If you’ve hung around here even a little bit, you know what a huge fan I am of Pinterest. Especially for authors, because I see so many writers underutilizing Pinterest, or just straight up using it incorrectly.
If you’re an author wondering how to start using Pinterest to spread the word on your book, the best place to start is simple, something you’ve perhaps tried in the past: creating a pin for your book.
PS: You can get fancy with Photoshop, or you can use a super popular alternative like Canva. Lately I’ve been designing most of my pins in PicMonkey—their templates are more sophisticated than Canva, though arguably, I think Canva’s easier to learn.
How to create a pin for your book–the right way
(1) Size it correctly
Your graphic should have a size ration of 2:3, meaning it should be taller than it is wide, but not too tall, as Pinterest has confirmed the long skinny “giraffe” pins of the past will now start being cropped. Not sure what 2:3 means? However you’re creating your graphics (I recommend canva.com for newbies), it should be 600 pixels wide, and 900 pixels high. You can also just select Canva’s default Pinterest Graphic template, and use one of those.
(2) You can use a square image
Looking to save time? In July 2018, Pinterest announced that square graphics will also work on Pinterest. Again, it’s a big change from the early days when longer pins were the way to go. In general I’ve personally found 2:3 images (taller than they are wide) to perform slightly better, but if you’re short on time, there’s no reason you can’t repurpose a square graphic that will work on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. In other words, if you’re only going to have one graphic created for your book release, make it a square one. It’s not perfect on all platforms, but it’s the most universal.
(3) Don’t add the release date on your graphic
Yes, you read that correctly. Pinterest is different from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram in that most people aren’t viewing Pinterest content released in chronological order. They may see your pin because of something they searched for. Or because Pinterest thinks your pin may appeal to them based on your interest. And both these events can occur a week, a month, even years after your release day. And that’s a good thing. Pinterest is fabulous for keeping a focus on your backlist, long after your book’s become “old news” on Facebook. As a general rule, all of your Pinterest content should be “evergreen,” meaning no release dates, no “coming soon” language, not even “new release!” language. When in doubt, ask yourself if the graphic will still be relevant 3 months from now. It should be.
(4) Don’t make your book cover take up the entire graphic
I mean, you could. Book covers are fairly close to the ideal Pinterest ratio. But I’ve noticed that when I’m on Pinterest, I never click on a pin that’s just a book cover, with no context. Also, keep in mind that because the book cover ratio is so similar to regular pins, readers at a glance might not even recognize it as a book cover! It may just look like a really busy pin, with no indication of why they should click on it. Take into account the two examples below. Both are 600×900 graphics optimized by Pinterest. One is just my book cover, one is my book cover incorporated into a pin graphic. If you were just browsing Pinterest for something to catch your interest, not specifically looking for books, the second option provides more context of what the image is than the book cover alone.
(5) Add your website or logo
This one is very important, and the one I see authors missing most frequently. Make sure your name is on there, and not just as a part of the book cover. Pinterest is great for brand-building. Imagine someone who follows you on Pinterest (or likes to read, and thus gets shown your pins based on Pinterest algorithms). But maybe they mostly use Pinterest for recipes. While they’re on Pinterest looking for the best artichoke dip recipe, they may see your pin. And they may not click on it, because … you’re not an artichoke recipe. But now imagine tomorrow they’re searching for crockpot meatball recipes, and they also see your pins. And the day after that, they see it while browsing for oatmeal cookie recipes. And so on. Guess what happens when they do decide they’re in the mood to buy a book? Your name’s going to be front and center because they’ve been “seeing it everywhere.”