Category: Children’s Books

Information on Children’s books, stories, publishing, marketing, tips, trends and more! Visit www.childrensbookscanada.com for a more in-depth look.

World Read Aloud Day ~ February 1

screen shot of World Read Aloud Day website pageWORLD READ ALOUD DAY

We think everyone in the world should get to read and write. Every year, on World Read Aloud Day (WRAD), people all around the globe read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people.” ~ WRAD website

These graphics from WRAD explain why this is important:

graphic talking about millions of adults around the world lacking basic reading and writing skills grapich talking about reading aloud to children everyday puts them ahead

Source: http://www.litworld.org/wrad/

How can authors participate?

In addition to that listed for Family Literacy Day...

  • create a short video of you reading an excerpt from your book to a group of children (think classroom, library, church or other organized group) and maybe answering questions or doing a literacy-based activity is a great visual that can be shared across the globe via social media. Be sure to get applicable permissions though.

Family Literacy Day ~ January 27

screen shot of Family Literacy Day website pageFAMILY LITERACY DAY

Family Literacy Day® is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development, improving a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.” ~ ABC Life Literacy

Source: https://abclifeliteracy.ca/family-literacy

How can authors participate?

In addition to that listed for Events ~ Children’s Books

  • inquire at local libraries/schools/nursery and/or pre-schools in advance to see if they’d be interested in having you come in for a book reading & activity (think colouring pages, word searches, simple craft)
  • take copies/bookmarks along in case parents would like to buy/order a copy (obtain permission from event organizer first)
  • take photos to add to your social media (always! ensure proper permissions are obtained and you keep those on file indefinitely)
  • stay focused on intent of the event – not sales!! (those will come organically through your enthusiasm and interest in encouraging children to read).

Events ~ Children’s Books

Lanscape image on top of open bookThere are several events that occur each year, such as Family Literacy Day, World Read Aloud Day, Canada Book Day/Week, Family Day. These are great opportunities for authors (on- and off-line) to share their amazing stories, support their community, and at the same time increase awareness about their books.

How can authors participate?

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Get active on social media – add supportive comments, share or re-Tweet posts, think community involvement (not sales – which would be incongruous to event)
  • Update your platforms’ profile/bio/banner to ensure all online sites indicate:
    • you’re a Canadian author
    • include book title(s), cover (if permitted)
    • website is active and linked
    • include relevant hashtags

More ideas… Sign-up for Trimatrix4Books News and/or follow us on Facebook or Twitter … we’ll be posting articles and announcements, as events draw near with more ideas on how to participate.

Are your books in public libraries? … how to get them there!

Libraries generally order from service providers that they deal with for their collection.They find books on a global listing or authors communicate directly; and then they order from library service providers/their supplier. You should offer a discount; however, shipping is generally at the purchaser’s expense.

In Canada, we help our authors to register their books with Library and Archives Canada. They have a Publisher Record that they own and an ISBN for each format of their book. So they are eligible to register and/or update their records via Bowkers In Print. (Each country generally has their own ISBN provider.)

Here’s an overview of the main steps that will help you get your books into public libraries …

  1. If you don’t already have one, set up an account at myidentifiers.com (If you have a CIP then your ISBN is likely already in the records but you will still need an account to update the records. If you are working with us – do NOT request or purchase another ISBN, you already have one.)
  2. Update your Bowkers record to include image of front cover and book description.
  3. Get a library book review. For example: here’s a link to one of our authors’ illustrated children’s book’s review for High In The Sky
  4. Create an InfoSheet, for example:Infosheet example for book titled "For No Reason"
  5. Contact library service providers to add your book to their list of offerings.Check out our article on Libraries Are Opportunities Too to get you started.
  6. Make a list of libraries that you want to contact – look at library centers (i.e., each community might have several libraries but a central branch that coordinates collections for libraries within that area).
  7. Find the contact for your specific genre and write to them with a compelling communication as to why they should include your book in their collection, include your book’s InfoSheet so they have specifics and a review so they are assured of quality, let them know book is listed on Bowkers and with library suppliers (if not theirs you will certainly be in contact to add your book).

Some library website also have a “recommend to add to our collection” link. So, you can encourage happy readers to also recommend your book to their local library.

In Canada – make sure you register at PLR so, besides book purchase revenues, you receive lending rights revenues.

Finally – CELEBRATE…post your book’s availability via public libraries (maybe world-wide) on your website… Let people know where your book is being read!

Please comment below if you know of any other library service providers that authors should contact!

