book marketing

I entered NaNo because my character made me

Looking back at the birth of a novel

With the launch of Love’s Brilliant Wreckage this week, I thought I’d do a little bit of looking back at the birth of a novel. How did I start? When did I start? Here’s a post from 10-30-17 on why I decided to start this particular book at that time.

To NaNo or not to NaNo, that is the question

I entered Nanao2017 because my character made me

This year, after much internal debate, I entered NaNo2017. Unless you are super new to writing, every writer knows that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo or NaNoWriMo), when thousands of writers worldwide attempt to write 50K in 30 days.

Continue reading Looking Back at the Birth of a Novel #ThrowbackThursday

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Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists. Pinterest Marketing for

It’s #ThrowbackThursday

We’re in the wayback machine, traveling to April, 2017 to investigate the benefits of Pinterest marketing. Come join us.

Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.www.cherylsterlingbooks.comPinterest marketing is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.  It’s not all pretty images for bored housewives and soon-to-be-brides.

I’ve used Pinterest for years, back when you had to email an application and wait for approval. I didn’t get serious about using it to market my books and brand until September, 2016, when I signed up for Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course. Pinterest is an easy, effective tool to add to your marketing arsenal.

The day I completed the five day course, I had 73 Pinterest followers. As I write this (Saturday, April 15th, because I like to be ahead in my blogging schedule), I have 1,241. Quite a leap, yes?

2018 update—I am now at 2573 followers with >61K monthly viewers

As I’m pinning my blog entries (you do that, right?), and I’m taking part in the #AtoZChallenge in April, I’m pinning daily content from my blog, increasing the number of people who visit my website.

Some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Obviously, set up a Pinterest account.

Make it a business account. Go here for instructions. If you have an existing account, you can convert it in a few simple steps.

      1. Why a business account? You’ll have access to analytics. Over time, Pinterest will show your profile’s growth, who your audience is, and what type of pins they click on. From this information, you can narrow down your audience and tailor future pins to it. You’ll also be able to run Pinterest Ads.
      2. When you set up a business account, you will be asked to confirm your website. This involves adding a string of code to your website’s header section. If you—like me—break out into a cold sweat at the thought of coding, WordPress has a plugin that will make it easier. Install it, add the code, then go back to Pinterest and click on Finish.
  • Set up or edit your Profile

      1. Use a business name relevant to your industry. Add keywords. If you’re Joe Smith and you sell guitars, Joe’s Rocking won’t show up on searches. Joe’s Fine Guitars or Joe’s Guitars for Sale will generate more traffic.
      2. Upload a photo of you, a candid shot with a white or solid color background. It should be one you use on all social media profiles. A face is relatable to your followers.
      3. Add your website URL and a description of who you are, who you serve and what you provide (in a conversational tone, of course). A surprising number of profiles I’ve visited are titled something like “Carol’s Page” and have no description. This is valuable real estate—take advantage of it. Check out my profile page here.
  • Pinterest boards

      1. Set up several boards related to your field.I recommend 10-15. Do a keyword search of your competition and learn what they are using. The tabs below the Pinterest search are rated most popular from left to right.
      2. Board names should include SEO and keywords
      3. The board names should be short and focused
      4. Board descriptions should be two or three sentences, well written and related to the board. Keywords should be near the beginning of the descriptions.
      5. Making a board secret will protect its contents from public view. If you are a business, keep your public boards business-like and hide unrelated pins on secret boards.
      6. Once you have several boards set up, they can be arranged within their rows with a simple drag and drop, moving the most important board into the top position. Followers want to see the most relevant boards at the top and will rarely scroll down.
  • Your pins

      1. Pins should be a mix of  relevant, useful content from others and original content from your blog. An 80/20 mix is recommended.
      2. When repinning from others, it’s okay to customize the description to something stronger. Don’t use hashtags except at the end. Pinterest’s Smart Feed gets confused with hashtags and will drop any description after them. I use them at the end as my pre-scheduled pins which also post on Twitter (more on this later).
      3. Add a CTA (Call to Action) in your descriptions, such as “Click through to check out XYZ” or “Win a Free XX by visiting.”
      4. Pin only what your audience will like. Until your analytics kick in, take ideas from your experience and your competitor’s boards.
  • Your Images

