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Self-Publishing a Children’s Book

Thankfully children still love books and authors still love writing stories for children. When thinking of writing a children’s book, it is important to understand that in today’s digital age, children’s books have to compete with all sorts of electronic distractions for children. Here is some advice and some suggestions on how to go about self-publishing a children’s book

Success Breeds Success

When setting out to write a children’s book be honest and be humble. Ask yourself honestly why you want to write it: are you simply being altruistic or looking to make money, or both? In either case, we need to learn from the success of others which means following the main stream to a degree. Start by looking at how successful books are categorized and put together, and follow the “recipe.”  In addition, follow genre trends and what works.  Build your success on the success of others as you get started. The Harry Potter legacy has created great opportunities for fantasy and wizardry stories involving real life children. See what other genres are trending at the moment. Take a look at how the children’s books of your youth are doing or if they are still around and think of why.

Conduct Market Research for Children’s Books.

Even if you already have a story and are writing it, take time to browse and see what is already available in your genre and try to determine how well it is selling. Look for reviews written by children as well as their parents where possible. Identify popular trends such as science fiction and magic. Research will also help to decide which age group to write for, although some genres are popular with primary and high school children. Also remember your audience isn’t limited to children, but also includes their parents and their educators and you need their approval, endorsement and money.

Establish a budget

The wisdom of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here. Engaging artwork, cover design and illustrations can be pricey. There are also costs for editing, advertising and marketing to various degrees, depending on the channel. Make some enquiries with potential suppliers and channels about costs. Plan for the worst but expect the best outcome. All said, you may need a budget in the region of $10 000.00 give or take.

Editing

Editing is about more than grammar, language level, and spelling. Have a checklist of questions that need to be answered. The list of questions can include:
Is the storyline clear from beginning to end?
Has the plot problem, conflict, or issue been resolved in full?
Are the characters people that the reader can recognize and identify with?
Have you sufficiently suspended disbelief regarding time, distance, plot and characters? For example, is a science fiction story believable and is the plot plausible?

Once you have been through this editing process, have your story edited independently. Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees and a fresh, unbiased set of eyes is very helpful. Head to this post on how to find an editor for more information.

Reader Sample Group

Ask a mixed age group of readers to read your story and to give you their honest opinion. If possible include children, parents and teachers. Not only will they give you their opinions but they may also make valuable suggestions.

Risk and Reward

Self-publishing does require perseverance and determination but it can be worth it. Despite the costs and the risks, if you get it right then you will have achieved every writer’s dream which is to have and retain total artistic and creative control, free from corporate editing and money decisions.