10 Marketing Tips For Children's Book Authors
9th Apr, 2021
So you've finished your first children's book. You are so proud of yourself and so you should be. Family and friends are congratulating you left , right and centre and you are on top of the world!
Day 1.....family and friends buy your book
Day 2.....some acquaintances and colleagues buy your book
Day 3.....no sale
Day 4.....no sale
Day 5....no sale
What is going on? Well the answer is your book has not been marketed. Her are my top 10 marketing tips for children's books authors, I came up with these after going through the situation above:
1. CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL BRAND
Great marketing starts with you and how you portray yourself. As an author, your name is your brand. As such, a well-drafted author profile is essential. It allows potential readers to feel like they know you. And getting to know someone is the first step in building trust.
And if we are to build a lasting relationship with potential readers, then this is the first step we need to take.
A well drafted author bio is so easy to put together, yet something so often overlooked. Your author bio is displayed in places such as
- your book’s Amazon page
- your back cover or inside of your book, and
- your author profile
When polishing up your author profile, add a professional looking photograph of yourself (without your cat, perhaps), and a link to your website.
As a children’s book author, it’s okay to be a bit playful. Written in the third person, this little snippet gives you a chance to connect with your (potential) readers, and lets your personality shine through.
Here is the Bio I put on the back of my books:
My name is Kalenga Augustine Mulenga aka K.A. Mulenga. My passion is writing. I started writing when I was 10 years old and my passion was reignited by my 11 year old son. Writing runs in my blood as my late father was a journalist and the first black editor of the Zambia Daily Mail and my late brother was a poet. To date, I have published 9 children's eBooks on Amazon. I love writing children’s books with a positive message and also to make them laugh and entertained. I am a prolific writer and currently have 9 edited and completed manuscripts.
I am busy with a memoir and after that I would like to write some fiction and non-fiction in the near future.
One of my books, Donk and the Stubborn Donkeys was #1 Bestseller Juvenile Fiction > Animals > Farm Animals
2. ORGANIZING A LAUNCH TEAM
Don’t be shy when it comes to promoting your book. It is important to let others know about it. Just remember that your friends and family want to support you. And creating a launch team can be a wonderful way for your loved ones to do just that.
Organizing all the people you think would be interested in your book is a great way to provide you with a set of initial book reviews. Let’s be honest; how many times have we looked at a book page, only to click away moments later, because it didn’t have any or very few reviews? I know I have. And that’s what a launch team is meant to prevent.
So send out an email to those you think might be interested in reading your book and post a friendly request in the social media channels you’re most active in.
Collect each interested party’s email and let your launch team members know when you’re launching your book, by sending out an email once it becomes available.
Be sure to include the direct link to your book, as you want to make it as easy as possible for your launch team members to find, download, and review your book.
Depending on how well you know your launch team members, you may want to ask them to download the book before the review. Doing so will have two added benefits:
- The purchased copy will count toward your ranking within Amazon
- The submitted review will be marked as a “verified purchase,” and will be displayed before any “unverified” reviews
Alternatively, you can gift each member a copy of your ebook version. This will yield the same benefits, as long as the launch team member redeems the gifted ebook within 24 hours of you sending it. In addition, you’ll also receive your royalties on these gifted copies.
Be organized. Keep track of who left a review. On average, only about 30% of your launch team is going to actually read and review your book. So follow up is key to getting as many reviews as possible.
Remember that people are busy. They may have the best intentions of supporting you, but might forget to post their review.
If a launch team member hasn’t posted a review after about a week of your initial launch, a simple and personalized message can refresh their memory and serve as a friendly reminder.
Something like this:
I know you are busy, so I wanted to send you a quick reminder.
You can find(Book Title) here(Book Link)
Thanks so much for having been on my launch team, I really appreciate it!
Be appreciative, sincere, and personal when drafting your message, and your launch team members will usually be more than happy to post their review.
