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Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids

Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdell


I'm a multi-genre author but one of my passions is, and probably always will be, children's picture books. I have several published titles and all have been in the best seller lists on Amazon at some point over the years. 

I recently had the opportunity to do an author event to promote my children's books. When the majority of your audience is children, particularly if they are young children, you need to be prepared. I wanted to share with you a few things that I found worked well for me. 

What to wear:

Be comfortable and look approachable. When reading to kids you want to be able to move freely. You also want to be relaxed. Ultimately though, you want them to not be afraid to come near you. Dress for your audience. 

At my recent author event to promote my children's picture story books, I decided to wear jogging bottoms, and a very soft jumper (more about the latter in a minute). Not the most professional looking outfit but I was aiming to impress the kids more than the adults. I did, of course, do my hair and make up to make sure I still looked clean and tidy. I didn't want the grown ups to think I wasn't making any effort for them even though they weren't my priority. 

Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdell


Now back to that fluffy jumper... this was my secret weapon. What do kids do when something is soft and cuddly? They want to touch it and well, cuddle. I made myself instantly more approachable to them, and guess what... it worked! It was a good conversation starter with them too, as they would touch my arm whilst I was talking with them and comment on how soft it was.

Reading:


You'll probably be doing some readings from your book(s) during the event. When reading to kids it's best to be a bit animated in your reading style. Don't be shy. Get expressive with your hands, and facial expressions, but don't force it. They will see straight through you. The goal is to make it interesting for them to watch as well as listen to. 

The children will often want to join in, and will shout out words whilst you're reading, or read along with you. Let them. Encourage them. Make it an interactive experience. If they start asking questions though just say something like "good question" and smile. Then let them know you'll answer them at the end of the reading, and bring their attention back to the story. 

If there's time, try to do some one on one reading with the kids, or make time for a quick chat with them. I did this during my event and it was a huge success. The kids felt special, parents appreciated the extra special attention, and it got me extra bonus points with the bookstore owners. Putting in a little extra effort can make a big difference.

Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdell


Activities:


Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdellIt's a good idea to have some kind of activity organised for the kids to do following the reading. You'll make the kids feel special if you tell them you have a present for them all. This can be something as simple as a colouring page or activity page that goes with your book. 

For my event I gave them each a Fairy May tooth brushing chart to take home, and a choice of colouring pages with characters from my books. Depending on the venue they may colour them in there at the event. This is great as it gives them a fun activity to do related to the books and keeps them busy so you can talk to the parents and other accompanying adults. 

If it's not possible for them to colour them in during the event let them know they can email you a photo of their picture once it's finished and you'll add it to your fan gallery on your website. This also gives you an extra excuse to give out your business cards to the adults and let them know more about your website. I make sure I tell them that they can download a variety free printables from my website to go with my books (including the ones I gave out at the event). 

Amongst my free printables I have character masks from my book Out and About at the Zoo. I made up some masks to take to the event so the kids could photo-booth themselves during the event. The kids loved this. As some parents don't want photo's of their kids posted online, this also means the kids can have their photo taken like the others but not have their face be visible. Everyone is happy :)

Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdell


Extras:


Thank everyone. Thank the kids and their accompanying adults for coming. Thank the bookstore staff, and anyone else involved in setting up the event. 

Post about the event on your website and social media platforms. You should have been posting to promote the event before it happened, but post about it afterwards too. Tag your host and thank them again for the opportunity. 

Tips for Doing Book Events with Kids @jolinsdell


What things worked well for you at your children's book event? Have you ever been to a really good book event with your kids? What made it so awesome? Let us know in the comments below.


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