Though the same promotional tactics can be used for all types of books, there are additional methods you can use when promoting a children’s book. But before you reach the stage where you promote your book, and before your book has even been published, there are two things that need to be done.
Number One: a professional edit. I can’t stress enough the importance of both a copy and content edit. Some could say this is especially essential for children’s books for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because as the author you are also setting yourself up as a teacher, and what kind of message would you be promoting if you were teaching a child lousy grammar? Secondly, your mistakes are amplified when they are printed out in size 16 font. Don’t use budgeting or ‘creative control’ as excuses, or rely on your sister, husband, or friend as your second set of eyes (unless they are editors – but they will still be biased because they know you). Get. It. Done. Professionally.
Secondly, before you publish, ensure you have clarified your book’s message, as it will be a part of your marketing message or sales pitch. It is preferable that your book has some sort of lesson or moral behind the story. The most difficult children’s books to promote are ones of pure entertainment. When authors weave an educational theme, social cause or issue, etc. into their book, it is easier to highlight the uniqueness of the story. The media will be more apt to consider featuring the book/author when they can tie it into a bigger issue.
Now that you have these two crucial steps down pat, here are some ideas for promoting your children’s book:
1) Hold an event at your local libraries, schools, stores and public spaces.
There are different events that you can hold in these locations. The first includes a reading, where you can offer an ‘afternoon with a local children’s author’ in which you can read your book to the target age group, discuss the characters, themes and lessons, and hold a workshop with the students.
You can also offer to do a book signing at your regional library or bookstores, along with a reading for children and their parents.
Or, if your book has an educational topic (eg. bullying, animals), you could use this as an occasion to promote your messaging, and invite the public (including media) to attend. Be creative with this presentation, and think of ways for your audience to get involved.
To set events up, have your sales pitch prepared when you call the location with an outline of your event description on hand.
2.) Remember who will be buying your book (not just reading it).
It’s obvious in the scenario of marketing children’s books that parents are the ones whose attention you should be capturing. But it doesn’t stop there: grandparents are also a major market in this scenario. So in addition to appealing to the children, find a way to track down and get the attention of their families. Appeal to parent groups around town, or grandparent clubs or events.
3) Find and tap into the children’s book social network.
For each book genre there is a network – the same holds true for the children’s market. Do your research on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads and blogs and start interacting with fellow children’s book writers, publishers, and authors. Visit their blogs and add your feedback. Ask and answer questions, suggest links and associations and share what makes your book unique! The more awareness you generate within your network, the greater ‘word of mouth awareness’ success you’ll have.
4.) Don’t forget your camera for documentation.
Bring your camera along to your events and document children reading your book, your presentations, etc. and don’t be shy about asking for testimonials. Testimonials from parents, educators, etc. are especially valuable, as they lend credibility to your book. Make sure all photos, testimonials, appearance and events end up on your social media sites.
People buy books from authors they’ve met. The more people you can speak to about your book, the better! Once you have the local area covered and nicely documented on your website, it will give you the base (and experience) to expand your efforts which may include reaching out to writers and editors at educational, parenting, grandparent or children’s outlets, books bloggers, and other media outlets, who can recommend or feature you and your book in some way.