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Why Authors Should Be Using Pinterest with Roseanne Cheng

Dec 21, 2022

Roseanne Cheng is the author of six books, including The Evergreen Author: Master the Art of Book Marketing and Portable Magic: How to Write and Publish a Great Book. The co-founder of Evergreen Authors—an online school that helps authors figure out the business of being a writer—she is also a Pinterest Queen. Or so I have named her.

In this episode, she broke down why Pinterest is the mostly-undiscovered platform for book promotion, how to create boards that attract the readers you want, whether you should have a page for yourself as an author or each of your books and so much more.

Plus she and her co-founder offer a FREE course on Pinterest that you can get here.

How helpful is this? Well, it's about to make me break my Pinterest cherry (will let you know how that works out).

It's all in this episode! Enjoy.




Anna David: Okay, let's talk Pinterest. So you said it blows people's minds when you talk about how useful Pinterest can be for an author. Tell me what you mean. 

Roseanne: Yeah, so Pinterest. Here's the thing about Pinterest. People think that it is a social media site. They think their people are going on there to interact with other people, or to maybe just find recipes here or there. What and that's, that is only partially true. What Pinterest really is, is a search engine, just like Google is a search engine. And Amazon is a search engine, right? So people go to Pinterest to solve a certain problem, or to look at beautiful pictures of meals they want to make or places they want to go, or whatever the case may be. Pinterest for authors is a perfect marriage. Because if you are an author, you are hopefully, in possession of a book with a beautiful cover something that is very eye catching, I don't care what your genre is, you need to have a great book cover, everybody knows that. So you already have something very visual. That's really important for Pinterest. And then as the bigger added bonus, Pinterest allows you to create different boards that are associated with your author, career, whatever that business is, fiction, nonfiction, doesn't matter. So I've had authors who, maybe they wrote a memoir about traveling to Italy. And they've got a board that is, you know, that shows their favorite Italy memoirs. And their book is obviously among those things that are pinned, but then maybe they have another board that's like, favorite Italian recipes, favorite places to visit in Italy, favorite travel agents in Italy. That's kind of how Pinterest works. It's like this bonus website for authors. So they can use this to attract people who are already looking into the genre of what they're writing about through these different pins. Brilliant. And it's it's free, it's easy to use, it's fun to use. It's such an amazing resource for authors if they use it well. 

Anna David: So question, if you say have a beautiful cover, but nothing else associated with your book is going to make an attractive photo. Is it still useful?

Roseanne: Absolutely. Yep. So here's the other thing about Pinterest that's amazing. When you take time on Pinterest, you see that a lot of the pins that go viral or get shared a lot are pins that are connected to a blog post. Your goal as an author is on Pinterest in particular is to use those pins to lead people to wherever you want them to purchase your book. Maybe it's an Amazon site, maybe it's your website. So many authors I've worked with over the years have these beautiful websites with these blogs that they've written for years and years. And then they look at their analytics. And nobody is reading these beautiful blog posts that they have. However, if you go to Pinterest, and you create a pin, so the graphic on Pinterest is really specific, they want it to be a specific size. If you have a Canva account, you can easily make a Pinterest graphic, and make let's use that Italian author, for example. Because clearly I need a vacation. But let's say I have a website. And I have this blog about all of my travels in Italy. And one of my posts is my five favorite things to pack when I travel to Italy. And I have this post on my blog, I create a pin worthy graphic. So a beautiful graphic in Canva. I put that pin on Pinterest so that is the image. And then when somebody sees that and goes, oh, I would love to see the five things that I should pack when I go to Italy clicks on that pin. And it might not lead to a conversion to purchase your book, but it might lead somebody to your website in general where they're going to follow you on other places, and maybe contact you about speaking to their book club or whatever the case may be. There's so the opportunities on Pinterest are endless. And when authors get really creative about how to use the platform, it's really fun.

Anna David: Can you think I'm sure it must depend, but do you think it's better to link to your Amazon page where somewhere where they can when people can purchase the book directly or your own website? Or your newsletters. Yeah.

Roseanne: Yep, it depends on the pin. And so and you know, a lot of authors now are dabbling in different spaces. So maybe their book is available on Etsy. And maybe it's available on Amazon. And maybe it's available on their website. You can have as many pins as you want, so you can create five different pins leading to different places and see which one converts the best. And then you’ll know.

Anna David: Okay, stop the presses. What do you mean book on Etsy? People sell their books on Etsy? Oh, yeah. Tell me about that.

Roseanne: Yeah, people do. I mean, if you have a gift book, and you wrap it, you know, Etsy is all about beautiful, handmade gifts, right. And so if your book would match with a handmade item, I know, Etsy sells digital products, too. So yeah, it's very possible to sell on Etsy if you want to.

Anna David: So you could sell your ebook. Oh, but I guess, yeah, and your regular book, or your regular book. But if you're gonna sell your regular book, it should have something with it.

Roseanne: That's the Etsy platform. Yeah. I mean, you know, it should be beautifully packaged, or you know, there's, there's an expectation when you purchase on Etsy, that it's going to be a gift and not just show up in an Amazon bag. You know what I mean? But yeah, but authors use Etsy, too. So that's the thing about Pinterest, though, is that you can lead people, wherever you want. Pinterest for me, one of my books is written for teachers. And I know, from Pinterest that teachers are on Pinterest all the time. And I know, as an educator, I was on Pinterest all the time. So I would put that book, or pins that would lead people to that book on Pinterest, and I sold it all over the place. Sometimes on Amazon, sometimes on Teachers Pay Teachers, sometimes for my website, you know, the pins speak for themselves.

Anna David: And if you sell on Etsy, you're gonna have the contact information of the person who bought it, as opposed to if you sell it on Amazon. 

Roseanne: This is true. Yeah, I mean, you know that every platform has its pros and cons, right. So Etsy is, you know, there's, there's, there could be some post office time, and some people don't want that. So you have to, you know, obviously, you know, we say at Evergreen Authors all the time, the goal isn't to be everywhere, all at once. Choose the platforms that work best for you. And for some authors, they're like, Etsy is great. And some authors are like, meh, I'm just gonna focus on Amazon. And that's fine.

Anna David: So, Pinterest. Now what happened when I went to your webinar was I think I begged you guys to do my Pinterest for me. And you basically were like, we can't do that. But we can teach you how to do it. Is that still true?

Roseanne: Well, sort of. So we, we don't really we used to do like quarterly webinars where we would, you know, people would come in and we could kind of walk them through how to set up their Pinterest page, we used to do these kinds of Pinterest takeovers for authors. We don't do them anymore, just because we are just sort of merged into different parts of the business. But we still tell authors all the time, that you want to take advantage of any place that looks like a bonus website for you. Pinterest is one, your Amazon Author Page is one, you know, it's always such a missed opportunity. And you don't have to look any further. You don't need to hire somebody like me to create your Pinterest page for you. Go to Pinterest and spend some time on the platform. Find people who are writing in your genre, or just not writing in your genre, it doesn't matter. As a teacher, I used to learn from people who taught outside of my specific course all the time. Find people who write in a totally different genre and see all the ways that they're using Pinterest. I worked with a fiction author who was really awesome on Pinterest for a long time. And she had all these different boards of things that were just very tangentially related to this fantasy world that she had made. So she had these, you know, a board that was dedicated to, you know, maps of, you know, this kingdom that she had made. And then another board that was, it was something about like aromatherapy connected to all of her characters. I mean, people get so creative on that platform. And that's specifically why creative people should be using it. Because they're already there that people are hungry for that. And I will say that the caveat that I want to add here and this is true for any platform that authors are using, is you can't you have to know how it works. So the word so if anybody's listening to this, and they're thinking to themselves, Oh, I'm just going to hurry up and get an account on Etsy on Pinterest, and just start pinning stuff because Roseanne said that I should probably do that. That's not a great way to use the platform. That's like going on to Amazon and pressing two buttons and running some ads. And then being shocked when those ads, don't convert to sales. Spend some time on the platform, see how other authors are using it, see how comfortable you are on it, see if it's a place where you want to be and where you would enjoy spending time. And then be strategic about your time that you spend on there, we have found that part of that strategy is understanding what the platform is doing. So Pinterest, especially over the last couple of years has really changed. When it first started, it was just stagnant pins. Now, they really reward pins that have video content, they have story pins, pins that are tutorials, if you look at any cookbook author who has pins, you can see the video elements in there. So what you really want to do is kind of follow Pinterest, look at the website itself and look at the sorts of pins that they're promoting. Your analytics are there for you to look at at anytime. So you know, they they're going to reward users, users who are using it to its fullest potential.

Anna David: Now, out of the okay, so with videos, could you post the same ones that you're posting as reels on Instagram? Or if you're posting shorts on YouTube? Is that a good strategy?

Roseanne: Absolutely.

Anna David: Okay. Yeah, because different people are everywhere.

Roseanne: Pinterest is for evergreen content. So if you have if you have a story, or a YouTube video that is very specific to something timely, like this is just happening just today, then I wouldn't put it on Pinterest. But if it's something that is evergreen, absolutely.

