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Tag: 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.

 

DSC_0704 - Copy

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?

10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors

Writing Kids


Photo Courtesy of Literate For Life

How to Increase 

the Exposure of

Your Children’s Book

by Helen Laycock

 

1. Visit schools and libraries

I taught at primary school level (for children aged 7 – 11) for many years, during which time I came to understand that many teachers lack confidence in instigating and following through creative writing lessons, yet being able to write creatively is something which children are expected to do. Although the nuts and bolts of grammar and spelling can be taught, the instinctive part that can create something unique and original, and communicate that effectively, is not always an area in which teachers feel comfortable. This is where you come in…

Call in a children’s author!

Author visits are popular for many reasons:

  • The teachers benefit – they can sit in, ostensibly, to keep control whilst surreptitiously learning the tricks of creating dialogue, characterisation, beginnings, endings and plot twists. Alternatively, it’s an opportunity to have a free lesson to catch up with marking;
  • The children love them – they’re a treat, time off from lessons where they don’t have to ‘work’ and they can lose themselves in a good story. Of course, author visits will be hugely inspirational to them and they will learn from them whether they realise it or not. More than anything, your talk should inspire or reignite a love of reading.

If you do a good job, this could be a regular event for you as new children pass through each year, and you need not restrict yourself to one school.

Big names can be expensive and schools regularly run on a deficit budget. You may get paid. You probably won’t. But it’s still a promotion opportunity. Get the children interested in you and your book/s and you have set in motion the beginnings of a following.

If you are willing to talk to the children about the writing process, as well as entertain them with extracts from your book, then you will be an absolute gift to the school.

If your talk is going to take place somewhere other than a school, promote it: put posters up in the area (bookshops, coffee shops, libraries, stationers, supermarkets), make the most of every bit of social media that you use (you can “Create an event” on FB, Tweet it regularly, give updates on LinkedIn and Goodreads), email those who might be interested, contact local newspapers and see if there is a local forum for the town or village you are in.

 

2. Book festivals

These are great places to visit, and are valuable to a writer whether there as an audience member, or as a contributor. Listen to well-known writers and take note of how they conduct and organise their talks. There are usually fans in the audience – children – so they will communicate in a child-friendly way. There is often a peppering of humour, sometimes an illustrator is drawing at the same time and there is always a book signing at the end. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to speak at one of the big festivals, although sometimes there’s an open-mike session – a great opportunity to pique the interest of professionals – but there are also lots of smaller festivals where they have an indie day or are actively looking for a local children’s author to speak. Contact the organisers in plenty of time beforehand so that you can book your place.

 

3. Bookmarks/Freebies

Everyone likes a freebie. Get bookmarks made, or make your own using a laminator (use a clipper to make sharp corners curved). Mine are two-sided, showing four book covers on each. I have separate bookmarks for the adult market. Whenever you speak, leave bookmarks on chairs. Wherever you sell a book, leave one inside. Drop them off at the libraries and at schools. You can also get business cards made with contact and website details shown; they are easy to carry around and can be left at coffee shops, etc. and can be handed out to interested parties.

 

4. Website

If you write for adults and children, as I do, it’s a good idea to have separate websites. You don’t want to traumatize children who have looked you up, only to find a gory story you have penned at the midnight hour!

Children respond well to visual imagery. If possible, have a few animations or, at least, child-friendly pictures. It needs to be fun. You could also have a tab where children can interact with you. On my website, I offer children the chance to have their poems featured, and I encourage them to leave reviews about their favorite children’s books. You could write a blog by a character, set up competitions and have quizzes. At your talk (point 1!), mention that you have a website and invite the children to engage with you there.

 

 

5. Writing competitions

Keep a look out for these (in writing magazines and online); they are another way of sticking your head above the parapet. If you get a win or a shortlisting, your book and bio may get mentioned. Keep a variety of up-to-date bios of different word counts, plus easy to access links to websites, author pages, Goodreads, Twitter, etc.

Also, keep a CV of all your successes; they might sway a potential publisher or agent into taking you on if you have a proven track record.

 

writing

Author Helen Laycock’s “The Secret of Pooks Wood” is a children’s time-shift adventure for readers of 9 – 12.

6. Give books as gifts

If you know the recipients, they might:

  • share the news (and photo) on social media;
  • take the book to school;
  • lend to friends;
  • buy for friends.

Also look into giveaway opportunities. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to give a kindle book free for five days within a limited period. This year, I am giving away one each month.

 

7. Writing forums

I think all writers should join a relevant group or two. You can pick up all sorts of tips and there is always the possibility that there will be someone who frequents the group who is looking for the type of material you write.

 

8. Reviews/Blogs

Reviews are the Holy Grail. We all love them. Sadly, not all readers realise how important they are to (a) our self-esteem and (b) our Amazon ranking!

Some writers use high pressure techniques to get them and bombard every living soul with requests to provide feedback on their wares. I can’t do that and, anyway, people don’t like it.

Instead, I have left a parting note on the last page of each book: “If you have enjoyed this story, please do let me know by leaving a review and lots of stars…”

But children don’t.

Thus, you need to appeal to adult readers, too.

There are two types of reviewers I avoid – those who charge for reviewing and those who offer reciprocal reviews. I believe that if you pay, the review will not be genuine. If you do a swap review, you can be put in a difficult situation. If what you are given is sub-standard and you say so, then there is the danger of retaliation where your own book will be marked down. If, on the other hand, you talk about the sub-standard book favorably, (a) this is dishonest and (b) you will get a reputation of being an unreliable reviewer.

There are many sites where reviewers review for the love of it. I have never pushed for reviews, but, this year, my plan is to contact those in it for the love of reading. One website I have come across is: The Indie View.

Another way to get known is by interacting with those who run blogs where you can be featured (thank you, Dan!). I have found that the more you engage in online discussions, the more you will be invited to take part in the writing activities of others.

 

9. Target local bookshops

This is a long shot. I tried my local one, but it was against policy. That doesn’t mean it’s the same in every bookshop. There’s no harm in asking.

 

10. Be original, Know Your Audience, and Leave Your Mark

There is no point writing a book similar to one that’s out there. Chances are, it will overshadow yours which will come out as a poor second, plus publishers and agents won’t take on something which has to compete for readership. They are looking for fresh voices, so be unique and original. You want your book to stand out. Leave extracts for feedback – and these should garner interest. The Book Bazaar on Kindleboards allows you to start a new thread for each book you have written and you can add to it weekly.

I don’t think that you can write for children in isolation. Take opportunities to spend time with them. I was lucky. As a teacher, I got to understand how they functioned, what entertained them, what interested them, what frightened them. Being a parent also gives a writer an insight. Unless it’s a historical story, avoid old-fashioned elements. Be in touch with kids of today so that you know a bit about modern life and what makes them tick. Read some of the books which are popular right now to get a sense of the voice that children respond to, the familiarity, the vocabulary, the humour… and remember that however good your book is, if it doesn’t get seen, the world has missed out on that nugget of brilliance.

 

 

Read Part 2 of 10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors–How to Organize Your Classroom Visit.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

DSC_0704 - Copy

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 Author website or her Fiction in a Flash website. You can follow Helen on Facebook, AmazonTwitter, or 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?

 

 

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