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One of my goals for this year was to study marketing very seriously, and I’ve been doing that. Along the way, I’ve found a lot of advice, some wacky, some great, so I’m picking and choosing. One of the bits I’ve found that has puzzled me was using Pinterest as a marketing tool for your writing.

Nah. I don’t see it.

I mean, I do use Pinterest. And I use it for writing, as well as personal stuff, but as marketing? Nope.

I was pretty embarrassed a while back when my Pinterest somehow got linked to my FB and everything I pinned was getting posted. And since I pin things in big batches, I must have been slamming people with post after post. I got it sorted immediately, but it did turn me off the link between pinning things and selling things. It was just…too much.

But back to how I DO use Pinterest. First, y’all know what Pinterest is, right? The way I use it, it’s sort of a scrapbook of images other people have uploaded to the site that catch my eye, or inform me, or help me visualize something. You can sort all those images into different boards, like cutting pictures out of a magazine and sticking them into different folders. And if you find someone who posts a lot of things you like, you can follow one board in particular, or you can follow all that person’s boards.

As a writer, I have the expected sorts of boards about book nerdiness and books I like.

But I also have a board for Nerd Love – all my fandom geekouts, lots of pictures of Avengers and Sherlock, and people generally talking about nerds and science stuff.

I have boards for each of the stories and series I’ve written, or am in the process of writing.

But I also have a board about Vintage Style because I have a minor obsession with 1940s glamour and fashion. That’s separate from my Façonnable board, which features pretty much any type of clothing or shoe that I find beautiful. And that’s different from my Bijoux board, which is all about jewelry.

I have a board called Writers Write, and another about the Business of Writing. I have another one that’s just Characters – people, expressions, and moments that catch my eye. I may never use any of them, but they’re interesting.

And then there’s the board about Chickens. Because…chickens.

My favorite board are the ones about Fairytales and Russian Folklore!

The point is, I use Pinterest in a variety of ways. Yes, some of them are directly related to writing. The boards for my stories are full of pictures of the people I use as models for my characters.

I’m not a very observant person. I don’t think I notice things that others do, particularly in appearance. I once wrote an entire novella and never once mentioned what the heroine looked like except, I think, she was built like a brick ****house. Yes, I had The Commodores in my head for most of that story. And yes, I had to go back and layer in description because it was needed. Ever since then, I find pictures of people who more or less resemble the character in my head, and use them for description.

My current wip that features an older H/h in my Wolves of Fenrir series. While I haven’t found quite the right picture of the heroine, it turns out that this picture of Liam Neeson was a great model for my hero. Of all the pictures I looked through of all kinds of men, this one had just the right look and feel for the character.

That picture turned into this description:

His face was nothing but broad, flat planes, except for his nose, long and hawkish. It was a nose with great character, she thought. It had been broken once or twice, and not set properly because there was a distinct bump in the middle, and it canted a bit to the left.

The nano-armor he wore left little to the imagination, and she let her gaze wander down a chin that looked like it had had a few fingers broken on it, over the strong column of his neck, to a set of broad shoulders. He wasn’t bulky, but there wasn’t a soldier on this ship who wasn’t in fighting trim. And despite his age, this man looked as though he could still take out a squad of warriors half his age.

I also find places or pictures that speak to me about a moment. This quote, for instance, is perfect for that same story.

Isn’t that perfect for an older heroine?

Now, there are issues with using Pinterest. For instance, I don’t have any kind of permission to share the above image, but meme’d Tumblr posts in that format are typically designed for sharing, not to mention that it’s got at least some attribution. A lot of pins don’t even have that much, and it can be impossible to ever find out the original source.

I would have shared a photo of Liam Neeson, but it’s not mine to share. The link takes you to my pin, which comes from IMDB.

Pinterest and copyright law can make for a total quagmire of legal problems, and those can come back to bite you hard on the ass you if you choose to share copyrighted images on your website or FB of what-have-you. I know authors who eschew* Pinterest entirely because it’s not worth the potential legal hassle. I keep my Pinterest pictures on Pinterest, and almost never share pins anywhere else. (Obviously, I just used one here, so “almost never.”)

Overall, I find Pinterest extremely useful for me as a writer for finding inspiration and information. Plus, AWESOME procrastination tool because…chickens!

*I never get to use the word ‘eschew.’ Yay for obscure word opportunities!

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