How to successfully market a children's bookJuly 12, 2012
How to successfully market a children's book
By Jo Linsdell
Jo Linsdell is the author and illustrator of the rhyming children's picture book OUT AND ABOUT AT THE ZOO. Find out more about her at www.JoLinsdell.com
Most authors, regardless of whether their book is traditionally or self published, will have to dedicate some time to marketing their book. The good news is that it doesn't have to be expensive (in fact most of the things on this list are free and some can even earn you money).
To start with let's take a look at some of the basic stuff you can do online to market your children's book:
Social media. The invention of social media has marked a revolution in book marketing and with so many platforms to choose from we can pick and choose which suit us best. If you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to your marketing efforts, but want to get your message to as many people as possible, this is a winner. For sites like Twitter and Facebook you can program posts in advance. I use www.SocialOomph.com to schedule my Twitter posts and the schedule posts feature directly on Facebook.
Blogging. A blog is an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Set it up to highlight your books and include links to your other sites and networks. You can host other children's writers for interview and guest posts in order to bring their audience to your blog. If set up correctly this is one of the most powerful tools for marketing. As blogs tend to be updated on a regular basis they show up well in search results.
Make a web page. Even if you just set up a simple, one page, website with your book details, author bio, a few review comments and your contact details, a website will put you on the digital map. With a children's book you can develop the site and add some book extras like free activity packs and colouring pages to involve children directly. What could be better than your target audience (the children themselves) asking their parents, grandparents etc... to let them visit your website! You could even organise an onsite competition where the children can upload their finished colouring pages for a chance to win a prize.
Organise a VBT. VBT stands for Virtual Book Tour and from my experience is one of the best ways for creating a buzz about your book. I'm currently doing a 3 month long VBT for the release of my children's picture book 'Out and About at the Zoo' (a bit ambitious I know. Usually I only do a week or at most a month but I got carried away with my enthusiasm :)). So far it's going great and has given me the chance to collect some excellent reviews as well as make those all important sales.
Collect testimonials. Nothing is better publicity than a happy customer. A collection of 5 star reviews on your books purchasing page will speak volumes to potential customers and help you close the deal. Leading on from my last point, a VBT is a fantastic way to get started as you can ask reviewers to post to both their blogs and to other sites e.g. Amazon, Goodreads etc... where your book is listed.
Make a video. Video is an excellent medium for connecting with your audience on a more personal level and as a children's author you can loads of fun with it. A video book trailer is a must but you can also do recordings of you reading the book or sharing fun and interesting facts about the characters. Why not have your characters introduce themselves to the children?
Schools. As a children's author, your market is children and so you need surround yourself with your audience. A great way to do this is to offer a free author visit to a school. Organise well in advance and give a complimentary copy to each participating teacher so they can read your book to the class and familiarize the children with your book. You can also supply pre-order forms with a section for including the child's name, via the teacher before the big day so that parents can order a personalised, signed copy for their child. You might also want to make some bookmarks with your cover art and website address on them to hand out.
Bookstores, libraries and other venues. Book signings can be good but a book reading or book themed creative session work better for children's books. Print off some of the activity pages from your website (with the url printed on them) to give out to children who buy a copy of your book as a special gift. Do a book reading and get the children involved by asking them about their favourite character from the book or in the case of my book 'Out and About at the Zoo' I might ask them if they've been to the zoo or what their favourite animal is.
To summarize, to successfully market a children's book you need to market to both the people who make the purchase (the parents, grandparents, teachers, etc) and your target readers (the children).