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The Power of Pinterest

For those new to Pinterest or those wanting another users point of view, read on!

What is Pinterest?
Foremost Pinterest is a search engine that leads to ALL of the pins/boards/videos/people posted on Pinterest. It’s akin to searches found at Etsy, Amazon or eBay.

Pinterest is unique in that pins are selected and repinned on other boards. There pins can be picked up again (and again) and re-shared to more boards. This exponential sharing is the power of Pinterest. By design re-pins expand a pin’s viewing audience.

About Pinterest Profiles, Boards & Pins
A Pinterest profile is a webpage that contains boards. Profile owners can create new boards- or join existing boards. Inside each board is a collection of pins. There are 2 types of boards: personal and collaborative (group). Personal boards contain pins procured by the board owner. Collaborative, or group, boards invite others to join. Group boards offer a variety of pins on themed subjects.

Join and/or Create Group Boards
Anyone can create a group board. And invite other Pinterest users to pin on their board. You can also ask to join a group board. Joining a board allows you to post a pin on it. When you join a collaborative board it also displays on your profile page. Joining group boards is a great way to have your items mixed with like kind pins for more exposure. (Group boards are recognized by the sectioned circle icon on the left lower corner of a board.)

If you want to join a board, contact its owner. The board description may provide their email–or the URL contains their profile name. Send them a private message. Be sure to FOLLOW the board -FIRST- so you can be sent an invite to join.

Ideas to Organize Your Boards
There are many ways to set up your profile cover page. There is no magic formula. Realize your profile boards can- and will change over time. You can move/edit/delete/rename boards at anytime. For my profile I have presently arranged the boards in this manner:

  1. My first 3 boards contain products from my stores at: PattyAnn.net; TeachersPayTeachers, and Etsy. The 4th board has my photography and fine art as it’s a distinct category. Searchers prefer to target specific board types, so accurate board titles are vital.
  2. The next 5 are group boards I created: 1- eBook Stop n Shop; 2 – Books of Discovery 3- Education 4 All; 4- Graphic Arts Design Resources;  5- Career & Vocational Resources. These boards were created for my own pins, namely because I could not find any genre specific boards on Pinterest. I also invited others to join the boards who had similar pins to provide a variety of pins for viewers.
  3. Next there are my other interest boards: Communication in Relationships; Ethics & Critical Thinking Activities; Mental Health Mindfulness; Videos by PattyAnn.net; DiY Home Projects, + more. In all I have 18-20 boards. The rest of the boards are collaborative boards I joined. Board arrangements can be changed anytime.

Viewing Pinterest Profiles & Boards
People landing on your profile page want to know who and what your boards are all about. Since profiles can have many boards, people may view only the top rows. Therefore, when arranging boards, think of the visual experience you want to create for your audience. If you offer products to sell it is wise to put these boards upfront. Remember if someone is searching a particular topic they will pull up your board(s) and/or pin(s) if it fits their search. So do not fret about the perfect board display.

If you don’t see a group board to meet your needs > Create one! Then invite others to join. That was the case for my group boards. The intent was not only to showcase my pins, but invite like-kind pins. Now others ask to join my boards because they have pins that fit–and my boards are actively viewed.

Note: If a board receives few pins, views or action > change the board title, and description, to make it more attractive. The success of a group board depends on its owner.

TiPs for Collaborative Board Owners
If you create a board and want to attract quality pins, you MUST monitor board activity. Here are some tips:

  • Upfront in the description tell your audience what the board is about -and how to contact you. Post rules on what is- and is not- acceptable to pin.
  • When you get a request to join your board, click back to that person’s profile–before sending an invite. Check to see if their pins will fit your board. Otherwise spam can occur.
  • If a person posts off topic pins message them and request they comply to the board rules. I always give 1-3 courtesy warnings. If they don’t comply I block them from my board. Many folks just block pinners without notice. Sometimes pins get misplaced. Or their pin scheduler is not set up correctly. I believe it’s fair to warn folks, so they can modify their pinning habits.
  • You alone are responsible for the integrity of your board. View your group boards at least weekly. Keep them spam free. And cohesive to the board theme. Pinners and viewers appreciate a board that is true to its description.
  • Only create the number of group boards you are willing to monitor. My limit is 5 because I do not want to review, or police, my boards more than once a week. Do what fits you best.

