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How to Self Publish A Children’s Book: 10 Easy Steps

Publishing

Self publish a children’s book is an exciting journey filled with creativity and the chance to share engaging stories with young minds worldwide. In today’s digital age, authors have more freedom to bring their visions to life without traditional book publishing company.

Whether you’re a budding children’s author or an illustrator with a tale to tell, publishing a children’s book offers a pathway to turn your ideas into beautifully crafted books. 

In this guide, we’ll explore nine simple steps to help you to self publish a children’s book. From refining your story and illustrations to handling printing and distribution, each step empowers you to bring your book to life.

Benefits Of Self Publishing A Children Book

Before getting into the actual writing and publishing process, reflecting on why you want to publish a children’s book is important. Here are some common motivations for writing and self publishing a children book:

  • Personal fulfillment:

Writing a children’s book lets you tap into your creativity and imagination. The entire process can be highly fulfilling on a personal level. Even if your book doesn’t become a bestseller, you may feel a deep satisfaction and pride in bringing your idea to life.

  • Creative outlet: 

For many writers, a children’s book provides an important creative outlet to express themselves. The story and illustrations can represent original art that reflects your unique vision and talents. 

  • Promote a cause/message: 

Children’s books can promote valuable causes and messages around key issues like diversity, environment, health, social justice, or promoting kindness. Your book can gently convey important life lessons.

  • Build your author brand: 

Becoming a children’s book author can help build your author brand and allow you to connect with young readers. It enhances credibility and allows you to speak at schools or conferences.

Knowing your motivation and purpose upfront for self publishing a children’s book will guide your writing process and help craft a book you feel truly proud of.

How to Self Publish A Children’s Book

Here are the 9 simple steps that can help you to self publish a children’s book. 

1- Determine the Age Range and Genre

Picture books, early readers, middle-grade novels—there are several categories of children’s books based on age range and genre. When starting your children’s book, you’ll need to determine the target age range for your story and the broad genre category it fits within. 

The key age categories for children’s books include:

  • Picture books: 

Geared towards ages 3-8 years old. These have illustrations on every page or every other page and are under 500 words. The story, theme, and content must be appropriate for young children.

  • Early readers:

For ages 5-7 years old. These help children learn to read independently with simple stories, larger text, and illustrations. They are under 2,000 words.

  • Chapter books:

For ages 6-10 years old. These have short chapters, approximately 5,000-10,000 words, and some illustrations. 

  • Middle-grade novels: 

For ages 8-12 years old. These novels range from 20,000 to 55,000 words, with few illustrations. The stories and content are more complex.

When determining which age range to target when publishing a children’s book, consider the maturity level, complexity, reading level, and themes appropriate for that age. Think about what will interest and resonate with kids of different ages. Also, decide if your story leans more towards a specific genre like fantasy, adventure, humor, historical fiction, or science fiction versus a general fiction picture book.

2- Develop an interesting Story and Characters.

The key to a successful children’s book is an interesting and engaging story featuring memorable characters that connect with readers. 

Here are some tips:

  • Brainstorm story ideas:

When writing a children book, think of interesting scenarios, adventures, mysteries, or concepts to explore. Try freewriting about childhood experiences, aspirations, struggles, family, friendship, imagination, nature, animals, magic, etc. 

  • Outline the plot:

Structure your story with a beginning, middle, and end. Sketch the main narrative arc and key events. Include details to build suspense and excitement. Decide if the resolution will be happy, sad, open-ended, etc.

  • Build character profiles:

Give each main character a name, age, appearance, personality traits, quirks, motivations, goals, fears, strengths, weaknesses, and family background. Make characters relatable but also aspirational. 

3- Hire an Illustrator

Illustrations are a key component of most children’s books, bringing stories to life through art. As you prepare to self-publish your book, you’ll need to hire illustrators for children’s books that fit your vision and budget. 

4- Design the Book

One of the most exciting parts of the self-publishing process is designing the actual look of your children’s book. While the story and illustrations will engage young readers, the book’s physical design is also important.

When you design a book cover, you must decide about standard book sizes, layouts, and specifications. 

Today’s printed children’s books are 8.5 x 8.5 inches or 8.5 x 11 inches. The 8.5 x 8.5 size is common for picture books since it provides a nice square layout. The 8.5 x 11 size works for early chapter books.

Regarding layout, you’ll need to decide whether you want a portrait or landscape orientation. Portrait is taller than it is wide, while the landscape is wider than it is tall.

For picture books, portrait orientation usually works best and allows a standard single-page illustration on each left page, with text on the alternating right pages. 

Work closely with your illustrator and printer to finalize the design before printing your book. 

5- Edit and Proofread the Manuscript

After you’ve written the manuscript, the next crucial step is editing and proofreading. This process helps refine the story, improve the writing quality, and eliminate errors before publication. 

There are a few ways to approach the editing process:

  • Self-edit first:

Read through your manuscript carefully from start to finish. Look for continuity issues, plot holes, pacing problems, unclear passages, etc. Fix any issues you notice. You can catch a lot of errors just by self-editing.

  • Hire a professional editor:

While self-editing is important, it’s hard to thoroughly edit your work. Hiring an experienced eBook editing services provider will help you achieve your perspective. They’ll catch things you can’t and suggest strengthening the writing.

  • Use editing tools/software:

Programs like Grammarly and ProWritingAid can help catch grammatical errors, typos, repetitiveness, etc. They won’t replace a human editor but can supplement the process.

Take your time proofreading. After editing, carefully read the manuscript again while looking for errors. 

Thorough editing and proofreading is critical. Don’t skip corners here, or the book may contain distracting errors. Invest time and effort to polish the writing to publish a professional children’s book.

