Sunday, 11 November 2012

E-books and writing for children

There is a lot of helpful advice available on blogs and how to sites that is relevant to most genres of indie published fiction.  But when you look at the Amazon bestseller lists, most of the blockbusters are romances or crime thrillers.  Or a combination of both.  I write for a niche market; novels about horses and ponies for the 8-15ish age group.   

When I started to publish my backlist onto kindle, what didn’t occur to me was because you need to be 13 to have an Amazon or Facebook account a high proportion of my target readers wouldn’t have access to the books; either to browse, buy or find information about them on some of the social media networks. It made me realise that although indie publishing works brilliantly for most genres, there are some drawbacks in this genre.  If they were print books, assuming (a big ask!) that a bookstore would stock the titles, anyone, whatever their age, could walk into said bookstore, browse and buy the books. Simple.   So how do I access my core readership? I am working with organisations and blogs for horse-lovers, and I am grateful for the wonderful support I have had from this generous community.

I realised that the books had also to be marketed to the parents and adults who might be looking for gifts for their younger family members. Does that mean marketing to everyone then?   A mammoth task.  I am not expecting the books to become bestsellers in the blockbuster sense – I don’t know any pony books that are, however popular with readers.  But I’m aiming for steady, consistent sales over a long time period.  Since my royalties are being donated to Redwings Horse Sanctuary it is important to achieve good sales.

So this is proving to be quite an unexpected challenge.  I would really like to hear what other writers think, and what their experiences have been.  Things may be different in the future, of course, and I do see a day when everyone, whatever their age, will have access to e-books.

As a postscript, I’ve been thinking recently about the Young Adult category.  What exactly does this mean?  When I was a teenager, this category simply didn’t exist as a marketing tool.  And like most avid readers, I just read whatever interested me, be this an adult or children’s book.  Should I consider re-categorising the books on Amazon?  Or is Young Adult a completely different ball game?

Related posts:


  1. Hi! I found you through Carnival of the Indies. I also write for MG. I haven't done a big push on marketing yet, because I only have one book out, but I'm not really sure what to do other than target parents as well.

    I write MG but I was in SCBWI for many years so here is how I think of MG vs YA. MG has a protagonist 12 or younger. While some of these books will deal with serious issues, you will often find more fun and light-hearted books and usually have a happy ending of some type.

    YA has an older protagonist, often 15 or 16. While you will find some light-hearted books, in general the books will tend to be more serious and have a touch of romance. The ending may not be happy. I definitely still favor happy endings for this age though. Teenagers are full of angst and need to know there is hope in the world! :)

  2. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by - I like your site! Thanks also for your observations on writing for children and categories. This was really helpful. My protagonists tend to be 13 or 14 generally, and the endings are always positive. I think I might categorise the next 2 as YA because the heroines are 16 and there is a hint of romance (with an older boy). It will be interesting to see how these sell by comparison, as I imagine the YA market is pretty huge now.

    I think marketing for both of these age groups is pretty tough. I'm learning all the time!