How to promote a children’s book: a primer

Header image showing a pile of brightly coloured children's books

Promoting children’s books can be challenging. Whilst they are one of the best-selling genres of books, there are so many out there that it can be hard to stand out in the market. If you’re new to the world of children’s book publishing, planning a marketing campaign around a selection of kids’ books, or looking to boost your knowledge for the future, these tips will help get you started.

Plan a workshop 

The first thing to do is work with the author to plan a workshop for the book you’re working with. Usually, a reading of the book is a good first step, with a Q&A afterwards. You can ask your design team to create some black and white print-outs of characters in your book for the children to colour in, or simply plan to ask them to draw their favourite character.

If your book is centred around a specific topic, you can create a PowerPoint deck which can be presented remotely or in person, with some educational and fun slides – don’t forget to add pictures and bold colours to make them really engaging.

Approach local schools

If you’re working with a debut author, or an author who is not already established, the best starting place is in their local town or city. Many public libraries, bookshops and schools are happy to support their local community. Email or call local primary schools and ask if they would be interested in a reading/storytime session or a workshop with your author.

Our team have recently been putting together digital PDF workshop examples for each kids’ book; these have options of remote workshops in case schools are finding author visits difficult due to Covid.

Pay attention to bookshop and library events

Many bookshops and libraries hold events for children; have a look at what is going on locally, usually on their website’s events section, where you should find a list of what is coming up in the coming months. If you see a type of event that would suit your author, or that your author could contribute to, get in touch to suggest a similar type of event based around your author’s book.

Attend book festivals or fairs 

See if there are any festivals that suit the book and author in question – most festivals will have a children’s day or event of some kind. Also do some research in the area where the author lives to see if there are any local festivals. You will need to plan early, as many festival are programmed months in advance. Give your authors publicity materials to take to each event and help them to sell books, either directly or through the event organiser’s bookshop.

Encourage friends and family to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon 

Good reviews are an important tool to help authors to climb up the charts. Encourage the author to approach friends and family who have purchased their book, ask them to leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. A handful of good reviews can give authors the first push they need.

Remember your audience – parents!

Although the readers will be predominantly children, parents are purchasing the books and choosing what they buy. Take a look at the demographics – over 70% of buyers are female, mostly aged between 30-44. Knowing this data, look to websites and magazines aimed at women of that age, e.g. Mumsnet, Storytime magazine or Woman & Home. Build your marketing campaign around this.

Get designing

Ask your design team to create visually appealing banners and videos to assist your promotions. You can then use these graphics in an online marketing campaign including direct emails and social media advertising; it’s also worthwhile giving online assets to your author for them to use in their own online posts.

These tips should help you to begin your journey into children’s book publicity successfully. There’s lots more to learn, and we’d love to hear your suggestions below.

Chantelle Wadsworth is Publicity and PR Manager at Olympia Publishers, an independent, hybrid publishing house, with offices in London, Los Angeles and Mumbai. Olympia takes pride in their wide range of genres, giving ambitious authors a platform and publishing inclusive stories.

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