The Best Ways to Promote a Children’s Book
At Smith Publicity, we receive many calls from authors asking about how to promote a children’s book. There’s no doubt children’s titles require a somewhat different publicity approach, but it’s not necessarily more challenging. Like all book and author marketing campaigns, you need a well-thought-out plan and an organized approach. Because kids don’t buy books for themselves, it’s vital to reach them along with their parents and grandparents. The adults in the family will do the book buying, and without them, you won’t see the desired results. Here are some tips anyone can follow to get started.
1. Begin locally. The best plan is to begin close to home if you plan to promote a children’s book independently. Contact booksellers in your neighborhood, both chain, and independent stores, to ask if they have a Local Author section and, if yes, request to be included. Offer autographed copies of your book to help spark sales. Stores often put stickers on the covers of signed books to make them more attractive to buyers.
2. Hold local events. If your book has a theme, offer to host a promotional event (which is different than a passive signing). For example, if your book has a bee character, host an educational presentation on the importance of bees followed by a honey tasting or other hands-on children’s activity. Be creative. Interactive events draw kids, parents, and grandparents, and perhaps even the media to the event. Of course, try to sell books while you’re there.
3. Visit local libraries. Many authors are surprised by the role libraries can play in children’s book marketing and publicity. Donate copies of your book to your local libraries. Offer to hold a reading at your library. Most libraries provide activities for children. Hosting an interactive event will work here, as well. If the library does not let you sell books on-site (most will not), be sure to hand out bookmarks or business cards directing people to stores or online sellers where your book is available.
4. Work with 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. You might also earn a fee for your appearance. Some authors sell thousands of books in this way. Be prepared with an exciting presentation about a theme in your book or your background. Remember, you are an expert about you and your book. A presentation will make for better promotion of your children’s book to both students and teachers.
5. Don’t forget the grandparents. According to the Grandparent Economy study by Peter Francese, “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. Remember your camera and ask for testimonials. Everywhere you go, bring your camera, document children reading your book, your presentations, etc., and don’t be shy about asking for testimonials. Testimonials from teachers and librarians are especially valuable because they lend credibility to your book. Make sure to include photos, testimonials, appearances, and events on your website and post to your social media.
People are more likely to buy children’s 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. Future children’s book promotions may include reaching out to writers and editors at educational, parenting, grand-parenting, or children’s media. Book bloggers and other media outlets can also recommend or help you promote your children’s book.
by Sandy Diaz