Essential Marketing Tactics For Children’s Authors

When we aren’t working on thesaurus books, Becca and I write for children and young adults. This means we know that one of the biggest challenges for Kid-lit & YA authors in is marketing. In most cases, the book buyers are not our actual readers and many of the traditional ways of reaching an audience don’t always work. This is why I am thrilled to have Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur.com with us who has some great marketing advice for Kid-lit and YA authors to try!

Have you found that a lot of book marketing advice isn’t directly relevant to children’s book authors?

While the most fundamental principles of book marketing remain the same for both adult and youth books, the specific ideas and tactics are a little different. While parents may well sign up for your mailing list or see your social media ads, your young readers will not.

So how can children’s authors market in a way which is most effective for their young audience?

Seek Out Local And Offline Opportunities

One of the main differences between marketing books for children and adults is the relative importance of offline marketing.

While there are some offline book marketing opportunities for adults, such as book groups, there are many more for kids. After all, every school places an importance on reading, not to mention public libraries and activity groups.

It’s important to seek out opportunities where you can introduce kids to your stories and characters and show your personality as an author.

So how can children’s authors make the most of offline marketing opportunities?

  • Seek out existing events. If you spend some time browsing the websites of libraries, schools, and community groups, you’ll get a feel for what is available in your area. Often, you will be able to tell how popular an event is by its longevity, reputation or the reaction it receives on social media
  • Don’t be afraid to cold contact relevant institutions. As long as you aren’t pushy or spammy, introducing yourself as an author and offering to lead a reading or writing event is a valid way to promote your book
  • Focus on the impression you make. Offline, face to face marketing is about appearing likeable and positive as a person, in order to reflect your book in the best light

Align Your Book With A Cause

There are no shortage of children’s books. Often, aligning your book with a message or social cause is a good way to stand out from the crowd.

This is also a way of adding extra value to your children’s book. As well as entertaining kids and providing them with a memorable reading experience, you are also offering insight into the issues that really matter.

If you think aligning your book with a cause could help your marketing efforts, consider the following ideas:

  • Which causes do you genuinely care about or have a connection with? Aligning your book with a cause is only a good idea if it’s done authentically.
  • What unique angle or insight can you offer? Spend some time seeing how other children’s books have addressed causes you care about. What’s missing? Is there anything you can add?
  • Are there any charitable organizations that may be interested in partnering with your book? You may be able to provide a percentage of proceeds to them in exchange for some marketing access, for example.

If you’re able to authentically match your children’s book with a social cause, you have not only a marketing advantage, but the chance to make a positive impact at the same time.

Consider A Suitable Award

Just as a social cause can help your children’s book stand out from the crowd, so can an award.

People are less and less trusting of online reviews and the hype that can be generated through social media manipulation. Almost everyone can claim to be an obscure bestseller in this day and age. If your book has won a reputable award, however, it shows a deep level of quality.

Some example awards for children’s books include:

Michael L. Printz Award – An award for teenage literature. The prize is given purely on the basis of literary merit.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal – An award for informational books aimed at a young audience.

Coretta Scott King Award – An award for youth books focusing on the African American experience.

If you are considering a children’s book award as part of your marketing approach, keep the following in mind:

  • You want to make sure the award is reputable. Be careful of scam or vanity awards intended to take advantage of children’s book writers.
  • Is your book a genuinely good fit for an award? Consider the criteria and past winners to get a feel for this.
  • Winning the most prestigious awards is a lofty goal for most authors. However, you might be able to find more niche or local awards you stand a better chance of winning.

A children’s book award should never be the basis of your marketing approach. However, it can be a very valuable, high-quality finishing touch which helps your book stand out from the crowd.

Are you an author for children or young adults and need marketing help? This post is for you! #kidlit

Children’s Book Marketing Takeaways

In a nutshell, some of the crucial differences in book marketing for children include –

  • A greater emphasis on offline marketing to reach young readers directly through suitable events
  • Seeing opportunities to align your books with social causes
  • Using relevant awards as a differentiator

Have you experienced success with any of the above as a children’s author? Have you found a unique take on children’s book marketing you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

Dave Chesson loves sharing his advanced book marketing ideas at Kindlepreneur.com. His focus is on providing actionable, in-depth content, such as his recent guide to the best book writing software. His free time is spent nerding out with his family in Tennessee.

