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Focusing in on authors who pin

We’ve followed their blogs and tweets.  Now many of us are following their boards.

Through Pinterest, some of our favorite authors are sharing fan art; previewing book covers and chapters; allowing us a lens on the inspirations for their writing; illustrating the background and locations for their books; suggesting literary extension activities; revealing their hobbies and interests and style preferences. Book reviewers, book sellers, and publishers are pinning too.

Children’s book author and illustrator Katie Davis (#brainburps or @katiedavisburps) is a social media maven. I’ve enjoyed her blog and her podcasts and her videos.

Katie is hooked on Pinterest as a platform for the literacy community.

You could easily get lost in Katie’s 56 boards, which include: one for her own books, Literacy Activities for Kids, Book Art I Love, Videos about Books, Bookish Quotes, her Favorite Podcasts, the Craft of Writing, and Grammar Timeout.

Why use Pinterest as a platform?  Katie shares that she use it

to help inform others, to market my work, to have fun, to make others laugh, and to share my obsession with bad grammar. It’s a great source of visual inspiration for my own art. I use it to journal events. If I go to a book festival, I take pictures of the real live authors I spot.

I recently attended Katie’s hour-long webinar for authors interested in Pinterest.  She shared a wealth of tips for  creating buzzworthy boards.  Authors and librarians may want to register for the full webinar.

So here are just a few of my personal take-aways from the webinar and our phone conversation.

Use a personal head-shot rather than a less personal logo.  Fill in your profile.  Find good keywords.  Use clever titles for your boards.

Provide good content. Create repinnable pins.  Populate your boards with at least five images. Create multiple boards with content-specific categories. Offer good content, make frequent updates, provide lots of variety.  Consider activities like contests.  Share your favorite posts and podcasts.  Use an image editing tool like PicFont for adding text to your visual pins.  (I am in love with PicMonkey for this purpose too.)

Katie summarizes the ethics of pinning like this: Don’t be a jerk! Pin responsibly. Practice pin etiquette. Be respectful. Share your inspiration.  There is no downside to generosity.  Never strip attribution. Give credit–use the pin it buttons you see on the sites you visit. Use permalinks to make sure the link embedded in the image goes back to to the original website. Google Search by Image (the little camera on the image search box) may be helpful in finding the original home of an image.  Try to pin from the site itself; don’t pin from Google image search.

Avoid the Pinterest black hole time suck by developing a social media schedule.   Katie allots 10 to 15 minutes over her morning coffee and uses the time to repin three or four pins of the people she follows, to  leave a couple of comments, and to find a few new people to follow, usually through her followers.

Katie believes that Pinterest is the perfect tool for teachers and librarians to curate content and organize ideas.   Teachers can create boards for every unit they are teaching, for current events, favorite videos, learning activities, resources.  As we create boards, pin and repin book-related content, authors, publishers, teachers, librarians and parents spread the gospel of kidlit and build and strengthen the literacy community.

Katie’s Pinterest webinar and other tutorials are available at her store where you’ll find lots of other goodies for authors and librarians.

But Katie Davis is not alone in her authorly interest in Pinterest.  Just search kid lit or ya lit on Pinterest and see what happens.

Or visit:

Kate Messner shares lessons on writing with Teachers Write, from her summer writing camp for teachers, and Very Pintesting,  companion board to her SLJ Digital Shift article on Pinterest.  This one is rich with fabulous Pinterest booky leads.

Esme Codell offers a collection of boards on Bulletin Boards and Libraries, as well as a few boards relating to her cool personal style.

Laurie Halse Anderson: shares background for each of her books and plans to encourage teachers and readers to share submissions.

E. Lockhart: offers boards on Young Adult [author] LifeBook Jacket Inspiration, her writing as children’s author Emily Jenkins, and one devoted to wonderful character Frankie Landau-Banks and the school setting for the novel.

Jenny B. Harris: all I can say is Wow! about this artsy craftsy children’s book illustrator, who is one of Katie’s faves for the beautiful design of her boards on children’s publishing, design, hobbies, and crafts.

For long lists of authors and book lovers who pin, visit:

And read Edudemic’s 20 Ways Librarians are Using Pinterest Right Now.

So all this makes me newly inspired to up my own currently feeble pinning presence.  My student interns and I recently launched a board celebrating STHS events.  But I am planning boards on new titles with student reviews, recommended TED talks, and much more.  Look for a post on that very soon!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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