Three things I did to SELL ALL my self-published children’s books. In less than one year.

Three things I did to SELL ALL my self-published children’s books. In less than one year.

Hey there!

My name is Rebecca Gladney, and I’m the author, artistic director, and self-publisher behind the Chirp’s Adventures board book series.

MCRL was awesome to work with and created a high level product that competes or exceeds the quality of many board books I’ve come across from traditional publishers. So when they asked if I’d share my printing experience and book marketing success in a guest blog, I was more than happy to!

My Printing Journey

Rebecca Gladney

My initial print run was 1000 board books. I sold the entire first print run within 12 months through my own outreach initiatives and website. I decided NOT to sell Chirp’s Adventures on Amazon or through other online bookstore sites.

The second print run of Chirp’s Large Day and my new book, Chirp’s West End Wander, are en route from MCRL (3000 books total this time!).

With the new book coming, I’ve been reflecting on some of the ways I was able to make that first print run successful, in hopes of emulating it once again.

Chirp’s West End Wander & Chirp’s Large Day

Here are the three methods that worked best for me. Read all the way to the end for an extra bonus tip 😉

1. A Strong Pre-Order Campaign

I chose to use Kickstarter for my pre-order campaign.

Kickstarter gives a defined date that the campaign ends and people enjoyed following along and contributing to the progress. I rolled pre-orders over onto my website after the Kickstarter ended as well. This gave me access to a supportive community that is already purchasing books.

There is a whole community of authors on Kickstarter who will support you, and also give feedback on your campaign before you launch, increasing your chances of success.

2. Social Media Marketing

I asked my inner circle to comment, like, or share a post/reel as soon as I posted it!


Social media can be tricky, and might seem obvious, but there are SO many ways to go about it. I spent almost no money on marketing besides supplies for occasional creative ideas requiring some crafting. I would however ask my inner circle to comment, like, or share a post/reel by sending it directly to them as soon as I posted it.

A person, even a close friend, is less likely to go looking for the post you want them to interact with, but if you send it straight to them the chances of interaction skyrocket! You can also ask your followers to turn on post/reel notifications on Instagram, to save yourself the step of sending them out.

3. Non-Traditional Places Carried My Book

I approached a local tourist shop, a brewery, and a maternity store.


Two of the three venues I approached had no other children’s books in-stock previous to mine (and still don’t).

The local tourist shop, Downhome Inc, is a distributor here in Newfoundland and Labrador and were so excited about a local board book that they now help me stock it right across the province!

And all because I walked into the store and asked. Never underestimate the power of putting yourself out there, and never put yourself in a box!

There are so many exciting moments to come in your journey as an author – self or traditionally published. A few of mine have included:

  • the print run selling out (most obviously)
  • seeing littles make the book a part of their daily routines
  • visiting schools to watch kiddos discover the inclusive world around Chirp – full of places most recognize from their day to day lives.

Recently, it’s been incredibly fun to travel with my very own personalized Chirp suitcase, a rather unconventional form of advertising that is eye catching and starts conversations!

Check out my Instagram @rmgladney to nab a discount code if you’d like to create your book as a carry-on to help with your own marketing.

MCRL’s new sister company MyLuggy does Print on Demand (POD) luggage. It’s a great way to transport your books to fairs and events too!

And because we don’t gatekeep in the self-publishing world, here’s one bonus tip

Chirp on MyLuggy suitcase

Get unapologetically curious!

Ask questions.

Find someone or a group of people you trust and ask questions when you aren’t sure. I have a strong inner circle I can consult who I trust to give me honest opinions. I really missed having other self-published authors in my corner so I’ve been building a strong network to help me continue to grow. We consult each other on marketing ideas, things that have worked or not worked, how we can collaborate, etc. If you’re interested in booking a call to see if you and I would be a good fit for mentoring, feel free to connect in any of the ways below.

I look forward to hearing about YOUR project and Your successes! Cheeers!