This is the second article in a two-part series.
The market for children's books is potentially huge. Still, most authors approach this enormous opportunity by trying to sell their books through bookstores (bricks and clicks). Instead of competing with all the other books there, seek sales in non-bookstore segments. Listed below are more examples of these prospective buyers. This is by no means an exhaustive list but is meant to stimulate your thinking to find new places in which to sell.
Children may recommend books, but the parents buy them. Give them reasons to buy yours on broadcast media and reach specific target segments through Let’s Talk Adoption, a podcast for adoptive parents. Website: http://www.letstalkadoption.com/ Find radio shows in any zip code in the United States and Canada, listing the show format, on this website www.radio-locator.com.
- Lori’s Gifts is the nation’s largest provider of hospital gift shop outsourcing solutions, we focus on providing a custom gift shop experience. Website: http://www.lorisgifts.com
Educational Toy stores – Online
Some of these may require a distributor, but many purchase directly form the publisher. Typical retail discounts and terms apply.
- Mindware.com: Educational Toys & Learning Toys for Kids is a “resource for educational (books) toys, toys for education and learning toys for kids and children that engage and entertain.” Website: https://www.mindware.orientaltrading.com
The Academic Market
In Book Selling University course BSU – 109: Selling to Schools, Sharon Castlen tells why and how to sell to all levels of schools, school libraries and colleges & universities. Find new sources of book sales in untapped markets for higher profits and limited returns. Website: https://booksellinguniversity.com/
Once you view that course you may choose to contact K-12 public schools directly, if for no other reason than to arrange to read your book there. There is a site that provides information to tailor the content of your books as well as your sales approach, demonstrating the benefits of your title over their current text. Visit it to learn industry jargon, such as the use of the terms beginning readers, emergent readers or reluctant readers. Website: http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/
There are academic options other than public schools in which to sell your children’s books, such as these:
- NATHHAN (NATional cHallenged Homeschoolers Associated Network) Newsletter and other resources for families with children who have special developmental or physical needs. Website: http://www.nathhan.com
- The North American Montessori Teachers' Association is a membership organization open to parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in Montessori education. There is has a shop on their website: (http://www.montessori-namta.org/
- Government Schools. The education system operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) serves the children of men and women in the armed services who are stationed in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific. DoDEA; 4040 N. Fairfax Dr., Webb Bldg., Arlington, VA 22203 Tel: 703-588-3104; Website: www.dodea.edu A current list of DoDEA schools may be obtained by writing the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, Hoffman I, Rm. 152, 2461 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22331.
- American Reading Company for the Common Core State Standards https://www.americanreading.com/products/ccss-libraries/) for “reading acquisition with a deep knowledge of the demands of literature and informational text for students in Grades PreK through 12. Our leveled classroom collections are built from an extensive database of every book in Spanish for K-12 (https://www.americanreading.com/products/spanish/) , from US as well as international publishers, to reflect the richness and diversity of the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures.”
- The APSS/JetBlue children’s book giveaway (http://www.soarwithreading.com). JetBlue is placing vending machines that dispense new, free books for kids aged 0 – 14. Kids are allowed to take as many books as they are interested in – no strings attached. Currently the vending machines are in Washington DC and Ft. Lauderdale, but they are looking to expand to four other cities: Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
- “Finding the right book distributor can be overwhelming… If you want people to find your title on the shelves of your local bookstore, you need a distributor. And depending on your genre, some might be better for you than others.” Discover a list of print book distributors here: https://blog.reedsy.com/list-of-print-book-distributors/.
Visit https://thejohnfox.com/2016/03/children-book-publishers/ for a list of children’s book publishers that are accepting submissions directly from authors
Depending on your book’s content, conduct a Google search on these topics for names of people to contact at companies, organizations and more.
Companies offering services to families for showers
Stores selling baby supplies
Education Development Centers
Pediatric Support Services
Big Brothers groups
Foster Parents Associations
Families & Work Institutes
Children's Hospitals – in addition to the gits shop there, create a library for nurses and parents to read to the kids
Web Forums and Communities
Sites for Stay-at-home Dads and Moms
Nannies and Au Pairs
Talented and Gifted Programs
As you can see, breaking down the mass market makes it much more manageable. It also saves you time and makes your marketing efforts more economical, because you end up only targeting the people who might be interested in your book. If you apply the ideas behind each of these examples to your own title, the non-trade mass market will not seem quite so intimidating.