Pinterest for Writers

I have recently started to use Pinterest after reading a brief e-book about using it to help promote your business. It’s especially good if you make a product, but it can still be useful for others–including writers.

I started out by adding pictures of writers’ retreats, offices, and bookcases of awesomeness. I highlighted a few of my favorite pics in a post, but it’s easier to put all of them on Pinterest. Now I can keep all of them in one spot for inspiration, plus easily share them with others.

(BTW, if you find yourself sucked into using Pinterest (as I’ve been!), do a Google search for “Pinterest browser add ons.” I added one to Firefox and now I just right-click on a pic and send it to the board of my choice. Much faster and easier than going into Pinterest and copying and pasting the URL.)


Joel Comm points out that it’s also a great way to organize research. What did I do with that map of Prague? I  have no idea. Did I save a link somewhere? No idea. Now, no more of that: pin that bad boy to a board just for my Flames of Prague novel. Much easier than copying and pasting pictures into a Word document (which is what I was doing for some of my stuff!).


I was just looking at old book covers from the 40’s and 50’s and getting inspired to write a story to fit such a cover. I can pin those pictures to a board to serve as a starting point for that idea.

Have trouble coming up with character descriptions? Whenever you run across a picture of a real person that interests you, pin it. It’s a lot easier to describe someone while you’re looking at them rather than making them up in your head. Likewise with buildings and landscapes.

Ideas and Creative Collaboration

When it comes to creating a book cover, I compile a number of pictures before I decide which one I want. Again, Pinterest becomes the place where I can do that because it’s accessible from everywhere. (I can also take comments from my readers on which picture(s) they like better). And I can pin book covers by other authors that I might want to emulate (i.e. Photoshop inspiration).

Fan Fun

If I was anything like an artist (alas, drawing is not my forte… as you might have guessed by my stick-figure drawings), I could put up drawings of all of my characters from Acceptance. But, barring that, I can pin up fan art (um… when I have some).

I can also pin pictures which might be of interest to my fans, such as pictures from the cities where my characters travel, real-life buildings that served as the inspiration for the fictional buildings, area maps, etc. For my historical novels, I can also share tidbits of history that relate to the time and place where the book is set.

Marketing Myself as a Writer

Having finally accepted the inevitable fact that I’m going to self-publish my first novel in November, I’ve started to think about marketing and have been doing some research into marketing my blog. (I’m working under the assumption that the more readers I have of my blog, the more likely some of them will buy one of my books to read.)

The Bloodsuckers is part of my marketing campaign. I made it a weekly serial story to get people to come to my blog regularly and/or subscribe. Also, it’s a way to show off my talents (such as they are) as a writer. The thought is, if someone knows they like something I’ve written, they’re more likely to pay to read something new. The risk of buying something crappy is diminished when they’re reasonably confident they like what I write.

And lastly, when I started writing The Bloodsuckers, I was struggling to keep my blog updated regularly. By setting a goal of one episode per week, I guaranteed that I had fresh content on my blog at least once a week. (The longer your blog is dormant, the more likely you are to lose your readers.)

But I can’t implement one thing and stop. It’s time to try some new ideas.

You may have noticed that I’ve redone my blog theme. Again. Part of that is because I get bored looking at the same thing all the time, and part of it came from tips from A-List Blogging Bootcamps, which talks about the benefit of light and simple–not to mention an image (or text style) which can become part of your brand. So my new look was born out of that. As usual, I’m not permanently committed to it, so feel free to comment about whether you like it or not.

Something else that Bootcamps talks about is not being too specific. While to a theme (or three) is necessary, too narrow a focus keeps reader numbers low. Kristen Lamb speaks specifically to me when she says that writers should not write about writing exclusively. Which isn’t to say you can’t use your blog to talk about your writing or to help others write, but that should only be one theme out of two or three–not the entire thing.

She said a romance writer she worked with got much better results from her blog when she expanded it to include her interests in cooking and wine; many more people like cooking and wine than writing. She also points out that other writers are the worst audience to market to; we don’t actually buy a lot of other people’s stuff. You need to market yourself to the people who read the sort of things you write.

