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.
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.