So you want to publish your own children's book...
Updated: Jan 5, 2020
A lot of people with websites have a blog to drive traffic to their site. I am no exception. But because I've been a teacher for my entire adult life I wanted to write about something that would help people as well. So, if you have any interest in writing, illustrating or doing both for children, I think this blog might help. I am still on my journey. I haven't arrived yet. But I certainly have learned a lot, and as I continue to learn I will pass it on.
Let's begin with the common presumption, "anyone can write a children's book." Writing for children is not as easy or as simple as it sounds. It seems to me that many people make this assumption because children have limited knowledge and vocabulary and there aren't a lot of words in a picture book. Numerous people have approached me over the years to read their stories, and most lack originality, organization or they've chosen a subject that just isn't of any interest to kids or the adults who buy them.
But let's say you have a great story, and tons of people you know have read it and think it could be a hit and/or your instincts are telling you to go for it. What's next? You can try to publish traditionally which can take years, and a lot of rejection. It's a task in itself to even find publishers who accept manuscripts from unpublished authors. It's not impossible, and I believe in the power of positive thinking, but it can be soul sucking. The other option is the one I chose. Self publishing. Four years ago when I decided to go this route I naively thought I would print some books, create a website/online store, and BAM! I would sell hundreds of books a month. Maybe at first I would only sell 20 or 30 a month but sales would grow exponentially because my books were unique, and would be the next big thing.
I haven't given up on the latter part of that statement, but the first part couldn't be more naive. The big lesson so far; it takes time, consistency and hard work to be the next big thing. So here is some meat and potatoes advice. Firstly, if you are a writer and not an illustrator you need to find one. But if you are sending to publishers don't even think about finding your own illustrator. They don't want you to and it will hurt your chances. Just send your story and if someone is interested in publishing it, they will choose from their stable of illustrators and they will choose a style that corresponds to your particular story. They are pros, this is what they do, let them. But if you want to self publish you need to find that person on your own. If you can write and illustrate, you will save a lot of expense and cut out at least one middleman. In my next blog I will get in to specifics about what to look for in an illustrator, resources to find one, and the beginning processes and different routes for self publishing for the author or author/illustrator. In the mean time, keep writing, keep drawing, keep dreaming.