Writers, Why It's Time to Renew Your Love Affair with Pinterest

Image courtesy of Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Writers, these days, know all too well that social media and creating a thriving platform are a critical part of our job description. There are so many social media sites and all writers want to know, “Which one is the best?”

I don’t know if I can answer that question because writers are unique people with equally unique personalities, interests and time constraints. Thus, what I am going to do today is show you guys why Pinterest can be useful for your platform and even how to sidestep some of the copyright concerns.

For those who don’t know what Pinterest is, Pinterest is a place where users can “pin” images, video or other interesting content to digital boards. But why should you love Pinterest? Here is why…

Pinterest Can Help with the Creative Process

Pinterest is visual, so it will stimulate different create centers in the brain. Feeling burned out? In a rut? Want a creative kick-start? Few things can get the creative juices flowing like a lunch break spent on Pinterest. I have a board for images I find particularly inspiring that I call…ready for this? Inspiration.

Writers spend a lot of time with 26 letters in various combinations. We are immersed in black letters on a white page, yet, our goal is to use words to create worlds.

Whoa. Say that five times fast.

When we have an idea for a novel, it can be helpful to scour Pinterest for images that describe the characters or setting. By having a picture, we can be far more detailed in description where it counts. Create various boards for ideas you have for books, fragments and scraps that might one day make a novel, screenplay or short story. By stimulating the visual cortex, we expand our creative capacities. If authors can collect playlists that inspired a book, why not Pinterest boards that contributed too?

Pinterest Boards Can Create Community with Fans

The best social media platform is one that engages others and creates community. For those authors who are published, why not encourage fans to create Pinterest boards around a character or a book? Maybe collect images that reflect the world as they saw it? Use this for promotion and hold contests for the most creative Pinterest boards. Award prizes or even just some recognition. Maybe highlight the best boards. Get the fans involved. Let them use/contribute their own images.

I know that when NYTBSA James Rollin’s latest book, Bloodlines was released, he was featuring a new character, Kane a war dog. I suggested that he reach out to his military, fire and police fans and ask for pictures of their service dogs to highlight on their own special Pinterest board. This way the fans 1) can be part of something bigger 2) can be part of a community and 3) can have a little slice of recognition. Let the fans have a moment of fame. We all need one!

Pinterest without Fear

I know a lot of people are afraid of the whole copyright violation issue. A lot of writers have been spooked, but I think we can relax. The world is changing and so is the nature of copyright.

Every company out there would love for an ad or a commercial to go viral, so the smart companies are openly sharing content. Allstate counts on us LOVING the Mayhem commercials enough to share them with our network (ROFL Mayhem as teenage girl).

Yes, some people need to catch up and we should be smart, but there isn’t really a need to go deleting our Pinterest accounts out of fear. But I get that people are jumpy, so here are some fixes:

WANA Commons–Take the Plunge

Image Courtesy of Frank Selmo WANA Commons

One solution is to look for images on WANA Commons.  I started WANA Commons so that writers would have a place where they could find beautiful images for their blogs for free and without fear. The WANAs worldwide stepped up, and now there are now over three thousand images and climbing every day. This is where I get a lot of my stuff from.

For those shutterbug WANAs, please contribute to our archives. The more images we have, the better and this will help YOUR exposure and SEO (search engine optimization–search ranking). Bloggers are FREE advertising!

Harness the Fans

Also if we will engage people with Pinterest and let them contribute, that should take care of a lot of the copyright drama. For instance, I recommended that Jim get images from his fans, and by them (fans) contributing, they were agreeing they held the copyright and were releasing copyright to Jim/Pinterest.

Here is his Pinterest board of War Dogs. And for any military peeps out there, feel free to contribute to Jim’s board or at least pass on the word.

Just like I asked the WANAs for images, feel free to ask your followers. We all take way too many pictures and it is a real treat to have those pictures gain attention and love instead of sitting in a hard drive where no one gets to enjoy them. Send the fans out on photo treasure hunts and reward them for collecting images.

Have fans create their own Pinterest boards for the stories of ours they love. If fans create their own pin boards about our books, characters or stories, this is still powerful word of mouth (AND wonderful engagement), but WE, the author benefit without the risk. Since the fans are just creating an homage to a story they love, then they are just regular Pinterest participants and not very interesting to lawsuit happy trolls. A fan isn’t “profiting” off pinning an image that reminds them of a favorite book. But encourage fans to use their own pictures. It makes it more special that way anyway.

