Firstly, congrats on your children’s book! Even if you’ve not finished writing your book, thinking about how to promote it is an important part of the process. Putting your heart and soul into bringing your story to life is truly rewarding but even more so if your book is read and enjoyed by thousands of children.
We wanted to put together everything we know for aspiring children’s authors. We don’t have all the answers – we’re still trying out new things and making mistakes, but here are some tips that we have tried-and-tested at Clever Tykes HQ for those of you who have asked us for guidance!
The following are some of the steps we’d take if we were starting from scratch again. Happy promoting!
The assumptions of this article are that you have written, illustrated and printed (or set up print-on-demand for) your children’s book, or series of children’s books (or are at least close to this stage!). We also assume that your book is either available on Amazon or available to buy from your own website. These tips are valid for both published and self-published children’s books.
There are so many children’s books out there. Picture books, activity books, books with a moral, books to inspire, books to change behaviour, books for fun, books for bedtime, books for the bath! The difficult thing isn’t coming up with the book idea, or even writing it; the difficult thing is promoting it once it’s written. How do you make your children’s storybook stand out from the rest? How do you encourage parents to buy it for their children?
These five methods are our most recommended tips for promoting your children’s book. They’re our favourites because they’re accessible to everyone and they’re high impact actions that will influence your sales.
Amazon is a key platform for booksellers. The online store began life as a marketplace for books and it remains the most influential store of its kind. Even if you plan to sell your book in physical stores or your own online shop, it makes sense to be placed on Amazon with an optimised listing.
When you launch your book, you want as many reviews on Amazon as possible. Your first goal should be 20 (it’s easy for people to ask a few mates to leave positive reviews, but 20 looks far more legitimate). Glowing testimonials from other parents will help promote your children’s book and increase the conversion rate of people viewing the page. Reviews act as “social proof”, giving others confidence that people like them buy and like this product.
Step 1: do a small print run of your books or set up print on demand
Step 2: Make a list of your friends, family and networks who have children in the right age bracket.
Step 3: Ask them if they would like to review the book for you in exchange for a copy.
Step 4: follow them up for a review, keep following them up until they write you one on Amazon.
Bear in mind that reviews appear as “verified purchase” when someone has actually bought the book from Amazon and their rating holds more weight if they regularly buy and review products on Amazon.
Pro tip: get a store page like ours by registering your brand name using Amazon’s brand registry, then you can set it up from there.
Bloggers Required is a great website designed to link brands with bloggers and influencers. Sign up here and add your assignment, telling people all about your book. Next, bloggers pitch to you, you receive their details by email and you choose which you want to work with. Within the assignment description you can say what the blogger will receive in return for their post or review. This could be just ‘getting to keep the product’ or you could offer a fee too. Specify which regions your assignment is open to, which will depend on your shipping/distribution setup.
Whilst that might seem like a lot of work, you’re potentially securing dozens of blog posts and social media shares about your product. If you’re starting from scratch, this is a huge boost in awareness. You’ll be able to get links back to your website to help your Google ranking and you’ll secure more positive reviews.
There’s a comprehensive guide to the platform here. Here are just a couple of the awesome blogs we’ve secured via Bloggers Required campaigns are:
Your assignment is a chance for bloggers to promote your product and it’s likely that they’ll copy and paste sections of your assignment for their blog, so write it carefully. You want to equip the blogger with exactly what they need in order to promote your children’s book.
Pro tip: keep a spreadsheet of where you have sent review copies. Leave it a few weeks after posting, then follow up and keep following up until the blogger’s post is live!
Building an email series is especially important if your book has accompanying resources or it approaches a broad topic. The purpose of your email series is to get your audience used to hearing from you, to stay in their minds and to demonstrate your expertise in your niche in a way that interests them and their children. You can also promote your children’s book in the emails, although this shouldn’t be their main focus. Try to add value rather than sell.
For example, the Clever Tykes storybooks are for inspiring entrepreneurial behaviour, so we make sure that when we write content for parents and teachers it’s all about this subject. You should do something similar. So, if your book is about how children can be happier, your email series should consist of tips and activities to help achieve this. If your book is about saving the rhinos, your email series should be about wildlife conservation and what people can do to help or raise awareness. Think of your niche and then think of what else your audience would like to know about it.
We used Mailchimp to set up an email series, then we made a signup page here. Your first email (which should be sent to someone as soon as they subscribe) is the most important, as thats’s what you are giving in exchange for someone joining your list. Feel free to sign up to ours to get an idea of how yours could be formatted. Our freebie upon subscribing is a free enterprise pack, which is a shorter version of one that’s for sale in our shop. Yours could be a 10-point guide to [problem you solve], 7 ideas that parents can do to [problem you solve], and so on.
Whatever your book is designed to do, there will be other people working on solving that exact same problem. For us, our topic is enterprise education and our books are designed to help children to be positive, creative, resilient and resourceful. There are plenty of other companies trying to achieve that same goal, albeit for different age ranges and in different ways. These people are our friends, and there’s huge value in cross promotion. Here are some things we’ve done:
To begin this process here’s what you should do:
We created the Clever Tykes storybooks with a social purpose; to provide entrepreneurial role models to kids across the world. We decided we wanted to have some form of backing from the British government, so we wrote to Lord Young, who at the time was the enterprise advisor to the Prime Minister, and told him the purpose of our books. Several follow up emails and calls later, we had a meeting at 10 Downing Street with Lord Young. Besides from getting some great pictures for social media, we had a successful discussion. Lord Young went on to include a full-page case study on the storybooks in his publication, Enterprise For All, as a recommendation to primary schools.
We also sent books to the royal family, well-known figures in business who had kids age 6-9 any MP who had expressed an interest in primary school education or entrepreneurship. This resulted in some lovely letters back that we used over social media, including one from the now Queen Consort! We received one from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary at the time, and Andy Burnham.
We hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other tips we should add to this article, you can contact us here.