Monday, November 25, 2013

On Blogging and Reader Engagement Part Three: Pinterest Part Two

Mulluane | Monday, November 25, 2013 | 11 Comments so far

Content Warning: Go grab a snack, get a drink, go potty, and then get comfortable because Mulluane is fixing to get long winded again. You've been warned....

The more I use Pinterest, the more I am convinced it is a goldmine for book bloggers. But, it is only as good as the work that you are willing to put into it. With that in mind, and since I have already done the research, I am going to offer Mulluane's tips for successful pinning! Excited? Sure you are! Umm... wait... hey you, yeah you over there, I see you yawning. Stop that.

Anyway, without any further fan fair, lets get started.

1. Get signed up as a business account. Don't consider yourself a business? I didn't either, until I gave it some thought. I try to offer a valuable service to readers, publishers, authors and I hope fellow bloggers. Do I get paid for this? Well, no, not really but even charitable organizations are considered a business. Besides, look at how much time, work and dedication we put into this "hobby". Not sure about you, but it sure feels like a job at times to me. Besides, a business account is free and comes with alot of perks.

Go to and under the big red button, click on "convert here".

2. Get rich pins set up for your blog(s). Think Twitter cards and FB's use of open graph, only for Pinterest. You will need a basic knowledge of how to add some code to your blog/website. Rich pins will make pins from your site look clean and professional.

Now, assuming you've converted to a business account go to and follow the instructions.

3. Use pin friendly images. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what exactly a pinnable image was. Basically an image must be 250px wide or rich pins won't work. It doesn't have to be that size on the page but the source image (the one you uploaded before resizing inside the post) has to be 250px. Height does not matter.


To double check the size, right click the image and choose "open image in new tab". Mouse over the tab's title to see the image size. If you try it in the pinterest image above, it should say pinterest.jpg (319x320).

If it is close to 250px but not quite close enough, try resizing in a program like Paint. If it is way off, try to use a bigger image. Resizing a really small image will likely cause icky distortion.

Use HQ images when ever possible. Publishers almost always have HQ book covers and if they don't, the author's webpage might. You want the clearest image possible so people looking for covers to pin go "Oh! dat is Purty!" and grab that sucka... (sorry, was having a southern moment.)

Don't use Amazon iframes. They are not pinnable.

4. Add a widget showing off your favorite board. Basic HTML needed. You can pick the one you want here:

I put mine in the right sidebar but you can even embed it in a post if you want.

 Install a pin it button. So now you have been approved for Rich Pins, you've showcased your best board and you have all these wonderful images on your site just begging to be pinned. So why not install a pin it button! Head on over to and create the one you want. Again you will need to know some basic html. Once installed, visitors to your site can pin images directly to their boards. Long before I knew what Pinterest even was, my reviews were being pinned. A button will just make it easier.


You can also add a hover pin it button that appears in the upper corner of an image if somebody mouses over it. You can see it in use on the image above. Note: hover does not work on touch screens. Instructions are here:

Pin it buttons will not function unless source picture is atleast 250px wide.

6. Get creative. OK, enough of the technical stuff. You are on Pinterest, you've created some boards you think people will love but nobody is paying you any attention. What to do?

Well, you may have to get creative.

After studying Pinterest for a month or two and getting very few repins, I spotted a few popular patterns. There are certain subjects people are drawn to.

Recipes is the big one, but I don't cook so for me, drawing them in with pictures of food was not an option. (but could be for you, heck, even Penguin Publishing is using food pins to get attention.)

Memes. Next trend I spotted was memes, especially about cats. For some reason bookish folks just love funny cat pictures! Start a board and pin every hilarious kitty you can find, use hashtags for easier searching, and watch the interest in your "other" boards pick up.

Movie posters are next up. OMG do folks go nuts over movie posters. I really should find more of those. They get repinned like crazy.

Fantasy art. Dragons, unicorns, and fairies, oh my! But, pinning those incorrectly can get you in trouble. More on that later but there are safer options.

Group Boards. Create a group board where everybody has the ability to invite anybody they want. Some of these boards are huge with 1000s of members. Now, the downside is, this is not an option unless you are willing to moderate it. There are always those who will pin off topic or repin stuff that was just pinned etc. The upside is, assuming you have come up with a great idea for a group board people will love, is the potential for a pyramid effect. You invite me, I invite 5 of my friends, they each invite 5 of their friends and before you know it, 1000s of people know exactly who you are and in the process, will discover your site.

Quotes. Last was the route I took, quotes. People are almost as fond of quotes as they are of food. Now I make my own, searching goodreads for hours at a time to find the good ones, then pasting them onto colorful post-it notes or onto longer scrolls. But I have an insane amount of free time. You can search for quotes to simply pin/repin much easier. Granted, not everybody who repins the quotes follow my boards, but alot end up doing so. Once I figured out what I was going to use as my "draw" my follower and repin numbers exploded.

7. Pinning Art. Now, about all that breathtaking art Pinterest is loaded with. (And to clarify, I am not talking about pictures that link to articles. I am referring to pieces of artwork. Oh and this is a good time to take another break. If you thought I was long winded before, you ain't seen nothing yet...)

Are you back yet? Oh good! Now on with the show.

I have read dozens of articles, carefully read Pinterest's policies and come to two conclusions. One, everybody has a different opinion and two, 90% of pinners are doing it wrong. Basically, what I have gleaned from all this research is, there are 4 basic things you must do in order to pin art correctly. (Note: to play it safe, pin any images you simply must have to a secret board. Only pin them publicly after you have done the following steps.)