This makes total sense to me. So now I need to brainstorm. What hobbies and interests do I have outside of writing?

Medieval re-enacting and Judaism

Is that it? Is that how I spend my non-work hours? Writing, re-enacting, and studying Torah?

Yes. (God knows I don’t spend my time cleaning house or cooking.)

This is not going terribly well. You’re supposed to expand your theme into things which have a wider audience. Fewer people do medieval re-enacting than try their hand at writing a novel. And given that Jews are 0.18% of the world’s population, that’s hardly a large audience.

So let’s look at this from a different angle: what sorts of non-fiction things would my fiction readers like to read? Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question as I’m now writing in more than one genre.

  • Vampire readers. I have The Bloodsuckers available, so there’s already something there to keep them coming back for more.
  • Historical romance readers. Here, my medieval research and re-enacting will probably be interesting. Even if they don’t do it themselves, it can add to their knowledge and appreciation of what they’re reading. So more posts on medieval stuff.
  • Fantasy readers. People I know who like to read fantasy seem to spend a lot of their time reading and doing their own writing. And I already have that covered.
  • Contemporary romance readers. Hell, I don’t know. I’ve written exactly one contemporary romance and my protagonist was a writer by hobby and her love interest was a painter–so I’m not exactly going far from shore, there.

My problem is that I’m not a normal person with normal interests. I like to watch documentaries and anime. I like to read about life-hacking and traditional skills. I’m a Deist who believes God is at work in my life. I like a clean house, but hate cleaning it.

How in the hell do you make a theme or two out of such different, often contradictory things?

The posts that get the most traffic on my blog rarely have anything to do with writing in general, or my writing specifically; most of my traffic comes either from my personal challenges (using a standing desk, beating procrastination) or totally random things like Mardi Gras and my idea for a Pandora for Art. And, I must admit, I write those posts when I feel like I don’t have anything better to say.

So how do I harness the power of my own randomness? How do I bottle my renaissance woman persona with my interest in a little bit of everything?

Maybe that needs to be my blog’s tagline: Keri Peardon, The Random, 14th Century Renaissance Woman.

Publishing a Short Story

I am not a big fan of short stories–either writing them or reading them.

But while I was living in Ireland, I was inspired to write some Irish fairy tales, and originally planned to compile them into a book. One came out okay, one sort of “meh,” and one never got finished because I didn’t know how to end it.

But one story did get finished, and I thought it a very good story. The problem was I couldn’t do anything with it. At approximately 14,000 words (that’s about 50 book-size pages), it wasn’t long enough to be its own book, yet the rest of the book it was supposed to be in crapped out on me.

So it’s moved from hard drive to hard drive for eleven years, and I occasionally open it and read it for my own entertainment.

But looking at publishing free e-copies of short stories or novellas for the purposes of marketing made me remember it. I did a couple of edits on it, and now I have two friends proofing it for me. I also set up a Kindle publishing account at Amazon. If all goes as I think it will (after actually reading the terms and conditions of the account, I’m not entirely sure if I can publish something which remains perpetually free, but from my perusal of the free books on Kindle, it sort of looks like you can), then I will publish it on Amazon in the next couple of weeks. But even if it doesn’t go as I want, I’ll still convert it to e-reader formats and publish it here. (Although that’s not nearly as effective a marketing tool as having it on Amazon, where lots of people are searching for books and stories–especially free ones.)

(I have absolutely no idea who the artist is of this beautiful picture; I found it on a free wallpaper website and it did not have any artist credit. Leave a comment if you know who it belongs to.)

So, here is the description:

Aine is a willful young woman, determined to travel the world and become a bard of great renown. But first she has to have stories to tell. So one night she sneaks away from home and sets out on a journey to find the last golden dragon.

But, instead, she meets Eamonn—a solitary young man who is not quite what he seems. A lifelong companion of the dragon, he can give Aine the stories she’s looking for, but can she give him what he needs most in return?

“The Last Golden Dragon” is a romantic fairy tale of approximately 14,000 words. Although intended for an adult audience, its PG rating makes it acceptable for pre-teens and teens as well.