My children’s book was published last year and isn’t selling. What now?

If you’ve recently published a book and despite all your marketing efforts (and those of your publisher if you have one, although their contribution often is minimal) … it’s not selling well, what do you do?

Children's book not selling what can I do

You don’t need to spend much – if anything – to market and sell your book.

Hmmmm. A lot depends on what you mean by “publisher.”

As many of my readers already know, there are publishers, and then there are publishers. And then there is self-publishing and hybrid publishing and even today, there are still a few vanity publishers around.

Especially if you’re new to the publishing scene, this article will give you a brief overview of the options available now. And if you want to know more about the potential pitfalls, have a look here

Despite there being such an increasingly large number of publishing variants – there still is only one main common denominator: most publishers say they will market your book, but they don’t, or at least they don’t do a very good job. YOU have to do it.

And that is not really as depressing as it seems, because YOU are by far the most effective marketing tool your book has.

Why? Because as the author, you personify the book. People love to meet the author of a book they have an interest in – as an author you have a little bit of star quality on your side!

It’s also quite a bit harder to NOT buy a book if the author is there, in person, when you buy it – and even more so if they sign the book with a little dedication to the intended child recipient.

Obviously online you can’t sign books, but you can develop a personal relationship with parents and other gift givers – see below.

In the case of this children’s book, fortunately for its author there are numerous ways in which to promote it, very few of which cost more than their own time. Here are some of the suggestions I made…

12 marketing and sales ideas for a children’s book (without using paid advertising)

1. This group is just one of many in the UK that is aimed at Mums (or Moms!) … in its mothers’ section alone there are about 13,000 members. And that’s based in a city with a population of just 300,000. Its related website offers advertising opportunities, but its online networking is free, and its face-to-face networking is not expensive.

2. Think about joining women’s business networking groups: there are several national and international ones as well as those more local to you. Many members of these groups are working Mums/Moms and are likely to enjoy meeting and hearing from the author of a good children’s book.

3. These women’s groups usually run largish events in the summer and before the Holiday Season, where you can set up a stall and sell copies of your book.

4. Join the Facebook parenting groups, both national and regional.

5. Use Google to find Mums’ and other parenting bloggers – there are loads and many have huge followings. Get in touch and offer to send the a review copy (most will accept PDFs so it shouldn’t be expensive.)

6. Make sure the book has its own website, or at least its own Facebook page. Attract traffic to your site by posting and also commenting on others’ posts, to get your name and book title known

7. If you don’t blog already, start – this will give you the help you may need. You can post full length articles on Facebook, but you would do better to run those on a website of your own. These blogs should be related to the subject matter of the book but can expand into other (related) areas as time goes on.

8. If appropriate, you could also curate articles from other sources about your book’s topic and share them on your Facebook page. This can enhance the reader’s experience on your page.

9. Offer to do talks in your region (as far as you want to travel). Depending on the subject matter offer to do demonstrations, readings, etc., with their children if appropriate.

10. Assuming your book’s topic is relevant, approach local and regional schools. Again, demos there would be useful and provide a good chance to sell copies.

11. If you’re selling books face-to-face, invest (very little) in a mobile card reader as I find a lot of people don’t carry cash on them now.

12. An alternative to that is which enables payment via smartphones.

And most important to sell your children’s book…

…always make sure you have one copy of it in your bag or pocket, and another good few copies in your car!

You never know when the opportunity will come up to sell one.

That may sound flippant, but trust me – I sell copies of my own books out of my truck almost more than anywhere else.

Any questions about marketing and selling a children’s book?

Just drop them into the comments below.