Authors of children’s books have a unique challenge that writers of other genres don’t have to face: marketing children’s books must appeal to someone other than the potential reader. Usually, an author can focus their marketing on the person who will be reading the book, but marketing children’s books is different.
While a book might be written for toddlers, the parents hold the pocketbook and make the decision about which new book to bring home. Since children’s book writers must also appeal to the right customers in addition to the readers, marketing children’s books is a little different than other types of book marketing.
But when an author focuses on just three key marketing elements, their marketing strategy for children’s books will reach the right customers to buy their books.
Traditional Book Marketing vs. Marketing Children’s Books
As any self-published author knows, marketing strategies are critical to getting books into the hands of readers. And there are dozens of marketing strategies that can be used to raise awareness about a new novel, each designed to draw in the right readers for a book.
Books aimed at older readers may connect with potential readers by engaging them directly on social media, going to book events to meet them in person, and creating email marketing lists to help authors create direct contact with those who might love their books. But marketing children’s books is more nuanced.
A more targeted approach is necessary since the author needs to appeal to not only the customer who buys the books but also to excite young readers when they read the book. Instead of needing twice as many marketing strategies, marketing children’s books only needs to focus on three main methods to be successful.
#1: Marketing Children’s Books: Get to Know Your Target Customer
A critical aspect of marketing a book is knowing who exactly you are trying to reach. An excellent way to do that is to create the profile of the ideal customer that you want to target.
Especially helpful for children’s book authors, crafting a persona that mimics exactly who you are trying to reach can help you hone in on the most effective strategies for marketing children’s books. In order to picture the right customer, use questions like these to guide you in defining an ideal customer who is likely to purchase your children’s book.
- What is their age? What is their child’s age?
- Why did they buy your book?
- What problem are they solving with your children’s book?
- What Instagram pages do they follow?
- What blogs are important to them?
- What types of online activities do they participate in? Are they in Facebook groups?
- Do they attend conferences or expos about their interests?
Sample Ideal Customer Profile: The ideal customer is a 30-something professional female with a child under the age of five who is also expecting her next child. The motivation for buying my book is to reinforce her child’s understanding of a new baby and how their family will change when the baby arrives.
This ideal customer follows one of Instagram’s most famous moms, Shawn Johnson East, and religiously reads Working Mother’s blog because she can identify with other busy working moms with families and more kids on the way.
How to Use Your Target Customer When Marketing Children’s Books
- Go to conferences, expos or events that your target customer might attend. Secure a booth or table to sell your book and meet your customers in person.
- Meet your customer where they already are online. Join Facebook groups or other online groups that your ideal customer is already participating in to learn more about your target customers and to directly connect with them.
- Offer to write a guest blog post on blogs that are important to your ideal customer. Provide blog readers with meaningful information while also giving your book or content a shout-out in the post. Writing on a blog can help build credibility for your brand as an author and help raise awareness about your book at the same time.
- Reach out to popular Instagram pages to buy an advertisement to reach a large audience that is already interested in your content.
#2: Build Your Fan Base When Marketing Children’s Books
The second key to marketing children’s books is to focus on raising awareness about you as an author as well as your book (and any future books you may have in development.)
While some authors may have thousands of fans already anticipating their next book’s publication, new authors will want to spend time cultivating their online presence to reach those potential fans right now. Three main avenues are easy to use to reach potential readers who can help authors build a community and a following.
Author Websites: Every author should have their own website so readers can get to know them and their current or upcoming books. An author’s bio page can provide fans with a glimpse of who you are while a blog on the site can showcase upcoming projects or meaningful content that your ideal reader will appreciate.
Author sites can also give readers an easy way to purchase your books or even some free content to download from your book like a few coloring pages featuring your book’s characters.
Social Media Platforms: Every author should secure social media handles to use when interacting with readers. Authors can even create a handle for a book, too, that can be used to give information about the book and link back to your author’s website.
Traditional platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are popular to use while authors will want to create a presence on Goodreads and other book sites that are popular with those seeking new books to read for themselves or their children.
Video Platforms: An excellent way for readers to get to know you is to utilize video to showcase the real you. Short videos on TikTok and YouTube are a fun place to have book talks or to just bring fans into a little bit of your life.
Videos can showcase your writing process, explore your characters or the world you have created in your books, or they can be more about getting to know you. Authors can also use videos for marketing children’s books by reading a little bit of their book, too, to entice potential customers to snag a copy for themselves.
#3: Expand Your Brand When Marketing Children’s Books
The third key element in a strategy for marketing children’s books is to expand your brand beyond your book. One way to do this is with the illustrations in your book. If you own the copyright to the illustrations in your book, you can grow your brand by creating a line of products or other ancillary materials with your characters.
When children fall in love with a book and its characters, they gobble up products featuring those same characters and their stories. By expanding your brand to include products with your characters on them, your children’s book marketing potential can grow beyond one title into a series or beyond, giving you a greater opportunity to write future books with your soon-to-be beloved characters and children’s book world.
Some of the ways to bring your characters to your readers are:
- Downloadable Coloring Books – using your book’s illustrations and quotes from the book, create a book parents can print out and use over and over
- Educational Materials – offering flashcards featuring your characters can make learning fun for little ones
- Party Supplies – print-on-demand supplies can be a fun extension of your book for kids who want a themed birthday party or other event featuring their favorite characters
- Posters – kids love to see their favorite characters in their own home
- Print-on-Demand T-Shirts – like on-demand book printing, t-shirts and other items can be set up to be printed and shipped directly from the printer using your book’s character illustrations
Having these items available on your website will not only excite your littlest readers with a way to bring home their favorite characters, but also will increase the number of search engine results when a potential reader searches your book title or character names.
Further Expand Your Brand with Bundling
Offering bundles of books and products doubles up your children’s book marketing efforts. Pairing a book with a children’s t-shirt provides free advertising for your new book anytime the child wears the t-shirt around other potential readers or customers.
Kids love to wear character items and pairing a new book with a product featuring a familiar character can help increase sales and create excitement about your latest book, too.
Printing Your Children’s Book
Marketing children’s books does not have to be too complicated, but be sure to partner with a trusted printing company like Dazzle Printing so you can bring your children’s book tale to life in a beautifully bound book that kids will love reading for years to come.