Updated: Mar 27
Getting your book in front of people can feel like an impossible task sometimes. But did you know that often, you're getting in your own way?
In this post, we'll look at some common marketing mistakes children's book authors make and more importantly, how to avoid them!
Marketing Mistake #1: Waiting until after the book is published to start marketing
I was guilty of this myself when I first started out; its a marketing mistake that many new authors make. It's easy to think "I'll write the book and the readers will come" but people can't buy your book if they don't know it exists!
And that's exactly why marketing starts months prior to publication.
It's important to remember that marketing is not just about sales; it's also about building your brand and your following.
As you get sketches from your illustrator, share them with your following to build excitement. Ask your email list their opinion to get them involved. Set up preorders on Amazon so that when you're featured on podcasts, local media, articles, etc, you have a place to send that audience. These are just a few examples but there are SO many things you can do to have a strong book release.
Marketing Mistake #2: Not having a marketing plan at all
Many authors know that they should be marketing but have no clue how. The answer is easier than you'd think: you just need to create a marketing plan!
Businesses have marketing plans for a reason - they work! The contents of your marketing plan will vary based on your budget, schedule, target audience, and much more. But it's important to realize that people can't buy your book if they don't know it exists.
A marketing plan outlines the specific strategies you'll use to get more visibility and sales. It should be a detailed, strategic document that specifies your target markets, marketing objectives, programs, activities, timeline, and resources according to your budget.
You can learn more in this video:
Marketing Mistake #3: Relying too heavily on friends and family
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if your friends and family could get you rich or famous, you'd already be. In fact, everyone would be. The fact is that your friends and family are not your target audience and while their support is appreciated, it can actually be hindering your momentum.
Let's use my mom as an example. If she were to share my book, the people seeing it would be other people in their 50-60's with adult-aged children, many without their own families yet. Are those people my target audience? No. But if a teacher shares my book, other teachers are in her circle. If a mom with young children shares my book, other moms with young children are in her circle. See what I mean?
The same thing goes for online algorithms. When people outside of your target audience are the only ones visiting your Amazon page, the algorithm thinks: "Oh! THIS is who wants this product!" and it will show your book to more people like that. But if they aren't your audience, you'll hit a wall and it won't result in sales. That's why getting in front of the RIGHT people is essential!
Marketing Mistake #4: Follow trains
Once again, this goes back to algorithms. If the only people who are engaging with your social media accounts are authors, you get shown to more authors. Unfortunately, authors are not your target audience. It's really that simple. Instead, focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience. It will take time, consistency, and research (don't just use ANY hashtags - learn which ones work for your number of followers and niche) but you'll have better success in the long run.
Marketing Mistake #5: Trying to do everything yourself, instead of hiring freelancers
One of the biggest marketing mistakes children's book authors make is trying to do everything themselves, instead of letting go and getting help from professionals.
You may think that you're doing yourself a favor by saving money by not hiring someone else, but the truth is that your book will suffer in the long run if you cut corners. A professional editor can help you make sure your sentences are clear, concise, and engaging; a professional designer can create a beautiful cover that stands out from other books on the shelf; and so on.
The best way for an author to grow their business is by outsourcing tasks that they aren't qualified or suited for (or simply don't have time for). And when you hire the right people, you can focus on the other parts of book production or marketing that you do best.
In the end, outsourcing can help you grow as an author and take your business to the next level. The key is finding someone who understands what you're trying to accomplish and delivers results that are high quality, on time and within budget.
Marketing Mistake #6: Skipping the market research
Not all children's books like to write to market and that's okay. But you do need to understand what the market is like, what books are already out there, and what the biggest selling points are of your own children's book. This will influence your book metadata (if you're self-publishing), your query pitch (if you're traditionally publishing) and more!
It doesn't matter if you're a traditionally published author or a self-published one, you'll want to find other books that have similarities to yours. You can use these titles to get a better idea of your book's potential but also, you can see what those books are doing well...or not.
For example, if you find a book with a similar theme and you find that their product description is makes YOU want to buy then you have some inspiration for your own product description.
You can also use those comp titles in your Amazon ads strategy! Really, the possibilities are endless.
So there you have it! Now that you're aware of these common marketing mistakes , you can make sure that you don't fall into the same traps. If you do, remember that it's not too late to fix them; just take a step back and think about what could be improved upon or changed to increase sales and conversions.
Need more help? Check out our Marketing Strategies self-paced course:
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