Lately, I have been hearing this phrase a lot. Oh, first, let me explain that this is geared toward writers/authors. It will have only a small amount of relevance to the general reader who is not trying to market and sell books. Let me tell you a few of my least favorite phrases with regard to authors.
“Oh good another time suck. Pinterest can’t possibly serve any purpose when promoting a book.”
“Twitter is useless. It is just a time suck that serves no purpose.”
“People on Facebook are just lonely people who have no lives.”
Why would I want to be on Good Reads, it’s just a bunch of writers promoting to each other.”
“I don’t need a LibraryThing page. No one ever goes there.”
“What the hell is JacketFlap?”
“Blogs are overdone and outdated. Nobody reads blogs or comments so I am not going to waste my time.”
Come on people. Let’s think this through a little bit. Every single one of these has the potential to be a time suck. You know what makes it a time suck? When you sign up, follow a bunch of people and then never do anything else with it ever again. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s break this down one by one.
I’ll start with the new kid on the block.
Now, some might think this is a stupid concept, but it would appear that many more love the idea. I personally, LOVE IT. I have so many hobbies and interests that I never get to share or talk about with anyone. Pinterest has given me an outlet for this. No matter how weird the interest–one of my more popular boards is “How Does Your Garden Grow?“
So, we know how this would work for the average Joe, and yes, folks, there are a ton of men on this network, as well as women. I get about 40 new followers a day. Problem is, I can’t follow most of them back. Actually, I can, but I won’t. This is where the time suck part comes in. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but when you add up all the little times they become one big time suck. What the hell am I talking about?
Requests from people who have signed up and either set up NO BOARDS or have set up one board with only the books they have published. This is not socializing, people, it is spamming, or as a new term I heard the other day reveals…pimping.
I don’t have time to sift through a bunch of people’s accounts when there is nothing to see. I simply don’t care. When I go to Pinterest, I want to know what you are into. I’m not saying don’t market or promote on Pinterest, I’m saying pimp responsibly. Show me what you collect, who your favorite artist is, and what your dream kitchen would look like. I care about those things. May seem silly, but I truly love getting to know other people like this.
So how does Pinterest help you promote your book? Set up a board with all the books and stories you have written. Then before you start following anyone else, pick your favorite hobby, your favorite places, and dog pictures you love and set up boards for them. After you’ve done that, then you are ready to begin following people, with the knowledge that they will get an auto-request to follow you back. Each week you can add a new board with a new interest and that will keep people coming back. Each time they come back, there is the potential that at that moment in time they will decide, “Hey, maybe I’ll read this book.” And you better have set up your book covers with direct buy links. You are not beating them over the head with your books, but you are putting up there for them to decide when the time is right to buy. ::hands raised to the heavens:: Ahhhhhh ::the glorious sound of understanding::
Lastly. Don’t just put up an account and never do anything with it. I spend no more than 10 minutes per day, sometimes every other day, updating my Pinterest boards and deciding who I want to follow. I often do it on the couch on my Kindle Fire as we watch TV after dinner. No time suck involved.
Authors, don’t be one of those people who shoves your books into everyone’s face and never gives them a reason to give a damn. Let them get to know you so they will feel as if they have a stake in your success. Readers do care about their favorite authors, and they like their favorite authors. Readers do NOT like authors who waste their time and never give them a reason to care.