6- Obtain an ISBN

One of the key steps to publishing a book as a teenager is obtaining an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This unique number identifies your book in the marketplace and book supply chain. 

There are two options for getting an ISBN for your self-published children’s book:

  • Purchase your own ISBN:

You can buy a single ISBN or a block of 10 or 100 from Bowker, the US ISBN Agency. The current cost is $125 for one ISBN. The advantage of purchasing your ISBN is that you’ll be listed as the independent children publisher and retain full control.

  • Use a free ISBN from your self publishing platform:

Many popular self publishing companies like Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, and Barnes & Noble Press provide free ISBNs. The downside is that the company will be listed as the publisher, although you’ll retain copyright. This option works well for publishing to specific platforms.

Obtaining an ISBN legitimizes your book and allows it to be sold through retailers and distributors. It’s essentially the product barcode that lets your book exist in the supply chain. Most retailers won’t accept a book without an ISBN.

So, while not strictly required to self publish a children’s book, an ISBN makes your book accessible to the widest range of sales channels and stores. 

7- Upload and Format for Print 

Once your book is complete, it’s time to upload and format it for print. There are a few options for doing this:

  • Use a Self-Publishing Platform:

The easiest way to format an eBook for print is to use an online self-publishing platform like Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, or Lulu. These platforms simplify uploading your manuscript and creating a print-ready PDF. 

On KDP and IngramSpark, you can upload a Word doc, and the platform will automatically convert it to PDF format. Lulu requires you to format the PDF yourself first. 

The benefit of using these platforms is that they handle the distribution and online book printing process. 

  • Format the PDF Yourself

Another option is to format the print PDF using software like Adobe InDesign. This takes more work but allows you full control over the layout and design. 

Start by styling your manuscript in a Word doc with fonts, sizes, chapter titles, etc. Once the PDF is formatted, you can print physical copies through a service like book printing NYC and upload them to self-publishing sites. 

8- Upload and Format the eBook

You also need to format your book for eBook format, so you need to do the following things to turn your book into an eBook to publish online. 

Firstly, there are two main eBook formats: EPUB and MOBI. 

EPUB format works for most eBook stores and reading apps except Amazon Kindle. MOBI is the required format for Kindle. The best option is to create your eBook in both EPUB and MOBI formats so you can distribute it widely.

Review your eBook carefully on multiple eBook creation software before publishing it to ensure the formatting is translated properly. Displaying images, text alignment, margins, and styling can sometimes get skewed during eBook conversion. Make fixes if needed before finalizing the files.

9- Publish your Children’s eBook:

To publish your children eBook, you’ll need to upload it to eBook publishing platforms and retailers. For the widest distribution, upload to major platforms like:

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing requires an MOBI format 
  • Apple Books requires an EPUB format
  • Kobo Writing Life requires an EPUB format
  • Google Play Books requires an EPUB format
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Press requires an EPUB format

These platforms make your eBook available to readers around the world. Once uploaded, your eBook will go through a review process before being published. Each platform has guides to walk you through the steps for correctly uploading and publishing your eBook successfully

With your eBook from major retailers in EPUB and MOBI formats, you’ll maximize discoverability and sales for your self-published children’s book.

In addition to digital publishing, you may also want to consider print publishing for a tangible version of your book. Traditional print allows children to physically engage with your book, providing a different reading experience.

10- Marketing Your Children’s Book

Marketing your book is crucial for building awareness and readership. You can hire a top rated book marketing services provider to do it for you, but you can also do it yourself to cut costs. 

Here are some effective marketing strategies:

  • Build hype before publication. 
  • Launch on Amazon and other online retailers. 
  • Connect with Boston bookstores and libraries. 
  • Promote your book across all major platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 
  • Discount your eBook or do countdown deals periodically. 
  • Offer coupon codes on your website and social channels. 
  • Consider paid ads on Facebook and Amazon.

How Much It Costs to Self Publish a Book

Self publishing a children book isn’t free, and how much you spend can depend on your budget, what kind of book you’re making, and your publishing aims. Here’s a breakdown of common costs when publishing a children’s book.

  • Editing

The cost of editing for self publishing a children’s book can vary can vary based on the types of book editing. However, on average, developmental editing for children’s books under 1000 words can range from $250 to $800, while copy editing can cost around $300. Professional editing for children’s books can range between $2,170 and $4,000, covering developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. For a 25,000-word children’s book, basic copy editing can cost at least $500, which is approximately $0.02 per word.

  • Interior Layout

Formatting the inside of your book so it’s easy to read, like picking the right spaces and fonts, costs different amounts depending on your book’s size and if you want a final check for mistakes. Many people spend $500 to $1,000, but it can be more if your book has many pictures or charts.

  • Cover Design

A good cover design can cost at least $500. The experience of the book cover designer can change the price. If your book is an eBook and a print book, you’ll need a design that works for both.

  • Publishing

You might need to buy an ISBN, a book’s unique number, especially if you want your book in bookstores. Each book and format needs its own ISBN. You can buy one for $85 or ten for $295 in the U.S.

  • Printing & Shipping

The cost depends on many things, like the book’s size, color, binding (softcover or hardcover), finish (glossy or matte), how many pages, how many copies, and where you’re sending them. You can find online calculators to help figure out this cost.

Conclusion: 

Stepping into the world of self-publishing can seem daunting, but with these 9 simple steps, it becomes a realistic and achievable goal. 

Keep the young readers in mind and enjoy the journey of bringing your children’s book to life. Remember, your unique story could become a cherished part of a child’s learning adventure. We hope you can easily self publish a children book with this guide.

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