See if you can get fans talking and sharing images. Create a community using images. Most of us are fried from too much e-mail and so pretty pictures are a nice brain vacation. These pin boards might add depth, texture and dimension to your stories you never imagined possible.

Pinterest is a wonderful tool and I wish this copyright foolery would just STOP. I have found more sites I never would have found because of Pinterest. Shabby Apple is my FAVORITE and I intend on buying one of everything as a reward for getting rid of the final baby weight. But, we as writers do need to be careful and again, that is what places like WANA Commons is for, so you guys can enjoy and share pretty pictures without the scare…until the world and copyright laws catch up.

Pinterest is a splendid tool for word of mouth. With billions of posts a day on the Internet, we all suffer a discoverability problem. Pinterest (and sites like it) help that problem, so in my book, they ROCK. I hope I at least helped you look at Pinterest in a new way. We can take advantage of this site without a lot of the problems. And yes, it is another social site, but this one is easy and fun because who doesn’t love looking at pretty pictures?

What are your thoughts? Do you love Pinterest? What unique ways do you use your Pinterest boards? Share! We love hearing from you!

Heck, I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. A word for writers who like to keep their inspiration private: LoveIt.com has a very easy to use interface and offers private boards. Functions very much like Pinterest (so no learning curve), but it has that option, as well as a more interactive and varied community. (i.e. there aren’t quite as female-centric as Pinterest).

    1. Great to know. Thanks!

  2. I seriously never considered this idea as a writer. Thanks for this article. It’s so true. I save all of these images on my desktop for inspiration and slow my laptop down. I am a freelance writer so for certain clients, depending upon the subject, I manage their Pinterest pages. I just never thought to do my own. Awesome idea!

  3. Great article! I appreciate your insights.

    • Coleen Patrick on August 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, it’s like you read my mind every week. Every time I’m wondering or worrying your post comes along and offers me information. Thanks!
    And I love Pinterest! It’s been so much fun creating story boards and boards for fashion and food and everything. 🙂 I am bookmarking this post, you have great marketing ideas here. Thanks!

    1. Well, we writers all tend to fret/worry about the same stuff, LOL. Thrilled to help. Sometimes it just takes looking at old problems in new ways :D.

  4. I love Pinterest, but when I heard one of my commenters was sued for re-pinning a pretty photo to one of her inspiration boards I deleted mine and started over with only pins that I know are safe. My boards are sadly lacking photos now, but it didn’t take long to grow them the first time. It won’t take them long to grow them again.

    It also means *everything* I pin is safe to re-pin, so follow away! 😉

  5. More often than not, Pinterest makes me hungry. 🙂

    1. Megan, that’d be the reason I’d go to Pinterest – to look at food pictures.

      As a dude, I feel like I don’t belong on Pinterest. Maybe that’s to my detriment. It just feels like going to the fitting room in the women’s department. Sure, you’re doing what everyone else is doing, but it just doesn’t feel right.

      1. That’s true. Not a whole lot of “manly” stuff on Pinterest yet… guess you just have to be more selective of who you follow.

  6. I’m with you, I don’t think we have to worry about the legality of Pinterest boards. It seems any body in their right mind would want the advertising that the pictures being shared provides. I love the relaxation and fun to be able to view beautiful, inspiring, awesome pictures and then grab a copy of for my own “scrapbook.” Great ideas for their use:-)

    1. Commercial entities yes, but you still should watch out for copyrighted photos where you don’t know the source. Photographer sites in particular who make their living selling photos; Just saying!

  7. I am just starting to dip my toe in the pinterest pool, so this was very helpful. Thank you!!

  8. Thanks for another great post. I started Pinterest a few weeks ago and fell in LOVE. . . I would go there during the day to look at all my favorite things and feel better. It was like a hit of pure chocolate. But then I read all those horror stories about people getting sued and I took it down because I got scared. It’s nice to know there’s the WANA commons place to get photos without the worry. Maybe if I get brave I’ll start one up again!