Marketing My Children’s Book

bins of childrens booksMarketing can be daunting for some, a pleasure for others but all it takes in some thoughtful planning and a willingness to get out and meet your audience!

Initial steps could include ~

PRESS RELEASE: Do you have a Press Release written and posted on your website?

PUBLICATIONS: Where can you contribute a relevant article (on or off-line)? What about local mini-magazines (free and available at least a month in local shops, offices, community areas, etc.)? Blogs with a teacher audience?

MARKETING MATERIALS:  Handouts, bookmarks, colouring sheets, flyers to announce author visit, etc. – takeaways that can, in advance or after, remind potential purchasers about your books.

SELL SHEET: For providing information about your book to potential sellers, events, etc. & to include in your Press Kit – have a Sell Sheet (one page) for your book. Book Sell Sheet Example

ONLINE: Keeping your online presence active adds credibility and can lead to surprise connections (you never know who might read your post).

Get involved in online happenings, such as family literacy day, read aloud, etc. For example, here’s a link to a video of author Christina Saliba reading her book Gabby Goes to New York City for World Read Aloud Day.

Don’t just post on your social media, get active on other relevant sites as well – comment on Blogs, like Facebook pages, get involved on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. – Keep it ‘relevant’ to the …topic at hand & where ever appropriate make sure your tagline (i.e., author name, book title, contact info) is included (or link to your site).

Listing on book sites such as Goodreads provides another opportunity to showcase your book. If you do something like a free giveaway, you have the potential for all the people who apply for such to receive information on your book. Read about the success of Kathleen Gauer’s giveaway for her children’s book ‘For No Reason‘.

AWARDS: Have a look at awards – they could be an opportunity to broaden your audience – but read the details/rules* & regulations carefully!

For example: https://bookcentre.ca/programs/awards/. If you win, announce it! Here’s an example of how one of our authors showcases their well-deserved and celebrated award http://www.childrensyogabooks.com/media.php

REVIEWS: Consider sending your book for a review. These publications cover resources for children and young adults. Here are some links and general details.* CM Magazine reviews of books and other materials that are authored, illustrated and/or published by Canadians and that are produced for/of interest to children and adolescents. Resource Links Magazine reviews and evaluates Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.

We are pleased to provide these handy forms to help you get started:

  • Marketing Plan – tips to promote & checklist
  • Marketing Plan – action items

What have you found works to help get the word out? Please share via comments on this Blog post – to help other authors!

* Disclaimer: TRIMATRIX Management Consulting Inc. is providing this information for general knowledge purposes only and is not associated with the noted event/award/prize program. It is the individual author/self-publisher’s own choice and responsibility to review all terms and conditions before submitting their book, registering &/or participating.

UPDATED ~ February 5, 2018

Illustrations for your children’s book – what’s the process?

Here’s a word from Sari, our senior illustrator…

As a children’s book illustrator, I work with authors to help them form the “look” of their book. We approach the project together as a team, talking often and working through what each scene or image will look like, page by page. We discuss what will be most important and what should stand out, including the “Five W’s” and “One H” (who, what, when, where, why, how). In lots of kids’ books, the first “W” is sometimes the most important: Who is the character, or characters?

Book covers by Sari
Book covers by Sari Richter

Coming up with a character design involves a number of considerations. Here are some basics:

  • Does the character have a gender?
  • Is the character tall or short? Thinner or heavier?
  • Do they have a certain cultural or ethnic background?
  • How old are they?
  • What kind of hairstyle and clothing do they typically wear?
  • What specific activities do they do in the book that could impact they way they look in the story?

It’s also important that the character design matches the text. It’s a good idea to read through the story and mark down what events will shape the character. For example, if the book says “Robbie sighed and rolled up his sleeves”, then it means Robbie should be shown in the illustrations wearing sleeves long enough to be rolled up. Additionally, the illustrator can take ideas from how the character is described in the text – if “Sloane is a joyful little girl who loves rainbows and jumping in puddles”, then perhaps Sloane could be wearing many different colours, a sturdy set of rain boots and have a big smile in the drawings.

Everyone we encounter in the real world is unique, and so is every character in the books we read. The text can tell us so much about a character, what they’re doing in the story, and what they think and say. The illustrations help the reader fill in more information visually. When I design a character, the author and I discuss what makes them special. It doesn’t need to be something that really obviously stands out, like having an extra arm, or futuristic glasses that shoot laser beams — it could be something as simple as having a few freckles on their nose, showing lots of teeth when they smile, or wearing T-shirts that reflect their mood. What is it that would make your character truly who they are? What is it that makes them special?

