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Review: How to sell more children’s books

I loved reading to my daughters when they were little. As they got older, the only thing that warmed my heart more than a carefully lettered “I love you Mommy” note was seeing them reading on their own. Now that they’re young adults, I still smile every time I see either one of them curled up with a book — and I grin when they pass books back and forth.

So . . . there’s a special place in my heart for children’s books and the people who create them. I do as much as I can to help them get the word out about their books through my newsletter, this blog, and my participation in a group on LinkedIn for authors of children’s books. I’m happy to say that I can do a little more today by reviewing a new training program offered by one of my favorite sources of excellent book marketing information, Dana Lynn Smith of the Savvy Book Marketer site.

“How to Sell More Children’s Books” recorded training

Originally presented as a live Webinar, Dana’s new “How to Sell More Children’s Books” training program is now offered in a recorded version, which is what I used.

It is, as my older daughter’s cheerleading squad used to chant, A-W-E-S-O-M-E! (Spell it out loud, pausing after the E, and clap a few times.)

Here’s what I like about it: While Dana starts the program saying that it’s about the strategy behind promoting children’s books rather than instruction on how to execute tactics, she shares a huge amount of “here’s how you do it” information for her recommended tactics.  In fact, she gets very specific — for example, telling you what she thinks most children’s book authors are doing wrong when promoting their books and how they can fix it, or explaining how to get booked as a speaker at schools.

The program starts out slowly as Dana eases us into it. The information covered in the first few minutes about the importance of a quality product and knowing your target audience might be information you know already. But it doesn’t take long for her to get into a rhythm and start doing what she’s really good at — giving you the shortcuts and insider tips. I particularly enjoyed Dana’s advice on maximizing your presence on Amazon.com and her review of the many elements of an online book launch.

Top 10 promotional tactics

I listened carefully as she reviewed each of her top 10 promotional tactics for children’s books because I wondered where she thought social networking fit into that list. Like me, she worries that authors put too much of their effort into social networking. To make sure that time is well spent, she offers recommendations about which networks to use and shares the names of two that are specific to children’s books (make sure you’re using them — they seem pretty important).

Throughout the webinar, Dana refers to the 47-page resource guide that’s part of the program. By the end of the almost one-and-a-half-hour program, I couldn’t wait to open that PDF file and click through it to see which resources she recommends for e-mail list management (I’ll add one: iContact) and postcard printing (and another from me: Vistaprint).

The Children’s Book Marketing Resource Guide is worth the price of the program by itself. It has links to resources (including two of my books, I’m proud to say) as well as articles where children’s book authors can get more detailed information about topics ranging from who’s buying teen books to how to write great author blog posts. It includes samples of relevant materials, too — websites, bookmarks, a speaker flyer, and more.

A few tips

Here are just a couple of things to note if you’re interested in this program:

  • There are a few different ways you can learn. You can watch a recording of the original presentation online (you listen to Dana as she moves through the PowerPoint presentation), listen to just the audio file, or listen to the audio file while you click through a PDF of the PowerPoint slides. I listened to the audio file on the treadmill while clicking through the slides on my iPhone.
  • Right now, when you download the audio file, it indicates that the program is 2.5 hours long. It’s not. It’s 1.5 hours — which I only discovered after I thought, “There’s no way I’ll be on the treadmill for two-and-a-half hours!” As it turns out, a glitch in the recording system added an hour of “hold” music after the end of the presentation. Dana is working on editing that file, but in the meantime, don’t let that scare you. Plan on spending about 1.5 hours watching or listening.
  • Take Dana’s advice and create a folder just for the materials in this training program. There’s the audio file, the PowerPoint PDF, an article, a sample speaker flyer plus a template for that tool, and the resource guide. Downloading all of it into a dedicated file makes it easier to find and use all of the information offered.

By the way, Dana also has similar training programs for fiction and nonfiction. I haven’t watched them so I’m not reviewing them here, but if you know people who might be interested, send them to this link for fiction: http://bit.ly/WloqTt and this one for nonfiction: http://bit.ly/WpBmmU.

Finally, I want you to know that I am one of Dana’s affiliates, which means that if you purchase her program based on my recommendation, she will give me a small commission. I only recommend products and programs that I have used — which is probably pretty clear in this review. My goal is to share information that will help you. This program does that.

What has been your most successful strategy or tactic when promoting your children’s book?

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  1. Sandy, thanks for a wonderful review of what looks like a great program for writers/authors of children’s books!
    I will definitely check it out…and will post a link to it in my next blog. Sometimes the amount of info out there is overwhelming and it is helpful when it is put together in one place.
    BTW, the list of speakers for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content is up on their website…it’s in alphabetical order by first names and if you scroll down to ‘V’…you’ll see my name there…I’m ecstatic! http://afcc.com.sg/_2013/speakers

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Vivian! And WOW WOW WOW! How exciting to see your name on that list of speakers. (I might be just as excited as you are!) Big congratulations to you!

      : )


  2. One more thing, Sandy. I am registered for a 5-day webinar course in March that may or may not cover many of the same things…the program you reviewed really looks great…if I decide to go ahead with it after the other course and want to use your affiliate link, do I just click through from your page?

    1. You’re so thoughtful, Vivian. Yes, if you decide to grab Dana’s program, just click through to it from this blog post. Enjoy the other webinar!


  3. When you empower parents, you empower children. That’s the idea behind Family of Readers, our unique program that helps parents develop the skills and confidence to take a leadership role in their children’s reading, learning, and love of books. Parents learn about children’s books, are taught how to read aloud to their kids, and help plan and run a RIF event.

    1. Thanks, Raul. I’m surprised to learn from your comment that there are parents who *don’t* feel empowered to do this.


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