Anna David: So into obviously, maybe this isn't true, but I'm gonna say different genres are going to work better than others, like a business book may not work as well on Pinterest. Correct or not correct?

Roseanne: Not correct.

Anna David: Not correct?

Roseanne: Yeah, not correct. I would say because think about it this way. Say you wrote a book that is and the last time I checked, Pinterest was pretty female dominated. So it's mainly females that are using the platform. Let's say I wrote a business book for female entrepreneurs. And I go to Pinterest. And again, it's a search engine. And I'm I go in the search bar, and I go, um, business tips for women. And I see all of these beautiful pins that link to five things that all women should know before they start a business. 10 budget friendly ways to start your business. Five books that changed my life before I started my business. That is going to be incredible for you as a business author. So you know, it's it's a matter of yeah, I mean, I'm sure there's some stuff that wouldn't work well on Pinterest. But if you get creative, you can probably find an angle there.

Anna David: And do you recommend it over the other platforms? Because people don't necessarily think of it first.

Roseanne: Um, I wouldn't say that. The thing with Pinterest that we tell authors all the time, is that it's very different. It's a very unique platform. And they like it that way. Pinterest does not want to be the next Facebook or Instagram. They might borrow ideas for reels and stuff and stories. But there's a reason that their graphics are that very specific size. It's because they want you to spend more time on their platform. So I would say that it's not. It's not social media. There's a social component to it. I guess, because you're sharing you can. It's kind of convoluted, but you can message people and make comments. But it's in no way comparable to something like Facebook, or Instagram or TikTok or anything like that. In terms of connection. It's what I would say is that it's more comparable to Amazon, because again, it's a search bar. It's a search engine that you want to be part of.

Anna David: Yeah, Amazon is the third largest search engine after YouTube and Google I wonder, I wonder where Pinterest lies on that. But now an author, does it make more sense for an author to do an author page or to do specific pages for their different books? If they have more than one book?

Roseanne: I would do an author page because I feel as though I mean, truthfully, we're all just too busy to manage too many different pages, right? It's like I say the same thing with the author website, too. If you're writing in two different jobs, just do one. Yeah, like own it all. You know what I mean? Like that's, it's great. And then that way you can really focus on growing your audience there. And again, this is the brilliance of Pinterest is that if you let's say you're an author who's writing in two vastly different genres, you can have different boards that are associated with those genres. And, and the pins are going to lead the right people to the board that you're talking about you, you won't have to worry about business authors coming to your fantasy page, as long as your pins are being labeled appropriately, which they should be. So yeah, I mean, I would just say one, do one really well, you know, and focus on that.

Anna David: And what's, what are tips for growth on Pinterest?

Roseanne: So Pinterest wants you to use the platform, it's the same on any other platform. They want you on there as much as possible, they want you pinning and repinning. The thing that makes Pinterest really special. And I think most social media, you know, Facebook will say that they're like this as well, but they are looking for quality pins all the time. So that means that your visuals need to be beautiful. Not just okay. But beautiful. There's been many authors who have come to us and said, wait, I don't understand why my Pinterest page is not doing anything. I'm not getting any traction. And I look at their boards. And it's like, there's, there's no, there's dead links everywhere. There's really bad images, or maybe like really unprofessional looking images. It's more important to have beautiful imagery on Pinterest probably than any other platform, if you're going to be creating kind of a bonus website there. And they're going to reward that. They're going they see those beautiful pins and want to push those up in the algorithm too. The thing that's difficult about Pinterest is that, you know, like, you know, there's kind of common wisdom around say like a Facebook or Instagram, Twitter, you're supposed to be tweeting or, you know, posting a few times a week, right, at least. I would say on Pinterest, they want you to be posting a whole lot. So the beautiful thing is, is that you can repin and repost you don't have to continually make new blog posts or continually make new pins. And there are there are apps that can help you. There's one called Tailwind that can help repin you know have pins pin once and then repin several times throughout the day. But I would say that's probably the biggest challenge on Pinterest is to make sure you're actually using the platform, the worst thing you can do is go on there, create a beautiful site, create some boards, and then never login again.

Anna David: Would you say you, do you have to do it every day?

Roseanne: Pin every day?

Anna David: Yeah, it's ideal.

Roseanne: It is. Yeah. And just like every other platform, you want to take a look and see when Pinterest is being used most actively. I remember when I first started using Pinterest, this might not still be true. But I remember seeing that, you know, Saturday mornings were really great time for Pinterest. Because think about it. That's when people are scrolling through their phones, maybe looking for dinner for that night. They're dreaming about their next trip to Italy or whatever the case may be. So I would spend my time Saturday morning I would literally just carve out I'm going to spend 30 minutes on Pinterest every Saturday morning.