  9. I resisted Pinterest for a long time. You gave me the push I needed to try it. Now I have to avoid it or get sucked in. 🙂 Thanks for this post…good advice.

  10. I love Pinterest. As a writer and artist I was using it all the time for visual inspiration. I have a fictional town that I’ve created for a series. When I first started I just pined everything I came across that I loved. Now with all the copy-writing issues I wondering if I should start over. The thought of that makes me want to cry. I have also contribute to the WANAs, archives. Awesome idea.

  11. This reassures me of the copyright fears I have of Pinterest. Too bad I’m too loaded on social networks already.

  12. I have found Pinterest even before it went viral and it has been one of my most favorite spots to hang out on line for a long time now.
    But I am one of those authors who are spooked by the recent copyright issue stories. I have a lot of gorgeous boards and many followers there but, honestly, I’m not sure if keeping it going is a good idea. Maybe if I replaced all the images with my own and those from WANA Commons (thank you for creating it, Kristen), that would make me feel safer. But it would also mean a major project with a huge time involvement. I rather write my next book. Sigh.

    Just as Amber mentioned in her comment, there are other sites that offer private boards. Roni Loren had a post about that a couple days ago. She has a whole list of such sites in her blog. But then again, keeping the boards private would only serve one purpose – a great inspiration to the owner of those boards and nobody else.

    I like your idea of the fan-created boards. It is a great way to engage the readers!

    I also have a question about WANA Commons images. I understand they are shared freely for everyone to use. But wouldn’t it be better to have a disclaimer on WANA Commons for everyone who posts photos to sign and release the rights? What if I want to use an image from there for my website or a swag? Or for any other promotional materials? Don’t I need to worry that, in fact, I might be in danger of violating the cc laws? Can we use the images from WANA Commons without restrictions?

    1. I actually screwed up and I needed to change the licensing on my images to that of Creative Commons. I think for blogs we are fine just giving attribution, but for swag or book covers you might want to at least ask the contributor. As far as my images, you can use anything I post. Most of those images were sitting dormant in a computer so I freely share with you guys. But I do know there are some professional photographers contributing, and if we are going to use the images in a way that is commercial, we should at least talk to them first, out of courtesy if nothing else.

      1. Yes please. I put up some of my fave pix. But only a few because my husband pointed out someone could use my pictures for merchandising, and I’d be selling myself short. I’d hope if someone LOVED one of my images enough to use it for a book cover, that person would discuss it with me first.

      2. Absolutely. I would be very surprised if anyone just grabbed an image without talking to the person who actually posted it. But thank you, Kristen for clarifying it. I will be sure to check out your images!
        I have hundreds of photos sitting on my hardrive as well. I will share many of them with WANA as soon as I’m done with getting Forged by Greed ready for pubbing 🙂

  13. I love Pinterest, but got a little leery over what happened to Roni. I began inspiration storyboards for my newest series and loved being able to drop visual pictures onto my boards while researching with automatic links so I could go back to the sites for more research if I needed to. It made it so much easier…and I had a friend/fan comment that she kept watching new items pop in my board and wondering what on earth this next story was going to be about…

  14. I couldn’t agree with you more here! I know what happened to Roni was terrible, but I’m not sure that means everyone should run from Pinterest. If I were any sort of goods or service provider, I would be taking pix like crazy and trying to get them all over Pinterest. It’s an amazing marketing tool–and I’ve actually bought things more than once by following the links. (Is it possible the problem is that not everyone realizes the pix are links to the item?)

    Great advice here, Kristin!

  15. I have a “follow me” Pintrest button on my blog, and I’ve picked up a lot of followers that way. It’s been an excellent way to relate to people on a whole other level and find out what we have in common. It’s also fun to pi my blog posts (sparingly) and see how many people have re-pinned or liked it.

  16. Pinterest has been very controversial among photographers. As Rebecca Enzor pointed out above, you are skating on pretty thin legal ice. You must be extremely careful what pictures you pin. In many cases pictures found on Pinterest were put there in violation of copyright and you could be sued if you use them – ignorance is no defence. Publicity is also not a defence – someone may want their ad to ‘go viral’ BUT that doesn’t mean the photographer gave his permission to copy his photo – commercial licenses only give the advertiser the right to copy the picture.

