Publishing A Children’s Book: Easy Guide to Getting It Done!

– Do you want to know
how to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book? Make sure you stay tuned to today’s video. (cymbals crashing) This is Self Publishing with Dale where you learn how to
publish books that sell and build an unstoppable author brand. Quick question. Do you think that publishing
children’s books are worth it? Have you had some good success
in publishing kids books? I definitely would love to
hear your candid thoughts in the comments down below. Also, stick around to the end. For those of you that are
looking for some free images, I actually have a resource guide I’d like to put into your
hands if you just stay with me. Now, I understand that we
could be here all day and night if I talk to you about
how to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book. So, what I’m gonna do is
gonna give you some basic tips in an overview of what
you should be doing. Identify your target audience. Yep, that’s right. This is the old advice I’ve given to every single other type of niche. Whether it’s children’s
books or self help books, fiction books or non-fiction books, you must study your audience. You must know who you’re writing for. You can’t write for everyone. Not all kids books are created equal. You’re not gonna have the same type of book for a one year old that you’re gonna have for a ten year old. There’s a huge difference. So you need to identify
your target audience, and more importantly, let’s address the elephant in the room, hello, the parents. The one’s who are gonna purchase the book for their kids, hopefully. So you’re gonna wanna make sure
that you know your audience, and their parents, so that way
you know what you need to do in order to make this whole thing work. Study the niche. So before you start to put all of your hard
earned time, energy and money into this kids book, you need to study your niche. You need to study the market and you’re looking for commonalities between full color pages
to black and white, or maybe images, no images,
cartoons, realistic pictures. You’re gonna wanna make sure you get down to the nitty gritty, even the price point, the size of the book to the number of pages. This all makes a huge difference in trying to meet the market demand. Where they’re at is where
you’re gonna wanna be. And as you’re studying in the niche, you’re gonna wanna make sure that you’re scraping
common keywords and phrases because those keywords, phrases, and categories more importantly, are gonna be really optimal in using within your book’s metadata. Also like your title, your
subscription, your series name. The seven key words in your KDP dashboard if you’re utilizing that, as well as your book description. So if you’re saying precisely
what the other books are saying within your niche, then chances are you’re gonna show up. Now, I’m not telling you to
plagiarize someone’s content. I’m not telling you to
do swipe someone’s title and use it for your own, I’m just merely saying, study what has been
working for the successful, and chances are likely, if you can say exactly what
makes them discoverable through your target audience, then that target audience will
hopefully find you in turn. Develop the concept. Okay, this is where I’m
just kinda glossing over a large portion of this. As I was putting together my
own children’s book series as kind of an example over
on, I had a general idea. I wanted to have a good life lesson book that’s going to be for kids between say the ages
of say, three to five, and it was a very basic book. I wanted to kinda have something that was very Doctor Seussish. To where it had a little bit
of a rhyming scheme to it. It had lovable cartoon monkey characters, and I love monkeys. I wanna be able to work with
something that’s enjoyable. So, when it comes to you
developing your concept, think about what resonates with you. If you’ve got children, I’m sure you probably know
what resonates with them, and you’re gonna know exactly
what is gonna make sense for your concept in the long term. Write the story. Okay, this one’s a given. Yes, we gotta write the story,
we gotta put it together. If you happen to be doing, like say for instance, a picture book, that’s probably gonna be
a little bit different. In some picture books do have
a little bit of wording in it, but, I’m just gonna go ahead and just address the one’s with
actual content within them. Be it something like a Dr.
