I’ve known my sweet friend Debbie Gonzales my entire career. Not only did we both live in Texas at the time, but she has made every one of my excellent teacher guides, and I’ve worked with her on my Pinterest platform.
Now she’s doing something bold, fresh, and remarkably innovative. She’s building Pin Lit, a boutique Pinterest marketing agency for authors, illustrators, publishers, indie publishers, and their agents. With her daughter Taylor, a talented entrepreneur in her own right, at her side, Deb’s bringing the robust power of Pinterest to our industry.
On the new Pin Lit website, Deb states, “Pinterest management is more than simply posting pretty images to your account. It’s a consistent and steady system of helping your books, content, and promotions get seen by your target audience. Through strategy and SEO, we drive traffic to your website and bring visibility to your online presence.”
I’m intrigued, aren’t you? Let’s find out more.
Tell Us About Pinterest!
Q: How does Pinterest differ from other forms of social media?
A: Pinterest is a visual search engine, on which marketers can strategically establish a platform showcasing books, programs, projects, downloads, and anything they desire to promote through a variety of formats – SEO optimized boards, static pins, video pins, music, audio, stories, and more. Unlike short-lived posts on Twitter or Facebook, Pinterest pins are evergreen. They never go away. This means that the efforts an author, illustrator, publisher, agent, and/or book store owner makes in building a sturdy Pinterest platform can be considered to be an investment in showcasing their creative work. Pinners can predict trends, establish effective pre-launch campaigns, and develop downloadables to enhance lasting relationship-building opportunities with their audience.
Q: How did you get started with Pinterest? What is your Pinterest story?
A: I started using Pinterest in 2015 to showcase Guides by Deb projects. I had taken an online course that guided me through low-level practices of crafting graphics and linking pins to my website. Despite lacking a true understanding of platform optimization or the ability to translate analytic results, I began to see how Pinterest could serve the Kidlit industry. If Pinterest was boosting my teacher guide content so successfully, I wondered what it could do for the rest of us. I suppose this is when my obsession for digital marketing originated.
Later, I relied on Pinterest as a big part of my pre-launch strategy for my nonfiction picture book GIRLS WITH GUTS: THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS. Because I believed so strongly in the visibility potential of the platform, I hired a Pinterest marketing specialist to manage my account. I am ever so glad that I did. The presale numbers for the book were quite impressive. I believe that the visibility Pinterest gave to our campaign played a big role in making those numbers come to pass. After working with the specialist for a year as my account manager, I hired her for a second year as my mentor.
Then, the pandemic hit and Pinterest exploded. The isolation people experienced at that time coupled with a growing disenchantment for Facebook and Twitter brought people flocking to the platform worldwide. I wanted my Kidlit community to be part of the action. That’s when I began working with authors to establish their presence on Pinterest. Now, three years later, I’m establishing Pin Lit: A Pinterest marketing agency for book creators and book sellers. Pretty exciting stuff, right?
Benefits For Authors
Q: You say that quality content enhances visibility. How does that work on Pinterest?
A: Everything boils down to understanding what your audience is looking for. Pinterest users, of which there are over 400 million daily, are in search of inspiration. They need something specific. Our job is to offer a solution with our content. For example, a teacher might be looking for creative activities to teach story structure. All they have to do is drop the phrase “lessons about story structure” into the search bar and a screen-full of options will immediately appear before them – pins featuring books, lessons, and free printables galore. If they scroll down a little bit, they just might find this Guides by Deb story structure activity for DOGGONE FEET posted back in 2017!
This scenario illustrates two remarkable benefits of marketing on Pinterest – the unbranded search and evergreen content. Because that five-year-old pin for DOGGONE FEET has been optimized by pertinent subject matter, the Pinterest algorithm continues to prioritize the content by ranking it high in the search. Note that, instead of a book title in the search bar, our teacher typed a literary term in the search bar. This is an example of an unbranded search. It’s been reported that 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded. This means that, if you have something of quality to offer, pinners will find you! It’s anybody’s game. So cool, right?
Benefits For Publishers
Q: You mentioned that publishers and indie-bookstores would benefit from building a presence on Pinterest. How so?
A: Oh, gosh…Pinterest is going all out to become THE online shopping platform. Publishers and indie-bookstores can become what is known as a verified merchant, which permits them to feature their catalogs as online shops on the platform. These marketers can even feature video in their merchant catalogs. Can you say book trailers? Customers have the option to purchase directly through the marketer’s platform via the Shop Tab. There is a process required to make this happen, but the efforts are well worth it!
Q: What fuels your passion for Pinterest?
A: I love the collaboration and strategy required to establish substantive, creative campaigns. The process we follow is similar to what I do with Guides by Deb projects. My goal with the teacher guides is to use the literary and academic principles offered in the story to build a creative, entertaining, and solidly educational playground with the book. We’re doing the same thing with Pinterest platforms and having a ball doing so!
More About Deb
Debbie Gonzales is an author, a career educator, a certified Pinterest Marketing Specialist and founder of Pin Lit: A Pinterest marketing agency for book sellers and book creators. She’s published six transitional readers a New Zealand publisher, the nonfiction picture book GIRLS WITH GUTS: THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS, and the host of Guides by Deb, a website consisting of over 300 standards-aligned educator guides for all genres. A former SCBWI Regional Advisor, Deb currently serves as a member of the SCBWI-MI Leadership Team and the Michigan Reading Association board. She earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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