Brilliant PR Tips - Help Promote Your Children's Book

Mary Byrne
Mary Byrne

Have you written a children's book?

Do you want to promote it but have no idea where to start?

Never fear - Mary Byrne, pr guru from HarperCollins Children's Books gave a cracking workshop on PR for children's writers.

Here are some notes from that day. The workshop was very detailed and comprehensive, thanks to Mary for giving such great advice. Any mistakes are my own.

PR is all about communicating and managing reputation - managing what people (and the media) say about you.

When it comes to PR, planning is everything but don't worry about changing your plan as you go along.

First - decide your pr objectives pre publication - these could be:

1/ Social media - To have 500 followers on Twitter; to have 500 likes on Facebook.

2/ To have 3 pre-publication reviews - get early endorsements - you can use child reviewers. (The reviews are to use as content for social media etc when the book comes out.)

3/ To reach the gatekeepers - influential reviewers, teachers, librarians, bloggers.

4/ To talk to your local bookshop and library - and ask what you can do for them - a workshop/ fun event - something original.

5/ To create good, original content to use online. Content is vital - before your book comes out, write and produce lots of content for your website, blog and social media pages.

6/ To bank tweetable and Facebookable photos to use online.

7/ To set up 3 events where you can talk about your book.

With social media, decide your own boundaries - make your message relevant. Don't share personal information on your pets, children etc.

Make a good impression. Watch out for # (hashtags) on different subjects that you are interested in on Twitter and join the conversation.

Work out your PR strategy well in advance. Ask for a meeting with the PR person in your publishing house and talk through your and their plans. See how you can work together to get your book out there.

Who is your target audience? Decide. Parents/teachers/librarians or children themselves?

Work out how to reach them. What tools to use. What your PR message is.

Every writer must have online visibility. But think of yourself as a brand - and decide how you want to engage with your audience.

Don't react to online critics. Don't say anything that you wouldn't say in front of a guard/policeman.

Twitter competitions work very well - use these to drum up interest in your book once it's out.

Sign up for Good Reads and create your own writer's page. Write a blog and generate a band of followers on Good Reads. Mary showed us Steve 'Polarbear' Camden's Good Reads page - Steve is one of Mary's authors.

Netgalley - for industry professionals - ask your publisher to put your book up here.

Bloggers - make contact with them and offer them reading copies of your book.

How much time should you spend on social media? Mary suggested that writers should tweet at least 3/4 times a day and use Facebook a couple of times a week.

Events and Workshops: Create an original workshop for schools and approach schools with your idea.

Podcasts/You Tube clips: You could do a Q and A with your target audience - age 12+ for eg.

Print Material: give the readers something to bring home after events.

Blog: Set up a blog and blog about things that mean something to you. Again, content is king. You can then tweet/Facebook your blog posts.

Local media: Local newspapers often cover new books by local writers - ditto local radio stations.

But be disciplined, don't waste time you could be writing on social media.

And finally remember to tell your publisher/pr person about all your plans.

So there you go, words of wisdom from one of the best in the business. Hope it's helpful.

Yours in writing,