Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How (and why) to create a Pinterest Board for your Book

Last year on Project Mayhem, our own W.H. Beck talked about different ways writers could use Pinterest:
Since I am not one of those early adapters of anything new, it's taken me this long to get into it, and I decided if I was going to take the time to learn how to use it, I wanted to create something related to my books.

Pinterest is fun, but can it be worth the time for writers too? The answer is still a big maybe, but given the little amount of effort it takes to create a board about your book, it could well be worth it in terms of drawing in more readers. I know of at least one author who encourages the students she talks to during school visits to check out her book boards. I'm a very visual person, as are many others, so I think the idea of a collage of images about a book is a great idea. And since settings are very important in my stories, a Pinterest board is a way to draw readers into those worlds.

Like any aspect of social media, an author has to weigh the value of the time and cost spent versus the benefit. Pinterest is free, so that’s a benefit. It also doesn’t take much time to create a board, and unlike most Pinterest boards, you don’t add anything to it once it is done. In fact, it’s more practical to add everything all at once and then leave it alone-more about that later. I’ve broken down the steps to create an easy board, and then added a few tips at the end if you want to get a little more advanced. At the bottom of the post I have links to two book pages I've created.

The post is long, but that’s only because I’m writing it for people like me who like detailed instructions when trying to learn something new. You'll end up with something like this:

So here goes:

1. Join Pinterest - go to to sign up.

2. You will see a screen that gives you the option to create boards, either public or secret. You may have to scroll down to see the secret board option. You’ll want to start with a secret board, because you don’t want to make it public until it’s complete. Once a board is public, it can’t be set back to secret.  Add in a title of your board- I use the book title, and then a description, like a tag line about the book. I also add in where the book can be purchased, since as far as I can tell, you can't add in buy links within the pins on your board.

3. Make a decision on what is going to be your cover image. In certain views, each board has one large horizontal rectangular image at the top, which will cover the top of the screen, so you want something that highlights your book. I use an image of my book cover, cropped to show your book title.

4. Jot down ideas about what images represent aspects of your book. Where is it set? What do the characters do within the setting? Do any of them have a unique hobby? Do they play a particular sport? Are there pets in the story? Are there important objects in the story? You’ll want to have your entire cover as one of your pins as well, so don’t forget to add that to your list. Not everyone likes to visualize what their characters look like but if you do, you can add those images as well.

5. Once you have a list, you need to find images to represent these ideas. It’s best to find all your images you are going to use before you start pinning, because at the present time, you can’t rearrange images once they are pinned. There are three ways to pin (add) images to your board. Two of them are in the easy section here:

The first is simply to search within Pinterest-there is a search box on the upper left corner for you to type in key words. You'll get up a whole variety of images and as the mouse hovers over them, the pin it button will pop up-don't click it yet! You can repin any image you find on Pinterest to your own board, but for the moment, if you find one you like, just bookmark it until you are ready to arrange your board. I searched for images of wolves, and since Wolf Storm is set in Slovakia, images of that country as well. One scene in the story involves the characters eating Slovak food, so I found an image of plum dumplings. Just for fun, I also added a pin about how to draw a wolf.

You can also add images from your own computer- For example, I had an artist photoshop a movie poster for the movie within WOLF STORM, so I included as well:

This is a good place to bring up the issue of copyright. If you’ve downloaded images from Google images to your own computer, be careful about how you use them. Many are copyrighted, and not supposed to be used without a license from the copyright holder. I regularly purchase images from Istockphoto, and I wondered if I would be allowed to use them on Pinterest. I contacted Istock, and learned that as long as I personalized the image in some way, it was fine to use. I did that when I wanted images for some of my fiction I write for adults under a pen name. I wanted to include images of how I envisioned the characters, so I bought the images and labeled the photos with the characters’ names. Here's a couple I used on one of my boards for some of my adult fiction I publish under a pen name:

6. Now if you don’t want to move onto the slightly more advanced way to get images from other websites, and you don’t want to add a book trailer or anything else from Youtube, your next step is to decide how you are going to arrange your images. You’ll start with the image you want to be your cover image first, and then pin in order of least important to more important, because Pinterest adds new images above older images. You'll be able to add captions or change existing ones if you choose, so you can put in some details about how each image relates to the book.

7. When you are done pinning all your images, make sure you set your board to Public. To do that, just click on Edit board, and you’ll see the option to toggle off "secret." You're done!

More advanced tips:
The third way to pin images is from other websites. You can enter the url of the website and it will bring up some images to pin. You may not see the exact image you want, so in that case you need to add a Pin It button to your own browser, which you can click on when you are on a website to get access to the images. Go to and scroll down until you see the Pin It button. You then drag it into the toolbar on your computer. I'm using a very old version of Internet Explorer, so I had to drag it into my favorites. It works just fine.

To add your book trailer or another video clip from Youtube:

While still signed into Pinterest, open another tab, go to Youtube and find the video you want. Copy the url from the top of your browser. Go back to Pinterest and click the “Add +” button on the upper right. From there, select “Add a Pin”. Paste the YouTube video URL you copied in step 1 into the URL field and click the “find images” button. Select the board you want to add the video to and fill in a description the way you normally would when adding pins. Click the “Pin It” button and you’re done. You’ll be able to view the YouTube video right there on Pinterest.

So that's it!

Here are links to two Pinterest boards I've made:

~ Dee Garretson


  1. Great advice, will follow! Thanks!

  2. Oh, I love this, Dee! Great Idea for a post. Pinterest is a mystery to a lot of writers, myself included! :)

  3. I'm a pinterest fan so this is a great post for me. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for walking those of us "thinking about" Pinterest through the steps. Very helpful :-)

  5. This is inspiring! I've used Pinterest for my own brainstorming before writing, but I love the idea of creating a board for books. Very fun!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!