Last time, on Publishing Tips, we talked about ways to market your children's books, including school visits and other tried and true methods. A great way to spread the word about your children’s book is by going directly to your target audience: kids. Schools are the perfect place to start. But how do you begin? This month, we wanted to dive a little deeper into how you can prepare.
Where to Start?
Scheduling school visits is easier than you may think. If you're just starting out, you’ll need to do some legwork to spread your name. What better way to spread your name than beginning in your own back yard? Okay, so you don't want to host reading sessions in your backyard, but your local library would be a great starting point, or even better, your local elementary schools.
How to Prepare?
How you prepare for your author visit is just as important as how you prepare your school. The more you prepare your school in advance, the more successful your visit will be. Not only will this help make your visit successful, but it will engage your audience and spread your professionalism.
So what are some great methods you can utilize?
Create a book guide for teachers explaining your book and the message behind it, including links and opportunities for swag.
Bring plenty of signed bookmarks, pencils, postcards, posters, etc. to pass around before and/or during your event. (And of course, bring copies of your book to sign in person!)
Create color sheets based on your book's interior. You can do this easily by removing the color by de-saturating your image to emphasize lines or even better, have your illustrator/publisher create these.
Film an introduction video you can pass around before your visit and ask them be played for the kids. The more involved the kids are in your visit, the more excited they'll be when you arrive. Check out this great example of a children's author vid created by the lovely Sue Fliess.
What You Need
Your book, your swag, and your creativity. No one knows your book better than you do, and no one is as passionate about the message behind your story as you are. Brainstorm ideas, think on it and don't be afraid to innovate.
A program. What's this, you ask? Depending on your book, you may be able to create two different programs, one for older students, one for younger students. More about this in our next issue.
Show and tell items. While you may not necessarily need something like this, keep in mind kids are tactile. What's more, everyone learns in different ways. So try to make your presentation dynamic by bringing appropriately related items to go along with your book. The more ways you're able to engage the audience, the better, whether it's your outrageous costume or funny videos of your pet you based your book off of.
Your inner child. One of the best ways to engage children is to appeal to things that are relevant to them. Even better, make them laugh. If you've written a children's book, you've probably already spent a lot of time with your inner child. But pay attention to the little tykes around you too. Use your time in your presentation to ask questions. Make their time fun and they won't ever forget your visit.