Self Publishing For Children’s Books
It may seem like the easy option to go with self publishing for children’s books, especially as a first time author. A nice short book with lots of pictures, or a longer middle grade book can’t be hard to write and put together, surely?
I’m the first to say anyone can write a book and if you’re thinking of doing it, I say go for it. Publishing a children’s book is the most rewarding experience. Especially when you get to meet kids who have read, and enjoyed your books.
I also highly recommend self publishing for children’s books, I did it and ended up an Amazon best-selling author.
But, before you dive straight in, here are a few of the keys things I learnt, which will save you hours on your way.
The 6 steps to self publishing for children’s books.
1. Write, write and write some more.
In order to publish a book you need to establish a habit of writing. This may sound slightly obvious to you. But what I mean here is consistently. 1000 words down on the page every single day is much more effective than battering out 10,000 words one day. Then none for three weeks after.
Make it part of your routine, whether that’s first thing in the morning like me (5:00am) or late at night. Find a time that suits you, when you’re at your creative best and make sure you write every day. 1000 words a day is 365,000 a year, the equivalent of 3 or 4 books!
2. Editing is time consuming but essential
Just as you finish writing your fantastic novel, breathe a sigh of relief, type the words THE END. It’s anything but the end. This is when the real work begins, editing is a long and time consuming process. Get yourself on Reedsy find a professional editor. In fact find three who specialise in your genre and contact them all. Send them all an extract of your book (they’ll let you know what they require) and await their magical edit.
Your extracts will all come back beautifully edited and from here you can choose who you feel is best suited to edit your book. Be aware as well there are various levels of editing; copy editing, proof reading and more. So your manuscript could be going back to the editor multiple times dependent on the level of work required here, and each time it’ll cost money. This however is money well spent as it will ensure your book is as professional as possible.
3. Formatting is hellish.
If I could do this part again, I wouldn’t do it at all. You can either spend hours and hours bouncing your laptop off a wall, grey hairs forming before your eyes, that’s if they don’t drop out, or pay someone to do it for you. Don’t get me wrong that’s not cheap but for me I would have saved myself a whole lot of stress. Word files need converting into PDF’s, EPUB’s and MOBI’s for uploads on to the various different selling sites.
Pictures potentially need to be inserted into text without destroying the flow of the text and don’t get me started on orphans (these are paragraphs that get split and end up on a different pages at the end of a chapter). If you’re gifted with computers and editing and can afford Adobe Acrobat fill your boots. For me next time I’m paying a pro to do it for me. If you are a pro please form an orderly queue to do my second book.
4. Uploading to Amazon is stressful.
You’ve got your cover, your perfectly formatted text (in every file type required) and now to upload it. Firstly, you fill in all your bank details, set-up your account and you’re ready for the moment of truth. Then you attach the Interior text and the cover and now you get what can only be described as ‘the spinning wheel of death.’ A little message pops up saying this may take a few minutes, so you wait……. and wait….. and wait.
You go and make a cup of tea, you clean the living room, you pace the floor, you decide to empty the bins (bin day isn’t for another 4 days), and still the wheel spins. You head out and do the weekly big shop, put it all away, and head back to your laptop. There have been 21 errors on your manuscript, “nooooooooooooo..” This is normal, well it was for me. Be patient, breathe and prepare yourself. You will get there with it, it may take a while but have faith and re-read point number 4.
5. Start learning about marketing now.
If you want to self-publish and produce a book that actually sells copies then marketing is everything. Be under no illusions that you could do marketing full time as a job and still not have enough time for it. I’m fortunate that the more marketing I’ve done and the more I’ve learnt about it, the more I’ve enjoyed it.
I recommend a couple of books that will set you on your way. Start with why by Simon Sinek and This is Marketing by Seth Godin were invaluable to me. Just make sure you dedicate time every single day to marketing and you’ll do well. This starts before your book is even written, there is no time like the present.
If you need more help on Marketing, then I’m your man. I’ve loads of articles such as Author Marketing: 7 critical steps to become a best seller which are invaluable reading.
6. The writing community is incredible.
I have never been a part of a community with such a helpful, kind, caring bunch of people in my life. If you need support, if you need cheering on, if you feel like this isn’t for you and you want to throw in the towel, someone is always there to help and pick you back up.
The support I have gained through social media from the self-publishing community has been nothing short of amazing. I wish I could list all the many people who have helped me so far but I’d be here all day. If you decide to go ahead with writing your book, just know that you’ll have a massive amount of support from like-minded people and me of course!
Is self publishing for children’s books right for me?
The simple answer is it depends on you. If you want to take control of all aspects of publishing your book and learn loads on the way, then go for it. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.
But, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons of traditional publishing first. It’s hard work getting a traditional deal, but equally a lot of the publishing process is taken out of your hands.
And if you want more hints, tips and ways to become a best-selling author then be sure to join my community by signing up to my newsletter below.