Authors Profit From Encouraging Children to Read

Every author and publisher should be concerned about literacy and developing a love of reading in young children.

Whether you write for children or not, encouraging children to read benefits authors writing for any age. After all, children grow up to become adults. Children who love reading grow into adults who enjoy reading for pleasure and personal growth.

Sadly, the number of American children who say they love reading books for fun has dropped almost 10% in the last four years, according to a study of children in the United States by Scholastic. The study found that only 51% of children said they love or like reading books for fun, compared to 58% in 2012, and 60% in 2010.

To help promote literacy and encourage reading, the airline company JetBlue has partnered with Random House Children’s Books to develop a program called Soar with Reading. This program places vending machines that dispense brand-new, free books for kids aged infant to 14 years. Kids are allowed to take as many books as they are interested in from the vending machine with no strings attached.

I think what Soar with Reading is doing is fantastic. I would love to see a Christian organization provide a similar program featuring both wholesome children’s books as well as books that draw children to God. Fortunately, you don’t need to start a program on the scale of Soar with Reading to provide children free books that point to God.

A couple years ago, my community association installed Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. I make sure that these little libraries constantly have a supply of good Christian books. It is one way that I can spread the Good News message and encourage reading.

You, too, can do your small part to promote the love of reading and share the Gospel. If you write and publish children’s books, why not share them with children via Little Free Libraries in your community? You can find a list of these library stands near you on the Little Free Library website. Be aware though that not all little libraries are registered on the site. I know the ones near my house are not.

While placing free Christian books in Little Free Libraries is for the primary purpose of encouraging reading and drawing children to a relationship with God, you can also use this activity for promotion. If you have a large number of Little Free Libraries near where you live, let your local community newspaper know what you are doing. If the newspaper picks up the story, the article will not only bring you publicity, it will also continue to encourage reading, and inform the community about Little Free Libraries.

Related Posts:
Six Benefits of Reading
Five Benefits of Children’s Books
The State of Fiction Reading

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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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Children’s Book Week

Literacy is learned. One study shows that two-thirds of people who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

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Children’s Book Week is the nation’s longest-running literacy initiative, now in its 93rd year. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of the importance of children’s books as they relate to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. In other words, get children reading by fourth grade and their chances of success in life are higher.

This year, Children’s Book Week is May 13-19. Not only does this week promote reading for children, it also provides authors and publishers of books for children a natural vehicle to promote your children’s books. Here are four ideas on ways to jump on Children’s Book Week to garner some publicity for your books.

  1. Donate copies of your book to a local school for use in classrooms and in the library. Then, send a press release to your local media about your donation, linking it to Children’s Book Week. Be sure to include a photo with the school principle or librarian receiving the books.
  2. Host a story contest for a local elementary school. Provide the teachers with guidelines for the contest and host an author appearance at the close of Children’s Book Week to collect the entries. Be sure to provide prizes for the winners. Again, send a press release to your local media about your contest and another one highlighting the winners.
  3. Host a book giveaway during Children’s Book Week. Encourage people to enter for a chance to win a children’s book on your website or blog. Not only will you gain publicity for your book, you will collect an email from each entrant for your mailing list. You can use these collected emails for future publicity campaigns.
  4. Offer to host a book reading for children at your local public library during Children’s Book Week. Give each child attending a bookmark with a picture of your book on it. Also, ask permission to sell autographed copies of your book after the reading.

National initiatives offer authors and publishers opportunities to highlight and promote your books. Don’t pass up this chance to garner more publicity for your children’s titles.

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Where Children Get Books

Have you written or published a book for children? If you have, you may find the discoveries from a new study by Bowker interesting.

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Based on an online survey conducted last fall of 1,000 parents of children aged infant to six years, and 1,000 parents of children aged seven to 13 years, the study discovered the following trends.

The top six places kids up to thirteen-years-old get the books they read for pleasure are:

  1. Public Library
  2. Amazon.com
  3. Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club
  4. Barnes & Noble
  5. School Library
  6. Scholastic Book Clubs

Top three places kids get recommendations for new books are:

  • Friends and family
  • Bookstore browsing
  • Library

I think this information is encouraging for small publishers and independent authors. The number two place kids (really parents at this age) buy books to read is Amazon.com. Amazon makes it easy for every book published to be available through their website. So, if you are serious about selling your books to kids, make sure it is available on Amazon.

Friends and family is the most cited way kids get recommendations for new books. You can bet that some of those recommendations come from mom and dad who hear about a book from someone they know. Remember, in our current digital world, the definition of “friends” is expanding. Parents can get book recommendations from “friends” on places like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other online social sites.

This means that after making sure your book is for sale on Amazon.com, you should be spending your time getting people to talk about your book. This includes getting moms and dads to blog about your book and recommend it to their friends via social sites.

Don’t be shy. Ask your friends, family, and customers to help you spread the word about your book. If they really like your book, they will agree to do so.

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Take Your Child to a Bookstore

Did you know that this Saturday is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day?

The idea is the brainchild of author Jenny Milchman. Of the day, Jenny says, “Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day began when my children were little and I was going to story time at bookstores nearly every week. Did all children know the pleasure of spending time in a bookstore? I wondered. Of being drawn into a magic world for a while, then being left to choose treasures on the shelf? I wanted to begin a holiday that would expose as many kids as possible to this joy.”

This year marks the second annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.

If you are the author or publisher of a children’s book, you can capitalize on this day to get some exposure for your books. After all, not all parents may be able to physically take their children to a bookstore on December 3. Some live too far from a local bookstore, others may just be too busy.

Why not offer a discount on your children’s books for Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day? Encourage parents to take their children to your virtual bookstore if they can’t get to a physical bookstore and offer them a great discount on your books as an incentive. After all, December is a Christmas gift shopping month. Remind parents that they can purchase books for their children at the discounted price, but that they can also pick up an additional book as a gift for one of their children’s friends or maybe a niece or nephew.

The official Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day offers free digital images you can use in your promotional efforts.

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