    I still think my earlier advice to use royalty free microstock photos was better. You pay a small fee for written permission to use a photographer’s photo and avoid most of the legal quagmire.

  17. Love Pinterest and your blog:) I read a recommendation somewhere to utilize Pinterest as a resume tool. I thought that was a good idea so I pinned images of a book I was published in and a website I wrote content for. I can’t say it’s paid off yet but I think it’s a great tool. I agree about the e-mail burnout. Between Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc…we have gotten used to digesting small word limits. Opening your inbox and seeing 275 e-mails, have of which surpassed the spam filter, is exhausting so I can see Pinterest if not taking over than at the very least moving to the forefront of networking tools.

  18. I think Pinterest is fun, and I agree that it can be a nice break from the writing to fill our minds with pretty images and other great things – like chocolate. Found two really neat pictures of chocolate and I swear those good endorphins kicked in just looking at them. LOL

    Also went to a company website after seeing an awesome table on someone’s board and bought the table. So, yes, companies should be thrilled when folks pick up an image from their site. It does lead to sales.

  19. I know I’m “that girl that got sued” so I’m more paranoid than most. But I do have to say that MANY photographers are not happy with pins as “advertisement”. If you look at the comments on my copyright blog, there were many that are very, very passionate about there stuff not being shared in places like Pinterest and they CAN sue. (And it’s not expensive for them to do so. There are companies photogs can hire to track down their images and pursue violators and all the photog has to do is pay a yearly fee for them to do so. It doesn’t cost the photographer anything additional because the company sues on their behalf. Believe me.)

    What it comes down to is it is not our right to pin stuff that we don’t have permission to pin. Period. The law is not on our side otherwise. It’d be like someone posting chapters of our book somewhere without our permission and calling it advertisement. It may very well be, but it’s MY call as the copyright holder to determine who can do that and where it can be done.

    I know this isn’t what people want to hear. It’s not what I want to hear either because I LOVE Pinterest (and Tumblr) and had so much fun pinning inspiration stuff there. But until the laws or terms of service change, I can’t do it. If that pic that I got sued for on my blog had been on Pinterest instead of my blog, I assure you this guy would’ve sued anyway.

    Are the chances of person A B or C getting sued high? Probably not. Is it possible? Yes, definitely. And then you have no legal leg to stand on. And from what I understand, if the photog sues Pinterest too, YOU are responsible to pay Pinterest’s legal fees in addition to yours.

    That is not worth the price of poker in my opinion. I’m still using Pinterest but only with creative commons pics, my own pics, and book covers and movie posters. Anything else, I’m not pinning without approval from the copyright holder.

    I hope one day the laws change to accommodate the sharing nature of the internet, but right now, they don’t. 🙁

    1. Well, that is why I created the WANA Commons. And hopefully that will grow to give us plenty of inspiration. Also we can get images from the fans that THEY offer us permission to use. Thanks for sharing this!

  20. As always you have given me food for thought…I had avoided Pinterest because I don’t like sites having access to my information & social media sites. As for visalising – I have never had a problem as in my younger years I was very artistic. So back to reviewing the site and weighing up the pro’s & con’s…thank you.

  21. I felt a bit daft reading this because I (wrongly) assumed the whole point of Pinterest was that there weren’t any copyright issues because each image was linked to its original location. I had such fun creating boards for all my books showing where I got my ideas for characters and settings from etc. Now I have taken them all down because as an unemployed mother I can’t afford to get sued. Such a shame but thank you for the very valuable information.

    1. Again, I hope as WANA Commons continues to grow we can find all sorts of images to use and to inspire. Also, there was a recommendation in the comments about private boards that you can use for just yourself so those should be safe. But the public ones, we need to be vigilant to make sure we use safe images.

      1. Thanks Kristen. I have been inspired by all the comments here and have redone my Pinterest boards using my own images or free images. I also borrowed some good ideas like having a board for my blogs. Great stuff, thank you.

    • Sia Huff on August 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    • Reply

    I’m one who stopped using Pinterest and deleted a few boards for fear of what happened to Roni. One question that hasn’t been addressed, is how do you track down the original owner of the picture?
    Because of Roni honest b;og about copywrite infrigement, several artist/photographers said that would allow use – but how do you find them through Pinterest to ask permission?

