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Top 5 Tips: Self-Publishing a Children’s Book

by Andrew Hoare · updated March 2020

What is this article about?

Self-publishing a Children's Book can seem like an enormous mountain to climb. Many authors procrastinate for many years before taking the next step. In this article we will discuss the Top 5 tips for self-publishing your children's book, which will save you time, money and hopefully give you the motivation to pick up the phone and start the adventure.

Benefits of Self-Publishing

The main benefit of self-publishing is that you have complete control over the process. You get to choose the illustrator, price your book and set profit margins. The other key benefit is that you can publish your book much faster at a reduced cost. There is very little downside in self-publishing. Worst case, if you are not happy with the results, you can always switch strategy at any time.

1. Find an Illustrator

Finding a professional illustrator is a critical part of the process. The illustrator will bring your ideas to life. The success of your children’s book will depend on the quality of the story and the illustrations. It is worth taking the time to find the right illustrator for your children's book, this will save you time and money in the long run.

If finding the lowest price is most important, you can sign-up with a website like Fiverr.com, who list hundreds of freelance illustrators across Asia Pacific. If speaking with an illustrator closer to home is more important, Google: "Illustrators in Australia". What you should look for is a style that is a good match for your children's book. An experienced illustrator can have more than one style or combination of styles to express characters, creatures and worlds. The illustrator will have a portfolio of work where you can view their artwork and individual style. Here are some examples:

Blue dragonfly and female elf in close proximity Style: Cartoon Animation
Two Dinosaurs riding in a pirate ship Style: Digital Painting
Group of seven happy disabled kids Style: Realistic

2. Discuss the Timeline

Designing a children's book is an exciting journey and can take some time to get the artwork, text and layout ready for printing and publishing. Bottom-line: good illustrations take time. Typically it will take 4-5 weeks to complete a children's book with a full-time illustrator. The style can also affect the timeline. A standard cartoon illustration can take 1 or 2 days, whereas a realistic illustration will take longer. Realistic artwork accurately depicts characters, perspectives and detail. This is a more complex style of illustration and normally takes 4-5 days to complete. Revisions can also push out the project timeline. Always ask your illustrator how many revisions are included in the price.

3. Find a Book Editor

Getting your friends and family to proof-read your children's book is a great way to save money. If you don't have anyone who can help, you can always look for a professional book editor. A book editor will review your manuscript, edit drafts and help to perfect the manuscript. You can find a book editor by searching on Google: "Book Editor Sydney", "Book Editor Melbourne" etc.

4. Find a Printer

At this point you should have a finished children's book ready for printing and publishing. This will normally be a high-resolution PDF file/s with a front cover, inside pages and back cover. Finding a printer is easy using Google Search. I would recommend choosing a local printer with good reviews. That way you can give them a quick visit and pick out the paper stock you want for the cover and inside pages. The printer will give you the specifications, bleed and crop requirements. Your illustrator may need to tweak the artwork based on the printers specifications.

5. Choose a Publisher

Here are some publishing platforms to consider. Always read the reviews before selecting a book publisher.

  Amazon KDP: Amazon dominates 80% of the ebook market worldwide.
  Olympia Publishers: One of the highest rated book publishers on Google.
  Barnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble is the world’s largest bookseller.
  IngramSpark: Offer print-on-demand copies and distribute to all major retailers *Read the reviews
  Apple Books: Requires an ABN and GST documents for Australian residents.
  Fontaine Publishing Group: Australian-owned publisher in Fremantle, WA.

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