A list of actions for authors & illustrators promoting a children’s book

While putting together notes for an upcoming panel at KidLitCon this weekend, “What We’ve Learned as Debut Authors,” I thought about the list of book promotion activities that I would recommend to other debut authors.

Below is a starter list. For the most part I’m including actions that are free, though they will require your time. Several rely on your community, such as family, friends, other writers and illustrators, booksellers, and/or librarians. There are many, many more possible actions, but I share this list to help you begin to brainstorm.

Last summer, I wrote a post for 24 Carrot Writing, “Goals for Promoting Your Debut Picture Book,” and I still think that goal-setting is such an important starting place for any book promotion efforts.

Mix and match the actions that make the most sense for you!

• Send email updates to family and friends announcing your book. Share updates on your own website, newsletter, blog, and/or social media.
• Join a debut group or find ways to collaborate with other book creators whose books are releasing in the same year.
• Ask your local bookstore if they can sell signed copies of your book.
• Whenever you visit bookstores or libraries, introduce yourself, drop off your card, a bookmark, or other swag, and show off a copy of your book.
• If you are not the book’s illustrator or the book’s author, reach out to the other book creator (in some cases you will need to go through the publisher to do this) to see what their promotion plans are and if you can team up.
• Add information to your author page on Amazon and Goodreads.
• Create a preorder campaign. If you have arranged for signed copies with a local bookstore, you could direct people to this store.
• Ask agency-mates for help boosting posts.
• Ask critique partners for help boosting posts.
• Ask children’s writers and bloggers if you can guest blog. If possible, write some of these posts in advance of your book launch.
• Ask your publisher for giveaway copies to include with guest blog posts.
• Ask your local bookstore and/or library if you can do an event. If at a library, ask your local bookstore if they can do book sales at the event.
• Ask your critique partners and writing friends for suggested venues and contacts at bookstores, libraries, etc. where you are interested in having events.
• Ask your critique partners, family, and friends for help with book event planning and outreach.
• Ask your publisher if they can respond to review copy requests. Contact bloggers to see if they would like to receive review copies and pass those requests along.
• Identify other children’s writers in your area who have published books with similar themes. If you find a good match, team up to plan events together.