    1. I don’t know how to answer that. Flikr might be a better place to make friends with photographers and ask for permission to use images. I use WANA Commons now and upload my own. We can also reach out to our network and ask them to contribute their own images. Most of us are at least armchair photographers. I am working on using as many “commons” images as possible. If you go to my Inspiration board, they are now all contributed by WANA Commons. If we all get in the habit of using images we know are safe, and we share and WORK TOGETHER, Pinterest can be fun AND safe.

      And we can browse the other image boards for inspiration. There is no harm in looking to get creativity going. Then use private boards for collages for your work.

        • Sia Huff on August 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm
        • Reply

        Thanks for honest reply and great advice. I’ll be checking out WANA Commons.

    2. I’ve found a couple of links to photographers who are on Pinterest and WANT you to repin them. The biggest congregation of them is here: http://pinterest.com/farbspiel/best-of-pinterest-photographers/ (not ALL of their boards are safe – you still need to make sure you click on the pin and it goes back to the original owner and has a “Pin-it” button or “follow me on Pinterest” button).

      I plan to put links to my favorite “safe to re-pin” boards that I found this week on tomorrow’s blog post too, if that helps 🙂 And everything on my boards is safe to re-pin!

  22. I really love Pinterest and originally started two boards for inspiration for future novels. But within a week of starting, I realised that i could give readers a dimensional view of my already published historical fiction and historical fantasy novels. The serendipity was that the images i found were precisely the images that had been in my head and whose moods I wanted to convey in those narratives.
    Love the idea of WANA images and would add Wikimedia Commons as well. It’s an amazing source.

  23. I’m having so much fun using Pinterest to inspire my creativity. In fact, I have boards created for each of my novels (both published and unpublished) as well as the one I’m working on now. It’s a great way to take a break from writing and play around with visualizing your characters and setting. I also have a board for my blog posts, which is another great way to get more readers. And I really enjoy contributing to Writer’s United, a community board set up by August McLaughlin.

  24. I L.O.V.E. Pinterest and YOU even more for making WANA Commons. Those pics by Frank are amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  25. I haven’t spent enough time on Pinterest to get it or be interested. I understand a lot of people love it… I just don’t really understand why. Perhaps I am just not a very visual person. I love being on Twitter, but when I think about Pinterest all I get is a huge disinterested feeling. Makes getting motivated to be on it very hard.

    As a lawyer, the copyright concern has always been a big one for me, because I know how rigid copyright laws can be. Two points:

    a) If a fan ‘pins’ something, thereby representing they ‘own’ the copyright and licence you to use it, you are still guilty of copyright infringement if you then use it and the fan doesn’t own it. You just have a ‘warranty’ that enables you to sue your ‘fan’ to recompense you any liability you have to the real copyright owner. Sueing fans probably isn’t desirable when community building 😉

    b) Copyright breach doesn’t usually have a ‘profit’ purpose. If you use it without permission, it doesn’t matter you made no profit. The point is the ‘loss’ the copyright owner has made if they would have charged you for the use. And I recently met a blogger who was sued by the owner of an image the blogger used on their blog. The owner sent a bill (for a significant sum I understand) and when the blogger wouldn’t pay, the owner commenced legal action. Scary stuff! Companies wanting exposure for their brands will happily let stuff go viral, but photographers/artists may not be so relaxed when they make their money out of licensing the use of those images.

    • Tamara LeBlanc on August 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm
    • Reply

    Ok, I don’t normally like to say this about myself, but…BOY AM I STUPID!
    I LOVE pinterest, LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! It. But it never once occurred to me to use pinterest as a platform. Jeesh, you’d think I haven’t learned a thing from you!
    What a brilliant idea, and getting fans and readers involved is priceless.
    Man, Kristen, thanks for the tip. And, by the way, I’ll be pinning this post on my writers wisdom board for all to see:)
    Have a happy evening,

  26. I LOVED Pinterest, but I wished this post had come out a week earlier. I had boards full of inspiration and loves and… yeah, I deleted my account after reading the post on the blogger getting sued for using a copyrighted photo. Sigh. There were just too many repins to know which ones were copyrighted or not… So now I’m encouraged to reactivate it using your approach. Thanks!

