Last time, on Publishing Tips, we focused on how to make the most of school visits. In this visit, we wanted to dive a little deeper, not just into writing, but the digital side of things.
Before diving deeper, we can't stress enough how important it is to make your manuscript solid. Basically, write a fantastic book. Sounds simple, right? The truth is, no matter how much time or money you invest in marketing, it won't mean zilch unless your book is the best product it can be. If your book is riddled with typos and inconsistencies, readers will notice.
Children's books, especially picture books, require fewer words. Every sentence counts and must carry your story forward. Each page should make the child eager to discover what happens next. Triple check your book before publishing. As the author, you're too close to your work. We recommend running your manuscript by as many beta and ARC readers as you can before sending to your editors.
If you're publishing a picture book, finding an affordable illustrator can be a challenge outside a publishing house. The illustrations set the tone of your story. Depending on the age of your target audience, often the pictures are what must tell the story. Luckily, if you're reading this, then you've already come to the right place. ;)
So you wrote the best book you possibly could, triple checked it and have amazing illustrations. What happens next? Should you throw your book out into the world or make a marketing plan? Whether you've already published your children's book, or plan to soon, one thing you can't shirk is building your digital platform.
Building Your Platform
What do we mean by building your platform? Everything, from your book branding (covers, etc.) to your website and online presence. Most readers are going to be drawn in by a fantastic story. But what happens after they finish the book? They go to your website. They follow your page on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or Instagram. There are so many opportunities to connect with your readership. Take advantage, but never take advantage of people. Far too often we see authors abuse their social media platforms by talking only about their books, which makes sense in theory. But today's reader wants to know about you as a person as well, as much as you're comfortable sharing. Think like a reader. If you follow an author online, but all you see from them is a constant sludge of "buy my book!" you'll probably unfollow them, right? So how do you manage your platform the right way?
Self-published children's author of My Yellow Balloon, Tiffany Papageorge shares a great mindset to emulate: “You must market to both the child who will be at the library picking out his or her book and the adult who will ultimately be the one to buy the book for the child. Marketing an adult book is not nearly as complicated.”