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Targeting Everyone Means Targeting No One

I recently came across a blog post by Crystal Swain Bates, an accomplished author who has published over 12 children’s books and sold over 600,000 copies. In her post, she shared a brilliant insight that completely shifted my perspective on book marketing. She emphasized the importance of knowing your audience before getting into marketing strategies. This, she explained, was the key to her success.

The Knowledge Gap

Many authors overlook this crucial step, unaware of its significance in creating effective marketing campaigns. Without a clear understanding of your target audience, it's challenging to tailor your message, select the right communication channels, and engage potential readers effectively. This knowledge gap often leads to ineffective marketing efforts and low book sales.

In this week’s issue, I'll show you how to identify and market to your target audience, drawing from the valuable insights shared by Crystal Swain Bates.

Step #1: Identify Your Target Audience

Marketing a children’s book is unique because you’re targeting two audiences: the parent/guardian (the buyer) and the child (the reader). Your marketing efforts should appeal to the buyer while ensuring the book’s content is engaging for the child.

To build an ideal customer profile, consider:

  • The buyer's age and appearance

  • Their reasons for purchasing your book

  • The problem your book solves for them

Further identify your audience by knowing:

  • Where they hang out online (e.g., Facebook Groups, Subreddits, Discord servers)

  • Social media influencers they follow

  • Events, festivals, and conferences they attend

  • The blogs they read

Record this information for reference.

Example: An ideal buyer could be a 35-45 year-old father passionate about the outdoors, raising a 3-5 year-old child. He seeks books that deepen his child's connection with nature, follows outdoor education websites, attends nature-related events, and is active in outdoor education groups.

Step #2: Approach Your Target Audience

Once you’ve identified your audience, reach out to them where they gather.


  • Inquiring about booth opportunities at events they attend

  • Exploring advertising rates on Instagram/Facebook pages they follow

  • Seeking guest blogging opportunities on relevant blogs

Example: For a book promoting outdoor passion, write a blog post on "10 Nature-Based Activities to Spark Your Child's Curiosity” and recommend your book alongside other resources.

Step #3: Grow Your Brand

If you want to be seen as an authority in the children's book market, it's essential to grow your brand. This involves establishing yourself as a trusted and reliable source for high-quality children's books.

To be seen as an authority, grow your brand by:

  1. Creating a Product Line: Use the copyright to your illustrations to create a product line featuring your characters, including merchandise, coloring books, and educational materials. Merchandise, especially apparel, can serve as free advertising.

  2. Building Your Mailing List: Offer incentives like free coloring pages for email sign-ups.

  3. Producing Quality Content: Create valuable content through blog posts, videos, and social media that educates, entertains, or inspires your audience.

  4. Engaging with Your Audience: Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and encourage conversations to build a loyal following.

  5. Building a Community: Create a Facebook group, host events, or start a newsletter to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Consistency is key. By implementing this 3-step framework, you can effectively market your children's book and achieve the same level of success as Crystal Swain Bates.

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