First is locate the original artist. International copyright law states that any copyrighted material must be attributed and linked to the original artists. Fortunately, this is not as hard as you might think. If you right click on the image, select "Search google for this image" 9 times out of 10, you can locate the original. Supposedly you can also drag the image to your browser's address window, but I find that to be a painful way of doing it. I usually go no further than 2-3 pages deep before I find the real source.

Two, you found the original, now read the TOS, check the copyright, look at the notes, check and double check for warnings. If they say do not use under any circumstances, then delete the pin.

Three, the copyright is general, no special warnings, no threats of legal action so now, link directly to the artist's website/blog/gallery. Include the correct title, their name, a link to their profile if they have one and make sure the click through source is as direct a link to the image as you can find.

Four, and this is the really really important one and the one Pinterest says will cover your arse. You MUST comment on the picture. I can not stress this enough. No comment, no Fair Use, no fair use, you are violating Pinterest TOS and risk being sued. What I am not clear on is where the comment should be. I add mine to the pin description but I suppose pinning then commenting would work also.

Conclusion: I have already pretty much decided that I am not going to repin any more art. Instead I'll pin it directly from the original site myself with the proper attribution, comments and source links. Note:, which is by far the most popular source, adds all of the proper info for you if you use their pin it button.


You could likely pin artwork from for the rest of your existence on this planet without ever looking anywhere else but, and it is a big but, just because Deviant has that convenient pin it button all set up to make sure you pin correctly, it does not always mean the artist wants their art pinned/shared. So...

Do not set up an account, or if you already have one, log out before pinning. If an artist is serious about no sharing, they will make their artwork visible only to members. If you are logged out, you'll see the warning. Two, read the notes, check the profile. If they don't want their art shared, they will usually state that very clearly. Always respect the artist!

To see how I think pins should be properly pinned, you can check out my board here:

Note: it is still a work in progress. I think I have properly linked and attributed them all but I'm still working on adding the comments.

Deep breath...

8. Fun Fact. Did you know you can tag friends/followers in a pin? Yep, and it is easy too. All you have to do is type @ and without adding a space, start typing their name. Pinterest will start supplying you with a list of friends that match as you type. This adds a link to their profile in the pin's description, which is a great way to add an additional attribution to pins you have repined from a follower's board.

Now, I took that one step further and with special thanks to Anya at: 

for agreeing to be my lab dragon, discovered that this can be used as a simple way to share specific pins with specific people. For example, I am always seeing cat pictures I know she will love but how do I share them with her? Sure, I can pin them to my board but chances are they would be lost in the pin stream. I could email her I guess, assuming I have her addy or share to her FB timeline but what if she doesn't want it there?

So, with her as my partner in crime, I tried out using a tag to just get her attention. I found a funny cat picture, tagged her in the description, pinned it, then edited and removed the tag. Sure enough, she got a notification that she had been mentioned in a pin along with a link to that pin and eureka! mission accomplished! Now she can repin or simply just look and giggle. Win/win!

Now granted, I could have left the tag and some curious soul might have clicked on it to find out who the heck Anya was, but it looked really out of place so I took it off. I'm sure I'll find more logical instances where it works better to just leave it. A book recommendation maybe.

The Grand Finale: I'm reasonably sure that I've forgotten 1/2 of the things I wanted to write about but I figure they can wait on another post. Besides, your eyes are likely getting crossed and that guy over there is starting to look like Rumpelstiltskin, so I better quit while my audience is still young. I'll leave you with one more resource to peruse at your leisure.

So, as Bugs Bunny says, "Dats all folks!"

(until next time that is...)

Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards


  1. I haven't gotten into Pinterest yet. Maybe I should check it out. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. I was actually thinking that just the other day. "I bet Anne would love this"

    Literally anything you are into, there is a pin for that....

  3. I'm glad I was going thru comments I hadn't answered. This one reminded me to accept your invitation over on Facebook. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  4. Well, I tried out pinning this morning. I wish they let me sort the pins after pinning; if that's possible, I'm not sure how. Still, it is interesting. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  5. I saw!

    While you can't arrange pins on a board, you can make as many boards as you want.

    Basically you organize them that way.

    Example: Want to easily find your baked chicken recipes? Make a board just for baked chicken. Make a seperate one for chicken casseroles. And so on...

    There is a limit but it is something ridiculous like 100 boards. :>)

  6. Oh and to move pins to new boards, just repin them then delete the original.

  7. Thanks. I'll keep those tips in mind. My problem is just that I do wish I could show series in internal order, instead of the order I spotted the cover I wanted. {lop-sided smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  8. Oh, I just noticed the part about repining and deleting. That might help me with putting books in the order I'd prefer. I'm not sure it's worth the bother, but it sounds easier than the alternatives I'd thought of. {lop-sided smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  9. By the way, I just discovered that they didn't make me get a business account to use the widget builder. I have to go to the business part of the help access it, but they let me use the widget builder with my personal account. {Smile}

    1. No, you can use all the features without one with the sole exception of Rich Pins and Analytics. Things which are important to me but you, not so much :>)

    2. Very true. Maybe some day I'll want to get into Rich Pins and Analytics, but right now, with my only blog a personal one, they just don't seem as important. {Smile}

      By the way, if you want to see what I did with the pins, here's the new post I tried them in first:
      and here's an older post I added one to because I really wanted it in there from the first: . {SMILE}

      I know they're nothing fancy compared to your posts, but I think figuring that out was a good evening's work. Especially since I had to remove a couple of quotation marks to make it display right. That wasn't the first change I tried, but it's the one that worked. {Smile}



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