The marketplace for children’s books has shifted positively for self-publishing indies. Since the pandemic outbreak, digital books have surged in demand. For parents and educational institutions filling in for kids spending most of their time at home, finding books online has become a necessity.
As the market expands, digital leads the pack. I give a speedy overview of the numbers, the basics to know, and how you can publish a children’s book in three steps with PublishDrive.
By the way, PublishDrive helped publish over 100K books across 100 countries. Sell your book in thousands of stores. ↓
What to know before you write a children’s book
Overview of the market
For the past five years, the children’s book market in the US has grown by 0.9% per year. As of 2020, the market is worth $2 billion with a growth rate of 3.4% despite the pandemic. We can see that with major retailers like Amazon, children’s books are performing significantly well.
“The stress that many parents feel to provide their children with quality educational resources and to establish a sense of safety and stability cannot be overstated. . .there has been a large uptick in Children's Non-Fiction sales (by some reports as much 135%) as parents seek to fill that educational void.” Read more by B2B.
It’s a positive landscape for online
(while we've seen shifts away from traditional publishing with large publishing houses, literary agents, and query letters.) Compared to 2019, digital saw crazy spikes in sales:
This digital trend has touched all corners of the book world. Digital libraries and subscription platforms more than doubled in growth. Indie authors selling digital books boosted sales by 69% via PublishDrive. And 77% of the growth came from international markets.
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China, in particular, is a solid market for children’s books:
- Content by foreign children’s books writers is wanted. Among British authors, children’s books accounted for 52% of copies sold in 2019.
- China’s market share of children’s books increased in Q1 2020, achieving higher profitability than other genres.
- Children’s cartoon, comic, and picture books were the best-performing categories in online stores.
For an in-depth look into why China, go here.
Overview of the basics
To get started in this lucrative space, let’s quickly go over what to know.
Children’s literature is defined by its genre or the intended age of the reader. The age ranges are:
- Ages 3-5
- Ages 6-8
- Ages 9-12
The market is split into print books or ebooks. (Audio is catching up – I share more about that later.) Figuring out which format to distribute is one of several items to go through when publishing a children’s book. Other steps include:
- Finding an illustrator
- Type setting
- Manuscript conversion
Launching a book for children can be harder than for adults because of increased costs (like hiring a professional illustrator) or marketing challenges. No worries, a handful of marketing ideas are listed further down.
If you’re starting from zero or in the middle of polishing your book, check out this article or this list of resources. The rest of this post goes over how to publish your book and promote it easily with PublishDrive.
How to self-publish a children’s book in 3 steps
Step 1: Prepare your children’s book
When you have your book (edited), illustrations, and cover design handy, decide which format to publish in. On PublishDrive, the most successful indies distribute in all formats including ebook, print-on-demand, and audiobook.
- For ebook, you’ll need an epub file. You can hire a professional to format everything. Or you can use this free ebook converter and DIY with help guides like this one.
- For print-on-demand (where a copy does not get printed until it receives an order), hire a pro or format your own.
- For audiobook, you will need to hire a narrator. After that, it’s pretty easy to prep your files for distribution. More parents are using audio, considering it a great way for kids to get connected with books before reading. This is the fastest-growing online format every indie should break into.
- Note about interactive ebooks for kids: It’s not highly recommended for indies due to being limited and expensive.
After preparing your manuscript, commit to your book’s metadata. Metadata includes author, title, subtitle, description, cover design, series info, language, categories, keywords, reviews, and price. PublishDrive helps book publishers optimize these items and the entire publishing process:
PublishDrive helps you:
- Set up metadata to rank your book higher in store algorithms, backed by AI solutions (for choosing categories and more).
- Upload your book swiftly and get it reviewed by an internal team well versed in submission guidelines for children's books.
- Create the best reader experience for all book formats with support from formatting pros.
Step 2: Distribute your children’s book
When you’re finally ready to publish, don't limit yourself to just one store or country. To maximize your visibility and selling potential, go wide to many channels and markets. With PublishDrive, you get over 400 online stores and 240K digital libraries in 100 countries. All you have to do is switch on the channels you want:
PublishDrive helps you:
- Publish in tens of thousands of stores including major retailers like Amazon and Apple, plus goldmine markets like China.
- Set your book for pre-order up to one year before the release date. Use this strategy to shoot your book up the sales charts on the first day of release.
- Distribute all digital formats under one roof.
Step 3: Promote your children’s book
When promoting, there are two groups to keep in mind: 1) the kids the book is for, and 2) the adults who make the purchase. The average buyer’s age is between 30 and 44. Females make up most of this target audience.
Marketing your book is VERY IMPORTANT:
- Collect book reviews, the #1 marketing priority for authors.
- Build your online brand presence with social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and author-specific channels like Goodreads and Amazon’s author page.
- Reach out to local schools and libraries.
- Attend children’s book fairs (many are online these days).
- Here’s a great list of resources.
On PublishDrive, you can access various promo tools:
PublishDrive helps you:
- Get featured on the front pages of stores and newsletters.
- Send review copies to friends and influencers on Apple and Google.
- Set up Amazon ads easily with a built-in tool for improving performance.
- Schedule price promotions to offer your book for free or a discounted price.
Not too shabby, right? PublishDrive helped book writers and illustrators publish some of the loveliest children’s books:
When you’re ready for global distribution, try out PublishDrive free for 14 days. ↓