31 Mar EASTER AND SPRINGTIME. CAN YOU SELL A BOOK WITH A SEASONAL HOOK?
When I recently queried a Random House editor with a new nonfiction idea, I pitched the book as a fun resource for third or fourth grade teachers to use during a particular season.
I also mentioned that there were no books with my slant on the subject for that age group.
The editor responded, “I like the idea and think it would have a great seasonal hook.” Along with the editorial board, the editor is considering my idea, and I hope to get a go-ahead on the manuscript.
Teachers buy books that link to curriculum topics–like seasons and holidays. But aren’t there too many seasonal books for kids already? There seems to be an endless list of books about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc. Just a search of “Easter books for kids” brought 1,222 hits. So how do you make your idea or manuscript a cut above the others an editor receives?
First of all, don’t offer the same ol’ same ol.’ Do research to find a void in the market. Search for “kids books with a seasonal hook” or “holiday books for children.” Search for books using various seasonal words: autumn, liberty, being thankful, pilgrims, shortest day of the year and trick or treat. Then read the titles and blurbs.
Search by different age levels and notice what age range yields the fewest results. Search by categories—nonfiction picture books, chapter books, middle grade nonfiction, young adult, humor, etc. Check out books with seasonal links from your library. Look for the age group, type of book and the subject that is least represented on the market.
Now brainstorm about what hasn’t been done. In reading about typical holiday and seasonal events or historical people connected with them, did you come upon some tidbit that isn’t well-known that you could write about?
In Write a Marketable Children’s Book, I teach in detail how to do market research, how to use it to select a topic and age level, as well as how to use it in your query letter to an editor. Offer an unusual approach or a new twist on an old idea, and it may just be your season to sell a book.