Pinterest Takes Time to Grow
Like any social media, growing your Pinterest profile and following takes time. I started on Pinterest in 2012?- but did not become regularly active until 2017. That is when I truly realized the potential Pinterest offered. I only market through Pinterest. Because a picture IS worth 1000 words! And, it’s just fun to look at others creations.

The beauty of your Pinterest profile is that its active 24/7. And, a fun way to create and showcase our passions and talents. In any event, I hope this info provided a tad more insight to your Pinterest adventures!

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.

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Do Your Teacher Lesson Products Crossover to Mainstream Reading Markets?

Does Your Product Genre(s) Crossover to Other Markets?

Teachers who produce education curricula know their niche markets. Why? Because teacher lesson plans reflect their expertise. Fortunately,  TeachersPayTeachers.com (TpT) is an awesome outlet that caters to hosting a variety of instructional curricula.

As a teacher seller you might wonder if some of your ebooks have a wider audience appeal; namely, if they can crossover successfully into the mainstream marketplace. This article will help you to determine whether your education products, and/or YOU, should sell through other vendors.

For example, I write communication skills ebooks. Slanted for education, most employ activities and worksheets. However, many of my communication ebooks have done well on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and other sites. On occasion changes to the content are made to adjust for generic readability. Take a look to see if you have products that can crossover to another venue. And if so, set up an account and try out a new sales opportunity!

If you are unsure about unleashing your product in another market—experiment! First and foremost, place your ebooks at compatible re-sellers. And, do select out teacher ebooks carefully. My noteworthy experience has proven mainstream readers are receptive to education books when they: 1) Address and solve a problem; 2) Fill a niche; or 3) Offer how-to-do-it info. Therefore, seek out ebook sites that support your genres.

My Self Publishing Journey is an Anomaly

It’s true! I write fiction and non-fiction stories. And, create teacher products. Plus, offer my-and others photography in collections. Quite a mixed bag. Initially, I didn’t research markets where my products might succeed. Curricula books simply flowed out of my brain with ease. An accrual from my years in education and corporate instructional environments. And, life experiences purged forth. The teacher in me loves to share. The process of creating is addicting. And the results rewarding. Consequently, my lineup reveals several distinct categories. The outcome is a variety now offered through a diverse range of ebook vendors.

My ebooks were selected for markets based on literary genre. To give an idea, as of this blog date, I have 111+/- individual ebook products. Approximately 87 are written specifically for education. And, 24 are aimed at mainstream readers. Yet, 32 of these are crossovers. Which means 32 can be placed at both teacher- and mainstream re-seller sites.

Cautions & Advice for Adding Vendors

If you are a teacher with successful sales on TpT, or another teacher vendor, be cautious about entering the generic reader markets. Admittedly, my author odyssey appears to have been arbitrary. As a writer I love to explore other composition styles. Yet while having fun doing so, I created an albatross to some extent.

So there are cautions to others embarking on this path. Namely, servicing different ebook stores creates lots more work for oneself. Every storefront is an additional site to maintain. Monitoring statistics, while revealing, is time demanding. When ebook content is changed, it needs modifying across all platforms. Catering to many sites is ambitious, one which can turn into an arduous task. Ongoing evaluation is vital to make a bookstore worth the time invested. There is no shame in closing an ebook store. It’s something I’ve done several times. Some reasons include:  1) If sales are minimal; 2) If genres do not fit a vendor’s market audience; 3) Vendor support is the FAQ’s page, very minimal response, or not at all; or  4) Effort to promote products does not merit your return on investment, aka ROI. 

