As a freelance editor, I have the good fortune to work with talented authors who write in a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction. One of the most prolific is Kristen Otte, author of the children’s chapter book series The Adventures of Zelda and the YA novel The Photograph.
In honor of the release of The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach, Book 3 of The Adventures of Zelda series, Kristen agreed to share some of her secrets for marketing children’s fiction as an independent author.
I never intended to write children’s books. When I started pursuing a career in writing a few years ago, children’s fiction didn’t even cross my mind. But then my husband and I adopted a pug named Zelda.
Zelda was two years old when we rescued her, and she has been a handful from day one. She’s a little pug who is light on wrinkles but heavy with spunk. Her crazy behavior, coupled with a writing-group challenge to write short stories, led to the creation of what is now The Adventures of Zelda children’s chapter book series.
The stories started off as fun blog posts to make people laugh. When I took a few of the stories to be critiqued at my writing group, I realized that I might have stumbled upon something great for kids. My eight-year-old nephew read a few and loved them, so I kept writing about Zelda the pug.
Two and a half years later, the release of The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach marks the third book in the series. I think that means I am officially a children’s book author. Along the way, I have learned some important lessons about what it takes to be an independent children’s author.
Facing Different Challenges
Writing children’s books is a different process than writing adult or young adult fiction. Vocabulary and sentence structure is very important to ensure your book falls at the reading level within a target age range. The question of illustrations and how many comes into play, but the truly tricky part comes with the marketing of children’s fiction as an independent author.
Parents and children don’t buy ebooks often. Even with the proliferation of tablets, physical books still reign in the children’s market. Parents love giving their kids a book they can hold to get them away from a screen. Many families will explore bookstores to find a new book for their kid, not Amazon, so the traditional marketing of paid promotions, email lists, or free runs do not work as well with children’s books.
With that in mind, it is important to connect with children, parents, and teachers. One of the best methods is through in-person events. Author days are great ways to sell books and connect with children and teachers. I also have partnered with the Girl Scouts, churches, the YMCA, local libraries, and even a farmer’s market to sell books. Getting out into the community has been key for me. Once I get a child to read a Zelda book, they are usually hooked. Plus, parents have a hard time turning down a child who wants their mom or dad to buy them a book!
I also sell books online through the major retailers. Reviews are just as important for children’s books (if not more important) as genre fiction books. Kids and parents write my most helpful reviews, and they usually buy the paperback version. I sell more paperbacks through Amazon then ebooks combined on all the platforms (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo).The key to marketing and selling your children’s books is to be creative and think outside of the box. #kidlit #indieauthors Click To Tweet
The key to marketing and selling your children’s books is to be creative and think outside of the box. For me, that means being on a first-name basis with celebrity pugs like Chubbs the Wampug or using the wrinkly cuteness of a pug to get the word out about The Adventures of Zelda.
Author Kristen Otte writes books for children, teens, and adults. Her mission is to bring joy and laughter through stories to people young and old. When she isn’t writing or reading, you may find her on the basketball court coaching her high school girls’ team. If she isn’t writing or coaching, she is probably chasing her husband and dogs around the house.
Thanks for sharing these marketing tips, Kristen! Please join me in congratulating Kristen on this latest book in The Adventures of Zelda series, and be sure to jump over to her website to read a free chapter from Book One.
Have you discovered a creative way to market your writing? Please share in the comments.
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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.