    1. Add video. Video is a growing trend and makes your audience feel connected. Search YouTube, DailyMotion and TED for videos related to your field, or start your own channel.
    2. Use bright colors with good resolution
    3. Use text in a clear, easy-to-read font on your images to tell your audience what they’ll find when they click through to your site.
    4. Pin vertical images rather than horizontal ones for maximum sharing. The ideal size is 735 X 1102:
    5. Use a vertical, longer image on Pinterest for maximum sharing and pinningShort, horizontal images do not get as much exposure on Pinterest as longer, vertical images

Which will get more shares and pins on Pinterest?

Any other tips?

Yes! By adding Twitter and Facebook to your social media settings, you can simultaneously post to them. How? Go to your Pinterest settings, click on or scroll down to Social Networks, and click Yes on Log In with Facebook, and Connect with Twitter. Say Yes to the usual approval questions. The next time you Pin something, two little boxes appear below your pin: Post to Facebook and Post to Twitter. By checking them, your pin will also appear there. If you use BoardBooster, the posts will appear when it schedules them. I find this a win-win. I don’t have to be on all three networks to appear as if I am!

(***BoardBooster ceased operations on 6-25-18***)

If you have a business account

Set up a Showcase. In Settings–>Profile, edit Showcase. Pick five of your most favorite boards and save. A rotating slideshow of those boards now sits at the top of your profile. It is the first thing visitors will see, and you control their first impression by your board choices.

When commenting in other social media, and an opportunity arises for you to mention Pinterest, use the word Pinterest as a hyperlink to your profile page.

Add a save to Pinterest rollover button on your blog’s images. Check out the instructions here. The same instructions are valid for adding a Pin It button to your website.

Add a Pin It button to your browser’s toolbar. When you visit a site you’d like to share, you can pin it on the fly.

Revisit your boards and delete under-performing pins. BoardBooster‘s Pin Doctor will look at your board pins (for a penny a pin) and tell you about broken, missing or suspicious links, slow websites, and duplicate pins based on the same image or same links.

What else?

Join Group boards. I’ll admit I’ve neglected to do this, but it’s on my list. You’ll gain a larger audience for each of your group pins. Check out for suggestions on where to find a group board that fits your needs.

Pin often. Just like other social media platforms, Pinterest is a moving target. What’s pinned is not always seen. By using tools like BoardBooster and Tailwind and posting 20-30 times a day, you’ll be seen as the expert in your field.

Schedule your pins when your audience is most likely to view them. There are many reports available about when to post. I used to schedule by them until BoardBooster’s analysis of my audience told me my peak times were not East Coast 8-11 p.m., but local time 10-11 p.m. I’ve adjusted my pinning times, adding in the later period. I try to pin consistently throughout the day to catch as wide of an audience as possible while still catering to my core fans.

Not all pins need to be new content. When I’m pressed for time, I’ll search my existing boards for high-repin content and repin to the same board or its twin secret board. BoardBooster has a looping feature that will automatically do this for you, but I like to give my audience proven content.

Be sure to pin YOUR blog’s content. If you don’t advertise your product (whether it’s your services, a physical product, you, or a digital product like my books), who will?

Pinterest Marketing can help you spread word about your books

Pinterest is an awesome tool to target your ideal follower. I highly recommend taking Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course to learn more. I can attest to the rapid increase in my Pinterest followers.



If you’d like to continue reading mymy blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and become a Sterling Reader. Receive free books, advance notice of new releases, exclusive excerpts, and much more!

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Pinterest, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

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Hootsuite is an online social media management tool.

#ThrowbackThursday Hootsuite

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post is brought to you by Hootsuite, a social media scheduling tool.

Disclaimer: Hootsuite has changed its terms of use since this article first appeared. In fall 2017, the FREE plan is limited to 30 prescheduled posts at one time across three social media platforms. For up to 10 social platforms, unlimited scheduling (1 user), their fee is now $25.00 per month. For more expanded programs, go here for pricing.

I now use a combination of Hootsuite and Buffer for pre-scheduling my social media posts.

#ThrowbackThursday starts here:

For today’s AtoZ Challenge, a month long, alphabetical blogging challenge, the letter “H” is for Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an online social media management tool.

Hootsuite is an online social media management tool.

Here’s a little secret—I post to both of my Facebook accounts and Twitter from six to ten times a day. Every day. Whether I’m on vacation, shopping, sleeping or watching the Detroit Red Wings not make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in twenty-five years. (bitter? who, me?) I’m all over these social media outlets like dandelions on a spring lawn.

How do I do it?

With the social media tool known as Hootsuite.

Like BoardBooster, a Pinterest tool, which I blogged about here, I pre-schedule my Facebook and Twitter posts days, sometimes months in advance. Realize Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday is May 22nd, but it’s now September? Pre-schedule a Happy Birthday message eight months ahead. Want a certain Tweet to be seen at a certain time to have the maximum impact on your audience? Use Hootsuite.

You can use Hootsuite to post to the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

The caveat is, you will have to pay for a monthly plan if you want to manage more than three social media profiles. Plans start at $9.99 a month. But if you’re looking to save time on two or three platforms, choose the one that’s free. No brainer, right?

Three options to send posts

After signing up, from your dashboard, go to publisher (paper airplane icon) and compose your message. Set up and choose which profiles you want to use (Hootsuite will keep track of your character count, so you won’t go over Twitter’s 140 character limit). Use the add a link box to truncate any URLs (they will have an prefix like this:, and attach media if wanted.

From the calendar icon, you can choose to send now, autoschedule or schedule manually schedule. With autoscheduling, Hootsuite will determine the best times to send out the message for optimal impact. I like to manually schedule my messages, spreading them evenly throughout the day.

What else can Hootsuite do?

  • Reports. The free version offers limited reports, but from Hootsuite’s analytics I can get a profile of my followers and what they’re clicking on. This information helps me tailor future messages.
  • Campaigns. From Hootsuite, I can run:
    • Sweepstakes
    • Photo contests
    • Video contests
    • Instagram contests
    • Twitter contests
    • Create a signup sheet
    • Capture images from Instagram to create a new message
    • Use text, images and video from Twitter to create new messages
  • See who’s following me on each of the profiles I’ve selected as well as who I follow. This is great information if you want to follow the influencers, cull your list, or narrow it to your ideal audience.
  • Set up a social media stream. If you want to follow who’s posting/Tweeting about a certain subject, say, writing, you can set up a stream, using keywords. Hootsuite will scour your platforms and display a constantly updated stream of posts and tweets about the subject. See who’s retweeting you, or who has a question in your field you can answer.

How I use Hootsuite

I love efficiency when it comes to staying on top of social media. I’m a writer. It follows that my time should be spent on writing. The internet is a time-sucking vampire.

The internet is a time-sucking vampire. Save time by using Hootsuite to schedule social media posts.

The internet is a time-sucking vampire.

How can I most efficiently do both?

(Listen up, I’m about to give away the social media bank) When I find a link I want to share, I first post it to a Pinterest secret board. Once or twice a week, in batches, I’ll reopen the link and:

  • Stumble the page on StumbleUpon (more about this in my post of the 23rd)
  • Pre-schedule a message on Hootsuite to my social media platforms, Twitter more than Facebook. Often, I’ll create a second or third message, scheduled several weeks out and at a different time than the original message.
  • Pin the link to a secret Pinterest board (more on Pinterest on the 19th), checking the Twitter box so Twitter is hit again when BoardBooster schedules the pin.

By going through these steps, my post will be seen on social media 10-12 times. Not bad for a one time deal, eh? I usually batch the posts at night, while watching television (like the Detroit Red Wings not make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in twenty-five years. Who’s bitter? There’s always the playoffs, which last until June.)

Similar programs like Buffer and CoSchedule, will perform the same tricks, but this is my AtoZChallenge, and I’m reporting on what works for me.


If you’d like to continue to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Hootsuite, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

***BoardBooster ceased operations on 6-25-18***

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