You all know there’s a certain platform I can’t shut up about:

Pinterest.

I don’t want to call it my secret weapon, because there’s nothing secret about it. Savvy entrepreneurs, especially in the design and self-help world, have been preaching the power of Pinterest as a business-grower for years now.

But us writers, as a general group, have tended to dismiss the platform. In talking to my fellow authors directly, as well as marketing/publicity teams at some of the major publishing houses, I keep hearing the same thing:

“We sort of gave up on Pinterest, because we’re just not seeing the returns.”

As someone who sees a hefty amount of my website traffic come from Pinterest (it’s second only to Google for me), I’m going to say this as gently but clearly as possible:

If you’re not seeing any return from Pinterest, ever, you might be doing it wrong.

Let me know if this sounds at all familiar:

You create a board with your book title. And then you repin inspiration (images that remind you of your story or characters) to that board. You repin 8 pictures of your Chris Hemsworth inspired hero, 12 of your Kristen Bell inspired heroine. Maybe you found the perfect picture of the teal dress from Chapter Twelve, and you scoured Pinterest for “brick wall loft” photos to find the perfect visual representation of your hero’s home, and you repin that. If you’re ahead of the curve, maybe you’ve even uploaded your book cover, or re-purpose some of the release day graphics you created for Facebook.

And then you realize nobody is seeing the pins, clicking on the pins, engaging with the pins, and your followers remain stagnant, so you decide Pinterest isn’t working, so you go back to focusing on Facebook.

Right? No judgement, like I said, that was me.

And I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever create those book-specific boards if they help you creatively while planning your story. Not to mention, those boards can make for fun bonus content for your readers!

But if your goal is to send books, you need to send them to your book pages. And you’re not going to do that by re-pinning pictures of Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Bell, aqua dresses, and lofts with brick walls that look just like how you envision your hero’s bachelor pad.

So what should you pin?

Your own pins. Pins that you create featuring your books and your brand.

Here’s why:

When you re-pin that Jon Hamm photo that looks just like your imagined hero, and someone clicks on it, what happens? They’re taken back to the source of that photo. Not your website, not your book page. In fact, it’s not affiliated with your book in any way!

Will that Jon Hamm photo potentially get a ton of re-pins? Sure! Maybe you’ll even get followers for being the Jon Hamm resource on Pinterest.

None of which, I’m guessing, aligns with your big career goals or helps you sell your books or develop your brand.

There is no doubt in my mind that Pinterest can and does work for writers.

Which leads me back to the statistic I slyly dropped in at the start of this post:

When it comes to Pinterest success, it’s not above followers. It’s not even about re-pins.

It’s about traffic.

What sets Pinterest apart from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram its ability to drive traffic to your website. Not just on release day, not just when you have a book on sale, but on an ongoing, consistent, always-be-sellin-your-backlist kind of way.

Want Pinterest success for your author biz? Think a little less re-pinning that M&M cookie recipe inspired by your heroine’s baking moment in Chapter three, and a little more creating pins that lead back to your book page, so that somebody can actually find that book where the heroine makes M&M cookies in Chapter three.

The Pinterest stat that matters