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Your Children’s Book’s Two Audiences

Buried in the Slushpile, children's writing

Your Children's Book's Two Audiences image

Every book has multiple audiences, no matter the market. There’s a primary demographic and a secondary demographic. These are the audiences your publisher (or you) might think will be drawn to your book.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m not talking about possible market segmentation. I’m talking about the people who will actually read your book, and in the children’s market, that’s two broad audiences: Kids AND Adults.

That’s right. Kids and Adults. Adult books have it easy. They just have to appeal to adult sensibilities. Your children’s book, though, has to appeal to:


  • Industry Professionals—These are the gatekeepers to publication, the agents, editors, marketing departments, etc that determine if your book will go to market. Even if you self-publish, you will still hire an editor and a book designer.
  • Reviewers—There are a few places where kids and teens review books, but by and large most review organizations (certainly the big ones) are staffed by adults.
  • Educators—These are the teachers and librarians (both school and public) who will mostly likely be the ones to introduce your book to kids.
  • Parents/Grandparents/Guardians—These are the people who actually buy the books for kids and teens. Every other adult on this may love the book, but if the person with the wallet hates it, you have most likely lost a sale.

That’s an awful lot of adults you have to please before you get to your actual target market: the kids.

As a result, you have to create a book that appeals to both the adults and the kids. Even books that seem to be geared almost entirely to kids (think Captain Underpants here) still have to have some appeal to adults. And since kids (and teens) have different sensibilities from adults, this can provide quite a challenge.

However, it’s a challenge I’m confident you are up before. Besides, if you wanted to write something easy, you’d be writing books for adults.

(I kid. Writing books for adults is just as challenging, just in different ways.)

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