tea mug, the coffee shop where you go to edit, images of members of your critique group.

4. Imagine your book’s success. Which cities would you like to visit for your book tour? At which writers’ retreat would you love to spend the summer or winter? What kind of writing studio or library would you build?

5. Make friends and influence people by promoting your friends’ and favorite authors’ books.

6. Pin special offers, discounts, and coupons.

7. Generate after-party enthusiasm by sharing the pictures of your signings and readings.

8. Share your own inspirations. Pin images, quotes, and people that inspire you.

9. Hold a contest: PART 1: Offer a giveaway for fans who buy your book and send you a picture of them reading it in a creative ay or place. PART 2: Create a Board for all the images you receive. PART 3: Have your Pinterest followers vote on the best picture. Ask your followers to share their favorites on Twitter and Facebook.

REMINDERS

  • Large, captivating images work best. Keep this in mind when you’re designing your book cover!
  • Add the “Pin It” widget to your website and/or blog.
  • Give your boards short, catchy names.
  • Images that are longer than they are wide get repinned most often. Think infographics!
  • Remember to ENGAGE. Don’t be a one-sided Pinner. If you like someone’s images, comment on them – start conversations with people.

Get creative like New Leaf Literary Agency, where each literary agent has his/her own board and each book has its own board. Thanks to Katrina Lantz, Novelist for sharing this!picture placeholder

Lastly, don’t be like this guy! He has the vanity name Pinterest.com/author – and yet he has NO PINS!!!

In the meantime, come Pin with us!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Writing lessons and inspirations from 4 (of my 26) favorite films, and 2 of my least favorite

I recently created a board on Pinterest with my 25 All-Time Favorite Movies. Then, of course, I added a 26th. I can’t bring myself to change the title, though, because 25 is just such a nice number that fits so neatly into 100. I suppose if I ever decide to add more, I’ll deal with that issue as it arises.

If you look for trends in the types of films I like, you’ll find them:

  • 2 Hugh Grant films (About a Boy and Bridget Jones’s Diary)
  • 2 John Cusack films (High Fidelity and Say Anything)
  • 2.5 sports films (Bend It Like Beckham, Field of Dreams, and Billy Elliot [boxing-cum-ballet])
  • 8 UK-themed films (About a Boy, Bend It Like Beckham, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Billy Elliot, The Commitments, The Full Monty, Notting Hill, and Waking Ned Devine)

Besides finding these movies enjoyable – more than anything for the well-crafted and exceptionally portrayed characters – I also found a few of them particularly inspiring as an author, marketer, business owner, and would-be screenwriter.

Away We Go. This small indie film stars Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski as a couple expecting their first child who travel around the U.S., trying to find the perfect place to start their family. Though I saw this movie before I’d actually begun writing my screenplay (along with my sister and my husband), I was immediately and immensely impressed with the dialogue in this movie. It was funny and fresh and extraordinarily human. Of course, good writing alone does not make a great movie. Overall, I thought the movie was good – not great – but definitely overlooked by filmgoers and reviewers, alike. Nevertheless, the dialogue has stayed with me ever since I saw it. I hope we can write even nearly that well!

The Brothers McMullen. The acting and directorial debut by Edward Burns, this movie is charming for many of the same reasons I liked Away We Go. It’s a small, indie film, but the characters are so fresh and real. The warmth and humor that comes through isn’t slapstick or clownish – it’s just the funny kind of day-to-day awarenesses you notice in the people around you, especially your family. I was particularly inspired to hear Burns speak at the 2003 Phoenix Film Festival about his decision to make this movie. “I couldn’t get a foot in the door anywhere, so I finally just decided to start my own film company and make the movie I wanted to make,” he said (or something close to that). If he could start his own film production company and go on to become a Hollywood notable, we can certainly publish our own books and achieve similar success!

High Fidelity. Perhaps the one movie that literally inspired me to write something, I love this film largely because of Rob’s (John Cusack) quirky fascination with making lists. Adapted from Nick Hornby’s book of the same name, this is one the two Hornby titles relocated from their original UK backdrops to the US (Fever Pitch being the other). Inspired by High Fidelity, back in 2007 I wrote an article titled, “Write a List – Grab the Cash!” the point of which was to inspire its reader to make a list and turn it into a book, teleclass, or other info product.

Good Will Hunting. As you may have guessed, I see a lot of movies. This is one of the few I remember thinking to myself as I watched, “This is an award-winning movie!” And it did win awards: a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Robin Williams, and Best Original Screenplay for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The best part of the screenplay award story is that they originally wrote the script as a thriller: Matt Damon’s title character is hired by the US government to use his superior math skills to help develop top-secret superweaponry. Coached instead to “focus more on the characters,” they did – and look where it got them! My screenwriting team has actually printed out Damon and Affleck’s original script for Good Will Hunting to use as a model for scene formatting and other bits that go into an original screenplay.

So those are the positive takeaways. Then there’s the OTHER Pinterest board that is pretty much the antithesis of the first one: Most Overrated Movies Ever. With only 13 titles presently, this category promises to grow as the hype machines rev up for the summer. However, I sometimes think you can learn as much from the things you dislike as you can from the things that resonate with you.

In this case, it’s the incredibly overrated Descendants, the George Clooney vehicle. GIANT screenwriting lesson that goes back to Sr. Laurian in sixth-grade English: Show, don’t tell. This movie felt like at least 30 percent of the story came through the narration, which created a couple of significant drawbacks: (1) it was a huge SNOOZER; (2) it made Clooney’s character seem even more self-absorbed than I think the screenwriters intended him to be.

Smaller, yet important, lesson from Inception: Don’t make your clever plot so complicated that you need a guidebook and bread crumbs to follow it.

So I admit I’m a tough movie critic. I cannot help but watch with an editor’s eye toward always improving things. I know a movie is good if I am instantly drawn in. If there’s a moment anywhere for me to consider ways to improve it, there’s something wrong with it, as far as I’m concerned.

So which movies have inspired your writing, work, or business? Share your answers in the comments section below.

Happy movie watching!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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