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11 Powerful Ways to Market Children’s Books

Or any Books, for that Matter...

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How to Market Children’s Books, Online and Offline – the Ultimate Guide.

(Tip: this works for other genres too)

Whenever I talk about marketing or selling strategies for authors (and that’s quite often, let’s be frank – I go on about it all the time), one of the most common questions I get from authors is, “Will this work for [INSERT GENRE HERE]?” or, “I write [INSERT GENRE HERE] books, will this work for me?”.

Of course, this is a normal response. Whenever someone offers you advice that goes against what you’re already doing, the first thing you’ll ask yourself is “Will this work for me?”.

Now, my whole reason for existence is to help you build a career and sell more books. It’s like catnip for me (if I were a cat, anyway).

So, the short answer is “yes”, what I’m sharing with you will work.

BUT, like all things in life, I am teaching you the principles of building an author business. The authors who get the best results learn those principles and adapt them to their own circumstances.

Sometimes, more adaptations are needed than others. And one of the genres that illustrates this point best of all is children’s books.

After all, not only do you have to appeal to children, but you need to appeal to the adults who’ll actually be the ones buying your books. This can quickly change the tactics you’ll need to employ to make your marketing strategies work.

(Note: big difference between strategies and tactics).

So, how do we take the principles I talk about on this blog and apply them to a specific – and difficult to crack – genre, like Children’s books?

Talking to us today about some specific routes you can take is seven-time bestselling children’s author Y. Eevi Jones.

She’s sharing 11 powerful ways to market children’s books. And – good news – if you don’t write children’s books, you can take these principles and strategies and apply them to your own genre – and make them work for you.

And if you’d like to learn more about some of the strategies Eevi uses, come along to one of our on-demand workshops and learn the three-step process to grow your audience, exposure, and book sales – grab your seat right here.

Enjoy!

 

11 Powerful Ways to Market Your Children’s Books (or any books, for that matter)

by Eevi Jones

 If you’re a parent of a little boy or girl, chances are you’ve at least thought about writing your own children’s book before.

Maybe you already sat down and wrote a story about those characters you came up with during those long nights you were trying to get your child to sleep. Maybe your story is already illustrated, and you are now ready to hit publish.

But now you’re unsure about how to go about promoting your completed book in order to share it with as many people as possible.

In this article, we’ll craft and plan an igniting and high-­powered marketing strategy that will set you and your book up for success once it’s time to launch it into the world.

After you’ve read this article, you’ll be ready to release your beautifully crafted story book to the world, to your loved ones, and most importantly, to those special little ones in your life.

 

 

Marketing Your Children’s Book

Many authors just want to write, and don’t want to market. In fact, most despise this aspect of being an author. And this holds true for writers of children’s books as well. It is, nonetheless, one of the key factors to your book’s success. Without promoting it, it will get lost in the sea of books. A book without marketing and promotion is like a rocket without fuel.

There are a lot of talented authors out there, but the most successful ones don’t depend on the book to find readers. Instead, they find them.

Authors of self­-published children’s books, in particular, have their marketing work cut out for them, as promotions for these titles have to essentially appeal to two distinct groups:

  1. the kids the book is for, and
  2. the adults (such as parents and grandparents) who buy the book for them

The average buyer’s age of children’s books is between 30 and 44. Females make up more than 70% of these buyers.

It’s very important to keep demographics in mind when drafting a promotion plan, as it will help us decide what strategies to use in order to reach your target audience.

So here are the main marketing strategies I use that have helped me rake in royalties in the multi­ple-five-figure spectrum this past year with my children’s books.

 

 

1. CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL BRAND

 “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” ~ Seth Godin

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.

You can, of course, create multiple versions for different places and occasions. Here is one of my bios I’ve used before.

 

 

2. ORGANIZING A LAUNCH TEAM

“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” ~ Mike Volpe

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:

  1. The purchased copy will count toward your ranking within Amazon
  2. 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.

You could write something like this:

Be appreciative, sincere, and personal when drafting your message, and your launch team members will usually be more than happy to post their review.

A friendly follow up such as this has helped to significantly increase the review rate for two of my previous launches.

 

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

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

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 she may want to share it with her own network of professionals, friends, and followers, especially if you officially listed 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, she’s worked very hard to create beautiful illustrations for your. She’ll want the book to do well, as this is something she can then add to her very own portfolio.

 

 

4. PROMOTIONAL SITES

“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!” ~ P.T. Barnum

To encourage people to download your book, you’ll have to set up a number of promotions. To find the best promotion sites for your price range, use Reedsy’s Promotion Finder Tool.

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.

Book Tours

Alternatively (or additionally), you can set up book tours for your children’s book, such as those offered by KidsBuzz, which help you promote your book directly to readers and teachers, as well as to book clubs, booksellers and librarians.

 

 

5. SOCIAL MEDIA

“Social media is about the people. Not about you. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” ~ Matt Goulard

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.

Facebook Groups

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

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 ­ I have done so with each of my books. 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.

To illustrate, my four most recent giveaways have had an average of 1439 entries. Each time a giveaway ended, I saw a spike in sales.

Meaning some of those people who entered but didn’t win ended up purchasing my book. So this is what we’re really trying to get out of this giveaway.

 

6. CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS & FESTIVALS

“Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.” ~ Alan Alda

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.

  1. The Golden Kite Award
  2. Mom’s Choice Award
  3. Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards
  4. The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards
  5. Readers’ Favorite (children’s book category)
  6. 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.

