In 2010 when I returned to writing after a long hiatus (family issues), I discovered this thing called social media and that I was supposed to use it to advance my career. I didn’t know Facebook from MySpace, Twitter from Triberr. With the help of friends, I learned to use Facebook—besides looking pictures of nieces’ and nephews’ kids. An author friend wrote my tweet. I learn best by seeing how something is done. One bit of social media, though, eluded me.
Back in the old days (pre-social media), I’d read about writers using poster boards and cutting out pictures from magazines then pinning them to the boards. Not my thing. I had too much to do getting back into the writing game. I didn’t have time to look through magazines, especially since I discontinued most of my subscriptions because I didn’t have time to read them. Someone mentioned Pinterest, that it was sort of like those poster boards. Still, I didn’t see how I would use it . . . until I read an online article or maybe a post on a Yahoo group. (Remember how I mentioned my mind is a sieve? I don’t remember. Sorry.)
That changed everything.
I could use Pinterest for my writing. I read some authors have a board titled “inspiration for” the name of a book. Why not try it? Since my first books were science fiction romances, I searched for sci-fi “pins.” Wow. That was fun. Then I discovered Pinterest sends pins (and boards) that I might be interested in, based on what I’d pinned. Double wow! I didn’t have to search.
Technically, those early pins weren’t inspirations, rather they were descriptions of my book. For instance, Switched, my first published book, takes place on a farm in Michigan. I found pins of farms, interiors and exteriors. Jessie, the heroine, is beamed aboard a starship, so I found pins of starships. The Hitchcock movie Vertigo was inspiration for one of the last scenes in the book. I grabbed the movie poster pin. More fun.
With each book, I looked for pins that represented details, loaded the cover—with a link to Amazon—and spent hours searching for more pins. Once I had all my published books and their associated pins loaded, I started on works-in-progress. Now I really had inspirations. I’m not very good at descriptions. My forte is dialogue. In fact, my first drafts look more like screenplays with dialogue and stage directions. With the pins I’d found of Victorian houses, I could better describe the house in Romance Rekindled.
Of course, I couldn’t resist personal items, like recipes (never mind I rarely cook), ideas for homes (at the time we were looking for a new house), favorite movies and books, vacation ideas, travel, etc. I was really getting into this. The more I used Pinterest the more ideas I came up with. I have a board labeled “Authors On My Blog” that include the author’s photo and a link to their last post on my blog. (This is one board I’m behind on.)
The first time an interviewer asked, if my book was made into a movie, who would play my characters, I drew a blank. I didn’t know current actors. When I visualized my characters, they were actors from the 1970s and 1980s. Okay, maybe a little later. That’s when I created the board “Possible Characters for my books.” I searched for current actors. As soon as I saw a photo of Kaylee (Jewel Straite) from Firefly, I immediately thought of Jessie in Switched. After I saw Chris Pine in Guardians of the Galaxy, I saw him as Scott, the hero in Switched, Too.
Pinterest can suck up a lot of time. No other social media does that for me. I get started then I can’t stop. LOL Hubs often reminds me of ROI (return on investment) when I spend time on certain things. I have to ask myself how am I advancing my career when I spend time on Pinterest. I see at least two things that my time on Pinterest returns to my writing career. One, I can better visualize details in my WIPs. Two, it’s advertising for my books. When readers accidentally, or on purpose, happen across my inspiration board, I hope they find the pins so intriguing they’ll buy the book. Or, if they’ve bought it, they’ll see what I see in it.
I created most of the “Inspiration For…” boards after publication. I hope readers enjoy seeing how I visualized my story. Now, as I write a new story, I really do go to Pinterest for inspiration. My newest book, coming next month, is Rescuing Mara’s Father, a middle grade science fiction adventure. I don’t have very many pins for that board yet. Working on it.
Much of what I learned in using Pinterest came from other authors. I was so intrigued by the banner at the top of Maureen L. Bonatch’s site that I asked how she created it. She told me about Pinterest for Business. I’m sure I don’t use that to the fullest capacity. Instead, I feel like the toddler just learning to walk. The key word in that last sentence is learning. Despite my mentioning a toddler, many days I feel like an old dog. Fortunately, this old dog is open to new ideas. Pinterest opened up a whole new world for me. I hope it does for you, too. If you want to see what I’ve done, here’s the link to my site: Diane Burton, Author.
Do you use Pinterest? In the comments, please share something you’ve learned and include a link to your site. Thanks.