Friday, January 6, 2017

Pinterest for the Writer, by Susan Oleksiw

I recently began work on a new mystery that I hope will lead to a series. This story draws on experiences I never expected to write about. My family comes from a long line of farmers, and like many in the younger generation I never expected to be back living on one. And I’m not, but I'm trying to reconnect with those early experiences, plus all the stories I’ve heard from my relatives over the years.

A couple of those stories and experiences have found their way into fiction. I wrote a longish short story, “When Love Takes a Detour,” and posted it myself as an ebook. You can find it here. I also wrote a short story set in the same rural area, which will appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in February. These two stories have helped me establish in my own mind at least the world that is West Woodbury, the very small rural community in the Pioneer Valley.

But I wanted to do more. I set up a board on Pinterest partly to establish the sense of place for readers and partly to entertain myself with images of the quintessential New England village and the farm where my character lives. Tall Tree Farm is a combination of the several farms my family has lived on as well as the one I need for my story line. The board is a place for me to try out images, or capture an essence that I want in the story.

Some of the images I have already posted on the Tall Tree Farm board are the calico cat, sheep, farm tools, and a few other items. I haven’t posted any of my own photos here, but will probably do so in the future. I keep some on my desk top, also as a reminder of family history and stories. The board is mostly to give me perspectives to think about, and to remind me of details for the story.

I’ve been posting erratically on Pinterest for a few years, but I decided to pay more attention to it last year and have been building up my images. The most popular board is, not surprisingly, Pottery, and after that comes Books and then Libraries, Book as Art, and Writers.

Even though I'm still very much an amateur on Pinterest, this form of social media can be a valuable sales tool for writers on all levels because it gives us a different way to look at our work but also because it gives readers a different perspective on us. I have boards on my other two series, the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray books, where I can post the most recent titles. But I also have one on Indian food, and we all know you don’t have to live in India to love Indian food. One of my favorite boards is Book Covers, and I’m thinking of splitting this into two boards, old and current books.

Right now I don’t have a business account, because I'm still learning. Mostly I want to enjoy the site along with others. I'm glad to see readers following one or the other of the series boards, and I'm always glad to find others are reposting my pins. Social media has become a burden for some of us, but this one aspect of it is still fun.

For those who want to know more about how to use Pinterest as a business site, tracking clicks and more, go here.

For those who want to see my boards, including Tall Tree Farm, go here.

To find all my books in both series, go here


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Susan,

I confess to being tech challenged and confused by Pinterest. So I will follow your info. Congrats on selling the new story that goes back to your early roots. AHMM is a major sale for mystery writers and I know they have published a number of your stories.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I set up Pinterest without any sense of what I could or would do. Mostly I've been having fun. I was pleasantly surprised to find that some people "follow" certain boards, so I have followers for each of my series. Thanks for commenting.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great Info Susan
I have several Pinterest boards but haven't used one for a book yet.
Good luck and God's blessings

Susan Oleksiw said...

Thanks, Pam. I'm enjoying virtual scrapbooking. It's better than putting everything on my desktop. Thanks for stopping by.

Molly MacRae said...

Nice boards, Susan. Pinterest is a fairly easy way to add another dimension to a story, isn't it? I've made boards for some of the places and businesses in my books, and for the special interests of some of the characters. But I have to be careful. It's dangerous! I have to be firm with myself so that I don't fritter away too much time. Congratulations on the AHMM sale. I look forward to reading it!

Susan Oleksiw said...

Molly, you're right about not getting too carried away with Pinterest. It's very easy to spend a few hours fussing with photos and boards but then I discover something that would be useful or a new writer or . . . It goes on and on. Thanks for commenting.