Wednesday, March 11, 2020
How to Publish a Childrens Book in 6 Simple Steps
How to Publish a Childrens Book in 6 Simple Steps How to Publish a Children's Book: A Guide for First-Time Authors In the early 1990s, Julia Donaldson - a former busker and wife of a university lecturer - was approached by a publisher who wanted to adapt one of her songs for the BBC. With the release of A Squash and a Squeeze, Donaldson published her first childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s book at the age of 45, igniting a career that resulted in modern classics like The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and Stick Man.Donaldson had the edge over most first-time authors, in that she had a background in kid's TV. But how does a regular person - one with no connections to the arts - become a published author? In this post, weÃ¢â¬â¢ll show you how to publish a children's book and get it into the hands (and hearts) of young readers everywhere. First-time authors: How do you get your children's book published? 1. Know the marketKnowing your audience is essential when youÃ¢â¬â¢re writing your book and crucial when youÃ¢â¬â¢re selling it. The first thing an editor wants to know is whether itÃ¢â¬â¢s the kind of book they can sell. Homing in on your bookÃ¢â¬â¢s target audience will also help demonstrate your understanding of the publishing business, which is something most editors want in a collaborator.What are the age ranges for children's books?Broadly speaking, childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s fiction is divided into four categories:Picture Books: under 5 years old, under 1,000 wordsEarly Readers: 5+ years old, 2,000 to 5,000 wordsChapter Books: 6-9 years old, 5,000 to 10,000 wordsMiddle Grade (MG): 8-12 years old, 30,000 to 50,000 wordsYoung Adult (YA): 12-18 years old, 50,000 to 100,00 wordsModern editors take word count quite seriously. They rarely have time to thoroughly edit the books they acquire, so if youÃ¢â¬â¢ve written a 200,0000-word middle-grade opus, most editors will think, Ã¢â¬Å "Who needs that kind of stress?Ã¢â¬ and give it a hard pass.If you want to learn more about writing for each category in children's publishing, sign up for this free online course on Reedsy Learning. Research the marketYou want to see firsthand what bookstores are selling and promoting. Scanning Amazon's Best Sellers list is fine, but going into a Barnes Noble will give you a much better idea of ongoing trends. Brick and mortar stores still make up a large chunk of the childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s market and - more so than with adult books - most parents still prefer them over online retailers.As we mentioned earlier, regardless of whether they're self-publishing, children's authors are expected to do a significant share of the marketing work. 80% of the time, marketing "kidlit" is the same as marketing any other book. There are dozens of great book marketing ideas for you to mine - from creating a mailing list to running promotions with other authors.In this section, weÃ¢â¬â¢ll focus on the other 20%: the marketing techniques that are unique to childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s books.Reviews are even more importantParents rely more on reviews when buying books for their children than when theyÃ¢â¬â ¢re doing it for themselves. They want to see what other parents think, how other children have enjoyed it, and whether the subject matter is appropriate for their own kids.Even more so than with a self-published thriller or romance novel, a picture book with no reviews will really struggle to sell - and will be impossible to place in a library or bookstore. To learn how to get reviews for your book, check out this post.Look to online communities for influencers and a street teamBlogs, Instagram, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit. These days, most parents of young kids are millennials. As a result, they will rely on the internet for almost any kind of recommendation (another generalization, admittedly).Search through Facebook for childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s book groups, or groups that might be concerned with the topic of your book. If youÃ¢â¬â¢ve written a picture book about firetrucks, you can bet thereÃ¢â¬â¢s a Facebook group of people (or people with kids) who love fire trucks.Share p ictures of your book on Instagram or Twitter using relevant hashtags - ones that either deal with your bookÃ¢â¬â¢s topic (#unicorns #firetrucks) or tap directly into your audience (#mommylifestyle #picturebooksaremyjam).Work with an influencerYou will have likely heard of the term "influencer," most commonly used to describe YouTube or Instagram personalities who get paid by brands to promote products. While itÃ¢â¬â¢s not a bad idea to reach out of any of these people whose interests align with your book, remember that influencers come in many forms!Yvonne Jones wrote a picture book about a monster truck (LilÃ¢â¬â¢ Foot the Monster Truck) and to promote it, she reached out to Bob Chandler, creator of Bigfoot and originator of the monster truck sport. He liked the book and gave her a short review, which then helped get her foot in the door with various monster truck associations and blogs.Similarly, if you can identify someone who has some clout amongst people who might buy yo ur book, then politely reach out, introduce yourself and offer to send them a copy of your book.School visits!Most schools will welcome visits from authors - in fact, some schools even set aside an annual budget for it. So why not get in touch with an administrator or a librarian and ask what you can do for them? And if youÃ¢â¬â¢re doing the school visit for free, Jones suggests taking the opportunity to sell some copies.Ã¢â¬Å"Follow up your first email with a phone call to let them know that you visit local schools for free, in return for the school sending slips home, offering the chance to buy signed copies of the book.Ã¢â¬ Of course, there are plenty of other marketing avenues to pursue - many of which you can learn about on ReedsyÃ¢â¬â¢s free course on childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s book marketing.Are you an aspiring or experienced childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.