Children’s-YA Book Marketing & Promotion

San Antonio Book Festival, 2023

The best way to promote your children’s-YA book is to get the next one written. Prioritize your rest, creativity, and embrace marketing activities that are a fit for your personality and availability.

Author Events

Author Visit Central: a simple, streamlined, free book-ordering outlet for sales that supports, authors/illustrators, independent bookstores and schools.

How to Get Author School Visits: a podcast from Katie Davis at Brain Burps.

How to Host Webinars, Online Conferences, and Online Events by Stephanie Chandler from Nonfiction Authors Association. PEEK: “Free webinars can be a valuable marketing tool for reaching potential customers around the globe….Hosting your own online events can provide tremendous exposure…As a bonus, these events give you a reason to reach out to peers and industry professionals and invite them to participate, helping you to build alliances.”

How to Make Your Virtual Meetings and Events Accessible to the Disability Community by Alaina Leary from Rooted in Rights. Peek: “As meetings and events continue to take place in virtual spaces…[a]ccessibility for virtual events should be a priority and central to the planning process…Explore the accessibility features that are built-in to the platforms you’re considering for the event and determine what you might need to provide….”

How to Perform (Not Just Read) Your Work in Front of Audiences by Natalie Sylvester from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “Rehearse it. Time yourself. Embrace the musicality of your words.”

It’s Time to Radically Rethink Online Author Events by Kate Reed Petty from Electric Lit. PEEK: “I’ve started bringing this up with friends, looking for new ideas and possibilities of what an online book event can be. The general answer I’ve been getting is: Nobody knows!”

Author Melissa Stewart

“Meeting” the Author by Melissa Stewart from I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. PEEK: “Seeing someone on screen isn’t quite as powerful as a live visit, but videos are a great option for schools that lack the time, resources, or funding to bring in authors and illustrators. They’re also a great way for any school to increase their students’ exposure to book creators.”

Pro Tips for Online Author Events by Linda Joy Singleton from Cynsations. PEEK: “One of the ways that I ask teachers to prepare for our Skype session together is to work with their students to prepare 10-to-15 questions they can ask me during our virtual session. Why? Because when children are involved in the process they care more about the outcome.”

Author Bettina Restrepo

Propping Up Your School Visit by Bettina Restrepo from Cynsations. PEEK: “I began with props and a budget. I made a list of all the things I wanted to have for a school visit. Then I made a budget of $300. Would I make enough money doing school visits to earn back my investment? I took the chance, because the best thing you can do is invest in your book and yourself.”

Public Speaking as a Promotional Tool by L. Diane Wolfe from QueryTracker. PEEK: “At its most basic, speaking places the author in front of real human beings. The lure of the Internet has prompted more and more authors to remain hidden behind a website. While blogs and social sites provide a certain measure of interaction, it cannot replace real-world contact and physical appearances.”

School Visit Experts: “ is a place for published and soon-to-be-published authors & illustrators to find and share advice on how to create and deliver quality author visit programs for kids, teachers and librarians.”

School Visit Surveys by Michelle Cusolito from Polliwog on Safari:

Secrets to Successful School Visits by Cynthia Lord from Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. PEEK: “…tell the principal how wonderful the media specialist (or whoever organized the visit with you) has been to work with. It’s a nice way to affirm the hard work that went into bringing you to the school.”

Author Panels

Let’s reflect on the importance of passing the mic-literally and verbally-on author and illustrator panels at events celebrating books for young readers. The best practice is for each participant to take responsibility and ensure that every speaker has roughly the same opportunity to share information and insights.

However, some of us may find it challenging to remain self-aware in front of an audience, especially if we are used to being the center of attention or tend to babble when we’re nervous. If you happen to find yourself verbalizing or being centered much more than everyone else, consider redirecting the focus and saying something like, “What a terrific question! I’d love to hear what Author X thinks about it.”

On the other hand, some of us may be consistently, even systemically, marginalized and may find ourselves talked over or on the receiving end of fewer questions. In such cases, try interrupting with “Before you go on, I’d like to speak to that point, too” or jump in with a question to whomever else is likewise being left out and then build on their answer.

Moderators, you’re in that job for a reason. Set expectations by giving your audience and participants a heads up as to your approach. After the introductions, say, “We’re all here to hear from each of these terrific speakers, but our program time is limited, so I’ll jump in as needed to make sure that happens.” Then, if the moment calls for it, try saying something like, “That’s fantastic, Big Talker. Thanks for sharing. Now, let’s hear from Other Panelist.”

To those who’ve spoken on author or illustrator panels, what tips do you have for facilitating a balanced, inclusive conversation? To those who regularly attend them, what approaches do you appreciate most?

