Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Here’s another promotional tool that will drive you crazy. I just learned about Pinterest, where you pin up pictures online that relate to your book, your characters, the locations in your story, your vacation in New Guinea, your restaurant meals, or your life in general. This acts as an online pinboard that other folks can view. If someone spots a photo on my board they like, they can share it. You tell what the picture means and people comment on it. At least, this is my understanding so far.


But who owns the rights to the photos you post? What happens, for example, if I imagine a character looking like Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate: SG1? Can I just copy his photo off the Web? According to one person I asked, yes I can, if Pinterest attributes the source. In some cases, though, I’ve cut out photos from magazines of celebrities or people on society pages and scanned them into my computer because they look like my characters. Can I use these photos? I doubt it, because I don’t have the people’s permission. It seems safer to provide your own pictures.

This promises to be another time consuming promotional activity. I'd have to learn how to use the site, determine a theme for each board, and upload the photos. Do we really need more work to do? Or is this a great promotional opportunity we might be missing if we let it go? There’s always the pressure to jump on the next cart that wheels along. But hop on too many wagons, and you might fall off.

Oh, and you have to request an invitation to join this site. Then you register using your Facebook or Twitter account. This is what the site says:

How Pinterest Works
After you have created an Account (defined below) to become a Member of Pinterest, you may use the Services to create, view and follow visual collections. In order to create a visual collection, you may (i) upload images from your computer by selecting the "Add a Pin" section of the Site, (ii) use the Application to take and upload images, or (iii) install and use our "Pin It" browser toolbar to upload images, by following the instructions provided on the "About" section of the Site. Please note that your visual collections will be publicly viewable by all visitors to the Site and Application. In order to follow the visual collections of other Members, you may search for other visual collections via the Site and Application and select the option to "Follow" such Members.

Here are some tips, kindly shared by another author on one of my listserves:

So do any of you already participate in Pinterest? Or would you do it now that you’re aware of this site?


  1. I hear it is the greatest thing since the invention of sliced bread, and every author who isn't using it has no hope of success. I've decided to pass on this one. Like you, I don't think it is legal to post images without the copyright owner's permission. I don't have the time or money to go create or purchase the rights to the images I might want to post.

  2. I already have too much to do.

    Or, will I miss out on the middle-American women who would love to read my book, and the men they love who love to read?

    What's an author to do?

    I need a secretary.


  3. Paula, I need an office assistant too. Wish I could afford a virtual one to do my social networking.

    Tim, your first line made me chuckle. Pinterest is probably good for posting our own travel photos, etc. and gaining attention that way. I'd like to hear from someone on this blog who uses it.

  4. This is an interesting concept and idea, Nancy.

    While one might make some sort of fair use argument for using someone else's pictures,I don't think that the creative community is well-served by doing this. I'd limit postings to photos taken by the poster.

    For myself...what Paula said. Where is my Bunter when I really need him?

  5. Yeah, someone mentioned this a week or so ago on an email loop I'm on. My eyes glazed over and I hit delete.

    I haven't even learned to like FB yet.

    I'll pass.

  6. Guys, I'm glad I am not the only one who has doubts. I'm having critique group at my house this morning (hence I'll resume commenting after lunch) and one of my writing pals has just joined Pinterest. I'll get her reaction.

  7. I've seen this a bit on twitter but it looks like another weird time suck notion. Not for me, but thanks for explaining it, Nancy.

  8. I'm looking to cut down on Internet time, not expand it, so I think I too will pass.

  9. I spoke to my critique partner who is enjoying Pinterest but more from a personal viewpoint. As a promotional tool, it may be less viable than some other sites out there.

  10. I looked at Pinterest but frankly the whole thing looked too complicated to me. Of course, you gotta understand that when I was born, we didn't even have color TV or pushbutton phones, so the whole newfangled universe of Pinterest and Reddit and whatnotit makes my head hurt.

  11. I received an invitation to join a week or so ago. I was curious, and because other writer friends were all abuzz about it, so I joined. I set up a few "boards" but I really have no real idea how to use it effectively.

    Some folks have multiple boards, and following them is like going through a rabbit warren. Or a medieval maze. I've been back there maybe twice since joining, and I'm seriously considering UN-joining.

    I'm trying to promote my debut book release and I don't see that venue as an effective option.

    Just my three cents.

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  13. NOOOOOOO!!!! Not another digital thing to suck my time away!!!!!

    I'm not even looking at it. Not just because it'll just be another time suck for me, but because upon first hearing about it I immediately transliterated the name of the site from Pinterest to Pinatarrest and can't seem to erase mental images of 6 year old gangsters rushing in and fighting for candy.

    And you know me, once those images stick they're stuck.

  14. Steven, we didn't have color TV when I was born either. But I'm not so much concerned about learning this new site as the time sink involved. I don't have enough hours in the day as it is to keep up with everything, never mind writing. I'm with Kathryn, looking to cut down on online time but it seems an impossible goal.

    Peggy, a maze is a good way to describe that site!

  15. Hey all! I'm usually a lurker, but I though I'd put in my two cents (if it's even worth that much).

    I joined Pinterest several months ago. Although I rarely post anything of my own, and I definitely don't use it as a promotional tool, I have found it useful for other areas of my life like cooking and homeschooling.

    It's been a great way to get ideas and inspiration through photos, blog posts, and inspirational sayings/quotes.

    But that's just me!

  16. Ralene, I'd probably find Pinterest fun for recipes and such but am afraid I'd get immersed and come up for air several hours later. I still might check it out at some point.

  17. Here are a couple of more sites on the subject:

  18. Oh, they meant PINENTERST? I joined "ventriloquist" by mistake and nailed 16 dummies on the barn.

  19. I hadn't heard of this so will have to take a look, but as I already feel like I'm behind the eight ball on social media, I doubt it will be something I'll get around to actually using!

    Where is Bunter when you need him?

  20. Thanks for explaining what Pinterest is, Nancy. I had wondered, but haven't had time to find out for myself! Doubt I'll have time to use it, either.

  21. Nancy, I see that folks from FRW are joining Pinterest. It's still an unknown to me. I'd hate to miss the fun, but another social media center is a bit daunting for my schedule at the moment.

    I look forward to hearing how it works for you. You've always had your finger on the pulse of new ideas. :)

  22. I have joined as NJCohen. So far I haven't figured out how to much of anything except post a couple of my own book covers. I'll play with it when I have spare time, whenever that is!

  23. I know I'm late to the party, but I've been playing with Pinterest and traffic to my blog is up about 25%, it is the main source of my traffic.


  24. I know I'm late to the post but I happened across this headline today:

    A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear

    Read more:

    (PS: Am I the only one that's having trouble with the CAPTCHA? It seems to have gotten harder to prove I'm human.)