Whether you have an idea for a story or a full-fledged children’s book ready to go, you will have to decide which publishing route to take. If you’re considering self-publishing your book, you might be unsure of where to start. This guide will walk you through the process.
Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing
Self-publishing has rapidly grown to be one of the most popular factions of the publishing industry as it has many benefits for authors, including:
- Having complete creative control
- Setting your own deadlines
- Maintaining all the rights of your book
- Deciding the book’s price and where you want to sell it
- Making your own choices on how to market your book
Self-publishing also means you don’t have to worry about your children’s book getting lost in the ocean of other titles large publishers manage. DIY publishing gives you total control of your children’s book from start to finish.
However, DIY also means you really have to do it yourself. That means paying for editing, illustrating, printing, distributing, and marketing services and having to find them yourself while being on the lookout for scams. These extra challenges are intimidating, but they can all be overcome.
Once you’ve weighed your options and decided on self-publishing your children’s book, it’s time to get started.
How to Self-Publish a Children’s Book
1. Research the Children’s Book Market
Research helps you identify what trends are popular, what category your book will fall in (e.g., early reader vs. middle grade), and estimate how much it will cost to publish your children’s book. Your findings will also help you define your target audience as you run marketing campaigns for your book.
2. Set a Budget
With your research in mind, you can outline a budget for your children’s book. This includes editing, illustrating, printing, distributing, and marketing services. Illustration services alone typically cost several thousand dollars, though the book’s length, amount of illustrations, art style, and amount of detail will also affect the price. To offset these costs, many self-publishing authors choose to crowdfund their books.
3. Write & Edit Your Manuscript
Now that you’ve done your research for your book, you need to write and edit it. Then edit it again. And again. Thoroughly editing your children’s book yourself before handing it off to a professional will help you save a lot of money. Really take the time to iron out the story, clean up typos, and make sure you’re using age appropriate vocabulary for your target age group. Getting it as close to ready as possible at this stage will save you a lot of time later on.
Then send it off to some beta readers—they can be friends or family members—who can point out errors you might have missed. Next comes more edits and maybe more beta readers before finally sending it off to a professional editor.
4. Hire an illustrator
Once you have your story nailed down, it’s time to bring your words to life with illustrations. You will need to decide how many illustrations you need and the style that best complements your story.
Every book needs a great cover to garner interest, and you obviously can’t have a picture book without pictures. If you’re writing for Middle Grade or Young Adult readers, you may or may not want to include illustrations beyond the cover. However, for younger children’s books, illustrations are essential.
From your research on the children’s book market, you will have found what illustration styles are used in popular titles. You’ll also have an idea of what style best fits your book. Whatever your preference, you will have to find an illustrator to make your vision come true.
While there are many illustrators out there, not all of them will be right for your story. Keeping your vision and budget in mind while searching for an illustrator is key to finding the right match. And although there is an endless stream of freelancers on job boards across the internet, many will lack the proper publishing experience. Instead, look at publishing marketplaces, ask for recommendations from trusted sources, or research which illustrators other authors used.
5. Format Your Children’s Book
After finalizing the text and illustrations, you will need to arrange them in a logical and visually appealing way. This includes fonts, spacing, margins, and more.
If your book is for Middle Grade or Young Adult readers and features mostly text, you can easily arrange it yourself using book formatting tools that will export it into an eBook or a PDF file. If you’ve written a picture book, it will be more challenging to format if you decide to do it yourself. Whatever the case, you can also hire professionals—like Pressbooks, Book Design Templates and ebook launch—to design your book’s interior, ensuring a beautiful final product.
6. Decide on How to Distribute Your Book
Your children’s book is finally complete, and it’s time to get it into readers’ hands. But you still must decide how to distribute it.
Print books are the classic choice, but eBooks give your book a wider reach at a lower cost. You may decide on one or the other, or possibly both. Just remember that each format will require its own ISBN. If you’ve decided to print your book, you’ll also have to choose between printing on demand and offset printing, each with its own pros and cons. And it is crucial that you find a distributor that will get you children’s books into the school and library market.
If this all seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Book distribution is a common obstacle for self-published authors, but eBooks2go makes it easy.
7. Develop a Marketing Campaign
Finally your book is on the market, but your job still isn’t done. It’s crucial to get your children’s book exposure so more and more readers can enjoy it. Marketing is a process, so it will take some time to gain a following. Here are a few ways to get your work noticed:
- Connect with fans, fellow authors, and more on social media
- Send out review copies to build hype for your story
- Create an author website to let fans get to know you
And if you need more marketing support, we can help!
Even though it’s called self-publishing, you don’t have to do it all on your own. eBooks2go would love to support you through the publishing process! We offer comprehensive self-publishing packages for children’s books that walk you through each stage of the publishing process. Check them out here and start your self-publishing journey.