Children’s Book Festivals 

Book fairs are a great way to get the word out about your book, as they give you the chance to directly interact with your target audience. To find a book festival near you, check out the Library of Congress’ extensive list, organized by state.

Be sure to apply in advance. And a paperback version is a must for this promotional option.

 

7. GUEST POST & MAGAZINE ARTICLES

“Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.” ~ Jonathan Lister

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

Here is an example ­ an article I wrote for Kindlepreneur, a free source for authors to learn about book marketing. It was shared hundreds of times and helped reach many potential readers and clients.

You can go about your article ­writing and pitching in two different ways:

  • TARGETED APPROACH: Approach blogs that cater to people who already love the topic of your children’s book. For example, if your book is about monster trucks, approach a blog that already writes about monster trucks. Ask yourself, would this particular audience be interested in reading about what you have to say? If the answer is yes, the blogger is more likely to allow you to guest post for him or her.
  • GENERAL APPROACH: Approach more general blogs that cater to parents with children your target age. For example, if your book is for two-to-five-year-­olds, it would make sense to approach sites such as Scary Mommy, which has an entire section dedicated to articles written for parents of children this age

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 family­related 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.”

 

 

8. PODCASTING

“You just need one person to listen, get your message and pass it on to someone else. And, you’ve doubled your audience.” ~ Robert Gerrish

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 kids­related 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? These are all questions people ask me over and over again, so use your journey to becoming an author to pitch yourself to these podcast hosts.

 

 

9. SCHOOL & LIBRARY VISITS

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

School 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.

Library Visits 

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.

 

 

10. BOOK TRAILERS

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” ~ Tom Fishburne

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.

Below is the trailer for my book The Impatient Little Vacuum. It has been viewed 3000+ times, generated buzz in social networks, and engaged new audiences in an exciting way.

View the video at: https://youtu.be/SgCXBEfvg9o

 

11. ASKING INFLUENCERS FOR REVIEWS

“Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.” ~ @Annalect

Influencers are individuals who have influence over potential buyers. Sometimes it makes sense to ask an influencer to provide an editorial review for you.

Receiving a review from an influencer can lend enormous credibility to your book. If he or she agrees to do a review, it’s very likely they will also promote or mention your book to their audience. This is an excellent promotional strategy and really works if done correctly. I’ve used this strategy on three of my books (one of them non­fiction):

 

 

Notice that my book’s topics were relevant to each influencer I approached.

It is important to be genuine about your interest in the influencer’s work. Only contact them if you have been following them for at least a little while, and only if you truly value their work. Don’t contact them purely for your own sake ­ try to bring actual value to the influencers’ audiences as well. Ask yourself whether or not their audience would benefit from learning about your mission or your book, and only go forward if the answer is “yes.”

 

 

MORE…

 I’ve studied many children’s book authors over the years. What I have found is that most successful, self­published children’s book authors have more than one book, and maybe even a series or two.

Here are some of my favorite ones:

There is no one way to promote your book, but one of the very best strategies is to simply keep on writing. Start writing your next children’s book as soon as you possible can. Repeated publication builds your reputation, your momentum, and your following. So, promote your work, but don’t forget that your little readers are waiting for more!

 

 

CONCLUSION

There are many different ways to promote your newly published children’s book. But with limited time and a limited budget, it’s important to focus on those methods that bring the best results.

Having launched more than a dozen children’s books, I’ve tried all sorts of marketing methods, and today I shared those with you that worked the best for me.

I hope you derived tons of value on how to market and promote your children’s book. If you’d like to expand your knowledge on how to:

  • Write An Audience-­Appropriate Children’s Book
  • Format Your Paper & Ebook Versions of Your Book Step-­by-­Step, and
  • Publish Your Paperback and Ebook

then check out my book How To Self­Publish A Children’s Book – Everything You Need To Know To Write, Illustrate, Publish, And Market Your Paperback And Ebook.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Y. Eevi Jones

Y. Eevi Jones is a seven­time #1 bestselling children’s book author who helps aspiring children’s book authors through coaching and courses to make their dream a reality. She has been featured in multiple media outlets, such as TEDx, Scary Mommy, Kindlepreneur, Huffington Post, EP Magazine, Military[.]com, and Stars & Stripes. 

 

You can learn more about her work and download a free guide to writing your own children’s book at http://eevijones.com.

BACK TO NICK

I love Eevi’s structured approach to marketing – and how she focuses on a selection of the key channels that bring her measurable results (instead of floundering around from one tactic to another).

One key takeaway for me, is that everything Eevi’s talked about today can be adapted to different genres. So, if you don’t write children’s books, you can adapt these principles to suit your own circumstances.

For example – giveaways, guest posts, podcasting, book trailers, launch teams, promo sites, team-ups, contacting influencers, social media, awards, library visits, and festivals / conferences are not genre specific routes. Anyone can try these (and we’ve written articles about these in previous posts).

For school visits, swap out “school” for something more relevant to you. Research your own audience (Eevi provides data for her buyers above). Find out what resonates with your readers. Take what Eevi’s shared with you and apply it to your genre.

And – of course – if you do write children’s books, definitely check out Eevi’s website for more free tips and a bonus guide right here on her site.

And now, we’d love to hear from you! If you’re a children’s author, which of these strategies are you going to try first? If you write in another genre, how are you going to adapt them? Leave a comment below:

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