What the heck is Pinterest?

Officially, Pinterest is a ‘virtual pinboard’ that lets you pin pictures of all the beautiful, interesting and just plain cool stuff you find on the internet, and waste several glorious hours doing it. I know, I’ve done it. And not regretted a single minute.

On a purely personal level you can use it for your bucket list of places you want to see or things you want to do, you can use it to help design your garden, learn or share recipes or set your style of clothing.

On a professional level you can post inspirational pictures, the images of places you’d like to – or already have – used in your books, while also providing a glimpse of your personality. There’s a section for Your Style that I believe is supposed to be for posting pictures of clothes and shoes, but I use it for the things that say something about me as a person. It’s an interesting way to allow readers to see another side of you, to get a glimpse of the things you like, the things that interest you.

You can also post direct links to your books on it.

All that being said, it’s very easy to use.  Just go to www.Pinterest.com and create an account – unless someone has already invited you. Just follow the instructions!

The first screen you’ll see is a Pinboard of EVERYTHING, including lots of things you’ll like. Remember Pinterest is a visual site, so you’ll have a smorgasboard of things from which to choose.  There are also choices at the top for Videos, Popular and Gifts.

Like a particular picture? Just hover your mouse over it, and it will ask you to Repin (onto your own pinboard), Like or Comment.  When you click on Repin, it will ask you where to put it, like My Style, at the top of the little pop-up window, along with a down arrow so you can choose another category, or even create one of your own. It’ll ask you to describe it, then you click Pin it.  If you tend to like one particular person’s Pins, you can also Follow them. Change your mind about pinning the picture? Just click somewhere else.

Do you want to add a pin/picture of your own? Or create a new board? Simply go to the top of your screen where it says Add+ and click on it. To Create a Board, click on that option and give it a name. If it’s a picture you want to add and it’s on your computer, just choose Upload a Pin. Find the picture and click on it. It will ask you to describe your pin. When you’re finished, click Pin It!

To add a picture with a link – say to your book – you’ll need the link first. Copy it, then click Add+,  Add a Pin, and paste in your link.  You may have to scroll through some pictures (if there were a few on the page) until you find the right one. Choose where you want it saved and Pin it. That link will take anyone who clicks it straight to your book, or whatever link you chose. You can also add a Pin It button to your menu bar, so you can Pin on the fly, by going to About and following the instructions.

If you want to see your boards, just click the down arrow beside your name at the top and go to Boards.

You can make new virtual friends there, too, as you follow people with similar interests.

Now, be forewarned, Pinterest can be intriguing and addicting. You can easily spend hours getting caught up in some of the beautiful pictures, or find a dozen Pins of quotes or inspirational sayings, but if you want or need to spend a relaxing hour or two, Pinterest is the way to do it. And you can even claim it’s for work. Really… sort of…

Have fun Pinning.


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Valerie Douglas is a contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and the writer of the epic fantasy series The Coming Storm and the contemporary romance series The Millersburg Quartet. For more information please see the IU Bio page, her blog http://valeriedouglasbooks.blogspot.com or visit her web page http://www.valeriedouglasbooks.com/ .

11 thoughts on “What the heck is Pinterest?”

  1. Thanks for explaining how Pinterest works, Valerie.

    Perhaps invitations are not automatically accepted because they want to check out applicants first, to see who we are?

    Or they want to be associated with an air of exclusivity?

    When I submitted a request for an invite this morning, this is the response I received:


    Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. We'll be sure to send you an invite soon. In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter. You can also explore a few pins.

    We're excited to get you pinning soon!

    – Ben and the Pinterest Team

    1. Marcia – I got that – but within a day or two, I got a Welcome message. I don't think they are 'vetting' people. I think they are just trying to gauge the interest.

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