children's author

10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors (Part 2)

How to Organize Your Classroom Visit

For Children’s Authors looking to spread the word on their books.

by Helen Laycock and Dan Buri

children's author

 

If you missed Part 1 of  10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors, you should read it. In Part 2, Helen Laycock explores Tip Number 1–Visit Schools and Libraries–a little further.

 

In Part 1, we explored 10 Tips for marketing your children’s books. For any of you that are children’s authors, you know that spreading the word about your book is much different than marketing a book for adults, and arguably it is much harder. Children don’t do book reviews or spread the word to their peers. Often times, children’s authors are highly dependent upon the parents.

Our number one tip, the tip that for Helen has yielded probably the most success, is to visit schools and libraries. Sitting in front of the children and sharing your book with them in person goes a long way in spreading the word about your book.

So how do you plan for a school or a library visit? Here are some organizational tips for you to consider that will make your life easier when planning a visit:

  • Have an idea of how you might organise a session (time spent talking/reading/writing) with the children and decide on the age-range and numbers – a class of around thirty is the maximum I would choose. Any more, and it can be difficult to engage, see faces, remember names, limit noise levels, etc.
  • If you only have kindle books, then consider getting paperbacks published. This will have to happen well before your visit. CreateSpace is one easy option.
  • You will have to take a gamble on how many to order, and bear in mind that to sell any left will require a second event.
  • Inform the school that on the day children will need to arrive with money (tell them how much a book is – you can order in bulk at a cheaper price). Keep the price a simple round number so that you are not dealing with lots of small change. They will send out letter to parents about this, although you could formulate your own with a little bit about yourself (including website details, book titles, etc).
  • Remember to take change. You might have a deal of two for a reduced price.
  • On the day, relax and smile; first impressions are important. Wear a name badge. Obviously, make sure you have practised your talk several times, bearing in mind that you will need to speak more slowly than usual and at an appropriate volume.
  • At the outset, make it clear that there will be time at the end for questions. You don’t want interruptions.
  • Don’t read the ‘chatty’ bit, but make bullet points, and mark passages in your books so that you can locate them easily.
  • Think, too, about what is behind or beside you. If you have an illustrated book, you could display a picture from it. If you have many books, arrange them along a bookcase with covers out. Write your name on the whiteboard.
  • Have a pile on the table beside you for signing (and have decided beforehand what your message will be. They will want a signed copy, however little known you may be. In the children’s world, you are a famous author and they have met you!).
  • Try to schedule your visit so that it fits in with something literary, World Book Day, for example. You will probably get a mention in the school newsletter.

 

We had a tremendous response to Part 1. We want to hear your thoughts again. What do you think works well? What do you recommend?

 

Read Part 1 of 10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

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Helen Laycock

Despite what you might think, having a loud voice is not the number one requisite for promoting yourself as a children’s writer as M.G. author and short story writer, Helen Laycock, quietly points out.

Helen’s books and musings can be found on her Children’s Authorwebsite or her Fiction in a Flash website. You can follow Helen on FacebookAmazonTwitteror her personal blog. Her book, The Secret of Pooks Wood, can be found at major book retailers.

 

The Secret of Pooks Wood

SOMETIMES MISTAKES CAN BE PUT RIGHT. SOMETIMES THEY CAN’T… When twins, Lily and Ollie, are stranded over Christmas at Great Hawkesden Manor with their mother, Stella, they have no idea what will happen when they find an old glass snow globe. Inside it, not only is there a miniature model of the manor house… there is magic. This is a time-shift adventure to be enjoyed by readers from 9—12, or beyond… who knows?

4 thoughts on “10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors (Part 2)

  1. Very timely advice, thank you. One thing I’m having problems with is getting schools to respond to offers of an author visit. I have e-mailed six and none have replied. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Ana,
      As with any proposition, you want to appear professional, so while battering on their doors and pushing your nose up against the steamy classroom windows is one way of attracting their attention, it’s perhaps not the best way of getting noticed!

      The trouble with emails and organisations is that they get a lot and yours might get missed along the way. You could try a follow-up phone call for now (and if the secretary is vacant, ask when would be the best time to catch the Literacy Co-ordinator), or, if local, pop in to see if they have received your message.

      The first destination of any email will most likely be the school secretary’s computer so, from now on, in the subject line, I would write: FAO The Literacy Co-ordinator (use their name if you know it); that means that the secretary doesn’t have to do anything but forward it to the person in the school who will deal with author visits. You could add on the email that you will make a follow up phone call on the week beginning X; that way, you have given them a limited time slot in which to consider the proposition.

      There is a little cost involved, but often it’s better to send a physical package directly to the Literacy Co-ordinator. When I was in that role, anything to do with books and writing was handed to me. I was the filing cabinet! The more complete the package, the more likely they are to take you up on it.
      Specify:
      • the length of the session,
      • whether there is a cost involved,
      • the age-group and group number which it would suit,
      • an example of a follow-up activity,
      Provide:
      • quotes about your book,
      • examples of experience you have had giving talks,
      • an example letter to parents with a gap for the date, specifying what the session would involve, that books will be available at £.
      • Maybe pop in a bookmark, a poster and a business card.

      Basically, you need to entice them, and an envelope full of goodies is likely to do the trick.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      Helen

    • I couldn’t agree more with, Helen. I think there are three important things to remember in your efforts, Ana.

      1. Emails are very easy to ignore. If you’re only sending an email, consider Helen’s advice of calling or even visiting directly. Don’t barge in expecting to speak with the principal or dean. Approach kindly and look for an admin or secretary to speak with.

      2. Follow up. Always follow up.

      3. Show an interest in them and how you can help them. Do your research ahead of time. Don’t just have your agenda in mind. Show them why this will be very helpful for them.

      And remember, it might not fit their interests or schedules right now. Leave a good impression because it might fit their interests in the future. You have a goal, but that goal might not fit theirs. That’s ok. Be grateful and kind when you speak with them.

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