About ANGELA ACKERMAN

Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Marketing, MG & Kidlit, Promotion, Publishing and Self Publishing, Reader Interest, School Visits. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Essential Marketing Tactics For Children’s Authors

  1. Mary Ann Slavcheff says:

    Great ideas. Except for the “Seek out an award.” Nowadays too many writers claim to be “award winning writers.” But they usually aren’t the best writers. Often they are self published, and didn’t take the time to learn the craft before putting their names on books. The so-called partnership publishers (we used to call them the Vanity Press.) have lots of awards. When buying books by a new author, I ask: Where have you published? Where did you study writing? How many readers examined your novel and commented on it before publication? Online I ask for a writing sample. At book events, I read a few paragraphs in the beginning. It’s amazing how bad some of the writing is. I have gotten so I want to walk right by the booths of “award winning writers.”

    • Dave Chesson says:

      Very true, but I figured the Writers Helping Writers readers were not of that breed. More legit writers here than elsewhere 😉 And if your capability is there, then being proactive is very important. Awards (sadly) don’t just come to us. It usually requires seeking, and submitting. Something great authors need to keep in mind.

  2. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday! For writers & readers 04-26-2018 | The Author Chronicles

  3. Book awards do indeed make a difference in marketing a children’s book. But the awards listed are the top annual awards in children’s literature. There are many “awards” that are just scams, so you don’t want to go for the bottom rung of awards, because no one will respect them. But there are many mid-level awards that are within the reach of indie authors. For example, if you’re a member of the Children’s Book Council (requires at least 4 published books and annual dues) you can enter awards for science, STEM, math and social studies. Those are within reach, because I’ve had two NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, and a NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts. Be smart! Don’t go after the awards that are the pinnacle of the children’s book world. Be realistic in what you expect.

    • Mary Ann Slavcheff says:

      Thank you.

    • Dave Chesson says:

      Very true – but we also forget to that 99% of the market only recognizes one children’s award – the Caldecott. We authors know the difference between many of the awards out there from big, mid, to even low tier. But from the shopper’s perspective, regardless of the level of awesome of the award, an award-winning book seems more legit than a non-award one. I’m definitely not saying that’s right…but something we as legit authors need to keep in mind.

  4. This topic is near and dear to my heart, and so few people are speaking about the challenges we face as kid lit authors. The paths I’ve taken that have led to success as an author just wouldn’t work for children’s literature. So I really appreciate you shedding some light on this subject!

  5. Great advice here. I know of authors who have done well by using their book’s special element or theme and pairing it with an charitable event, a non-profit’s focus, or an environmental cause. If there’s a natural way to do this and the author has a passion about the thing they are wanting to get involved with, it can be a wonderful thing. I think all people like to feel part of something bigger, they have big hearts, (kids most of all!).

    • Dave Chesson says:

      Absolutely – it doesn’t have to be something formal. Just a determination on your part as the author to give a certain percentage of the proceeds to that charity. If you decide to do that, it’s best (and smart) to contact the organization and let them know. Work with them to potentially email their followers about the opportunity to support your book, and thus, in return support them. Or to just blast it out on social media. But I’ve personally seen where someone claiming to give a portion of proceeds to an organization is what got me past the “huh, that looks nice,” to “here, I’ll buy two.”

    • Dave Chesson says:

      Oh, and I forgot to add, I have found that the bigger the organization, the less chance they will actually act (unless you really get in and figure out who their head fundraiser is and work with them). Smaller organizations on the other hand will definitely take more actions.

      • Yes this is very true – I’ve observed this with some of the charities we have sponsored in the past. Each year we send in a significant contribution on behalf of WHW, and big organizations don’t bat an eye (not that we do it for marketing or back-patting – it’s just something Becca and I feel strongly about). If an author were trying to work with a charity for the purpose of visibility plus doing a good thing to pay it forward though, finding someone to network with in advance at the organization would be key and they’d likely get more help from a smaller charity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *