So what are some marketing strategies you can use to sell picture books? These are some that I have found TO WORK!
1. School visits: When schools are back open in the fall, and if the policies will allow school visits again, then this is a great way to sell children's books. Parents love signed books by the author. Your best bet is to ask teachers to send home a flyer before you arrive that explains you and your books and asks parents to send in money to purchase a book. Young kids love books--they are not at the stage where they only want certain authors or characters yet, so they will love you and your book as long as you are excited about it and have a great product!
2. Offer it as a discounted ebook, and use Kindle Unlimited if possible: Some parents and teachers want to check out a book for free or a reduced price before they buy a copy. That's understandable for new authors. Fred Olds's book series, Perky Pet Problems, has two books, The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbor's Dog: A Tale of Problem Solving. As the publisher, I have enrolled both in Kindle Unlimited, which is an Amazon program. These books are checked out every day. We do get some money for that (not much, but some!), and I can tell people read them because KU keeps track of page reads. Then, I've noticed that since these books have been checked out every day, there are more copies being sold than before.
There's not enough space in this post to get into the intricacies of the Amazon algorithim, but the good news is that once you are showing some consistent sales, Amazon helps promote your book somewhat. And that also gets your book seen in front of new people--and all around the world.
3. Holiday bazaars and festivals: Remember what I said above about people who like to give books as gifts? If you can take part in a holiday craft fair or bazaar and buying a table space is pretty cheap (my daughter's school did it for $25 one year), then selling picture books at these works well--especially if you can think of a "package" to go with your book. For example, my book Maggie Mae, Detective Exraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies always sells well at these types of events. Jack Foster's cover is fantastic, so that draws people in, and then I created a "detective kit" for kids. It consists of an inexpensive small notebook, a fun decorated pencil, and a tiny magnifying glass. Parents can read the book to kids, and they can use the detective kit to act out (or solve a different mystery) when they are finished! I charge a few extra dollars for the "kit", and I even had some stickers that were very inexpensive that I put on the notebook that said, "This detective notebook belongs to....".
What are some ways you've marketed a picture book? What has made you purchase one in the past? Share with us below!
To check out the other posts in the series, you can go to this one here, which links to the others!
Margo L. Dill is a children's author and the publisher of Editor-911 Books. She lives in St. Louis, MO, with her daughter and dog. To find out more, check out www.margoldill.com .