How to Market Your Children's Book: Tips for Self-Published Authors
Marketing is a crucial part of the publishing process, but it’s also one that presents a challenge to most self-published authors since they need to take care of it themselves. Actually, these days, pretty much all authors have to market their own books, even if they’re working with a traditional publisher, but the job is even tougher when you’re going it all on your own.
If you’re a self-published author who feels overwhelmed by this prospect, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the steps below to get your book into young readers’ hands. Be sure to also check out our book marketing package for help promoting your work to the right readers.
Marketing for children’s books is largely the same as for other types of books, except that you’re not marketing to the readers themselves. After all, children don’t buy their own books—the grown-ups in their lives do, whether that’s a parent, a grandparent, a relative, or a teacher. Thankfully, this is a great target market: These people know exactly what kind of books they want, buy a lot (as the child grows), and are easy to find online. In some ways, marketing children’s books may even be easier than marketing books for adults.
Before you start marketing
Before you can start marketing your book, you’ll need landing sites and online storefronts to direct potential buyers. You need an online presence anyway, not only to sell your book but also to provide additional information about yourself and your work to potential buyers. Three must-haves are an author website, an Amazon author page, and a Goodreads author profile.
Create an author website
At a minimum, your author website should feature your bio, a list of your books with good cover pictures and descriptions, and information on the themes you deal with and the age ranges you cater to. You can also include a blog and a mailing list to keep your readers engaged and advertise your latest publications. Parents will want to research your books before buying them for their children, so have all relevant information readily accessible and provide your contact details so they can reach out to you with any questions or concerns.
Your author website is a powerful marketing tool, so take it seriously—design it well (ideally by entrusting the work to a professional) and make sure it’s visually pleasing and user-friendly. A masterfully designed website can go a long way in building a professional image and trust with your potential buyers.
Create an Amazon author page
Amazon is a huge bookseller and the biggest retail venue for self-published authors, so if there’s one place you should be listing your book, it’s this one. Given the number of people who purchase books on this platform, it’s important to have an optimized Amazon author page for potential customers. This is where readers will learn about you and your works—it’s like another version of your author website but integrated into your author profile on Amazon. You can even include blog posts and videos to promote your titles. Remember to link to your author website—the more traffic you can drive to your online pages, the better!
Other things to consider:
Book descriptions: As much as you need to brand yourself on your Amazon author page, people are here to purchase books. Your goal is to convert browsers into buyers. Make sure your headlines are catchy and your book descriptions captivating. The cover is generally the most important element here—unless it draws in a potential buyer, they won’t even look at the description, which is your number two marketing element.
Keywords: Amazon uses algorithms to recommend books to consumers. Include keywords on your Amazon author page so more people can find your titles. Do your research to determine the keywords that both match your book and that your target audience is apt to search for.
Create a Goodreads author profile
Goodreads is the most popular online reader network, and it’s where many find recommendations. Having a Goodreads author profile is essential for connecting with the book community. The more you engage with your audience, the more personable you’ll seem, and the more likely they’ll be to buy your next books. As always, think of your interactions with readers as another form of marketing—if it’s in a public forum, others will see it, and you may attract new buyers.
Steps to marketing your children's book
Now that your author website, Amazon author page, and Goodreads author profile are all set up, you can start marketing your latest book. Follow the steps outlined below, and you’ll be well on your way to racking up sales and feeding young minds!
1. Promote your book on social media
Social media is the best way to build a community and attract buyers. There are tons of social media platforms where you can market your work. Start with the ones you’re already familiar with and then expand to others to reach as many readers as possible. The more platforms you’re on, the better, but play to your own strengths—if you don’t like a particular platform, it’s okay to stay off it.
Instagram: Share some nice photos of your book, and don’t forget the hashtags—#bookstagram, #childrensbooks, and #picturebooks are good places to start. Also, add hashtags specific to your book (maybe it’s about #babyanimals). Instagram Reels get a lot of views, so consider putting together a montage of your publications or record yourself reading a snippet from your latest book. Reach out to Bookstagram influencers as well and offer a copy of your book in exchange for a review. Influencer reviews are one of the most powerful marketing tools at the disposal of modern-day authors.
Twitter: Like Instagram, Twitter is a great place to share pictures of your book (don’t forget the hashtags here as well!) One benefit of Twitter is that it’s easier to link back to your website or Amazon storefront. The disadvantage is that you’re restricted by the character limit, so keep everything short and sweet!
Facebook: Facebook is full of parents with young kids. Search for groups about children’s books, groups about parenting, or groups about the specific topic of your book. If you find the right community, you’ll have a swarm of parents ready to lap up your titles—all you have to do is engage them.
2. Get your book into libraries
Reaching out to libraries may seem counterintuitive (you want people to BUY your books, not borrow them!), but these institutions are great resources. Libraries allow families to sample your work, and if they like it, they may just buy it (along with other titles you’ve published). One major advantage of writing children’s books is that kids tend to read them over and over again, making it more than worthwhile for parents to purchase titles they borrowed from the library and liked.
In order for your book to get into a library system, it needs to garner positive reviews and be available through major book distributors. Positive reviews are a boon to your marketing efforts anyway, so do what you can to gather them, whether by reaching out to influencers or asking loyal buyers for a testimony.
Also, make sure your library knows you! Become a regular patron, introduce yourself to the staff, and volunteer your time. Most libraries have scheduled story times, so offer to lead a session with your own book (and bring copies to sell). This way, you can engage with your actual readers, not just their parents.
3. Visit schools
Another great place to lead a story time session is schools. Some schools even have a budget for author visits. Even if you visit as just a volunteer, this can be incredible promotion. You can offer a free visit in exchange for sending order slips home to parents. Don’t forget that teachers and school librarians may be interested in purchasing copies as well. Be as fun and engaging as you can with the kids—this will bias parents and teachers toward you and your books.
To snag a story time engagement at a school, create an email template to send out. Teachers will need details such as your book’s topic, the age range of targeted readers, and a brief description of the content. Include a picture of the book cover as well. Follow up with interested schools, outlining how your class visit would look.
There’s help available
Marketing can be an overwhelming process for self-published authors, but without it, your book can’t gain the traction it deserves. Follow the above steps, focusing on one thing at a time, and you’ll slowly build your readership. Don’t hesitate to seek professional support when you need it. Contact us for help with your book promotion: From blurbs to social media posts, our marketing package will provide what you need to reach and engage your target audience (or their parents, in this case).