Vivian Kirkfield is my poster child for what’s possible for self-published authors. In 2010, she self-published an award-winning parent-teacher resource book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking; in 2016, she signed a contract with a traditional publisher for her first children’s picture book. That didn’t just “happen.” Vivian worked hard to make it happen. She is passionate about helping kids become lovers of books and reading and hopes that the stories she writes will have kids saying to their parents, “Read this one again, please!” Learn more about Vivian on her blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar; follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.
Guest post: 4 children’s book author blogging ideas
By Vivian Kirkfield
At the end of 2010, I jumped into blogging. I had just published a resource guide for parents and teachers. And I planned to write picture books for children.
I figured I should start a blog, but I knew nothing about blogging. Fortunately, I took Sandra Beckwith’s Book Marketing 101 for Nonfiction: How to Build Book Buzz e-course and I learned a lot. Sandy and the other experts I spoke to had the same advice: Blogging is a great way to connect with your audience.
But who would that audience be?
- Blogging as a children’s writer, you want to appeal to parents, teachers, and librarians . . . if you write for older kids, you might want to think about connecting with them . . . for younger kids, you can provide activities or printables (like coloring pages) that parents can download.
- You also want to connect with other writers. Writing is a solitary occupation and blogging can offer a writer the support and encouragement of a community of like-minded people.
So knowing this, what should you blog about? Here are four children’s book author blogging ideas:
1. Book reviews
Depending on the genre you write, review a book on a regular basis. Your recommendation will help parents, teachers and librarians. And reading books in your genre will help you become a better writer.
Some bloggers organize blog hops with link ups that help them connect with other bloggers while they gain new visitors to their blog. What type of blog hop would be fun for you to do?
2. Author/illustrator interviews
Parents, teachers, librarians, as well as fellow writers, will appreciate finding out how an author or illustrator went from idea to published book. I’ve had a series called “Will Write for Cookies” for the past several years. I reach out to friends who are published authors or illustrators.
I also connect with authors of books I love and authors I meet at conferences. I develop a relationship by leaving comments on their blog or Facebook page.
You’d be surprised at how happy authors are to appear in an interview on your blog—it’s a win-win situation because they are getting some exposure for their books.
What spin could you put on a series?
3. Writing prompts, contests, and challenges
If you are looking to connect with other writers, most of them can’t resist a writing challenge or a contest.
Several writers I know run challenges that grew out of their own needs. One writer wanted to generate more story ideas so about eight years ago, she organized Picture Book Idea Month. PiBoIdMo encourages writers to come up with a story idea (or title or character name) every day in the month of November.
Each day, she has incredible authors, illustrators, agents, and editors who write a guest post with inspiring thoughts and great writing tips. And at the end of the month, she awards prizes.
Another friend did that challenge and wanted a way to motivate herself to turn those ideas into stories. So she organized her own challenge to encourage writers to write a picture book draft every month. She started it in 2012 and called it 12×12 and now she has hundreds and hundreds of followers who register every year to participate.
What challenge could you start?
4. Book content and teasers
If you are a nonfiction writer, you could write about the topic of your latest story. This would appeal to other writers as well as parents and teachers. My debut picture book is about a former slave who received the first U.S. patent awarded to a black woman.
I plan to highlight an invention every month that would appeal to kids—Silly Putty, Slinky, Playdoh—the stories behind these inventions are fascinating and would appeal to parents and teachers as well.
What content are you comfortable writing about?
I think children’s writers make the best bloggers. Just keep your content fresh. Leave comments on other blogs. And most important of all, have fun.
What do you blog about on your site?