Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marketing My Children's Picture Books with Children's Craft Classes

For me, the hardest part about being a children’s picture book author is the marketing. One of my most successful, marketing techniques is to teach paper craft and book making to young children. My classes and /or demonstrations are held at schools, book stores, toy stores, museums, galleries, at book fairs and even on the street. I find this is an excellent way to interact with young readers, their parents and grandparents. These classes and demonstrations provide an opportunity to advertise future events, publicize my books and keep my name in the local media. In addition, the places where I teach the classes often allow me to sell my books, or they will sell them for me. These events allow me to develop an email list which I use to send out a newsletter and publicize additional events, any new books and my web and blog sites.

I now have a variety of book forms, from simple accordion books to more complicated forms, to be used in a variety of class situations and even street-side locations. Much depends on the age of the children. I like to limit formal classes to children over the age of seven, because the younger ones do not have the cutting and other skills needed to do the projects. However, if there is an adult present ready to help or the class isn’t too full, younger kids do attend. And with this adult help, they do quite well. Even two-year-olds like to have a piece of paper or book for drawing.
Clap Your Hands Book Form

The young authors and artists are free to decide how to decorate their book, what to write and what color pages and covers to use. It is amazing how creative these children are and how they dive right in and start writing and drawing. I provide a variety of colorful paper choices and pens as well as other supplies to ignite their imagination.  Sometimes I charge a small materials fee and sometimes not, depending on the location.
This may look like chaos but it's really creativity in motion.

I have a pile of my children’s stories available for the kids and parents to examine and read. When the class is over, I hand out brochures detailing my stories and listing the places where they can be purchased, either online or at local stores. Naturally, it’s nice when my books are bought on the spot as happened yesterday afternoon at the Studios on the Park in Paso Robes.

Recently, I have developed  book making projects that directly relate to my published children’s picture books. For example, “Hopping to the Moon” is a story about a frog that dreams he has hopped to the Moon and what he finds there. It’s designed to teach children about the Moon and space travel. The accompanying art projects I call a Moon Book, a circular form with a picture of the Moon on the cover. After reading the story, we talk about the Moon and space travel. They cut out the front and back cover out of card stock and make colorful circular pages that they string together at the top to form a book.  Depending on their age, the kids are encouraged to write a story about life on the Moon, or draw pictures of the Moon surface and decorate their book with the pens, punches and other supplies I provide.  Their final art book is designed to be hung in their room.
Moon Book 

I also have a couple of butterfly book forms that corresponds to “Butterfly Girls” and “When Caterpillars Dream”. Here again, after I read these stories, the children make a book that looks like a suspended butterfly that can be used for story writing or pictures. I’m continuing to develop other book forms that correspond to my other children’s stories. 
Butterfly Books made by kids in my class


John Addiego said...

these are beautiful book forms that would inspire children so much! Great stuff!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

That's wonderful that you are inspiring and enabling children's creativity. Hope you sell lots of books, Beryl!

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

What a talent, Beryl, and your spirit of generosity is a model for all. If I'd had art instruction from you,I might not feel so inept. I hope you sell thousands of books!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Thanks for the kind comments. It is indeed a joy to be with these kids; maybe that's why I write children's books.

A note to Sharon: Whenever we create something whether it is writing or art or music, it is our gift. By writing, you are contributing your gift.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Both clever and beautiful. Good job, Beryl!

Ann K. Howley said...

Beryl, I just love your generous and uplifting spirit. Your books and the crafts you make with the kids are beautiful!

Heidi Gill said...

Love this post Beryl! You are talented in so many ways and I am glad to be working with you in the enrichment classes at Los Ranchos.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Heidi Gill (fellow children's book author) and I are having fun with the Los Ranchos Kids. The six students from 5th grade down to 3rd are a talented group. Thank you Heidi for the invite, for your friendship and encouragement. Beryl