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?
Having been on a journey of learning, which we are very much still on (more about that here), we wanted to put together some guidelines for any aspiring children’s storybook authors out there. Please note – we don’t have all the answers – we’re still learning and trying out new things, 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!
What we’d do 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. We also assume that your book is either available on Amazon or available to buy from your own website.
1. Build your Amazon reviews.
When you launch your book on Amazon, you want to make sure you have as many reviews as possible. Glowing testimonials from other parents will help promote your children’s book and increase the conversion rate from people browsing to actually buying.
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.
(P.s. get a store page like ours by registering your brand name using Amazon’s brand registry, then you can set it up from there.)
2. Begin a Bloggers Required campaign.
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. Remember, your assignment is a chance to promote your product AND it’s likely that the bloggers will copy and paste sections of it 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.
There’s a comprehensive guide to the platform here. Some of the awesome blogs we’ve secured via Bloggers Required campaigns are:
Note – 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!
3. Build an email series.
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.
4. Find collaborators.
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:
5. Engage in public affairs.
When we had created the Clever Tykes storybooks 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 and we had a meeting, at 10 Downing Street with Lord Young. Besides from getting some great pictures for social media, we had a successful meeting. 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 Duchess of Cornwall! We received one from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary at the time, and Andy Burnham.
Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other tips we should add to this article, you can contact us here.