  27. I’ve never really understood how Pinterest works. When I’ve gone there, following some link, it’s always appeared that there is nothing for the viewer to do except view. I’d be interested in a post that explains how it works, because I can’t find anything on the site that tells me.

    I get my visual inspiration from playing around with photoshop. I love making book covers and other images to support my world building. As for copyright, I put my website address on the bottom of the images I create, so anyone using them will see where they come from, but I’m happy if people want to use them, so long as they keep the website on the image. I see it as advertising. You can see some of my stuff here if you’re intersted. http://tahlianewland.com/cant-shatter-me/stop-bullying-images/

  28. You’re absolutely right Kristen! All the pretty pictures make my heart sing. It is like taking a vacation 🙂 As a matter of fact, I really look forward to going on to Pinterest, and quite often my bedtime rolls around and right on past, I’m so hooked in to it I can’t stop.

  29. I’ve been using pinterest for a few months now and I love it and find it both relaxing and helpful to my creativity. I have different boards for different story elements – setting, character, things like that, and I pin things that inspire my stories or images/ideas that I might want to use one day in a story. Pinning landscapes, or fashion, etc. will help me down the road with descriptions in my stories. It is a bit addicting though and I tend to get very distracted by pinterest. I think pinterest is also useful to reach out to others that might be interested in me as an author as these are boards of things that inspire my writing and creativity. Pinterest is definitely worth a try. Get creative with boards “Places Big and Small” “Doorways and Passages” “People of the World”

  30. Reblogged this on Poeta Officium and commented:
    I myself love Pinterest and often use it for inspiration. Great post and go check out Pinterest! (just be wary of the media reproduction issue the webs’ been experiencing lately). Enjoy!

  31. I love Pinterest and I just pinned this post 😀

  32. I love the idea of looking for story content in online images! And I checked out WANA Commons. Really awesome photos! Thanks so much!

  33. I am thrilled to know about WANA Commons…I plan to sign up and contribute soon! I love Pinterest because I’m a visual learner, and am fascinated with gorgeous and colorful visuals of places, spaces and God’s creatures. I have begun a folder “Story Ideas” for the future, and plan to gather images for the picture books I have created.
    Thanks so much, Kristen, for your marketing ideas using Pinterest…I am book marking it!

  34. I like PInterest. I have found images on that they have given me ideas for stories, and I use it to promote my ebooks by pinning images I have found of characters or settings from my stories. I plan to use it to promote my first romance ebook coming up by pinning images of things associated with the story. I also like or comment other pins if I am interested in them eg an image of healthy food. Hoping that others will pick up on what I like and connect with me as a reader.

  35. I too have found Pinterest (Personal Interest) Boards advantageous since having folks who are neither family nor personal friends pin their boards with my books…..I can in this way tell my books are finally being read by real people with good taste who just love reading great books….my absolute reason for writing.

  36. I had one and loved it- then stopped using it and deleted it after the copyright fears popped up. I’ll go sign-up again 🙂 thanks to the wana’s I’ll have plenty of pics to choose from.

    • lynnkelleyauthor on August 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm
    • Reply

    I love Pinterest but haven’t had a chance to get on it in a couple weeks. You always come up with the best ideas, Kristen, so thanks for taking the guilt trip away from me from when I visit Pinterest! A brain vacation, yep, that’s what I need right now!

  37. Brilliant idea Kristen! I’m off to check out WANA Commons 🙂

  38. I keep saying I’m going to do it and still haven’t. I’ve saved a great post by August McLachlan that really answers every single question about Pinterest so along with your post I should have no problem. Thanks for the push!

  39. I joined Pinterest a few weeks ago, but still have no boards up – no time yet! But at the Midwest Writers Conference, I went to a short buttonhole session with agent Kathleen Ortiz, whose agency uses PInterest. She had examples of writers creating boards with pictures of the history their story was set in, links for book launches, and (my favorite) a contest for fan art. Lots of good ideas, along with the suggestion to have two boards – one public for writing and shareable stuff, and one private for things we don’t want out in cyberspace.