Once you’ve received a review, be sure to thank that launch team member individually! Don’t forget to also ask your launch team to publicly announce your book to the world by sharing on social media. To make it as easy as possible for your team members to spread the word, you could create images for them to share on their social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Make sure to publish your post and the image as “public” so it can be freely shared. Have a clear call to action either in the image itself or in the post accompanying it, so people looking at the image know exactly what to do next. And don’t forget to include the Amazon link to your book.
3. MAKE YOUR ILLUSTRATOR PART OF YOUR LAUNCH
Chances are that you hired an illustrator to help you illustrate your children’s book. If that’s the case, let your book launch provide her with the opportunity to showcase her beautiful work.
Keep your illustrator up to date about your launch dates. You’d be surprised how willingly he/she may want to share it with her own network of professionals, friends, and followers, especially if you officially listed him/her as the book’s illustrator.
Including your illustrator will increase your initial contacts, which can have an exponential impact on your marketing efforts. After all, he/she have worked very hard to create beautiful illustrations for you. He/She will want the book to do well, as this is something he/she can then add to his/her very own portfolio.
4. PROMOTIONAL SITES
To encourage people to download your book, you’ll have to set up a number of promotions..
Be aware that some sites require you to offer your book for free in order for them to run your promotion.
There are many sites that allow you to post about your book promotions. Some require you to submit the promotional dates up to two weeks in advance, while others allow listings with less than 24 hours’ notice.
As you have to enter your book’s Amazon URL during the booking process, you can only do so after you have published it.
The goal is to set up a number of promotions right after you first launched your book, so that the sites can give you some momentum to trigger Amazon’s algorithm, launching you into the upper rankings of your category.
When searching the web for promotional sites, you’ll find that some are free, and some require a fee; some require your book to be free, and some allow a reduced price. You decide what best suits your budget. Also note that some of these sites require you to already have a certain
number of reviews before they promote your book another reason why having a launch team is so very important.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA
Depending on which platforms you’re active on, you can announce your new children’s book on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn.
It’s best to choose between 12 strategies to focus on, rather than trying to devote bits of time to multiple media channels. Find what works and appeals best to you, and stick with it.
Joining audience-specific Facebook groups is absolutely free and can be very beneficial. Facebook groups and pages are a great place to display and promote your newly published children’s book. You can inform members about your sales, giveaways, and other promotions
To find suitable groups, start typing “children’s books” into Facebook’s search bar and look at the individual pages that pop up.
This is the place where parents come to find the next read for their children and where authors support each other. Just make sure to be mindful of others and only post according to each group’s administrative rules.
Be sure to dig into the potential your book’s topic brings with it as well. If, for example, you have written a book about beautiful mermaids, go ahead and look for Facebook groups formed around this particular interest. Make sure to ask for the admin’s permission to post your book as a comment.
This can be a very powerful method, as every member of that group is potentially your target audience.
When visiting more general family and parenting pages, you as the author can engage parents and groups using the topics in your books to start or join relevant conversations. If parents are discussing ways to deal with bullying or making friends at a new school, for example, an author whose book addresses these topics can chime in.
Goodreads is an enormous social platform centered around books. It was acquired by Amazon a number of years ago. Users can add books to their personal bookshelves, rate and review books, and get suggestions for future reading choices based on their reviews of previously read books.
I recommend using this platform to host a giveaway You can list any of your pre-released or published books for a giveaway, regardless of publication date, and offer either a paperback or ebook.
While potentially gaining some reviews from the giveaway’s winners, the main reason we’re holding a giveaway is to increase our exposure.
6. CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS
Children’s Book Awards
An award-winning book will bring increased recognition and provides critical acclaim, helping you to make your marketing journey much easier.
There are numerous awards for self-published children’s books. Most charge an entry fee, ranging from $50 per title to $500+, but winning one of these competitions and being able to display the winning seal will help set your book apart.
Here are some of the most notable children’s book awards. Take a look and see which ones you believe are a good fit.