 

What makes a children’s book ‘award winning’?

srawing of blue ribbon medalYou’ve seen the medallion stickers – heard the social media buzz – been enamoured by the signage in stores… “Best Children’s Book”… “Winner of the ‘Whatever’ Award for Children’s Literature”… “Best Illustrated Book” etc., etc., but ever wondered how they achieved these honours? Was it marketing? Special connections? Pure luck?

The answer is both simple and complex. Each component that goes into creating a beautiful book for children plays a part in its success but the bottom line – and the simplest aspect – is it a great story? Can a child in its target audience connect with the book, its characters and become enchanted with its unique storyline. Again – it’s simple and yet complex in achieving.

If you look into the many lists and awards for the best children’s books you’ll be surprised to find that very little is provided in the way of explanation as to what constitutes ‘best’. You’ll often find a history of the award, perhaps where it got its name, who the adjudicating committee is made up of, what the criteria for entering is, but rarely is any advice/suggestion given on what they are truly looking for. The reason may simply be that there are far too many aspects to consider to give a definition – basically ‘they’ll know it, when the read it’.

That is not to say that new writers can’t find some common parameters to draw upon. If you look at the winners or top-of-the-list entries you’ll see they usually are:

  • Age-level appropriate in language/subject and illustrations
  • Interesting (i.e. not boring!) – is there a ‘take-away’ or learning twist?
  • Original, or at least an original ‘take’ on a subject (perhaps by ensuring the author’s perspective/personality comes through in the prose)
  • Memorable or endearing characters that are relatable, unique and interesting
  • For picture books – engaging illustrations that truly bring the characters to life
  • Diverse in characters/perspective

It’s also a good idea to immerse yourself in the genre you’ve chosen to write about. Go to the book store or library and actually read the award winners and top-of-the-list entries – as many and as often as you can – you will soon understand the difference between just telling your story and creating a memorable book children will actually want to read and share!

Once you’ve published your book – get the word out! Goodreads is an excellent place to start, but using social media, setting up a Blog, arranging book signings and attending community events are all part of building a ‘buzz’ around your book. And don’t hesitate to research and enter competitions (you must make sure to read and follow their guidelines carefully – some exclude self-published titles) – as you never know – you just might find your book as the next big winner!

More on the topic…

What Makes a Children’s Book Great? We Have Some Answers

7 tips on how to write a good children’s book

100 Best Canadian Kids’ Books of All Time

 

Trends for Children’s Books

It is interesting to note that what we saw last year still applies moving forward. Given research on how the stimuli of electronics can affect sleeping habits, together with many learners need for visual and tactile support, the calming affect of curling up with a colourful, printed book is still a treat!

We are certain that print books will remain alive and well in the children’s book world for years to come!

This article Children’s Print Book Sales Buck The Trend from Publishers Weekly has an interesting diagram near the end of the article showing media preference by age. Ages up to 10 years prefer printed books. It also state: “despite growth in ebooks, print remains the touchstone for children and families”

While, not specifically about children’s books, this Canadian Book Buyer Report from Booknet indicates that overall:

  • 26.6% of people are buying printed books
  • 16.7% borrow from the public library

That’s almost half the buyers right there. And it goes on to show that over 50% of people are buying books in paperback format and over 70% are borrowing printed books from the library. The Booknet report conclusion states: “The biggest shift we have seen over the past two years is the movement to online.”

Our take ~ ebooks definitely have a place in the book world but ‘print books rule’ for our younger readers and many adults too!

Are you ready to send us your story?

Enter your student's or class' childrens book by March 15, 2016, for a chance to win 25 professionally published copies.
Enter your student’s or class’ children’s book by March 15, 2016, for a chance to win 25 professionally published copies.

HEY KIDS ~ For our young author writing contest, we are looking for that great idea full of imagination! Mail us your story by Mar.15/16

Like Gail says… It doesn’t have to be possible, just fun to think about! ~ The Dog On My Head

Like Paulette says… Make it a family affair! Involve your brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents. More ideas for great characters!! Brand New Mandy & We Love You, Mrs. McCorkle

Like Kathleen says…Your imagination can take you anywhere. Believe in your dreams! High In The Sky

FOR MORE INSPIRATION … Check out our mini-series, based on the book The Amazing Experiences Adventure by R.R. Cutter (grade 5 student) – now that’s imagination!!