  40. Yo, Kristen! (that’s my shout-out looking for an answer)
    I went to the professional’s pinterest board that was mentioned and it’s got some awesome stuff on it. I assume that since they put a picture up, it’s okay to re-pin it. But is it automatically okay to use it in a blog? One of them specifically put a copyright notice in the description, but most don’t say. Any thoughts?

    1. I wouldn’t use that stuff in a blog. Use the stuff from WANA Commons. I know that is safe.

    • Amelia J. Byrnes on August 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm
    • Reply

    I’m a bit of a social media fiend and pinterest is definitely one of my favorites out of the bunch. I generally use it to share my other interests and inspirations with my friends and followers so I think your advice is really very good advice!

  41. Being a highly visual person I can get lost in pinterest for hours. I actually use it as a reward now when I meet my daily word count goal. I even have a board titled…Work Inspiration (I know, so much more creative than Kristen’s “Inspiration” header). http://pinterest.com/wckedwords/work-inspirations/
    I’m off to add a link for my pinterest page to my web page. Can’t wait to put some of these other ideas to work.

  42. I like Pinterest, but like others, I’m getting a little leery of it because of the copyright issue. But before that, I was a bit hesitant to use it for writing because I don’t want to give away my story ideas, and I’d like to be able to write notes on things.

    For writing, I changed to SpringPad, because you can make boards private. This way I can save stuff for my writing while it remains safe, I can write notes on each, and is just for my use.

  43. Love this info and thank you so much for the ideas! One thing I tried was to tell people that bought my book to pin images to my board that reminded them of some of the characters or places in my book. It’s working great but I have to keep at it. This was a great reminder with support information and thanks for the”heads up” about WANA common!

  44. I completely missed WANA Commons what a fabulous idea. I can’t wait to get back to Canada and check it out. Great post, Kristen!

  45. Been meaning to join Pinterest, I admit the copyright thing scared me. But what it’s done is forced me to start taking my own pictures. So sorry photographers, who were getting credit and links on my website, I’m leaning toward just posting my own stuff now.

    And I’m now a member of WANA commons so I’ll be pulling from there as well. Thanks to all the photographers who are donating. And I’ll get some of my stuff up there soon!

    Love the idea of asking readers for pictures, although I got too teary eyed looking at the War Dogs pix!

  46. My daughters are hugh fans of pinterest and I’m overdo to get on the wagon. Got your book BTW. Way too funny in your successful mission to help. Thanks.

  47. Thank you so much! I was totally freaked out by what happened to Roni Loren! But like you said, to me logically speaking, if your name, pic, book cover, song – whatever gets “pinned” or “shared” somewhere, – hell that’s advertising you didn’t have to do! We are all trying to reach more readers. I am totally against pirating and plagiarism, BUT the Pintrest scenario isn’t what the original copyright laws were intended to enforce.

  48. In my opinion (which might change later, but I doubt it) Pinterest is not a good thing to use. For the person using stuff from there, it’s impossible to know who actually owns the copyright as it could have been repinned. Also I’ve seen a lot of stuff there that has been pinned without the photographer or artist being asked first. Just because someone puts a pinterest button in their blog or on their site doesn’t mean that it’s okay with the originator of the image. As an example, Redubble – a Print on Demand site for artists – used to have a Pinterest button on each and every work – then they discovered that images were being stolen from there and they removed the button. When Redbubble put the sharing buttons on their site, NONE of the artists were asked if they minded, and there was no opt-out option given. I know this as I am one of the artists using Redbubble. So you see, just because there’s a button doesn’t mean that you should use it.

    For the person pinning copyright free images (creative commons, WANA commons images or whatever) there is still the problem of who the end user might be. How would you like it if, for instance, your images of your kids or your family or something personal, were to end up on a commercial site so that others could make money from your images? Or worse, and I’ll leave that to your imagination.

    Another consideration, particular for creative people who are trying to sell their work, regardless of type of work, is this: many people pin not just a few works by one artist or writer but ALL of them. So what the heck is the motivation going to be to visit the original site when it’s all there on the one site.

    Sorry, but I’m not convinced.

    I also really don’t understand your enthusiasm for Pinterest when just three or four posts back you wrote about Roni Loren’s sad situation.

