So you have an idea for a children’s book but not sure where to begin? Fear not, we have all been there. Self-publishing is a hazy, yet so rewarding process. It can be quite challenging to navigate the process. It’s a full-time job, and if you want to be successful, you need to treat it like you are launching a business. There are so many books in the marketplace. Particularly for children’s books, you can find them a dime a dozen. So how do you ensure you stand out in a crowded sea?
The first step is to ensure you have dotted your Is and crossed your Ts. To help you with this, I have created a checklist.
Decide your publishing route: First things first, decide your publishing route. Will you traditionally publish or self-publish your book? This is a crucial decision because the steps required for both routes are very different. In this post, I assume you are self-publishing your book.
Define your audience: Who is the book for? This is where you pick your target age range, genre and overarching message. Ensure they all align, and your key message is appropriate for the targeted age.
Write a lovely story: Now it’s time to write your story. Make it irresistible, something your audience can’t pass up. Get those creative juices flowing.
Validate your story: Well done! You wrote your story, and I’m sure it’s fantastic. What do others think? Share your story with your trusted few. Seek our parents, librarians or teachers. Get their feedback and refine accordingly.
Edit your story: Professionally edit your story, do not cut corners. Find a children’s book editor, for your target audience and get your story reviewed and edited. Your editor should check your grammar, language and overall storyline.
Decide your book specs: Board book? Paperback? Hardback? Cloth book? What about the size? Square? Or perhaps rectangle? Portrait or Landscape? What type of paper will you use?
Illustrate your book: Find an illustrator whose work reflects the dream you have for your book. There are different illustration styles, different skill levels and of course, different price point. Ensure your illustrator is trustworthy and can deliver what he promises. Recommendations go a long way.
Print your book: Now you have your design file, it’s beautiful, and you can’t wait to hold it in your hands. Note, all printers are NOT equal, so this is a very vital step. Look for a printer whose quality is unquestionable, request samples of their previous work. This is another step where a recommendation is critical, so ask around. (PS: If you use a full-service self-publishing company, all you need to do is give them your design files - you pretty much skip this step)
Create your marketing plan: Create your marketing plan, how are you going to get the world to see this beautiful thing you created?
Promote! Promote!! Promote!!! You never stop promoting your book. It’s your gift to the world, and all must see it.
Writing a book is no small feat, and self-publishing is not for the fainthearted, but it is oh so rewarding. Your book has the power to impact the lives of little ones - to make them laugh, fill them with imagination or empower them to believe in themselves - how wonderful. Self Publishing my first children's book, Who Do I See in the Mirror? has been one of the highlights of my life. When I started this journey, I had no idea what it was going to be. I wrote a book, and all I wanted was to help our little ones love themselves. I never imagined the impact it would have.
In a year, we achieved more than I imagined, with over 25 stockists, distributors both in the UK and US with only one title - many distributors told me it was impossible. Sales across Europe, America and Africa. Media coverage with the BBC, Metro, Premier Radio, BBC Essex Radio and more. This little heart is grateful.
I would love to see as many people as possible publish a variety of children's books. Our children deserve to have a diverse collection of books. So if you have an idea for a children's book, my advice is always - DO IT!
Follow the steps above, and you are off to a great start. If you have any questions or a million things running through your mind, and you just need a quick chat to see things more clearly, I'm happy to have a 15 minutes chat with you to help iron a few things.
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