The Kindergarten Perspective
I began with logical (to me!) shelf space: nature centers and botanical gardens with gift stores, Wild Birds Unlimited stores, preschools in cities where I’d be making school visits, local preschools, kindergartens in the schools I was scheduled to visit this year, and toy stores and bookstores that already carried my other books. I had three single-spaced pages ....
I held the first presentation and signing for little readers at that Asheville store one summer Sunday afternoon. Tiny visitors bounced in wearing Band-Aids on their knees and crocs on their feet, excited to be someplace new with mom or dad. Two were riding in their wagon and licking ice cream cones. I read the book to them, and organized one of several bird-themed games. It was the only one I thought might work with this small crowd who were all younger than kindergarten. We whipped through the game and moved on to coloring paper birds and the floor tiles with crayons, which took a nano-second.
The biggest attraction of the day for the kids was the patient green-eyed shop cat who studied our guests warily, choosing his targets carefully. The owners of the shop, Chris and Simon were lovely hosts and provided juice boxes and cookies. From the layout on the tray, I surmised they were expecting more attendees than what we had. They had promoted the event well. They asked me to return with books for the store later in the fall as they want to stock them for Christmas shoppers.
It’s been awhile since I’ve presented to this age group and I felt a bit rusty. Glad to have had this little group to hone my skills before meeting several preschools and kindergartens in the next few months.
I understand why publishers insist on the “know your audience” mantra. Since I’m not a genre writer, my audiences span the entire reader spectrum. Each book has its own audience and marketing requirements with different presentations for each book. I’ve learned the time for writers to target their audience is before they write the book. The planning for marketing begins even while the book is being written. I created this bird game for the children before the book was printed.
Not sticking to a particular audience, genre or product makes the marketing job larger and more time consuming for me. I’m finding it’s also more fun in its diversity. Study the market or markets. Sit quietly blinking, like the cat, and decide which one, or ones you want to target. Choose your poison, writers. And write for them.