Question: I have a book for children published on Amazon for age 6 to 12, what is the best way to promote it?

 

Answer:

Book marketing can present some unique challenges for children’s authors because your book has to appeal to two groups – the intended reader AND the adult that holds the purchasing power. Children don’t typically purchase books for themselves.

Like authors of adult books, children’s authors must have a well thought-out, integrated marketing plan to be successful. They just have to approach this plan a little differently. Here are 8 steps for building awareness for your children’s book, gaining purchaser trust, and getting into the hands of book-hungry children:


Children's authors must understand their target age group and who is buying the books.1. Understand who purchases the books for your target reader

Children’s authors must understand not only their target age group and reading level, but the individuals buying the books. Children’s books are typically gifted by family and friends or are purchased by the parents to encourage reading. In addition, there is a huge community of educators eager to stock their classrooms and school libraries with books that engage budding readers. This includes daycares, preschools, and before and after care programs too.

One thing that all children’s books have in common is that they are purchased by ADULTS for children to learn from and enjoy. If you fail to reach these adults and compel them to buy your book, it will likely go unread.


2. Create a memorable author brand and website

One way to create awareness for your book is to build an author brand and website that are inviting, memorable, and fun. Your author brand is more than just visual elements such as logos and colors; it’s your reputation and your message. Creating an authentic brand that is a natural extension of who you are can build trust with consumers. The more consistent you are across your website, socials, and promotional materials, the more recognizable your brand will become.

Use your website as a central hub where visitors can learn about you, your book, where to purchase, and more. If your book includes colorful illustrations and you have the right to use them in your marketing materials, integrate them into your website graphics. Expand on your characters with backstories or dig deeper into your setting with fun facts. Bestselling children’s authors Sheri Fink and Derek Taylor Kent founded their brand Whimsical World with a mission to inspire and educate children, and offer a variety of children’s books, formats, and branded merchandise on their website.

With an established brand and professional website, you can begin to gain the trust of the adult purchasers, while providing a fun experience for the child.

Choosing the right social media channels is important for children's authors.3. Use the right social media channels to reach your purchasers

Along with a website, you’ll want to be active on at least one social media channel that reaches your target purchasers. Visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest work well for children’s authors because you can share engaging photos and short videos, allowing your personality to shine. Facebook is great for connecting with mom’s groups or book clubs. If you enjoy producing longer videos, you might want to consider creating a YouTube channel.

With social media, it’s important to share a consistent mix of content with your followers. Don’t post, “Buy my book!” every day. Find creative ways to entertain, inform, and engage. You can post about an upcoming event, share a funny meme, or talk about your passions outside of writing. With some effort, you can build a loyal group of followers over time and increase your discoverability online.


4. Garner reader and independent book reviews

Consumers often rely on book reviews to help them decide whether to purchase a book. The more positive reviews you have, the more books you are likely to sell. Acquiring a large number of book reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon can be difficult, especially for new or unknown authors that are still building a readership. The key is to follow Amazon’s policies and encourage readers to leave reviews.

While reviews on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads are important, so are reviews from other sources such as reputable book bloggers and independent review outlets. These types of reviews bring credibility to your work and can strengthen your author brand. Great reviews can also help you secure speaking, publicity, and distribution opportunities.


5. Get your book placed in local libraries and bookstores

If you’ve created a strong, online presence and have acquired some great reviews, libraries and bookstores might be open to placing your book on their shelves. There are “rules” to getting your book placed in these channels, so be sure to check out the ALC’s helpful content on libraries and bookstores.

With libraries, it’s always best to start local and you can even donate a copy of your book. Parents rely on borrowing titles from their local library because they can’t buy every book for their children. If parents and children have a positive experience with your book they might become loyal followers that will tell their friends about it. They might also purchase the book, gift it to others, or purchase any books you publish in the future. Libraries can be a great way to create awareness for you and your work.

Local retailers are another smart place to start because they enjoy supporting local authors. Since children’s books are often gifted, it’s important to think outside of just your local bookstores. Where else do adults in your area shop? Boutiques, toy stores, coffee shops? Are there nature centers, organizations, or museums that align with your book’s topic? With the right pitch and approach, you might be surprised at who will dedicate a little space to your book. Be sure to share those positive reviews and any book awards you’ve won – these accolades can strengthen your pitch.


Children's authors should try to visit schools.6. Find opportunities for school, library, and bookstore visits

Children love meeting authors, so parents and teachers love giving them that opportunity! Even if your book isn’t placed in a local library or bookstore, you can still reach out to these venues about in-person or virtual events.

It’s important to approach each venue with a detailed plan so that it’s easy for them to say “yes”. When pitching an event idea to your local bookstore or gift shop, tell them how you’ll help drive traffic to the store by doing a book signing or reading event. With libraries, you can do story time or even teach a fun class. The key to a great children’s event at schools is to keep it interactive and educational. You can have Q&A time, a slideshow with exciting visuals, or play a game related to your book’s topic or theme. If a child comes home from school and tells mom or dad about a book they want, it’s likely to get purchased!

No matter the event, make sure there is an easy way for the adults to purchase your book. Bring copies if allowed or hand out a bookmark or flyer with information on where it can be purchased.


7. Find publicity opportunities with your local media

Publicity involves getting free media coverage for you and your book and can include both traditional outlets such as radio, television, and newspapers, and digital outlets such as online community magazines and blogger websites. For new or unknown authors, the best way to get publicity is to start local. Once you have your media kit prepared, reach out to the outlets in your area to see if there are opportunities for interviews or reviews. After getting some local press coverage, you can branch out and try to garner regional or national coverage. All of these opportunities create awareness for your book.

Many adults feel compelled to support their local businesses, entrepreneurs, and creators, so if they see you and your book featured they might add it to their shopping list.


8. Make sure to optimize your Amazon book page

Since your book is already available on Amazon, you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of the marketing real estate on your book page. This means completing every section and revising your metadata and copy so that you can rank higher in searches. No one knows all the details of how Amazon’s algorithms work, but here are some proven ways to improve your book’s discoverability on Amazon:

•  Claim and complete your author profile on Amazon Author Central - this is your public profile.
•  Polish your book description – make sure it’s clear what age group your book is targeting, and how it will benefit these readers.
•  Fine-tune your keywords – what are the most common search words or phrases that consumers will use when looking for a book like yours?
•  Check your categories/genres – drill down to your book’s subgenres as well.
•  Get those reviews mentioned above – Amazon shoppers rely on these. If you have reviews from sources other than Amazon customers, add them in the Editorial Reviews section.



As I like to say, “Marketing is irrigation, not a thunderstorm”. It will take time and ongoing effort, but with the right assets and plan in place, you can expand your reach and get your book into the hands of children.

Photo Credits:
kali9 via Getty Images

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