Valuable Tidbits & Lessons Learned

 Do you ponder the option of expanding your market? Let my experience help you decide! 

1) First of all, test market a new vendor. Initially, only place a dozen of your top ebooks. It takes lots of time to upload products to new platforms. Of course you want your writing properly represented. So select from your best sellers and/or products that fit the vendor’s audience. Then, see how sales go for 6 months before making a decision whether to add more store products. You can also just sit tight and let your ebooks find their own natural sales and rankings for awhile. Then determine your next steps.

2) You may be approached and invited by start ups and lesser known hosting resellers to join their sites. I have participated in several. And with enthusiasm, went ahead and fully loaded up all ebooks that fit their genre. They never sold. Why? Because these sites, with good intention, did not have the resources behind them. Not every ebook reseller host is a success. This is why I advocate for #1 above. Only place a few books at a site until it proves its worth. 

3) Some well known resellers might not work in your best interest either. Who doesn’t love Etsy.com? It’s a marketplace rich in creative diversity. I held an Etsy store for a few years. Sales were sporadic and slow. Many Etsy sellers do well because of their marketing efforts in- and outside of Etsy. I did not have the extra time to promote my books on Etsy. After three years I elected to close my Etsy ebook store. Truth was, at that time it was a relief not having to maintain another store site. Lesson here is: if you decide to open up an e-bookstore you must make the commitment to promote sales from that site if you want to see it succeed. Fact is, reseller sites only host your stores. It is up to store owners to peddle their own products. All this said, I may elect to open up my Etsy shop in the future. Why? Perhaps my creativity will spawn new products that would be more in line with Etsy artful themes. I always leave possibilities and options open!

Update! EAT MY WORDS! I decided to open up my Etsy shop again. Why? I created some artful items that I thought might fit into Etsy’s theme better. And, I figure one more place of exposure for my Pet Project does not hurt either. So check it out HERE!

4) Another item worth mentioning, is that all reseller communities are different. Some offer forums, some don’t. Support differs vastly between hosting websites. From support requests answered by a person, to being directed to a FAQs page. While ratings and feedback on one site can be generous, on others it may be sparse. Be prepared. Some sites have buyer reviews that can be rough in their ratings- and with their comments. If so, try not to be disenchanted.

Find Your Niche and Stick To IT

All this said, it really boils down to this advice: 1) What ebook market(s) you want to serve; 2) How much time you want to dedicate to each market and ebook store site; and 3) What reseller host do you prefer to be affiliated with. Of course, much is determined by the niche that fits your ebooks. 

My conclusion is that writing for education has been far more rewarding for me personally. Why? As a lifetime teacher it is easy to determine a target market precisely to a select audience based on my expertise. I have found that TeachersPayTeachers provide more support and acknowledgment on several levels. The assistance TpT support provides is on task and on target. They offer ongoing product and store promo opportunities for sellers. Teacher forums are chock full of help from peers; truly it’s a community of sharing. Weekly newsletters, periodic sales, plus more is offered to enable teacher-author-seller success. Additionally, buyer feedback and good ratings are commonplace on TpT, which is very unlike mainstream markets.

Nowadays my time is spent promoting my books on TeachersPayTeachers.com (TpT) along with my own website PattyAnn.net where my products are also sold. This choice evolved over time because of my niche markets- and for the amount of commission other resellers charge. While my ebooks are at other vendors such as Amazon and Smashwords (which acts as a porthole to other resellers), I don’t often promote my ebooks from these sites. Why? First, it comes down to time. Second, the amount of commissions charged. Particularly for Amazon with their policy of requiring author exclusivity; otherwise your ebooks are downgraded and commissions paltry. I leave my mainstream ebooks at other vendors to climb the ranks on their own merits. And, some have done surprisingly well without my promotional help.

There are many aspects and considerations involved when expanding your market. I hope these suggestions have provided you with some ideas and insight. Especially if you have- or are considering other ebook retail outlets. I would be glad to address any questions. Feel free to contact me!

Copyright 2018 PattyAnn.net