Self Publishing Childrens Books - 5 Things Authors Need to Know

Self publishing childrens books has become easier and less expensive in recent years. Passionate storytellers who want to bypass traditional publishing and get their work into the hands of parents and children are finding the perfect markets for their books.

Although having your book picked up by a traditional publisher may be exciting, there is no guarantee of sales and the time from acceptance to the book actually appearing on book shelves can be as long as a couple of years. This is why many authors are taking the publishing process into their own hands.

There are other very good reasons for DIY (do-it-yourself) childrens book publication. One of the biggest is having the first and final say in every step and detail that goes into your book, including artistic and editorial control. You can also make a bigger percentage of the profit when you self-publish, as opposed to depending on the small royalties paid by traditional publishers. Of course, the biggest reason for self publishing childrens books is that you own the copyright to your work.

If this intrigues you, below are some helpful tips that will put you on the path to success.

  • Analyze your target market. The past decade has seen a significant growth in book sales, and with good reason. The children's book industry has never been bigger and more appealing, thanks largely to the success of such titles as Harry Potter and others targeting the young adult market. Children's books are no longer merely lumped under the juvenile category: there are specialized niches catering to kids of every age, size, and shape.
self publishing childrens books
  • Take a look at these success stories and know how to write for the age range of the kids that you want your story to reach.  This is essential because writing a generic children's story and hoping it will cover a big demographic just won't work. Once you have a specific story in mind, get inspired by famous children's books such as those by Dr Seuss, etc. Take note of the tone, style, and other details of the book that makes it memorable. Then research on the age range of the kids (and adults) to whom these books make a huge impact, reading and selling-wise.
  • When self publishing childrens books, choose your software wisely.You're going to be creating a manuscript and doing plenty of revisions, so you need to back up your files frequently. Use a word processor to create your manuscript and a program like  Adobe InDesign to layout the book.

  • Look for an illustrator who can translate your words into images that properly convey the story. Good illustrations can make or break the success of your book. Self publishing children's books requires an illustrator or visual artist whose skill and imagination are in sync with your vision of the book. Traditional publishers usually have in-house artists to whom they can assign a story for illustration, or else they have a roster of established book illustrators to call upon for their services. This means several things: one; you may have to compromise on the end result of the images for your book, and two; you may have to split royalties with the artist.
  • The beauty of self publishing is that you can look at several portfolios of children's book illustrators before hiring someone. Remember that, no matter how small your book project may be, you still have to hire an independent (meaning, not linked to any publishing firm, AKA freelance) yet professional illustrator. This means they know how to convert their images to the proper files and touch them up using computer software for revisions and improvements.
  • This also means that your hired illustrator is open to discussing a proper artists' fee before they proceed with the illustrations, without you worrying about sudden demands for payments during the course of the book project. (However some professional illustrators do require all the money up front because there are no guarantees about how successful the book will be or how much money they will earn on the back end.) To be on the safe side, have a lawyer draw up a proper contract or memorandum of agreement for both of you to sign.
  • Hire a professional editor instead of doing editing yourself. While you may be a very good storyteller, you can get so caught up in your book that there's the possibility of failing to see mistakes or elements that distract from the story. For this, you will need to hire a professional editor. When self publishing childrens books, don't compromise the quality by refusing to pay someone to proofread and make corrections. An objective, third-person look is important even for the most established author. The rule of thumb when self publishing children's books is, never do the final editing yourself. It can cost you a pretty penny when you're in the final stage of printing out your book and catching mistakes here and there that should have been edited beforehand.
  • Research quality, affordable printers. After acquiring a Library of Congress control number (LCCN), you can finally print your book. The printing company should allow you to print a sample of the book to check for errors before doing a full print run. Don't skimp on this step because it's better to have one book with mistakes that can be corrected then 2000 copies. Make sure you have all versions of the fonts that you've used in the layout, including the bold and italicized versions if used. As for printing, you might be surprised that a higher resolution isn't always a good idea when self publishing children's books. Higher resolutions (those over 300 DPI) can increase your file size and make your computer function a lot slower and cost more time and money in the long run. Stick to a quality and affordable printer that most self publishers recommend.

If you'd rather not have to buy expensive software and learn how to use it to layout your book, I suggest that you sign up for CreateSpace. This company allows you to upload your manuscript and illustrations via a browser and they create and print your book. You keep the rights and a good majority of the profits. Plus you can order as many or as few books as you want, so you will not be stuck with boxes of unsold inventory. Take a moment to follow my step-by-step tutorial on how to create your CreateSpace publishing account.

While you're writing your series of children's books, start building the market for your book by creating your own web site. In today's world, authors must have a platform for their work. This is particularly important if you are a self publisher because you need to build a readership. You do not have to be a geek to build a web site. In fact the web site building system I recommend is the one that I used to build this site. The system teaches you how to build a beautiful looking web site by typing text into boxes and how to get targeted visitors to your site which translates into more readers and more book sales.  By building your site first, you will already have readers ready and willing to buy your children's books once they are published.

Follow these tips and recommendations and you will be well on your way to building your own business self publishing childrens books. There's nothing like taking the reins of your own destiny!

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Note: "Self publishing childrens books" was used without the apostrophe in this article for search engine purposes. Obviously, I know that children's needs an apostrophe, but most people do not include it when typing the phrase into the search engines.

by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

Self Publishing Childrens Books - Book Publishing

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