It was recently suggested to me that I should visit parenting blogs as a sort of indirect way to market my book. The idea is, if I comment on parenting blogs and my comments are intriguing enough, then parents will take interest in me, find my blog, and check out my work. So right away, I began googling, looking for all the mommy blogs I could find. But there’s just one problem, I’m not a Mom. I’m a man. I don’t even have kids. I’m not in the habit of visiting Mommy blogs, and I’m not sure it’s something I want to do. Vising Mommy blogs for the sole purpose of attracting people to my work sounds disingenuous.
However, the idea did get me to thinking. “Who is my real audience?” “Who do I write for?” I think these are questions that every children’s author should ask themselves. “Who do I write for and why?” I am attracted to children’s literature largely because childhood was the happiest time of my life. I realize not everyone can say that, but as an adult I feel it’s our responsibility to do our best to ensure that every child has the best possible childhood we can give them. Life has enough trials and tribulations later on, but childhood should be feeled with wonderment and pleasure. So I enjoy creating for children. I enjoy pulling from my own childhood and sharing it with others. My book “Sometimes the Beach…” is completely personal, and I share that in the description. So this is personal for me. It’s my field and it is fun. I’m not doing it to cash in, I’m doing it out of love.
But who is my audience? After all, it is the adults who buy the books. It is the “Mommies” and “Daddies” that go to the bookstores and make purchases. So, should I be marketing to “Mommies” and “Daddies”? Was the idea of visiting parenting blogs that bad of an idea? Before I answer that, I must say that I think this is a topic I’d like to open up to other children’s authors and illustrators. I would like to gather the thoughts and feelings of those who have gone before me. I am a fairly new author. I have yet to publish my first book, and I have only recently released my book “Sometimes the Beach…” on CDBaby.com. So I don’t have alot of experience in marketing at all.
My heart says this is for children. If I can make books with images and content that appeal to kids, then they will ask their parents to buy my work for them. I never want to make a book that kids are bored with, or only read because they have to. I want kids to want to read my work, or have my work read to them. So my first instinct is to say “My work is for children, children are my audience.”
But I also have mixed feelings about directly marketing to children. For example, according to Youtube’s policy, children aren’t even supposed to be members. I think the age limit to have a youtube account is 13. And since all of my work is on youtube.com right now, it makes me wonder if kids will really see my work. How many parents shield their kids from youtube, simply because they don’t want to expose them to adult content? So, youtube aside, how do you market to kids? Does that sound controversial? I mean you would never visit a playground and hand out business cards. You wouldn’t even do that at a daycare or a school. In today’s environment, parents are very protective of their children, and rightfully so. So directly approaching kids is out of the question (obviously). Then there’s the question of making children friendly websites, where parents would feel safe letting their kid’s roam. I’m not much of a website designer or anything, so for me I would have to find sites like this that already exist and hope their policies would allow me to place my content on their site. So that’s one way to market to children, I suppose.
But getting back to the parenting question, it’s parents that decide what is safe for their children to watch. It is parents that take their children to Disneyland, or sit them in front of Sesame Street, or take them to the children’s section of the bookstore. It’s parents that open up their wallets and buy books, videos, dvds, and cds. So at some stage, it is parents that I must appeal to. It is parents that I must present my content to. Even if a child finds my content on their own, it is parents that allow them to watch it or not.
So this brings me right back to my original question, who is the real audience for children’s authors? Is it the parents or is it the children? I will open this question up for discussion, I think I’m a bit too new at this to decide for myself.
Please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your responses. Thank you.