Author Tours

Julie Berry Talks About Opening a Hometown Bookstore by Stephani Martinell Eaton from Cynsations. PEEK: “Having been on the author side of the experience, I’ve seen what works and doesn’t work in planning and hosting events. I know why authors hold events and what they hope to accomplish, and I’ve seen the difference smart publicity can make.”

Life on the Road: Tips for Authors on Tour by Richelle Mead from Blue Succubus. PEEK: “Because most signings are at 6 or 7 p.m., I often get picked up at 5 or 6 p.m., meaning I don’t get to eat at dinnertime. Get food when you arrive, or you may not eat at all.”

The Rise of Virtual Foreign Author Tours by Ed Nawotka from Publishers Weekly. PEEK: “[An] unintended consequences of the pandemic and the shift to virtual author events is that booksellers and publishers have had the opportunity to put together events for overseas authors who would not usually tour the U.S. [Pierce Alquist, Transnational Series Director:] ‘The possibilities are endless…[The]creative panels we have done are once-in-a-lifetime events.’”

Author Websites

How to Make a Good Author Website from Nathan Bransford. PEEK: “…you do need to take responsibility for marketing. A website is a bare-minimum way of putting yourself out there.”

How to Build an Author Website: Getting Started Guide from Jane Friedman. PEEK: “I strongly advocate all authors start and maintain a website as part of their long-term marketing efforts and ongoing platform development. But it’s an intimidating project because so few authors have been in a position to create, manage, or oversee websites….With this guide, I hope to answer all the most frequently asked questions….”

What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? by Jane Friedman from her blog. PEEK: “I may be in the tiny minority of people who happen to think social media isn’t 100% critical for an author’s online presence…..These days, I get more noticeable results from my website and blogging efforts, email newsletters, and in-person networking than I do from social media.”

Book Video Teasers or Trailers

2023 Update: Few authors are investing in full trailers. Rather, the trend is toward micro-videos for social media.

Book Trailers: What Works and What Doesn’t from Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Creating Digital Book Trailers by Naomi Bates at YA Books and More: Reviews and digital media of current young adult books and more.

Promoting Your Novel: How To Make a Book Trailer by Brenda Coulter from No rules. Just write.

Marketing and Promotion

Diversity in Book Publishing Isn’t Just About Writers – Marketing Matters, Too, by Jean Ho from NPR.

Learn more from Darcy Pattison

It’s Never Too Early to Think Ahead by Lizzy Mason, senior publicist at Simon and Schuster, from QueryTracker. PEEK: “Particularly as marketing budgets decrease (meaning smaller, more circumscribed tours and less advertising), publicity has become more important than ever.”

Four Tips on Promoting to Educators by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. PEEK: “The ArLA is mostly public school librarians who are concerned about programming special events, balancing a collection and keeping funding when it relies on politics. The ARA has a large number of classroom teachers who are concerned about teaching reading to kids. The AAIM are librarians, who must follow the state standards for teaching library skills, as well as function as the technology expert for their school.”

Marketing Task Recap from Robin LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “We thought that it might be helpful to post a checklist of all the marketing tasks we’ve referred to over the last few months in one place, so you wouldn’t have to hunt and peck to produce a To Do List of your own.”

Media Kits

Building Your Own Press Kit by Saundra Mitchell at Crowe’s Nest. PEEK: “A press kit provides basic biographical information and information about your work, in an easily accessible kit for reviewers and journalists.”

Professional Publicists

Blue Slip Media: publicity-and-marketing agency, specializing in youth literature. PEEK: “In a business climate where publicity and marketing resources at major publishing houses are stretched thin, we offer expertise in crafting effective press releases, targeted mailing lists, niche and local market outreach, and event planning to create comprehensive campaigns for print and online media.”

Publicist Interview from Christine Kole MacLean. PEEK: “While you don’t want to generate bad press, getting people talking about your book brings attention to it, and in a crowded market, you want your book’s title to stick in people’s heads.”

Publicist Interview: Kathy Dunn (Bloomsbury Children’s) from Mary Hershey at Shrinking Violet Promotions. CYN NOTE: a discussion of to-dos, dos, and don’t for authors.

Publicist Interview: Donna Spurlock (Charlesbridge) by Anna Olswanger from The Purple Crayon.

Publicist Interview: Jennifer Taber (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) from Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “Authors can do themselves a great service by educating themselves about the current state of publishing and by communicating with their publicist about plans and goals.”

What to Look for in a Book Publicist (Plus, Tips for Going It Alone) by Tanya Hall from Jane Friedman. PEEK: “A successful book publicity campaign can bring in a level of media coverage that lands more clients, more brand cachet, more book sales, and additional media opportunities.”


