What Every Children’s Author Needs to Know

The most important question every author most answer is:

Who is most likely to read and buy my book?

The specific answer to this question defines your target audience. Knowing how to speak to and reach your target audience is essential for success in writing and book promotion.

children's authors and generation z

If you are a children’s author and write for children, then your target audience is in the Generation Z group. Generation Z is very different from the children of previous generations. As a children’s author, you need to know what is important to these children so that you can reach them with your messages.

Generation Z are those children born since 1996 (aged 22 and younger). This generation makes up almost one-fourth of the U.S. population. Experts predict that the population of Generation Z will soon outpace the other generations.

Some key characteristics of this age group include:

  • These kids are true digital natives. Technology is central to every aspect of their lives, from socializing to schoolwork, entertainment to exercise, relaxation to reference.
  • Tuned in and connected, this generation experiences almost no separation between online and real life. These kids are online 10+ hours each day.
  • This generation prefers to communicate through images rather than text.
  • Generation Z is the least churched generation in American history. They are growing up in a post-Christian, post-modern environment where many of them have not even been exposed to Christianity or to church.

Did you notice the characteristic that Generation Z individuals prefer to communicate through images rather than text?

Not surprisingly, the same is true for this age-group’s reading habits. These children are huge consumers of graphic novels. According to NPD Bookscan data from global information provider the NPD Group, the comics and graphic novels category in the U.S. trade book market has experienced compound annual unit sales growth of 15 percent over the last three years, making it one of the highest growth categories in the trade book marketplace.

graphic novels

As Barnes & Noble struggles to remain viable in a difficult market, this trend has not escaped their attention. In an effort to boost sales and gain more customers, the chain has announced plans to create dedicated sections for middle grades (ages 7-12) graphic novels in their stores this summer. These sections will be labeled with “Graphic Novel” signage and located adjacent to the Young Readers areas in each store’s children’s department.

Maybe at this point you are scratching your head and thinking, “What does this have to do with me? I write and publish children’s books?”

Knowing your target audience is key to success. Here are just a few takeaways from Generation Z characteristics for Children’s authors:

1. When communicating with children, include more images than pictures.
Even if you have written a chapter book, use pictures in your marketing messages to draw this generation in.

2. Rely almost exclusively on technology to reach this audience.
Remember, these kids spend 10+ hours online every day. They hang out on Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.

3. Consider converting your book to a graphic novel.
If you are struggling with sales for your children’s chapter book, consider converting it to a graphic novel. You can break a larger book into sections and publish a series of graphic novels, or you can publish a web comic (an online graphic novel) that ties back to your print book. If you are unfamiliar with web comics, check out WebToon.

Related Posts:
Marketing Tips to Reach Each Generation
Children’s Book Sales Hold Strong
5 Benefits of Children’s Books

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Photos courtesy of Americanvirus and Enokson.

Read Aloud Campaign

Research shows that reading aloud to a child is the single most important thing a parent can do to prepare a child for reading and learning. Yet, only 48% of young children in this country are read to every day.

Read Aloud

The Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign is seeking to change this statistic. The campaign strives to encourage all parents to make the effort to read aloud to their young children for just 15 minutes every day. Reading aloud matters and helps set a child up for educational success.

Every publisher of children’s books should care about this campaign. The more parents are reading to their children, the more demand there will be for good children’s books. So, supporting this campaign is a great marketing strategy for every publisher of children’s literature.

As a publisher or author, you can become a Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign partner. Partnership with the campaign is free. Read Aloud simply asks that all partners distribute Read Aloud 15 Minutes campaign messages to their audience via email, social media, blogs, website, etc., three times a year during:

  • Read Aloud Month in March.
  • Seize the summer in midsummer.
  • Supporting a Parent Dialogue in October.

In exchange, Read Aloud 15 Minutes will list your company on their website in their directory of national partners.

Joining with national campaigns that fit with your target audience is a great way to increase your marketing messages and engage more readers.

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