Anna David: But you have to post every day, right?

Roseanne: Well, yeah, but then I would yeah, but I used an app called Tailwind to actually schedule my pins pins throughout the week.

Anna David: Okay. Okay. But make sure.

Roseanne: It's possible to do that. But again, you know, I feel like it's very difficult to start scheduling pins without actually spending some time on the platform first and doing it manually. And yes, you want to do it a few times a day. 

Anna David: And you mentioned virality. I think most people including me didn't know things could go viral on Pinterest, but they can.

Roseanne: They can. Absolutely they can yeah.

Anna David: What sorts of things or is it just somewhat random like that Tiktok?

Roseanne: It's I know, I mean, it's always kind of a guessing game when it comes to these sorts of things. But I have found that it's the pins that are like listicles. So it's like the top 10 XYZ things. We have a couple of blog posts on Evergreen Authors that we continually repin on Pinterest that do really well. Just because we we can see it through the analytics. Anything timely is going to be good. So if you have a book that's perfect for the holidays, now's a really great time to start thinking about setting those holiday pins. But yeah, I mean, it's it's moderately random, but the thing is, we always want to focus on quality over quantity. So that's that for me, that's the most important thing.

Anna David: Um, okay, hey, um, what I was gonna ask me is about virality. So have you had pins go viral for you or your clients?

Roseanne: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, we've had several hit. And you know, it's like the word viral is sort of a, it's not like we're, you know, on the nightly news that night, but we've had several pins with that within the first hour or so have had 5000 views.

Anna David: Yeah.

Roseanne: Which is fantastic. It's way better than you could get on a platform like Facebook, without paying for it. Do you know what I mean?

Anna David: Yeah, and I when I say viral I this expression, VFM viral for me. You know, like

Roseanne: I love it.

Anna David: You rather than being like it has to have a million, like, what is a lot more than you normally get is a good way to think about it. Um, so if people, you have the Pinterest course, if people want to learn from you, what should they do?

Roseanne: So we, what we suggest, and this is our Pinterest webinar is a free webinar that we put on our Evergreen Authors site. So if anybody's listening to this, go to and you will find two free videos, one on Amazon advertising and one on Pinterest, watch that thing in its entirety. And get a sense of whether or not Pinterest is right for you. We you know, I we always find that Pinterest is like the gift that we give people who come to Evergreen Authors, because our whole philosophy is writing a book is a lot of work and selling it is it can feel really hard and terrible. But it shouldn't, you should feel joyful to bring to put your book out there. And if you're doing anything to market your book that feels like a waste of time, like you're selling your soul, that you hate it, then don't do it. Please like I'm begging you, don't do it. Find a way to connect with people that's really joyful for you. And for some authors that we've worked with, Pinterest is that thing, and they never even thought about using it. And so it's worthwhile to just look into it. If you watch the webinar, and you're like, no, it's not for me, I promise there's other ways that you can find your joy in marketing. And that's what we do at Evergreen Authors.

Anna David: And so is there a paid, isn't there a paid course that you offer after the webinar? No,

Roseanne: No, just a gift.

Anna David: Just a gift?

Roseanne: Just a gift, yeah.

Anna David: So tell me more about Evergreen and what you do offer?

Roseanne: Yeah, so at Evergreen Authors, we are all about a sustainable writing career for authors, not just like the great launch, and then suddenly you can't sell books. We have been in this business for a long time. We're authors ourselves. So all about having authors figure out one or two things that bring them joy, and doing those two things really well. And having those things convert to sales. We want realistic goals. We're not interested in gaming any systems, we're not interested in any sort of weird, like, if you follow me, I'll follow you back like that. To me, that is a huge waste of time, and doesn't really help anybody sell books or get any messages across. So we're all about one or two things that work really well. For us. We, you know, we've been writing for a really long time, we've written a lot of books, I'm not super interested in being famous, I don't need to be, you know, stopped on the street, like Stephen King would be. So I'm really focused on just making sure that when people go to those search engine sites like Amazon, or Pinterest, that they see my book when they when they're looking for its content, you know, like it says, if my book is cool for you, great. Go ahead, buy it. If not, that's cool, too. I go on to the next thing. That's fine. And so we do that through teaching people how to use targeted ads on on Amazon. We have a course called Algorithm Alchemy that teaches how to run ads on Amazon through pay per click keywords. I will say that authors who have taken that course have used that same knowledge to run ads on Pinterest. We just don't have a course around it. But the same sort of lessons apply where you know, it's like a it's a pay per click kind of thing. And it's it's again, it's about matchmaking your ideal reader with your book, you know, no, stop trying to sell your book to everybody just sell it to the people who are already searching for the content. They're happy, you're happy and you have a sustainable career instead of constantly chasing the next sale.

