How to Market a Children’s Book

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1106 Design

December 19, 2023

How to market a children’s book will depend on several factors, including your method of publishing, your targeted age group, your genre, and your budget. There are many methods you can use to get your book in front of your audience, but not all of them may be right for you. This article will focus on general steps you can take to market your children’s book.

Remember, even if your book is written for children, the majority of your marketing efforts are going to be directed toward older relatives (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), teachers, librarians, and other gatekeepers. There are various ways to push your book directly to kids, such as via guest readings (more on that below), but ultimately, in most cases, it’s going to be their parents buying your books.

For this reason, your marketing efforts are going to feel split. At times, it may seem overwhelming. Don’t worry. We have your back.

Note: Many of these tips also apply to other genres.

 

Create a Quality Product Designed for Your Audience

Your book must be designed to appeal to children, inside and out. There are various kinds of children’s books, from chapter books to picture books. You need to cater to your specified age group. The first step of marketing your book is making sure you’re creating it with your readers in mind. Your word choices, pacing, themes, characters, and illustrations (if applicable) should all be crafted to appeal to your chosen age group.

Similarly, your word and page count should fall within the recommended range for your audience. There are some exceptions. For instance, 32 pages and between 500-600 words is the standard for children’s picture books, but if you’re choosing print on demand, there’s still some flexibility as long as you have an even number of pages.

When planning out your children’s book and writing, put yourself first in a child’s shoes. What would you want to read about? What images would you find attractive? Does the page count or word choices feel daunting? Would it hold your attention?

Next, put yourself in the parents’ shoes. Would you want your child to read the book? What value does the book have for your child? Would you want to read this book to your child, and (in the case of picture books) is it too long for a storytime/bedtime read?

Many of these are also questions that will help you write your back cover text and title. Remember, the text on your cover (front and back) needs to help sell your book. The best way to do that is to tell the reader what your book will do for them (or their kids) in the shortest way possible.

Last but not least, the cover and interior should be properly designed. The best way to ensure this is to hire a quality service to produce your book. If your book is poorly produced, it won’t stand a chance even with the best marketing. For more info on how to write engaging back cover copy, check out this article. We also discuss how to make a great front cover here. 

 

Carefully Craft Your Metadata

Book metadata is information about the book that helps identify, categorize, and, thus, sell it. It’s basically the information that’s added when setting up your title on Bowker (Bowker is the ONLY place in the US where ISBNs can be purchased). You can also add/edit metadata for your book on IngramSpark and Amazon KDP.

In a nutshell, metadata can help with book marketing by making it easier for readers, booksellers, and libraries to find your book. Without good metadata, your book won’t be discoverable. The more fields you fill out when setting up your title, the more discoverable your book will be.

Just be sure to follow metadata best practices. For instance, don’t put promotional material in the title or subtitle fields. Information on best practices and ONIX (the industry standard for distributing metadata) can be found in detail on the Book Industry Study Group’s website

 

Fine-tune Your Amazon Page

If you publish on Amazon, your Amazon page should, at the very least, have your book description and bio (usually taken from your back cover) and let people know your book’s genre and age group. You also need to ensure that readers will be able to find your book on Amazon by using the appropriate keywords in your KDP account (and otherwise using good metadata practices).

You shouldn’t overlook Amazon Author Central. Author Central allows you to track your book sales and manage customer reviews, add editorial reviews, and create and manage your Author Page. Among other benefits, your Author Page displays all of your titles in one place to make it easier for readers to find your other work.

The editorial reviews section is for endorsements/reviews from industry professionals, including other authors, experts in your field, and editors. While paid reviews are shunned in the customer reviews section, they’re welcome here, primarily if they’re from a well-known source like Kirkus. Jane Friedman shares some excellent information regarding editorial reviews here.

For more on how to use Amazon Author Central, check out this Reedsy article.

 

Cultivate Your Online Presence

Hopefully, you already have an online presence via social media, a newsletter, blogs, and/or a website dedicated to your author brand. If not, you should. Social media and blogs help you connect with your readers. A website provides an additional means for people to learn about you, your work, and how to reach you. Before your book is even published, you should be sharing about it in as many places as you can.

That doesn’t mean you have to spam people. Quite the opposite. You can casually bring up your book while discussing related topics. People also enjoy being included in the creative process, so you can share updates on how your book is coming along or post cover polls to get reader input. Just remember to take any advice/votes with a grain of salt when you’re dealing with those who have no or limited design experience.

In addition to the usual social media sites like Facebook, you should also consider Goodreads and The Storygraph, where you can also interact directly with reviewers. We cover more on how to reach people on social media here, and be sure to check out our article on 4 Niche Social Media Platforms for Writers.

When selecting what social media to use, you should research where your target audience spends most of their time. Different social media platforms attract different age groups, though there are exceptions. In general, younger generations of adults (which include parents of young children) flock to Instagram and TikTok, while older generations can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Once you get on social media, try to join groups related to your book. For instance, if your book is an educational book about endangered animals, you should consider joining groups for animal lovers, educators, zoos, and wildlife conservation efforts. You can even guest post on blogs related to topics you cover.

 

Reach Out to Libraries and Schools

Children’s book authors have the unique opportunity to leverage both libraries and schools in their marketing efforts, possibly even daycares, summer camps, and other learning centers for children. When reaching out via email, be sure to include all the information about your book that they would find helpful, including the book cover, description, and links to your socials or website. 

Some schools pay authors for book readings. Even if schools in your area don’t have such a budget in place, they may welcome you reading to the kids and offer incentives for you to visit, such as promoting your book on their school website or in their school publication (if applicable).

Some libraries also have websites and publications where you may be featured, and many libraries welcome book readings. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you’d like your book included in library collections, it’s advisable to get a Pre-assigned Control Number (PCN), if you qualify. A PCN is a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) that’s assigned before publication. LCCNs expedite the discovery and processing of your book by librarians and book dealers. These are free to obtain. Once received, you should include your LCCN on your copyright page. To learn more, please visit the Library of Congress’s website and check out their FAQs.

An LCCN should suffice, but if you want to take it a step further and make it even easier for libraries to catalog your books, you should also consider adding a PCIP (Publishers Catalogue-in-Publication). You’ll have to pay for this service. To learn more about PCIPs, please check out our previous article.

 

As we mentioned earlier: We have your back. Marketing can be extremely daunting, and there are far more avenues than can be discussed in a single blog post—many of which will be specific to your book. We offer several marketing plans tailored to your book. Rather than wasting your time on avenues that won’t suit your book, you can trust our marketing professionals to give you the coaching, support, and advice you need to make wise marketing decisions and jumpstart your marketing endeavors. Contact us to learn more.

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