July 4

Lack of Information About Children's Paperback Book Marketing and Sales

roast potato potty potatoes books

So, this post took a while to get to the site. This is because I have been researching, studying, pulling my hair out and otherwise living the life of a self-published children’s book author these past few weeks. For those of you that don’t know, I am the author of the Potty Potatoes series of books for children. I didn’t plan on being a children’s picture book author (I can’t draw even a recognizable stick figure), but was approached by the creator and illustrator, Steve Scatcherd, a few years ago to write the books and help him bring the characters to life.

Now, let me be clear. I love writing these books. They are fun, my kids adore them, and it helps me feed my passion to inspire kids to read. BUT…it can be immensely frustrating at the same time, because for indie authors of kids’ picture books, it’s a constant struggle for sales and attention. There’s just not a lot of money in indie picture books; you do it because you are passionate about it, or you sell no copies at all.

My illustrator and the characters’ creator doesn’t come from a background in self-publishing, and while I know marginally more than he does, I still don’t know everything. (He thinks we should be the next Mr. Men by now…maybe we should, but I’m afraid that’s not how it works!)

While we’re learning how to best market and produce these books, I thought that it made good sense for me to document some of the things that we’re doing with them. See, one of the problems I have found during my research is that although there is a lot of great advice for self-published children’s book marketing, there’s a gap in the info that pertains specifically to picture books.

Children’s picture paperback book marketing

Ebooks are so popular that most advice is geared towards promoting them, whereas picture books tend to be more popular as a physical book. Think about it. Would you want your toddler’s favorite book to be only accessible via your iPhone or tablet? Probably not.

Traditionally published picture books tend to have a glut of marketing professionals behind them, but indie authors of these types of books have to wing it. And, many self-published authors have grown accustomed to strictly promoting a digital product that people don’t necessarily have to see and hold before they buy it. That doesn’t really work for children’s picture books that don’t have an established reputation and following.

So, I’ll be doing some posts about our marketing methods and strategies, plus I’ll let you know how we do with sales. So far, to be honest, it’s been pretty dismal. But, we’ve recently added three titles to our collection, and we now have five in total. I’m optimistic that we’ll see success, though probably not as quickly or as phenomenally as my partner would like, lol!

Are you a self-published children’s picture book writer? I’d love to hear your comments and tips. I think we’re one group of authors that needs to pull together more to help get these great indie picture books into the little hands that will love them!

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Posted July 4, 2015 by Jessica Woods in category "Kids", "Self-publishing", "Uncategorized", "writing


  1. By Amanda on

    Children! Children! Children! Children is the solution. You have a children’s book that your children love, am I right? Why not ask them on their ideas on how the book can reach other children? Children are fearless, but they also can shed new light on new territory that you a) never thought about b) thought about it, but was too busy or c) scared to do it because of failure.

    1. By Jessica (Post author) on

      Actually, my kids are pretty helpful with coming up with marketing ideas. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t always match their suggestions. For example, my daughter suggested we give away a thousand cupcakes with the characters from the books made into little toys and placed on top. Great idea, but I think we may have to scale it back a bit, lol!

    1. By Jessica (Post author) on

      Avery, I have seen that link, and it’s a great resource! Karen is brutally honest about what it takes to see any real profits with picture books. I think a lot of people go into picture book creation thinking it’s going to be the same as any other book that you self-publish, but it’s really not. These types of books are so much better as physical paper books, but many authors don’t realize how hard it can be to sell those online as an unknown author.

      On Karen’s blog, I love how she talks about the offline platforms she uses to sell books as well as the children’s book app she created. That’s a great way to marry the offline and online worlds of independent publishing!


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