How to Find the REAL Target Market for Your Children’s Book
The basic idea of marketing a book is pretty straightforward: find out who likes your book, discover where they ‘live,’ then sell your book there and make them buy it. And when you’re publishing a children’s book, the principle is the same — with one exception.
In the children’s book market, the target audience isn’t made up of children but the bigs who purchase the books for them. That might be parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, teachers — whomever. Once you’re able to tap into what they want in a kid’s book, you’ll quickly realize that you couldn’t ask for a better target consumer:
- They have simple core desires: to get a book the child will love,
- Children go through a LOT of titles, so they always need new books,
- Once they find an author they like, they will read EVERYTHING they’ve written, and
- It’s easy to find out where parents, teachers, and such ‘live’ online.
With that in mind — we’re going to look at some ways that children’s authors have effectively targeted the people who buy children’s books.
Hit up social media
Blogs, Instagram, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit. These days, parents of young kids are almost always millennials — and, as a result, will rely on the internet for almost any kind of recommendation.
Search through Facebook for children’s book groups, or groups that might be concerned with the topic of your book. If you’ve written a picture book about firetrucks, you can bet there’s a Facebook group of people who love fire trucks — and some of those people are going to have kids.
Share pictures of your book on Instagram or Twitter using relevant hashtags — ones that either deal with your book’s topic (#unicorns #firetrucks) or tap directly into your audience (#mommylifestyle #picturebooksaremyjam).
And have you claimed your books on Goodreads? If not, then do so RIGHT NOW. It’s the largest social network dedicated to sharing books: you ignore it at your own peril.
Get your book into libraries
Libraries are a huge opportunity. Most parents won’t buy every book for their child, and a lot of them will rely on borrowing titles from their local library. If you manage to place your book into the children’s section of a branch — then you’re almost guaranteed to get borrows. And if those parents (and their kids) like your book, then they’ll want to read anything else you’ve written. And they just might be up for paying money for it this time.
However, to get your book into a library system, you need to convince librarians of its value and make it easy for them to order it in. To do that, you should:
- Ensure that your book has a healthy stream of positive reviews,
- Make it easily available through major wholesalers (like Ingram or Baker & Taylor), and
- Introduce yourself.
That last point might seem daunting, but plenty of libraries love hosting story hours with authors, according to children’s author Yvonne Jones.
“Most libraries have weekly scheduled story times already, with lots of children and parents attending. Call nearby libraries and let them know about your book. Be sure to bring a number of paper copies on the day of the reading, so you can sell your signed book.”
And meeting your readers isn’t just limited to libraries...
Plan school visits
“Many children’s book authors don’t realize that many schools set aside an annual budget for paid author visits,” Jones says. And indeed, there’s a chance you could be eventually paid for your school appearances.
The trick here is to be organized. Make sure you have a plan in place before you contact any schools. Tell them what age range the book is for, send over links, a cover image, a synopsis and anything else they might want to know about your book.
Then as soon as the school agrees, send over a summary of your planned visit. At this point, Jones would also be sure to secure sales with their parents, if appropriate. (Remember who your target audience really is.)
Jones finishes up her advice with this: “Follow up the email with a phone call to let them know that you visit local schools for free, in return for the school sending slips home, offering the chance to buy signed copies of the book.”
And there are plenty of other tricks you can try to reach the children’s gatekeepers. You can try creating a trailer, you can guest post for parenting blogs. So long as you stay focused and direct your efforts to find where the buyers of children’s book live — you won’t go far astray.
Have you tried any of these tips before? What's been your experience like marketing your children's book? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and we'll get back to you right away.