Where Should You Spend Your Marketing Dollars for Children's Books?
Figuring out your audience!
Where to Spend Your Marketing Money
When I first started researching self-publishing, I read Peter Bowerman’s book, THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER. He said one thing that has stuck with me:
“…you have one job and only one job: Build the Demand for Your Book.” Peter Bowerman
Recently, I’ve been reading Peter Hildick-Smith, whose company Codex Group researches for the legacy publishers, on the impact of an author’s reputation. Jane Friedman interviewed him in her recent Hot Sheet newsletter. (I highly recommend a subscription to Hot Sheet. Indispensable.)
Hildick-Smith asks: What does an author bring to the table and how does it affect sales? Essentially, he says the same thing as Bowerman.
What matters is the demand for the author’s next book. Peter Hildick-Smith
Do you recognize the author’s name? Do you know enough about their work that you want to read their next book? Or is the topic of their book of interest?
The main driver of BIG sales is Fan Loyalty.
A second important factor is Word of Mouth. Are the fans telling others about the author’s next book?
For example, when J.K. Rowling published an adult mystery/thriller book under the pen name Robert Galbraith, it did poorly. But when the newspapers reported that she wrote the book, sales soared. The difference? Her name.
Hildick-Smith reports that fans have an average probability of 40% of wanting to buy an author’s next book after discovering it. That drops to 10% or less when the book reader is only casually familiar with the author. We need that name recognition!
However, it’s important to say that name recognition alone isn’t enough. Hildick-Smith measured the name recognition of Colleen Hoover early in her Tik-Tok success. Fans didn’t know her name; that is, they knew the Tik-Tok influencers, and on the basis their recommendation, readers bought books. Eventually, when he retested, though, Hoover’s name recognition had soared—and continues to sell books.
“It’s hard to form a loyalty to an author if you don’t even know their name.” Peter Hildick-Smith
Hildick-Smith also comments that some well-known celebrities try to sell books, but they aren’t known for books, and therefore, sales are poor. About 20% of the US population are book buyers, and the celebrity’s audience didn’t intersect with that group.
What’s needed is name recognition coupled with an audience who buys books. All of this means that your marketing should focus on finding your audience, making sure the right people read your books, and the right people tell others about the books.
So - how do you do that? Where do you spend your marketing dollars?
Indie Kids Books is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.