When you are finishing writing or are working on the most critical part of your children’s book, you probably want to figure out how to publish it. Should you choose a traditional publisher? Publish the book online with the ebook creator? Or maybe opt for a vanity press?
Think about what is the best solution for you. Maybe major publishing houses would reject your subject matter, maybe you want to be in control of your creative process and you want to earn more, or you care about sustainable publishing – self-publishing is a good option for small and experienced authors alike.
Creating a book is a great accomplishment and we will present below tips and rules for publishing it and various methods for success.
Use Publuu Ebook Creator to publish your children’s book online
If you’ve put together a great children’s book and want to make it available online, you can try Publuu software. With this simple system, you can publish eBooks as interactive PDFs that anyone can view online. You can present your children’s books in such a way that’s simple to grasp.
Publuu’s ebook example
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Publuu allows you to customize the interface and insert multimedia such as links, photos, videos, and music into the book, giving it more life and appeal to younger audiences.
Publuu will also allow you to easily share your book with others via email or links. Any child can access your book if you embed it on your website.
How can you publish a children’s book?
It used to be impossible to get a children’s book into a bookstore without using traditional publishing methods. Even though traditional publishing is still an option, self-publishing is now simpler than ever. Everyone can have their children’s book published thanks to e-books and cheap offset printing.
Traditional publishing requires a lot of effort, especially if you are a beginner and don’t have a literary agent. You have to send out your manuscript to publishers. Not every writer knows what publishers are willing to publish your first children’s book.
If it’s your first book and you’re having trouble getting it published, you might consider hiring an agent. Literary agents will require either a fixed fee or a percentage of the book’s sales – but beginners can expect pretty unfavorable terms. Unless the literary agent knows your capabilities well, you might not be their first priority.
Once you sign a contract with a publisher, you won’t have much control over the publishing process. They will provide you with an editor and illustrator and take care of all aspects of promoting your book – on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about this yourself, but you often can’t veto illustrations you don’t like, for example.
Publishers can easily distribute your book to readers, send it to a physical bookstore and arrange for all sorts of promotions, which can increase your visibility and pave the way for the publication of additional children’s books.
Amazon is the most popular option for self-publishing e-books, but that’s not the only alternative, especially for children’s literature.
Because of its Kindle Direct Publishing program, Amazon has monopolized the market, but it’s not the only option. You can use sites like Smashwords or Lulu, or directly sell the e-book using your own platform. You can also self-publish printed books, using cheap printing houses. For instance, 100 copies in the Print-on-Demand scheme can be distributed around a state or a city for a small writer.
You will have to sell the book on your own and hire an editor and illustrator yourself. While there are plenty of free resources, the better book art or book cover you’ll find, the more likely your book will sell well.
If you manage to self-publish and sell a children’s book on Amazon, you will keep the vast majority of your profits. Instead of giving a portion of your earnings to the publisher and agent, you will only give a small percentage to Amazon.
Authors who want their books in print at all costs often turn to the so-called vanity press.
Traditional publishers need to make money on every book they publish, so they routinely reject the vast majority of submissions. Vanity presses, on the other hand, usually publish every manuscript – only the author has to make the payment himself.
Vanity press can find an editor and illustrator for you, but that means additional costs. Remember to always verify a publishing house before signing any documents.
How much does it cost to publish a children’s book?
The exact cost of the publishing process can vary, depending on the publishing method. If you’re using traditional publishers, it is the publishing houses that carry the price – and they will take a large chunk of any profits.
However, if you’re planning to self-publish a children’s book, you should have at least a couple thousand dollars saved in the bank. A vanity press publishing company will ask you for more – upfront!
The most expensive factor is illustrations. The artists need money as much as the writers, so the cost of a single full-color illustration can be even $500. You can spend even half of the budget on pictures – but especially with children’s picture books, they can make or break your book.
The second cost is editing and proofreading. Even self-publishing authors should hire a specialist – if your book is simple and does not require specialized knowledge, you could save some money by hiring a general editor. However, if your book is set, say, in ancient Rome, you might need an experienced editor with proper historical knowledge.
Many authors decide to do the layout and DTP of their children’s books themselves – you can publish your book as a PDF online, and the Kindle Book creator app is easy to master. However, a professional designer will also require money. It’s fairly easy to create a picture book on your own, but you still need some basic knowledge, like the difference between CMYK and RGB to design your book efficiently.
Another cost is promotion and marketing. For small, niche projects you can do it for free, spending a few hours on social media. But if you want your children’s book visible in bookstores, you have to spend a couple of hundred grand.
How to publish children’s books in 7 steps
1. Set a budget
In addition to the costs mentioned above, you might need additional expenses. Many authors in the US want to copyright the material in their books, so they must obtain an ISBN. Additionally, sending and distributing books also incurs costs.
2. Prepare your manuscript
Once your book is finished, the real work starts. Start with self-edits, and go over your book once again before you submit it to the publishing house, literary agents, or to your editor. Send it to beta readers or even your family members, edit and rewrite until it shines!
3. Find illustrators
A professional illustrator might cost a lot of money but it will be worth it – especially if you have in mind a picture book for early readers. Even if you’re doing your own illustrations, you need to match your pictures to the text – not just in picture books for small children. If you need simple illustrations, you can consider stock art, but do it sparingly. Children will notice that they have seen that picture before!
4. Work on layout and design
If you want printed books on your bookshelf, decide on the format: a picture book for small children will require unusual formats, for example in the EU and much of Asia there are standard A/B/C ISO formats for books. Books for early readers are typically B6, and many chapter books are B5, for example.
