The thing to remember about Children’s Books is that they are not bought by children but by parents. Adults are the market that you need to aim at, and you need to give your prospective customers a good reason to buy your book. One short story in a book, no matter how well-illustrated is not sufficient reason. You need to be cleverer than that.
If you look at children’s books in the bookshops you will see a plethora of colourful titles, many of them hardback, all at very low prices. So low that you know you could not compete with them on price because the cost of you printing them will be too high. How can the publishers do this? Simply by printing pallet loads of them in China for pennies and distributing them worldwide. How can you compete?
Never forget that when a book is sold is a bookshop or from an online book retailer, you only receive back 40% of the cover price from that sale. Out of that 40% comes the cost of printing. Whatever is left is net profit. If you are selling a book for £6 and it costs you £4 to print, you will be making a loss of £1.60 for every book you sell. You need to find a way of getting your print prices down, using the most cost-effective process, and you also need to pitch your retail price at a point that works in the marketplace, and also leaves you with a profit for all your effort. If not, you don’t have a business, but an expensive hobby!
How can I make it work?
Think about your customer and what they want. As a parent, they are looking for a solution to a need. That need could be bedtime stories, or help to teach numbers, time, alphabet, or nature. For them to invest in a book, they are looking for one that is going to last them for more than one use. That is more than one story or chapter.
A book that has a cast of interesting characters who appear in a series of stories which could last over a few weeks, represents better value than just a single story.
How can you make it even more valuable? Think about being a parent during a wet weekend when you are stuck at home with the kids under your feet. What else could you give them to help? When they purchase your book, preferably from your website, you offer them a free PDF download of a Children’s Activity Pack with exciting things for the family to do inside or in the garden. This could include a treasure hunt based on the characters in the story. You could also have colouring in pictures, join the dots, word search, a roleplaying game or a quiz.
The activity pack is a free download which gives your customers a real benefit by buying directly from you and not from Amazon or anywhere else.
Be a storyteller!
Another way of using your stories to build a following is for you to film yourself reading one of your stories using your webcam. This could be uploaded to your channel of YouTube where it could be found by potential new customers. Make sure they can click through from the video onto your website where that can purchase your books. Also, you might have a subscription option where, for a small monthly amount, you send them a weekly email with a story on video, and a downloadable PFD plus the activity pack. A great offering for any parent.
The marketplace is changing rapidly. What worked before may not work in the same way in the future. Take a step back and look at your children’s writing from the point of view of your real customer – the parents, and what they would find really valuable.
© Chris Day – Author Business Coach and Publisher www.filamentpublishing.com