Just finished reading a great series of posts by children’s book author Karen Ingles about the buyer’s of children’s books, how they buy and how to market to them. on the Self Publishing Advice Center blog. While they are focused the market in the UK, they are very relevant to the same markets in other parts of the world.
Here are the links to the three articles:
- Why Print Rules When Self-publishing Children’s Books
- How to Market Children’s Books Online
- Book Marketing for Children’s Authors: How Children Buy Books
If you are a children’s book author or publisher, I encourage you to take the time to read the full articles, but I wanted to summarize my three key takeaways.
Takeaway 1: Get the Facts
Karen identified the popular UK parenting site, Mumsnet, as one of the key destinations where her target customers went for advice and information. Mumsnet presented some great insights into their community and their buying behavior at The Bookseller Children’s Conference. This included information about demographics, buying behavior, book discovery and purchasing influencers, how they buy and preferred retailers. Most importantly, they gave insight into the types of books these buyers were looking for and what they were not:
YES | “Something that engrosses them, exposes them to as wide a variety of language and genre as possible, that teaches them about the world and challenges stereotypes.”
NO | “Turgid, tired plotlines, poor use of language, age inappropriate content, maudlin tales of children living with dysfunctional families/illness/death.”
Having the “facts” and insight into the buying behavior of your readers is really critical to define effective programs to drive awareness and purchases.
Takeaway 2: Understand What They Want to Buy
In the first article, Karen showed how analysis of sales levels from industry sources and major retailers can give authors and publishers insight into who is buying, where they buy, when they buy, and, perhaps most importantly, what they want to buy. In the case of the children’s market, there is clearer indications that “children love to read in print. And parents love to read print books with their children.”
Additional research showed how parents see alternate channels like magazines “as a treat with added educational activity value, great for reluctant readers thanks to the bite-size reading, a good way to help their children discover new books and a welcome relief from screen time.” Karen recommends that “research suitable magazines for your story and offer book extracts, interviews or giveaways.” it also showed growing traction for audio books. Surveys indicated that parents would “consider buying more audio books in the future, citing usefulness for long journeys and children actively looking forward to going to bed to get started listening!”
Takeaway 3: Find Best Ways to Connect and Engage
In “How to market to Kids Online”, Karen demonstrates the wide variety of channels that are available to authors and publishers to connect with children and their parents. Every market has it’s own unique set. Spend the time to really research where your readers spend time and how they like to engage.