Oct 082019

Recently I have connected with so many new writers it’s convinced me I’m on the brink of a major tipping point in my writing career. It’s been overwhelming but so enjoyable and confidence boosting.

With each connection comes a question or two (or more) so I thought I would start sharing them here as I know others would have the same questions, like I did and do.

Disclosure: I am not an expert.

Yes, I have an ever-growing list of freelance pieces published, books published, won a contest, worked with Writers in Schools, etc, but I don’t feel one ever becomes an expert at writing or being an author. Along with all the successes I also have (and be sure to celebrated) lost contests, been rejected by publishers, received bad reviews and hear “No” more times than I’d like but that all led me here. Every closed door motivated (and still motivates) me to keep going.

So on to the first question:

How do you promote children’s books?
This one is very challenging as there is not a right or wrong way, there’s not just one way and I’m still treading the waters trying to get Sending You Sammy in the hands of more families so I can continue the Banana Boy series.

Currently my efforts include a newsletter, websites, Facebook Group(s), offering freebies such as colouring pages, bookmarks, BananaBoy Fans certificates. I have read in schools, given away copies with “health food” initiatives, held Food Revolution Day events, dressed up as a banana, played basketball as a banana. All activities have been fun and educational but it’s been 12 years and there’s still just one book in the intended series. It’s ranked over 2 million on Amazon.ca – this is not a picture perfect idea of success.

I have begged for reviews and some I got, some I’m still begging for.
I particularly love my son’s review as Wild Willie.

I’m still proud, I still feel successful, I still feel giddy when I see it and more so when someone reads it. My original readers are in their teens now, well beyond the years of my target audience but yes, I still feel like I’m a children’s book writer and that this book has a place on your shelf.

This all to say, marketing is always tricky especially when your audience is children as you first still have to market to the parents and children at the same time but differently. I’m still a big supporter of having books in the hands of children, not in a gadget for them to read electronically, so bright colours of a paperback is best. Then you need to get them in stores or where children can see them to show their parents and beg for the bright and colourful book among all the others.

And connect. Always connect with other authors as we’re all on the same team (mostly) and you can learn from each other or co-host events to promote one another. The more times you have your book seen the more chance you have to sell it.

I’ll leave you with this for now and invite you to comment and ask your own question for my next post answering the questions I’m being asked.

Happy days ahead,

Sarah Butland

author of, yes, you guessed it, Sending You Sammy and so much more!

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