We receive many calls from children’s authors looking for ways to get the word out about their book. Here are some tips authors can employ to get started.
1. Start locally. To promote the book on your own, the best plan is to start locally. Contact your local bookstores, both chain and independent ones. See if they have a Local Author section and ask to be included. Offer autographed copies of your book as they are more valuable to the buyer. Stores often put stickers on the front to make this known.
2. Local events. If there is a theme related to your book, offer to host an event (which is different than a passive signing). For example, if your book has a character of a bee, host an educational presentation on the importance of bees followed by honey tasting or other hands on children’s activity. Be creative. An interactive event like this would draw people and perhaps media to the event. Of course, you would be selling books too!
3. Local libraries. Donate copies of your book to your local libraries. Offer to do a reading at your library. Most libraries have set activities for children. Hosting an interactive event will work here as well. If the library will not let you sell books on site (most will not), be sure to hand out bookmarks or business cards directing people where they can buy your book.
4. Local schools and pre-schools. Schools are always looking for guest speakers and authors. In most cases, you can arrange to donate books to the school while parents receive order forms for autographed books—which are great for them to give as gifts! A fee may even be paid to you. Authors sell thousands of books this way. Be prepared with an interesting presentation about a theme in your book or your background. Remember you are an expert on you and your book. A presentation will make for a better connection with the children and teachers.
5. Don’t forget the grandparents. According to the Grandparent Economy study by Peter Francese (http://www.grandparents.com/binary-data/The-Grandparent-Economy-April-2009.pdf ) “In 2009…grandparents will spend $2 trillion. Of this, approximately $52 billion will go toward goods and services for their grandchildren.” Offer to talk to local senior groups and senior centers, exhibit your book at local festivals, craft fairs, religious events and other places drawing families and grandparents.
6. Don’t forget your camera and ask for testimonials. Everywhere you go, bring your camera, document children reading your book, you speaking, etc. and don’t be shy about asking for testimonials. Testimonials from teachers and librarians are especially valuable, as they lend credibility to your book. Make sure to include photos, testimonials, appearance and events on your website.
People buy books from authors they've met. The more you can speak 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, grand-parenting or children’s outlets, books bloggers, and other media outlets, who can recommend or feature you and your book in some way.
by Sandy Diaz