Making your Bookmarks by Kristina Springer at Author2Author. PEEK: “First, you need a snazzy design. If you’re photoshop savvy, this will be easy for you. You just need to create a bookmark that includes your cover, some book info or a tease about your book, release date, ISBN, your website URL (and e-mail if you’d like), and don’t forget to put what age your book is for!”

One Important Question You May Not Be Asking Your Publicist by Emily Adams from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “…you want to make sure you get a hold of the clips of reviews, interviews and features your campaign generates. Then you can get more mileage out of press coverage and magnify your book’s visibility by posting them to your social media channels.”


Avoiding Burnout by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “The act of writing, while it may be horrendously difficult sometimes, fills some deep, creative need within us. This is a gift we’ve been given in this life, and we need to cherish that and nurture that. And that often means striking some kind of devil’s bargain with Publishing. Because the very last thing we want to happen is for Publishing to destroy our love of Writing. And it can happen.”

Dealing with Book Promotion Fatigue by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “The joy and terror of publishing in the social media age is that once you have a book, you literally could be promoting it every minute of every day.”

The Secrets to Writing Lots of Books, Promoting Them, and Still Having a Life by Kate Messner from Cynsations. PEEK: “Here are a few not-really-secrets that have helped me through the past decade as my writing career has grown. They relate to the whole picture – writing, promoting, and life.”

School and Library Market

Bruce Hale on Dogs, Doing the Work & Book Promotion by Stephani Martinell Eaton from Cynsations. PEEK: “… I’m sending advance reading copies (ARCs) to ARC-sharing groups on Twitter. (Thanks to Jarrett Lerner for this tip!) The ARC-sharers are lovely people, many of them educators, who will read and promote your book on social media if they like it.”

Four Tips on Promoting to Educators by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. PEEK: “The ArLA is mostly public school librarians who are concerned about programming special events, balancing a collection and keeping funding when it relies on politics. The ARA has a large number of classroom teachers who are concerned about teaching reading to kids. The AAIM are librarians, who must follow the state standards for teaching library skills, as well as function as the technology expert for their school.”

Social Media

GoodReads or BadFeelings? by L.K. Madigan from Drenched in Words. PEEK: “It seems like more experienced authors – Sara Zarr, Mary E. Pearson, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and John Green, for example – already had this figured out. They do not rate or review books on GoodReads. Their profiles exist on the site, but they are not active users. They do plenty to promote authors on their own blogs.”

Overpromotion from Scott Tracey. PEEK: “Build a fan base by being interesting – you’ll sell more books that way. Otherwise, you’re just trolling for bodies – and bodies don’t buy books.”

Social Media and Mental Health from Kacen Callander. PEEK: “Social media as an author is confusing, because we are expected to show our true selves so that we don’t have boring accounts that only give updates on our books—but showing our true selves is also where anyone with a high number of followers could face consequences to safety and mental health.”

Social Networking: What a Children’s Publisher Expects: A Conversation with Donna Spurlock from Charlesbridge Marketing by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon Blog. PEEK: “It’s always been the case (even at Charlesbridge) that a few books are your ‘lead books’ and they get the majority of the marketing dollars. Here it’s been more of an even distribution, but when a book starts to pull ahead in sales, or we know going in that a Jerry Pallotta or Mitali Perkins is going to be working overtime to promote the book, we get behind them more financially. Authors need to do the legwork to get to that point. And it’s their personality that’s going to do it.”

Author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Twitter/X Guide for Authors and Illustrators from Debbie Ridpath Ohi. SEE ALSO Twitter/X Promotion Tips for Children’s-YA Authors and Illustrators.

Why Blog-From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging by L.L.Barkat from Jane Friedman. PEEK: “…this has been key: I realized I must find a way to run my private life, my writing life, and my business life as an introvert.”

What’s With the Buzz About Pinterest and Promoting Kidlit? by Debbie Gonzales from Cynsations. PEEK: “When it comes to Twitter, Pinterest is three times more effective in establishing connections and building relationships. Yet, currently, the kidlit industry lacks a vibrant representation on the platform. We need to change that. I am eager to show you how.” SEE ALSO Debbie Gonzales on Kidlit Promotion & Personal Versus Business Pinterest Accounts from Cynsations.

When Your Favorite Author Says the Wrong Thing by Elise Moser from BookRiot. PEEK: “When an author has a problematic opinion and isn’t open to learning more, Lavoie said she would have a hard time representing them. ‘I wouldn’t continue working with them if they were intent on not learning about it,’ she said.”

You Can’t Just Be a Writer Anymore by Tess Gerritsen from Murderati. PEEK: “These days, being a writer is no longer just about the books. We can no longer slide by like those 1980’s slacker writers and turn in one well-written manuscript every year. Now we have to be novelists, salesmen, speakers, and media personalities.”