I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Pinterest. A while back, I decided to take down all my Pinterest boards because of concerns about copyright issues. I was bothered by a requirement to list the source of each pin, which often turned out to be impossible. I was reluctant to accept the idea that I was giving Pinterest exclusive rights over everything I pinned. I was nervous about being sued by someone whose copyright had been infringed, no matter how unintentionally. And it seemed to me that Pinterest was encouraging people to ignore copyright laws; as a writer I had to oppose that.
On the other side of the argument, came these facts. Pinterest seem to be relaxing their source requirements. The little URL box has disappeared. Pinterest is growing a phenomenal speed, catching up with the other social media sites. And it attracts the very demographic that I want to attract to my books. So, somewhat hesitantly and reluctantly, I am dipping a toe back into these copyright-threatening waters.
I'm starting out with a promise to myself -- to limit my pins to pictures I have taken myself, or to those that come from websites like the Library of Congress, which clearly states that their pictures can be used without permission. For many people, that would be impossible, but for someone who wants to pin about the Civil War, it's fairly easy. The pictures that tell my stories were usually taken 150 years ago.
I have to admit that there is something very addictive about those "boards." I've already posted 10 of them. Four are designated to illustrate the four books in my series on "The Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country." Two others -- one dealing with 19th-century medicine and the other with 19th-century foods -- are based on two little e-books that I myself published and eventually took down from active availability. One deals with articles about SC in the CW -- based on my ScoopIt page -- and allowing for full source information.
Two others are touristy -- my own photographs taken on St. Helena Island and at Fort Donelson, with places like Charleston and Beauford still to come. And the final section will deal with the rest of "Who I Am" by showing some of my community-service oriented activities, and eventually, I suppose, a board dedicated to the cats of Katzenhaus Books.
My hope for this new effort is two-fold. First, I realize that a period of history some 150 years old is unfamiliar ground for most readers, and I want to share as much knowledge about the period as I can. I hope that pictures of the people, the places, and the events that occur in my books will make the stories come alive. And second, I want my readers to feel that they know at least a little about me. I really enjoy those moments when I can get out and talk to a group of readers, answering their questions and sharing my enthusiasm for the Civil War. But since those opportunities are limited, this business of "pinning boards" offers another way we can communicate between reader and writer.
If there's an area you'd like me to cover, be sure to let me know. Enjoy your visits to: http://www.pinterest.com/roundheadlady/