In order to be a successful children’s book author, you have to market your work in a self-publishing world. This involves determining your target audience and then connecting with them. There are different ways that you can market depending on your audience, book genre, and even your experience marketing previous books. And this process can start even before you even begin creating your new book!
Identifying your target audience helps you market to the right people. And when you determine your audience, you can start working on book marketing ideas to capture as many potential readers as possible.
So identify your target audience, perform some market research, and then wait for those book sales to ring up!
One of the most important factors in determining your target audience is age group. Have you created a picture book for toddlers? Did you write a middle grade book with more prose and less pictures? Or are you publishing a young adult book with a complex story line and characters? Understanding your target audience’s age group helps ensure that your readers understand what’s happening in your book.
Another factor in finding your target audience is interest. Within each age group, different children have different hobbies and fascinations. So the overall theme and story of your book also help determine your target audience—and where to market your book.
Market research shows you whether there are enough potential readers to make your book successful. If the market research shows that there are a lot of books available that are similar to yours, that means you might not sell many books. But if the research shows that your target audience doesn’t have access to books like yours, chances are you’ll sell a lot of copies!
To determine your book’s appropriate age range, think about your story’s complexity, overall length, and the ratio of text to illustrations. Here are some basic guidelines to determine the appropriate age range:
• Picture books or board books are great for toddlers and young children. They have lots of illustrations and not much text.
• Middle grade books explore more than one main character and deeper plots.
• Young adult books introduce complex themes and issues to the reader. These are almost always chapter books.
Your following is important. It establishes you as a serious children’s book author and puts you in front of more people. And if you’re hoping to make a career out of writing, your following will help build your author platform and expand your target audience.
If you want to make a living as a children’s book author, you have to build a following. You can even create an author brand so that your readers can easily find your work.
When you build a strong fan base, your target audience will seek out your books. They might feel a connection with one of your characters or really enjoy your illustrator’s work. You want your readers to want more of your work. When you build a following, you’ll earn more book sales and a reputation as a professional children’s book author.
Hiring a literary agent can really catapult your career as an author to the next level. An agent will prepare your book for your audience. They’ll help with everything from your book cover design to line editing to make sure your book is perfect. And after that, they can help you get a book deal with a publishing house!
Building an author platform helps you market and sell your book. You can build a platform to strengthen and widen your fan base, which leads to a solid reputation as an author. And more book sales!
Here are a few components that your author platform should include:
• Expertise. Know what you’re writing about, and let your expertise shine through your book.
• Previous books. Each previous book helps build your platform—even if you’ve changed genres. For instance, if your past work involves a nonfiction novel or an adult coloring book and you’re moving onto children’s books, your platform is already established!
• Existing readers. You can increase your fan base and strengthen your platform by keeping your existing readers happy and wanting more.
• Social media presence. Social media is an inexpensive—and sometimes even free—marketing platform. Your readers (or their parents) are likely on social media. So post about your book and increase your following.
Book marketing is key to your success as an author. There are different types of marketing, like advertisements, a book launch event where you read part of your book aloud to a group of people, and even book fairs. But don’t forget about the importance of online marketing!
Many people research and purchase books online. So you need a strong online presence to capture those potential readers. The more you market online, the more book sales you’ll earn.
Since the internet is so widely available, it’s relatively easy to market your book online. Here are a few steps that you can take:
• Create a website for your book. This helps with advertising and lets your target audience read about you and your work.
• Create a blog for your book. You can write the blogs yourself or hire a professional book blogger. You can talk about your personal life, your career, and your inspiration in your blog. You can even throw in a short story or a poem that you’ve written!
• Create a social media presence for your book. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are powerful and inexpensive venues for marketing your children’s book.
People love sharing their experiences on social media. It’s fun, easy, and free. And when your book has a social media presence, people can share their experiences about your book. So ask your existing readers to send in pictures of themselves enjoying your book and to leave a review. This is great free marketing for you and can lead to a lot of book sales.
Regardless of whether you’re printing your book or publishing it as an e-book on a platform like Kindle or Apple Books, it’s important to have an eye-catching cover to draw your audience in. Book cover creation is an art, so you might need to hire a professional illustrator. Just think of it as an investment in the self-made success of your book.
In-person marketing is great. It allows you to connect with your audience face to face. And when you get to know your readers, you can create more kids’ books that they’ll love! This type of marketing is important whether you’re self-publishing or working with a traditional publishing house. So get out there and meet your audience!
There are several ways that you can market your children’s book in person. You just have to know where to look. Here are a few places to start:
• Book launch. This gives you the opportunity to meet your readers and to give them fun facts about your story and illustrations that they might not know.
• Book reading. When you read aloud to your audience, they get a better understanding of how you imagined the characters and what words in the book are most important to you. Your tone and pitch are important here, so be sure to practice!
• Book fairs. Some schools, libraries, and bookstores sponsor and host book fairs every year. And although it might cost a little money to set up shop at a book fair, it’s a great way to meet your audience and earn some book sales.
Book readings help you communicate your message to your audience. As you read aloud, you might emphasize certain words or change your voice to speak for a character. This helps the audience to understand your vision of your story.
A book reading also allows you to talk about your book and give your fan base some interesting information they might not be aware of. What inspired you to write the book? How did you direct your illustrator to create the imagery? You can educate your audience and have a lot of fun in the process.
Writers’ organizations are basically sounding boards and support groups for authors. For example, if you’re just starting out as an indie author, you can join a writers’ organization for advice on self-publishing versus working with a traditional publisher. And if you’re an established children’s book writer, you can ask these organizations about marketing ideas you’re not yet familiar with, like book apps or TV advertisements.
The writers in these organizations can also help you market your books in person. They’ll have information on upcoming events, book fairs, and other ideas that you can join. So use your fellow authors as a key resource when you decide where to market your book.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and hard work. Fortunately, if you plan things out and ask for help when you need it, you can become a successful children’s book author.
If you want to earn a career as a professional children’s book author, you have to think in the long term. Consider the big picture here. What are your ultimate goals for your book? Do you have plans to write more than one book? Will you hire a literary agent to help you get a book deal, or are you more interested in self-publishing?
You can make a living as an author. All it takes is planning and hard work.
You can start preparing for success before you start writing your children’s book. Here are a few steps to take:
• Perform market research to make sure that you’re not adding yet another book to an already saturated market.
• Join a writers’ organization to get some advice. They can help you decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, introduce you to the best illustrator for your book, and provide advice on hiring a literary agent.
• Create an author website for yourself, and talk about your upcoming book on social media. This will help you build interest before you even start writing your book.
• Read other authors’ success stories. During the marathon to success, it’s easy to get discouraged. But learning about other people’s positive experiences can help you stay optimistic and focused.
Everyone needs help sometimes. But when you need help as an author, where do you turn?
If you’re working with a literary agent or a traditional publishing house, let them know what you need a hand with. And if you’re a self-published author without those resources, you can turn to a writers’ organization for guidance and advice.
Elite Authors wants to help you succeed as a professional children’s book author. We can take care of your book formatting, editing, and marketing. Reach out to us to learn more!