- The Golden Kite Award
- Mom’s Choice Award
- Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards
- The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards
- Readers’ Favorite (children’s book category)
- The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards
Be aware that some awards require you to send in one or more paperbacks of your book. And the earlier you enter your book, the more cost effective it will be, as most sites offer earlybird prices.
7. GUEST POST & MAGAZINE ARTICLES
Guest posting (or guest blogging) means to write and publish an article on someone else’s website, blog, or in a magazine. Guest posting is a great strategy, as it directly targets your ideal audience.
It is, however, somewhat more time consuming, because you not only have to find the right blogs or magazines to approach, you also have to write a valuable and insightful article in order for it to attract new potential readers.
But guest blogging can help you
- Get your name out there and build credibility
- Reach potential readers (or those that purchase the children’s books)
- Build traffic to your book(s)
- Network and make new connections
When it comes to guest posting, be aware that your post can’t be a sales pitch. Your written piece will have to be about something relevant to that particular blog’s or magazine’s audience, tied to your book in a natural and non-pushy way.
When searching for a suitable blog or site to pitch a post to, start with what you know already. What family sites are you reading? What parenting/ mom blogs are you enjoying?
What sites are you subscribed to? Go to these sites and see if they welcome guest bloggers.
And if you want to expand your search, make use of the many lists that already exist online. For example, if you’re looking for family related blogs, type “Best 100 Family Blogs” into your search engine. If your children’s book is about dogs, type in something like “Top 100 Dog Blogs.”
Just like guest posting, podcasting can be a very powerful way to spread the word about your book far and wide. There are many family and kids related podcasts that host interviews. You can use the same technique I introduced above, and search for “Top 100 Family Podcasts,” or any other topic that relates to your children’s book. In addition to a search on Google, you can use iTunes to find the best and most popular podcasts in any given category.
The beauty of podcasts is that you don’t just have to talk about your book. You can talk about your experience of writing the book and the story behind it. Why did you write this particular book? How did you go about it?
9. SCHOOL & LIBRARY VISITS
Many children’s book authors don’t realize that many schools set aside an annual budget for paid author visits. School visits can be either free or paid I suggest offering free visits for your first couple of times.
Send an email to your nearby schools and offer to do a reading of your book. Be sure to say what age range the book is aimed at, so that the administration can choose age-appropriate classes. Send an image of your cover, and include a short synopsis, links to your reviews on Amazon, and to your website (if you have one).
If the school agrees, be sure to have the school send slips home with the children, offering a chance to buy signed copies of your book.
On the day of the reading, be creative and bring fun props that relate to your book and that you think the kids might enjoy.
Libraries love hosting story hours with local authors. And most libraries have weekly scheduled story times already, with lots of children and parents attending. Larger libraries even offer multiple story times based on different age groups, making the targeting of your book’s audience even easier.
Call nearby libraries and let them know about your book. Be sure to bring a number of paper copies on the day of the reading, so you can sell your signed book. You can even repurpose the props you prepared for your visits to book festivals.
Both of these may be a tricky now due to the pandemic but as the world gets vaccinated , they will both be good options again.
10. BOOK TRAILERS
Children are all over YouTube. Between 35% and 45% of UK children aged 4-7 visit YouTube each week, increasing to around 80% by age 11.
A Smarty Pants “brand popularity” survey of 6-12 year-olds in the USA found that YouTube beat the likes of Disney, Netflix for Kids, Nickelodeon, and Lego.
And that’s where the use of book trailers comes in.
Book trailers can be a wonderful addition to your marketing strategy. You can use them in places such as your newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon Author Page, YouTube, and your own website.
Out of these 10, I still have to master the book trailers and due to lockdown the library’s here in South Africa have been closed.
I hope this list will help and will hopefully see your book sales rise.
Until next time I leave you with this inspirational quote by Louis L’Amour :
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on."
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Good bye and have a great weekend!