Many aspiring authors struggle to find the right marketing strategies that resonate with their target audience and result in increased visibility and sales. Without a clear plan and effective resources, the process of marketing can be time-consuming and discouraging.
We're talking about children's books! Not only the importance of Social Emotional Learning and teaching that to children, but also self-publishing vs. trad for children's book authors, and tips from author Sheryl Bass.
Self-publishing has really leveled the playing field for regular folks to get out there if they've got a story in them that they want told. – Sheryl Bass
About Sheryl Bass:
Sheryl Bass holds a master’s degree in Social Work and has studied child development. She uses these insights to inform her picture book writing. Sheryl also holds a master’s degree in Journalism and is currently working in public relations. Her goal in creating Be-Kind Publishing is to produce lighthearted rhyming stories with gentle themes of teamwork and friendship. Sheryl resides just outside of Chicago, IL with her husband and two terriers.
In this episode, we covered:
- SEL or social emotional learning and why it is important to teach it to children
- Why Sheryl wrote her book: Baby Dragon's Big Sneeze: A Picture Book About Empathy and Trust for Children Age 3-7
- Pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing from a self-published author perspective
- Tips for children's book authors
The Importance of SEL in Children's Books
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a crucial aspect of children's development that helps them understand and manage their emotions, cultivate healthy relationships, and develop empathy. Addressing SEL in children's books allows the young readers to learn valuable life skills that will serve them well in their personal and professional lives as they grow older. The incorporation of SEL themes in children's literature like teamwork, accountability, and empathy fosters emotional literacy and develops essential communication skills. In the conversation with Sheryl Bass, she explains her background in social work and journalism, which led her to passionately believe in the importance of social emotional learning being included in children's books. Her stories focus on themes such as teamwork and friendship through whimsical narratives that captivate young readers. Such books aim to provide a solid foundation for children to develop critical emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
- Join SCBWI and Children's Book Insider for resources, conferences, webinars, and contests.
- Consider using April Cox's Write Publish Sell program for guidance in self-publishing.
- Look into Bobby Hindman's editing services for rhyme and meter in children's picture books.
- Use Facebook groups for finding editors and other resources.
- Visit Laura Bonchi Bontje for developmental editing to find holes in your story.
- Utilize vendors recommended by April Cox for finding an illustrator.
- Consider self-publishing for creative control over your book.
- Purchase an ISBN code for your book.
- Upload your manuscript into the Library of Congress.
- Use focus groups for feedback on illustrations and character design.
00:06:23 – Self-Publishing and Working with Editors,
Cheryl shares her experience with self-publishing and working with editors, including the invaluable guidance of April Cox and the importance of finding editors through Facebook groups. She emphasizes the importance of creative control and finding the right illustrator.
00:11:56 – Finding Editors and the Importance of Developmental Edits,
Cheryl discusses the importance of finding the right editor for a developmental edit, which can help find holes in a story and improve its overall structure. She emphasizes the importance of finding editors through Facebook groups and other resources.
00:14:46 – Marketing Children's Books,
Sheryl Bass gives insights on marketing children's books. She recommends hiring a PR professional specializing in books and authors. She shares tips on promoting books, identifying relevant awards, book reviewers and podcasts, and using ads on Amazon and Facebook. She also shares her experience using Pubby Co, a resource to review other authors' books and get reviews of your own.
00:23:25 – Traditional Marketing for Children's Books,
Alexa and Sheryl discuss the challenges of marketing children's books and how it differs from other genres. They agree that traditional marketing involves going out and getting in front of the community, such as school events, fairs, and author events. They suggest that authors consider hiring a PR expert who has the media contacts to help them get on the news and reach parents and teachers.
00:24:56 – Libraries as a Resource,
Sheryl shares that she purchased a database from Eric, who wrote a book on how to get your book into libraries. She plans to send a letter about her book to librarians throughout the US, which can be a great resource for selling books. Alexa suggests that going into schools, doing readings, and creating bookmarks with graphics from your book can also help promote it.
00:26:13 – Creating a Sequel,
Sheryl shares that she is working on a sequel to her first book and how it can help sell more copies of the first book. Once readers are invested in the characters and their adventures, they are more likely to buy