How to Publicize a Children’s Book
by Fern Reiss
Publicizing a children’s book can be easier than publicizing an adult novel. Here’s how to get started:
Offer a fan club. Initiate a fan club based on your children’s book. Then do monthly or quarterly mailings to fan club members that provide educational material related to your book topic, or ‘“news” about the book or characters. You can even consider offering T-shirts, totes, hats, or other inexpensive products as part of the club’s benefits, and imprinting each one you offer with slogans or illustrations from the book. You can do this easily with no monetary investment at Café Press; see www.CafePress.com/publishinggame to look at our example.
Don’t forget the Web-site component: Even young children are using the World Wide Web today. A site for young readers—with information about the book, its characters, side stories about the characters, prologues or epilogues, a place for kids to chat about the book—can help boost interest in it.
Create an alternative to readings. Sadly, readings, including readings of children’s books, don’t usually attract a lot of people unless the author is already famous. So what can a good but not-yet-famous writer do? Design an alternative. Do a bookstore demonstration instead of a reading. If your book features an acrobat, design a gymnastics event; maybe you could even organize a gymnastics marathon for a charity. If the
book involves a child who cooks, put together a kids’ cooking presentation. If you have a book about animals, consider organizing a petting zoo or showing relevant animal videos.
Other possibilities include dramatizations and games. Children’s mystery writers can create mystery programs featuring the book’s characters for kids to participate in. Children’s science fiction writers can do presentations on how the fiction in kids’ science fiction is based on today’s scientific realities.
Offer cameo appearances. Any child will love the idea of being featured by name in a children’s book, and there are several ways to give children walk-on parts. For instance, you can conduct a lottery whose winner gets a cameo appearance in the book (while you get to add everyone who enters to your mailing list), or you can donate a cameo in the book to a charity auction or to a relevant organization that can offer it as part of an event or membership drive.
Go in character. Try going on the air and to promotional events you’ve scheduled as a character from your book. Or walk around town dressed as one of the characters. Better yet, get a few kids to accompany you. Hand out promotional postcards or bookmarks with appealing words from the book.
And remember—in promoting children’s books, as in promoting anything else, put something useful on the back of any postcard, bookmark, or flyer you produce, so that people will keep your material.
Fern Reiss, CEO of PublishingGame.com (www.PublishingGame.com) and Expertizing.com (www.Expertizing.com) and the author of several books for writers and publishers, runs The Expertizing® Publicity Forum, where you can pitch your book or business directly to journalists (see www.Expertizing.com/forum.htm). To buy her $11 special report on publicizing children’s books, visit www.PublishingGame.com/childrensreport.htm. To sign up for her complimentary newsletter, visit www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm.