By Chele Cooke
For agents and publishers, a lot of time is spent looking for the next big trend. One year it’s Wizards, the next Vampires, and after that it’s a Vampire turned to sexual domination. Being on the crest of the new wave is where the money is.
For independent authors, finding the crest of a trend has become less about genre, and more about where you’re promoting it.
An author promoting their book on MySpace, for example, has not only missed the crest of the wave, they’re doggy paddling in still waters. Facebook and Twitter are awash with people promoting their books, and Tumblr is a fandom nut that, as a new author, can be difficult to crack.
When I began researching marketing techniques for my soon to be self-published book, I found a number of articles mentioning Pinterest. However, most of these looked more into ‘How to link your Pinterest to Amazon’ and ‘Make sure you complete the description on your profile.’ Not exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for a way to connect with readers and make them interested in my book. I already have a blog, Facebook, and Twitter, but as those rely on writing, I didn’t have anything that focused on the visual elements of fiction, so I took to Pinterest.
Browsing for ideas, I came across a number of authors using Pinterest to promote their writing, but more often than not, I came to find a collection of inspiration images and quotes on writing. They’re certainly interesting and nice to look at, but it doesn’t really give me an insight into the book itself. We’re told to make ourselves into a brand, but we are a brand that sells books. Would you rather a chocolate company gave you pictures of quotes about sweets, or spoilers on what flavour they are coming out with next?
So, with this in mind, I decided on a slightly different approach.
My main question before adding a pin is: “If I were a reader, would this give me an insight into the book?” When marketing a book, authors are constantly told to be interesting, not to just scream ‘buy my book’ into a vacuum. So, when I created the board for my upcoming book, Dead and Buryd, I left the inspiration and writing tribulations behind, focusing instead on actual elements of the book for readers to connect with.
I am thrilled when books I enjoy are made into movies as it gives me a chance to see the objects and characters I’ve been imagining. Now, with a little Google searching, I can create that same thrill for readers by supplying pictures of the elements I, as the author, have imagined.
Locating images that capture aspects of a Sci-Fi world can be difficult, and often not entirely accurate. However, if you’re willing to search, you can find pictures that are close enough to only need a small leap of imagination.
Images can be found everywhere, whether you’re using Pinterest’s search function, Google, Tumblr, Facebook, or some other website. Pinterest also accepts video links, so I’ve made a ‘Dead and Buryd Playlist. I’ve also started making my own pins by creating digital images with quotes from the book. I’ve even drawn a few items.
When linking one of these drawings over to my Facebook page, a friend asked: “I wonder if people will end up getting tattoos of those marks?” It’s thrilling and slightly scary to think about, but people do get tattoos based on books, comics, movies, and TV that they love. Search ‘Fandom Tattoos’ on Google and you’ll see a deluge of images proving just that. Fan-Art and Fan-Fiction are so popular that Amazon now sells it. Many readers love immersing themselves into a story in every way, and giving them a visual link straight into an author’s head can immediately connect with a reader.
With so much technology out there, connecting with new readers has become easier and more difficult than ever in equal measures. The technology is available to find readers all over the world who will love your books. However, tens of thousands of authors are already using these platforms, so it can be difficult to be heard about the crowd. You need a billboard, or ten… and Pinterest can be the perfect place to put them.
About the Author
Chele Cooke is the debut author of Dead and Buryd, a sci-fi thriller, and several short stories. She lives and works in the UK, although her heart at least partly belongs in San Francisco. She is also an avid cross-stitcher, music-lover, and traveler.