    1. If we are going to be on the Internet at all, we all take risks. Those same images could just as easily be taken off my Facebook or my blog. So why is Pinterest any worse? I think that most people are good and mean well and that there will always be predators and that is a sad fact of life. I am not here to give advice about how to never be hurt, disappointed or ripped off. I am here to give advice about being an inspired, well-balanced writer with a solid platform of success.

      Blogs with images do better. Do they stand a chance of being stolen? Yeah. But the blogs can be stolen too. So can the books. The only way to not have our stuff misused is to never put it out there.

      And Pinterest is useful. It can stimulate creativity even if all we do is browse the boards of others. We can also create boards with our own images and if people misuse those images, then they will have to answer for their actions. We should use discretion when we contribute images anywhere.

      The only advice I can give writers to never be pirated or victimized of have content misused is to tell them to stay off social media and the Internet, and never have a computer file with their books on it. Best write those long-hand in ink…and only keep one copy and never show anyone because evil people with access to Kinko’s could steal your work and reproduce it.

      I think there is a good reason to put our work out there and that is good people will pay money. Sure we give a lot for free. But even though the photographer who took my head shots put up images for free, that didn’t stop me from paying her nearly a thousand dollars for head shots. And when it came time to select a photographer I was really glad she had put stuff out there or in the sea of endless choices I would never have found her.

      And the fact that Roni had a bad experience ties directly into this post. I am saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Pinterest can be used in ways that are safe, effective and create community.

      1. I choose to live my life free of fear, as a writer and artist. The bitterness of some just saddens me. Thank you Kristen for sharing your light.

        1. Totally agree with this. Whole lot of people are so terrified of their words/images being ‘stolen’ that they never put anything out there. A sadness indeed.

  49. I love collecting ideas on pinterest and I follow several of my favorite authors there too. I love the fantastic images that I find and can pin for later inspiration. It’s also been great as I collect photos of a region that I am a bit unfamiliar with, but that I have chosen for my setting in a story. I may want to find what kind of flowers are common in an alpine region or the style of buildings and squares in Belgian cities. Super resource!!!

    • Paige on August 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    • Reply

    I love Pintrest but have just started using it to help with my writing. Thanks for the post.

  50. I’ve only just disovered Pinterest and I’m loving it! Like many others here I was already keeping photos that inspired my writing on my computer. I created boards for each of my books, and my WIP, and it was so much fun. It’s a great way to keep your ideas all together and also to connect with people.

  51. Adore Pinterest! Use it both for inspiration (mood/character boards for upcoming books) and as (hopefully) a lure for published books. Interestingly, have had a publisher get in touch regarding one of my WIPs, solely on the basis of the board. 🙂


  52. Hey I’m being sued for pinning an image on Pinterest even though it was properly credited!!! She’s asking for $8000.00!!!!!!


    I’ve been hitting that delete button all morning. Goodbye boards, goodbye Pinterest. Finally done. No pin left behind.

    i WANTED to delete them before, but I kept putting it off. Like, I thought, what are the chances? Pretty small, right? I should have listened to that little voice.

    1. I am so sorry to hear this :C. This is one of the big reasons I started WANA Commons and encourage writers to use their own images. I knew a lot of writers were using Pinterest, so it has been my hope to train them to use it in a way that is safe and that doesn’t land them in copyright hot water. I hope this works out for you, and again, very sorry.

  53. I have yet to take the Pinterest plunge; I can barely keep up with my WordPress blogs, Twitter, my online newspaper column and oh yeah, marketing my book!
    But Pinterest seems to have really caught on with the natives, as it were. I just wish I knew which sites would be the most effective for my needs…

  54. Glad I ran across you as I was searching. Great article. I was actually searching for dangers of copyright infringement using Pinterest for just such a project. I wanted to pin some home pictures from an architecture firm, but was nervous. I’ll have to check out your WANA Commons. I wish we didn’t have to worry about the stupid copyright. It’s not like I’m trying to sell anything on my boards. I just need places to stack pictures to help my creativity at time–to SEE.

  55. I’ve just created a Pinterest account and a board for my character Eloise Crimson. I’d never thought of using it before. But since Elly is a 40’s character and I’m shooting a model for the cover, there will be some interesting pics to pin. Thank you for the heads up!!


  56. I finally took a look at WANACOMMONS, and I want to thank you for setting it up. The pictures are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to use some.

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