Friday, 12 September 2014

You’re Offered a Chance to Talk About Your Book on Children’s TV

The situation: TV contact on the phone relaying good news.

Your feel: excitement; anticipation.

It’s every author’s dream: you’ve been offered the chance to appear on TV. Thanks to a generous friendly acquaintance, you have been granted four and a half minutes on ‘Woofy the Doggy’ to talk about your book.

Brilliant?

Yes, but only if you’re a children’s author. Authors frequently put a great deal of effort into marketing their books, only to pitch their adverts at the wrong demographic entirely.

Do not go on children’s TV to advertise your gritty horror about little boys’ heads turning up in dustbins. Do not go on children’s TV to advertise your erotic tale of a field mouse falling in love with a poodle, even though there’s a dog in it.

You need to understand who your target audience are. This doesn’t mean ‘everybody’ even if you would like the masses to read it. The chances are that 90% of your readers will fit a typical profile. Yes, tell anybody who’ll listen that your book is out there, but when you invest long hours or hundreds of pounds on promotions, make sure they’re aimed at the right people.

I’m not a fan of gender stereotyping, even in advertising – where it’s arguably effective. However, you don’t necessarily need to focus on gender to reach your target audience. If you find a hobby or interest that’s likely to appeal to your readers, you can home in on those people. For example, pitch your non-fiction book about steam engines at train spotters. That’s an activity predominantly enjoyed by men, but by targeting the field rather than the gender, you’re also incorporating women who might be interested in your book.

Children’s books are unusual, in that your marketing efforts can be focused on a different demographic from your readers, i.e. parents.

However, the converse is not true. Do not go on children’s TV and ask kids to tell their parents about Numo the Nympho Prossie Killer.

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