Pick a font, choose a children’s book layout template that suits you and decide on the placement of illustrations. Even if you use stock art for inside art, consider hiring a children’s book illustrator to create a book cover. Well-designed cover art will attract attention in the store.
5. Take care of numbers and ideas
A book needs an ISBN – a bar code denoting its uniqueness. You can buy it easily from the official ISBN Agency for your country.
You also should send your copy to the national library or Library of Congress in the USA and register any copyrights and PCN number in the US. While the text of a published work is always copyrighted, the ideas aren’t. If you’re planning on a franchise, you could register character design, for example.
6. Print and distribute your book
Once everything is taken care of, you can take your book to printers – unless you want to release your book as an eBook or PDF.
Many self-publishing authors decide to use Print on Demand – also available on Amazon and other services. Cheaper offset printers might allow you to publish 100+ copies at a similar price. You now can send the book to the bookstores, libraries, culture centers and other places that might pay for it. Remember that this might take some time. Successful books fly off the shelves – but you can always order more copies to print.
7. Market your book
Buy some ad space for your children’s book and showcase your book cover. Buy a website domain and promote your book online in a blog post on goodreads – there are many ways in which you can promote a children’s book at a low cost.
You should also promote your book in person – go to libraries and bookstores, and meet your readers. Many small libraries love to organize events and meetings with lesser-known authors especially if they’re from the local area. Be sure to prepare to meet with your main age group – young readers and young adult readers are not the same thing!
Examples of children’s book publishers accepting submissions 2022
Many traditional publishers can accept unsolicited manuscripts. This means books that the publisher did not ask for. However, before you get your hopes up, remember, that these unsolicited manuscripts have low priority to a publisher.
They usually go into the so-called “slush pile” – a stack of books sitting on a desk. The editorial assistants will read your chapter books in their spare time and maybe they will contact the lucky children’s book author! Even having a literary agent does not help with getting out of the pile.
The submission guidelines of each publisher might be different, even if they all accept unsolicited manuscripts. Here is the list of some of the most interesting children’s book publishers out there that might be interested in your children’s story:
Tundra Book Group
Tundra Books is a brand of Penguin and Puffin series of books. They are dedicated to promoting authors from underrepresented communities, like African-Canadian, First Nations, refugees, or LGBTQ writers. This makes them a great option for groups that were devoid of voice.
Tilbury House focuses on non-fiction children’s picture book market, emphasizing diversity and nature, related to the school curriculum. Their main target age group is 2-12.
Astra Publishing specializes in storytelling with a strong point of view. Many of their children’s book writers specialize in sci-fi and fantasy literature for young readers and young adults.
Charlesbridge publishes children’s books to create readers and learners. They are especially interested in under-represented voices, but they publish fiction and nonfiction children’s books, children’s literature, and popular science books.
How to publish a children’s book on Amazon?
When you self-publish on Amazon, you have 100% control over your book. The publisher won’t change your title, or tell you to increase your word count, your main character’s name, or your cover – you have full control.
Self-publishing a children’s book is not inherently more difficult than publishing a novel using the Kindle Store. Problems can sometimes arise because children’s books are often non-standard sized, and difficult to read on a Kindle.
Fortunately, Amazon provides an app for Windows and Mac computers called Kindle Kids’ Book Creator. Using this tool to create a high-quality Kindle book for kids is a snap. With this software, your book will be readable on electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and desktop computers. You need to install this program on your computer to convert a DOC format file into a children’s e-book.
If you are writing a children’s book for older children that resembles more traditional chapter books, just use the Kindle Create app instead.
After installing the Kindle Kids Book Creator app on your device, launch the program and select “Create a new children’s book” and then “Continue.” Select the book title, author, publisher, language, etc. Select the folder containing your books and convert them to epub or Mobi format.
How much money can you make publishing a children’s book?
As usual, it depends on many different perspectives and ideas – consider how popular you are, and whether you can self-promote well. Some of the best authors can make millions of dollars, but it’s estimated that 25% of writers don’t record any profit at all from their writing.
Traditional publishers can pay you a thousand dollars per manuscript – or some more if they think they have a bestseller on their hands. Only the best writers get royalties.
If you’re going the self-publishing route, you can gain even 70% of the cover price after Amazon takes its cut. Multiply this by the number of copies sold – and don’t assume that 100 copies are a small number. Subtract the costs of proofreading, professional editing, and the art. A self-published book might earn you anything from a good lunch to a new house!
How to publish a children’s book for free?
Publishing a book online is easy, and with enough effort, you can do it for free, if you are willing to share the profits with Amazon.
Using Kindle kids book creator or Kindle Direct Publishing program, you can create a book on your own. Using public domain art lets you illustrate picture books for children at no cost at all. Or, alternatively, you can use simple vector art to illustrate a children’s board book for smaller children. You can also try out alternatives, like Smashwords or Lulu.
However, you can also try selling your e-book on your own. You can set up your own store with a plug-in like Shopify or sell access to your children’s story through Kickstarter and Patreon. If you use Publuu to publish your children’s picture book online, it might gain more access than a book from a traditional publisher.
Now we can say we explained how to publish a children’s book. You should now know who to work with, why you should avoid vanity press, and how to publish a children’s book for free using Publuu or other sites.
Share your book with the children of the world, and hopefully you will not only inspire them, but also make some money!
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