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.
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.
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.
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Photos courtesy of Americanvirus and Enokson.