You have an idea for a picture book- Super! Now it is time to take step back and consider the marketability and develop it accordingly for publication.
Keep in mind that picture books are typically for younger kids between the ages of 3-8 years old BUT who is buying the book? – Grandparents, teachers, and caregivers, right? Your buyer is your target market. To sell the book, you will need to catch the buyer's attention.
What does this mean? Here we go:
Your audience and subject matter must mesh.
You’ll want the subject matter of your book to speak to children. However, the adult making the purchase will need to be persuaded. A book that kids love but adults find annoying won't sell. Some of the best books have a deep meaning or humor an adult will enjoy but also speaks to kids.
The subject matter should be current
Is the subject matter in your story current? Check out other picture books from the past five years. These can work as your “mentor-texts”. Study them to get a feel for how current picture books deal with similar themes. This isn’t to say that how others have done it is the only way, but it is a good idea to understand what approaches are working in today’s market.
The story should have broad appeal
If you want to sell a lot of books, you need lots of interested buyers. The subject matter needs to appeal to a large enough market segment and be presented in a way that is interesting to ensure that the book will be successful. Keep in mind a story about a sweet, personal memory may not translate well to a broad audience.
Think about where you might sell your books beyond the bookstore. If your book includes gardening, you could you pair up with local garden center for book events. Themes and characters that can be used in marketing, go a long way!
Aim for re-readability
What will make a customer want to take this book home, share it with their kids, and re-read it over and over? Consider including an educational section in the back of the book for teachers to work from. Adults who will read to kids often prefer a book that is short and sweet!
Remember, they are often reading at bedtime. Your word count goal should be around 500 words. In addition, kids want to be entertained so play around with your story and see what would appeal to both the adult reader and child listener.
Humor or heart?
What makes your story special? Does your story have a twist ending? Does it tug at the heartstrings? How about a fun, humorous theme? Give your reader something to say, “wow” to after reading. In the end, you want to create a memorable story and your readers do too!
What stories are you working on that have a great marketing aspect to them? Please share them in the comments!