Your dream of becoming a published author has come true! Your book is due to come out, and the sales team are talking to you about the publicity. In this new KnowHow series on publicity, Children's and YA author, Gill Stewart, shares her experiences. First up, know your market. 

Do you enjoy publicising your work? Love it? Or, like many writers and illustrators, are you just a little bit (maybe a lot) introverted, and veer away at the mere thought of self-promotion? If I was an illustrator, I’d put in a really good picture of someone running away screaming here…

Nevertheless, as an author, publicising your work is something you’ve got to do. And the very first thing you need to do is understand your market. Is your work aimed at pre-schoolers? Primary school children? Teenagers? They’re all different.

Primary school children read (or are read to) a lot: according to the data analytics company Nielsen, reading is the most popular leisure activity for 3–10 year olds. Most of the decisions about which books to buy will be made by adults (parents, librarians, etc). If this is your target market then you need to be focussing your publicity drive towards these adults.

As children get older, the popularity of reading drops (disappointingly!). It is only the fifth most popular leisure activity for 11–13 year olds, and doesn’t feature in the top nine for 14–17 year olds. Nevertheless, about 25% of teenagers are still reading regularly. These readers are particularly keen both to read and to discuss their reading. They are likely to be choosing and buying the books themselves. They will follow book blogs and book chat on Twitter and Instagram. If you write for teens, then this is where you need to concentrate your publicity efforts.

Incidentally, contrary to the popular myth that teenagers are all about gadgets, only about 10% of YA book sales are e-books. For younger children’s books it’s around 5%. So for all of us in SCBWI, promoting the physical book is the key thing.
Only about 10% of YA book sales are e-books.
Next time, I’ll discuss where best to meet up with your readers. Is it school visits? Book launches? Let's find out...

Gill Stewart’s coming of age YA novel, Lily's Just Fine is published by Sweet Cherry in July 2019. Born in England, Gill has lived in South Africa, France and Zimbabwe and now lives in Scotland. You can follow her on Twitter.


Eleanor Pender is Knowhow Editor. If there's something you'd like to know how to do, send your suggestions to

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