Monday, February 17, 2020

Tips for Marketing Children’s Books

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Parents, grandparents, and teachers are the biggest buyers of children’s books although the child is the actual audience. That means marketing simultaneously to both adults and children. The adults want great reasons to buy the book that promote education and inspire children to become lifelong readers. For children, it’s all about being entertained and excited.

Pitch to Both Buyers and Readers
The sales pitch needs to convey messages to both groups. A fiction author might write a book that offers adventure where the hero overcome bullies. The pitch would be about the heroes and plot twists with a caveat of how the heroes overcame the bullies around them. A nonfiction book author with a title about nature might pitch the fun of activities, games, and experiments while mentioning it covers sustainable farming, national parks, and energy so kids hear fun and adults hear education.

Add Value
Every tool used must keep in mind the need to appeal to both the adult and the child. That includes the back cover and bookmarks as well. One side of the bookmark can promote the title, ISBN, and value, while the other side can communicate the fun and adventure of the book. 

Added value of free activities entices a teacher or parent to buy the book and excites a child. That can be links to lesson plans, lapbooks, craft ideas with patterns and directions, and games to make and play. Any little tool that reinforces the concepts of the book helps the book standout. Any activity that involves fun makes it an adventure for the child. Activities such as puppet patterns with a script let children discover fun while parents view it as a learning reinforcement tool.

Reach the Kid Audience
Library and school visits provide great ways to reach the reading audience, as do homeschool conventions and specific trade shows such as Renaissance Fairs for fantasy authors. Be sure you can grab a child’s interest fast if you’ll be speaking to a group.

I open a talk at schools with an article I wrote by stating this is a true story and reading, “I opened my mouth to yell for help, but blood gushed out instead of words.” After the shivers and exclamations the children stare at me and remain quiet as I continue speaking. They laugh and respond to the story as we continue. I weave in the education of the elements of a good story while finishing the tale.

Let the teacher or event planner know what you’ll present and list the benefits. Share what you need including flyers or information to send home ahead for children to order books. Ask for references when you finish to help promote future events.

Use Social Media
You’ll reach the adult buyers more than children with social media. Provide something to pass on to the child, such as a free downloadable coloring page, puzzle, or other activity. A video clip of reading some of the book and chatting about it can be a shareable message the parent shows the child to grab the interest of both

Glimpses of the illustrations, the reason behind the book, and author’s passion can engage the parent. Create a storyboard that shares some of the highlights of the book to create a great PIN. Add images of the cover, back cover, and bookmarks. These can be done for a variety of social media outlets. Always remember to add your website link to make it easy for followers to buy.

Prepare for Bulk Sales
Be ready to sell a multiple copies to a group such as a scout troop, class, homeschool group, or a full selection of your books to a library, including homeschool libraries. These buyers want a discount for larger purchases, and will return for future releases.

Selling children’s books is about connecting with the young readers and the adults who buy for them. Make it fun and everyone will have a blast, buy books, and gain from your words.

Tips for Marketing Children’s Books - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Karen,

    Thank you for the wise and experienced tips for children's authors in this post. I particularly like the selling in bulk ideas. One of our children's books at Morgan James has sold over 400,000 copies--and the Amazon numbers for this book are unimpressive (high). I asked how it happened and it turns out this author is selling in bulk to corporations--thousands of books at a time. Think big and figure out how to take such actions with your book.

    Get a FREE copy of the 11th Publishing Myth

    1. Thanks for your comments. I am catching up on old comments I missed! You always add encouragement and real examples.

    2. Thanks for your comments. I am catching up on old comments I missed! You always add encouragement and real examples.

    3. Thanks for your comments. I am catching up on old comments I missed! You always add encouragement and real examples.

  2. Thank you for this article. I've been thinking of my book of short stories (connected by kids in one missionary family, and one place: Africa) and your TIP about adding Activities, Craft ideas with patterns and directions, and games is JUST what I needed. (I'm also a craft director for several kids' ministries.) Thank you, I will definitely keep this and check out your other writings.

  3. Thank you for the tips, Karen! Great ideas here.