Most people who’ve set out to write a children’s book will know two things about it:
Firstly, it’s a lot harder to do than we expect (kids are a lot more discerning than many people give them credit for); and, secondly, there’s a surprising amount of competition out there. As a result, the chances are that you’ve come here because, having had little luck in the highly competitive traditional children’s book publishing industry, you’re looking for a guide to publishing your children’s book yourself. Moreover, why not? In the era of the internet, when more or less everyone has an accessible platform for their work, self-publishing is easier than it has ever been. However, it’s hardly a simple process. It takes time, though, and effort. So to give you a little leg up, we’ve gathered a few pointers to help you on your way.
Self-Publishing Pros and Cons
Absolute creative control
When it comes to self-publishing, your artistic vision defines your book from beginning to end. Not only do you fully control the book’s contents, illustrations, and cover design; you also control how it’s manufactured, where it’s distributed, and how it’s marketed.
With most traditional publishing houses, you can generally hope to get 15% of the royalties for the book’s sales, if you’re lucky. With self-publishing, however, pretty much all the royalties go to you. In other words, good sales will translate into a great deal more cash for you.
More room for experimentation.
The chances are that you’re one of those authors who wants to experiment with their writing and push the boundaries of what a good children’s book can be. Moreover, the fact is that you’ll have a great deal more opportunity to do that as a self-published author. Many traditional publishing houses – especially major ones – tend to be attracted to more conventional or by-the-book works, and will be reluctant to invest in something more daring or unconventional. You’re bound to have a lot less resistance to your creative spirit via self-publishing.
More initial expenses
As mentioned, one of the advantages of self-publishing is that you get pretty much all the royalties; but this is somewhat balanced out by the fact that you also have to take care of many expenses that would often be handled for you if you opted for a traditional publishing house. Need someone to do the illustrations for your book? Design your cover? Edit your work? Help you market it to the world? All of these expenses will be coming out of your pocket – and in some cases, they may even involve signing over a portion of the royalties. With careful planning, you’ll generally still maintain a more significant part of the sale profits than the sliver most publishing houses offer; but still, you need to be ready to make some serious initial investments.
The sad fact is that, since more or less anyone can self-publish, a great deal of self-published tends to be of, less than stellar quality. The long-term result of this has been that, even if yours is an excellent piece of work, self-publishing carries a stigma that leads many people (mostly folks who’ve never written a book themselves) to judge your work before they’ve even read it. It’s an unfair sort of stigma, but still, one that you’ll have to work pretty hard to move past.
Once you self-publish a book, you’re effectively running a business – a small one, but a business nonetheless. All the little aspects of self-publishing – marketing, distribution, finances – even if you’re paying other folks to take care of some of this stuff, keeping track of all of it will, for a fair while, continue to take up a significant portion of your everyday life. As a result, you may find yourself a bit more overworked than usual – and, more importantly, future writing projects may well have to be placed on hold for a bit longer than you’d like.
Steps to Follow
However, let’s say you’ve considered all the pros and cons, and are still set on self-publishing your new work of children’s literature. How should you go about it? A great deal of it is dependent on circumstances, but there are a few basic steps to follow.
Step 1: Write
Seemingly a no-brainer for many authors, the concept of self-publishing becomes so exciting that they begin plotting it out before their work is even finished. Don’t be tempted. Finish your book beginning to end before planning the publishing. Ending up with an elaborate publishing plan, but no book to publish often results in confusing and stressful deadlines.
Step 2: Plan
Like so many other endeavors, the business of publishing is predicated on planning – plan well, and the actions will come naturally. Before you even think about getting your book out there, think of all the details – and we mean all of them. Decide whether you want to publish digitally or in print; whether you want the prints to be hardcover or softcover; whether you want to do the illustrations yourself or hire an illustrator. Having all these minor details laid out beforehand will make the publishing process flow more smoothly.
Step 3: Pick a site
There is a lot of online services out there offering self-publishing services, of course, but as with so many other major industries, many of them aren’t reputable. One of the best options, ironically, is to pick a significant recognized brand that offers self-publishing services. Amazon, for instance, offers both print-on-demand services and digital self-publishing through Kindle which offers you the advantages and freedoms of self-publishing, minus the risk of your self-publishing service going under or swindling you, as might happen with a lesser-known self-publishing or printing service.
Step 4: Review
Before you get it out there, it’s best, in the long term, to get some second opinions on the work itself – even for the least egotistical among us, it can be tricky to spot our own mistakes. Whether you hire a professional editor or get some friends or fellow writers to review the work, it’s best to let them spot any glaring mistakes, errors, or needed revisions before the critics do.
Step 5: Publish
Once you’ve got the plans laid out and the means of publishing picked, you can begin the actual process of publishing. How long it will take is very much dependent on circumstances, but it’s bound to be an exciting and nerve-wracking process either way.
Step 6: Market
Once the book is out there, the final step is to make it known to the world. You might have already hired an expert marketer to assist you; but whether you have or not, it’s best to give strong thought to the marketing process beforehand, and make use of all platforms available to you – from social media to paid ads on children’s literature sites, to good old word of mouth. Furthermore, remember, unlike most books, children’s books shouldn’t be marketed directly to their target audience. No, you need to make sure that you’re marketing to parents – after all, they’re the ones buying the books for their kids.
A lot goes into the self-publishing a book. From the idea to the marketing, it can seem overwhelming. However, when you follow the steps above, you can self-publish on your own. Follow the steps, break tasks down into parts, and take your time to do them well. Before you know it, you will be a self-published author.
Now you are ready to create your Children’s Book!📚
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