Anna David: And so is it it's book marketing, would you that's how that's how it is and people can hire you or or do the Amazon course.

Roseanne: Yeah, usually. So we don't we we are strictly courses now. So we don't take on other people's marketing campaigns. We're asked that pretty much on a daily basis at Evergreen Authors. People have offered us quite a bit of money to take on their campaigns for them, you know that. And, and we could probably make a lot more money if we did that. But truthfully, we feel so strongly that when people understand how the marketing work is done, it is so much more beneficial for them in the long run. Yeah, when I when I learned how Amazon ads worked, and let me just be brutally honest, right now, I am the least technical person you have ever met in your life. When Josie my wonderful business partner came to me and was like, I'm going to teach you how to do Amazon ads. I said, absolutely not. I don't do that. I go do school visits. And that's it. And I sell it, you know, it's, and she was like, well, you're exhausted. And maybe just try this one time. And so she taught me through her course, how easy it was. And then when I discovered that I could do it, it meant that truly anybody could do it. And so that's how we teach people how to do this.

Anna David: Um, yeah, I will say long time ago, I did Dave Chesson course on it. And I just felt, and I love everything he does. And I felt thoroughly confused. And so not for me. So maybe I'm just less technical than you. But there's, you know, like, as to your point, it's like, there's only so many things each of us can do. I'm a big fan right now of, you know, for a long time, people said, oh, just just do one platform, forget about the others. And now that things are changing so quickly, I'm telling people do a little bit all the time, just like make sure every week you're posting everywhere. That's what I say, it's not ideal, but it's the reality. I'm just seeing, you know, people's accounts cancelled and billionaires buying platforms,

Roseanne: Correct

Anna David: Overnight. And, you know, I just think that's that's how it is right now.

Roseanne: I think you that's very wise advice, particularly in this time that we're living in. I will add, though, that I think that the best way that authors can keep their sanity around that, is to make sure that everything they post also has a home on their website. So that website is not going to go anywhere. So maybe if you have you know, I mean, I see people using TikTok all the time, I don't use TikTok as an author, I probably wouldn't recommend it for authors. But if you want to be on there, fab, go for it. Save your videos, though, save them somewhere, and maybe make a reel on your website, that is just those same videos that you're posting, because you don't know what's going to happen to that platform.

Anna David: I know that is genius. So I mean, you could theoretically just have a page on your website with every single video you've ever posted on Instagram, or TikTok.

Roseanne: And those would make amazing pins, by the way.

Anna David: And they'd make amazing pins. Oh my God, so many takeaways. So I will definitely link in the show notes to the free Pinterest course and all the other things. Is that the best place for people to find you, what if they want to know more?

Roseanne: is the place to go. So you will find free stuff, you'll find some paid stuff, you'll find some courses on there. Pretty much every author who comes to us for marketing help finds something on Evergreen Authors that is going to help inspire them. And if not, that's cool, too. We just hope that you see our website and or at least even as a creative person, take our message that you don't, the marketing work does not have to be a chore. Anybody who's telling you that is probably just trying to sell you something. It's not that horrible, as long as you get really honest about your goals and expectations. And you just focus accordingly and keep your eye on quality over quantity. 

Anna David: And remember very well said, but also remember, a small interactive audience is worth more than a large audience who doesn't care any day.

Roseanne: I couldn't agree more. Yeah.

Anna David: It’s not about the numbers.

Roseanne: It's not, and this is where it's tough in the social media days is because you know, we really do equate likes and comments and follows as success. For me as an author, that's not success. For me, it's book sales. For me, it's and this just happened yesterday, I got an email from a random person who picked up my book. I have a book called The Evergreen Author. And she read it and said she had been terrified of marketing her book she it was coming out she was she was ready to pull the plug on the whole process because she was so scared of it. But my book had freed her, it made her feel like she could just do a couple things do them well and and not worry about keeping up with all the other fluff out there and all the voices telling her she has to be everywhere in every doing all the things. That for me is success. To continually get that feedback is what I'm looking for. Yeah.

Anna David: Yep. Well, Roseanne, thank you so much. I really appreciate is there anything you want to add that I didn't ask you?

Roseanne: No, I just think you're fantastic. Thank you so much for all of your questions.

Anna David: This was a total delight. I knew it would be. You guys, thank you for listening. I will see you.