If you’re an indie author writing for children or young adults in the UK, there’s an annual gift of an opportunity to raise your profile within schools. It’s called World Book Day – and the next one is coming up soon: on March 7th.
Now in its 16th year, World Book Day is a worldwide event founded by UNESCO to celebrate children’s books and reading. Schools, libraries and book shops in over 100 countries mark the occasion on the first Thursday in March every year. It’s run by a registered charity funded by publishers, bookshops and other interested parties.
There are no fixed rules as to how World Book Day should be celebrated. Popular activities in schools include dressing up as fictional characters, holding book fairs and doing sponsored Readathon reads.
Beyond the school gates, the most conspicuous evidence is the appearance in bookshops of a set of eight World Book Day branded children’s mini-books. These are on sale from the end of February until stocks run out, usually within a few weeks of the event.
These limited editions are written by high-profile children’s authors, this year to include Lauren Child, Tom Gates, Anthony Horowitz, and Francesca Simon. Each pupil at participating schools receives a £1 World Book Day book token, either to be spent on a mini-book, or put towards a conventional book. For poorer children, this may be the only book they get to buy all year, which makes it extra special.
Opportunities for Indies
Although the mini-books are the preserve of the publishers who help fund World Book Day, the indie author may still use the event to raise his or her own profile by arranging to visit local schools.
Most schools aspire to welcome an author for at least part of the day but may lack a budget and contacts. This is where you come in! It doesn’t matter if the school has never heard of you or your books: you tick the box of being a published author.
To the children, you will be a celebrity who can tell them what it’s like to be a real live writer. For the Head or the organizing teacher, you will have the advantage of being affordable – maybe even free?
“I don’t charge any form of appearance fee,” says YA fantasy writer, and ALLi member, Richard Denning, a frequent guest in schools. “My view is that I want to get my books in front of as many readers as possible — so why put obstacles in the way?”
More advice about running book-related events and other book promotion opportunities can be found in Debbie Young’s handbook for independent and self-published authors, Sell Your Books!
Other useful links:
- World Book Day’s website
- Readathon, the national sponsored reading scheme endorsed by World Book Day.
- Debbie Young’s Book Promotion Blog
ALLi’s Plans for World Book Day 2014
To help you develop an effective plan to promote your childrens’ or YA book on World Book Day, ALLi will be developing a members’ resource pack in time for the 2014 event. If you already have experience in this area that you would be willing to share with other ALLi members, please contact Orna ([email protected]).
Debbie Young is an enthusiastic writer, reader and book promoter who also helps other authors raise their profile and sell more of their books.
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