Marketing to Libraries, Schools, and Daycare Facilities
by Gary D Hardy
The cover of my first book (PJ, The Water Breathing Dragon)
I write poetry and an occasional short story here and there, but I also write stories for children as well.
Like many others, I thought that a children's book would be the best way to go for my first publication, but for a different reason than most would think.
There is a better market for children's books in the sense of marketing options than there are for other types of books. For example: libraries, schools, and daycare facilities are excellent areas to read, sell and create a buzz about your children's book.
As for marketing and distribution? Well, that is ongoing. I have been able to get my books on a few independent Christian book store shelves on a consignment or commission style agreement. But I went into this realizing that I would have to market my own books. So that's what I'm doing, and you're right, it isn't cheap.
I have been lucky, I think, with mine so far.
No, I'm not making any real money yet, especially when you look at expenses vs revenue. However, I seem to have piqued the interests of the library system, at least here in Georgia.
I did nine story times and books signings last year, with the first book, but had to halt everything due to health issues. But back in April I got a call from a local library about being a part of their Summer reading program. I thought, "Hey! I might need to finish what I started," and went to work securing speaking engagements.
I will end the year with twenty-three speaking engagements. So far about 98% of the library districts that I have or will cover this year have either bought copies of my books for checkout in their respective libraries or intend to. There are 159 counties in GA. By the end of November I will have between 45 - 50 counties involved.
So far I haven't been charging for these events, but plan to start, due to interest in my books reaching 5 - 6 hrs away from home. There are a couple of areas that I've flirted with in regards to charging, and they are seriously considering paying for my program.
I'm also looking at book festivals as avenues for sales to help raise volume, and to get my message and books out there.
So far, if anything, I've underestimated the appeal of my books. I didn't want to be that person who had boxes of books stored in my bedroom closet, so I haven't ordered in volume.
My mistake, as I have trouble keeping up with my demand.
So in regards to success, I think I've been successful. I've been able to open doors that I never thought I could, and thankful for it. But I haven't given up hope that one day I'll be able to open the ones that I can't at this time.
And yes, I plan to try and build a working portfolio to present to an agent. My plan is to show interest, marketability, and that my books can become a commercial success as well. For better or worse, it is a plan. And that is better than nothing.
This is the gist of my story. I hope you enjoyed it and were able to get something useful from it.
Gary D. Hardy