Children’s Book Marketing in the Time of Covid-19

With bookstores, schools, and libraries shut, conferences canceled, and the media filled with nothing but stories about the pandemic, you may be wondering “How can I promote my book?” Here are some suggestions to market your book via social media, where luckily a lot of us are spending our time these days.

Ways to market your book online directly to kids (caregivers, educators, booksellers, and adults who read kid's books — like me!)

  1. If your book has activities, I encourage you to share these on social media. If you would like to offer a downloadable excerpt from your book ask your publisher.
  2. Share videos of you doing the activities/projects so parents and kids can follow along at home.
  3. Is your book about birds, or turtles or rainbows (or anything)? Why not show kids how to make themed art projects that tie in with your book?
  4. Read aloud your book online! Facebook/Instagram/Youtube live is a great way to share this content. Many publishers have loosened their copyright rules during this crisis so that kids stuck at home can enjoy storytime online. Be sure to check with your publisher on their sharing requirements and don’t forget to link to your book in case viewers are inspired to buy a copy!
  5. Offer writing tips and projects for young aspiring authors.
  6. Host a “Live Q&A with an Author” and allow your followers to ask you questions. This can be done on Facebook and Instagram’s LIVE feature.
  7. Your followers may have heard enough about your book, but what about other author’s books? Make sure you are celebrating others’ books as well as your own and who knows, they may return the favor.
  8. Did you book event get canceled? Host a book party at home and stream it online! Invite guests to live stream with you, read an excerpt of your book, giveaway prizes, and let viewers ask you questions about your book!
  9. Work with your publisher to create a multi-author book event online through social media or as a webinar.
  10. Have kids stuck at home? Let them interview you online about your book.
  11. Illustrators: Post process videos, live drawing videos, book giveaways, and live demos!
  12. Host a giveaway of your book! Ask your publisher to send copies to the winner/s.
  13. Start an online book club! Meet once a week and discuss your books or books you love.

Supporting Indie Bookstores

Independent bookstores are an integral part of the book industry ecosystem. With many stores closing their doors to the public, it is very VERY important that we continue to support them. Here are some ways to support them.

  1. One way to help bookstores the most right now is to encourage preorders. Preorders offer funds directly to bookstores so they can pay their rent, utilities, and staff. Don’t have a new book coming out? No problem! Encourage your fans to preorder another book you are a fan of.
  2. Many bookstores have online ordering. If you search for your book on their website, you can share the link and encourage your fans to order online. Not sure? Search for the store of your choosing on Indiebound.org or simply link to Bookshop.org.
  3. Run a competition! Offer the first [number] of people who order your book from a brick and mortar bookstore will be entered to win [cool prize].
  4. Do you have a local bookstore that stocks your book? Offer to sign the books and include a fun gift to everyone who preorders from your local store. Please be sure this is okay with them first and organize a time to sign stock (preferably after the pandemic is over).
  5. Buy gift certificates from indie bookstores and run a giveaway on your social media channels, tagging them.
  6. Encourage your followers to follow your favorites stores online. Perhaps, share one business every day!

Got time on your hands? Here are a few fun projects to take on while stuck at home!

1. Start a Tik Tok! This new app is growing at lightning speed and has lots of fun features. For examples of bookish content on Tik Tok check out agent Jenn Laughran, author Kathy Ellen Davis , Epic Reads and Penguin Teen. Keep in mind that the majority of people on this app are teenagers.

2. Start an e-newsletter! This is a great way to connect with your fans. When the quarantine is over, you’ll have a great list of folks to share your book news with.

3. Start that Youtube channel. Statistics show that kids are on YouTube more than any other social media. This gives you a chance to reach children directly by marking your video “meant for kids” in the settings.

4. Write a discussion guide for your book! This can be posted on your website and shared with educators for book clubs, lesson planning or homeschooling.

My heart goes out to all the authors who have books releasing in the next few weeks! Don’t be shy about celebrating this incredible achievement. We need all the celebration and joy we can get right now and nothing is more hopeful that a new book entering the world. For more tips about how to market your children’s books, you can listen to my interview on the Literaticast Podcast. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram with any questions you have and be safe out there!

Hannah Moushabeck │Children’s Book Marketer

Hannah Moushabeck is a first-generation Palestinian American and a second-generation book-industry lifer. Born into Interlink Books, a family-run publishing company, she learned her ABCs while shelving books in her uncle’s bookstore and hiding under tables at book conferences. A former co-chair of the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Committee, and a current member of the executive board of the Boston Teen Author Festival, Hannah has also worked editing and marketing children’s books for Chronicle Books, Interlink Books, and The Quarto Group.

Writer, editor, and children’s book marketer

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