Learn how your children's picture book can lead to more readers and more profits. Plus, view a list of companies that may help you choose the best products for your book.
Self-publishing a children’s picture book generally means doing ALL of the leg work to get it off the ground. Developing a story idea, writing the story, finding an illustrator, and getting it formatted are just some of the major tasks that need to be completed. But sometimes as authors, we don’t realize how one important task is crucial to getting our books in front of readers — marketing! If you're like me, you almost don't have the time or energy to actually market something. I completely get it. But here’s one fairly easy way to attract readers: create merchandise that complement your book.
Why Create Merchandise?
They Can Help Establish Your Brand
Selling merchandise (or even giving them away for free) can help establish who you are and the book you’ve written. Include a logo, character name, or line from your book on the merchandise to help buyers become familiar with your book and brand. Plus, readers are more likely to remember you and/or your book when they receive or purchase branded merchandise related to your book.
They Can Help Increase Your Profits
After a reader buys your book, you can upsell by suggesting to readers to buy your branded merchandise. You can also bundle your merchandise with your book or just sell it separately. Overall, upselling will not only increase your book sales, but can add more dollars to your pockets. Plus, you have the opportunity to develop a healthy rapport with customers, who could potentially be repeat customers and help you create steady profits.
They Provide Readers With a Possible Keepsake
Depending on the type of merchandise you create, readers might decide to keep it for years to come. They may develop a deep connection because they loved the book and/or your merchandise and find it hard to part with it. At the end of the day, readers will be least likely to forget your book and actually keep the product for sentimental reasons.
What Type of Merchandise Should You Create?
It all depends on your book, overall brand, audience, and budget. Primarily for children’s picture books, here are some great products you can create:
Pens or pencils
How Do I Create These Items?
There are hundreds of companies out there that can customize small and large quantities of promotional materials with your brand. Here are just some of them that might work for you:
Additionally, Canva is a great online site where you can find thousands of designs to create unique designs for your branded merchandise.
When Should I Start Creating Merchandise?
Don't wait until the story is published. Get ahead and start creating or brainstorming ideas AFTER the illustrations are complete. You might develop ideas from the illustrations alone by using one of them to place on your merchandise. Or, you might develop other ideas after seeing a proof of the pages before the book gets formatted.
Overall, make time for the marketing process of your book. After the story is complete and illustrations are approved and ready to go, start gathering ideas on merchandise that might best attract your readers to your book.