Seuss book of some sort, or even like a Dora the
Explorer type thing. You gonna wanna make sure that
you’re refining your content, and write it like you
would a horrible book, but just make sure you’re
doing it for your audience, ’cause you don’t wanna have something that is a Steven King reading
level for a six year old. It just doesn’t make sense. So, similar to what you are gonna be doing for any normal books, be it self help, non-fiction, fiction, children’s books are pretty much the same. You’re going to write your first draft, you’re going to go through
and have it edited, and hopefully professionally edited. Believe it or not, there
are editors out there that work with children’s books, to make sure that the tone is perfect for the age that you’re working with. And then, next thing is, getting
it formatted and proofed, to make sure that everything is on point. Now, in the event that you’re wanting to really go deep on the illustrations, and that’s what we’re
gonna be talking about within this video. There are a variety of ways
of getting things illustrated. Before you do the illustration, whether you’re doing it as an artist or you’re hiring out an artist, you’re gonna need to put
together a storyboard. Now this is essentially it works out almost like
they do inside the movies. If you ever seen any kind of storyboards, what it’s gonna do is it’s gonna set up
each one of the scenes. And you wanna have a basic description of what it’s following
along inside the storyline. You don’t need to make it sexy, it doesn’t need to be perfect, you can do stick figures
and just rub sketches, just so you understand where
you’re going to be going from one page to the next. Storyboards are a way for
you to gather your thoughts and know what ultimately
your layout’s gonna look like when it’s printed. And now, illustrate the work. Okay, so this is where I
always recommend people go to is hire a professional. If somebody is a professional,
and they’re an artist, and they know what to do, then you’re gonna wanna make
sure you go to the resource. Be ready to pony up some
pretty good expenses when it comes to getting
your illustrations. It is not cheap by any means. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a single children’s book. Now, I know that James
Ranson, a good friend of mine, and a friend here of the channel, loses his mind when I
bring up sites like this, but there are freelance platforms that actually utilize good illustrators. That includes Fiverr, Upwork, or any number of those type of resources. And they could come
either bargain basement, or they could be at a high premium. Just make sure that if you use any type
of freelance platforms, that you see the person’s portfolio before you make any purchases. And also, make sure that
they’re on the up and up. I always take a look at their reviews, and I try to keep an open dialogue with any time that I use
a freelance platform. You just wanna make sure that they’re not just
stealing someone’s artwork, handing it off to you,
collecting your money, and you’re going, “Ahh!”. Yeah, ’cause believe it or
not, it’s still plagiarism. It’s still copyright theft if you’re purchasing something
from a freelance artist. Because, they could just go
ahead and steal the stuff and send it on over to you. So you wanna make sure that
you check out your resources. And as per usual, if you do hire out, be it through a freelance platform, or one of my preferred
ways, which is referrals. Because if you got friends, they hopefully will know someone that’s a good artist
that you could utilize, but, you’re gonna wanna make sure that you’re not spending more
than you can afford to lose. Let’s repeat this again, and I know this is a common
theme inside this channel. Don’t pony up the expenses if
you can’t afford to lose it, because, the artist has nothing to lose. As soon as they’ve done the work for you and you’ve approved of that, and you’ve sent the money their way, it’s no longer in their hands. It’s your responsibility to make sure that this
children’s book is a success. It does not fall on the artist’s hands. But then there’s do-it-yourself. If you are an artist, or you’re willing to take a stab at it, then this might be the avenue for you. Now, there’s gonna be some
exceptions to the rule. If you’re not very good and you know it, then chances are pretty likely you’re not gonna succeed in
illustrating your own book. There is some graphic
design software out there including the likes of Photoshop, or even the free, open
source software called Gimp, that you can utilize, and you
can create things within that. But, fair warning, again, it comes down to looking very amateurish. If your audience wants
amateur, that’s fine, but, I think you’ll know if it’s a success or it’s a complete dud when
you put it out into the market and people are going and
giving you one star reviews, like I could tell this person
made it in Microsoft paint. Now, my preference is
graphic design software. I’ve actually used it, and I did that for my Grumpy Gus series, and I was able to get some of
the image licensing for that. And I was able to Frankenstein
some of those images and get it to where it was unique, and I was able to put my own spin on it. But I’ve spent hours upon hours in working with graphic design software to create characters like that, and I have the patience to work through it because it’s something
that’s a passion of mine. Now, for those of you out there though, that are kind of wondering, “Okay, what do I do with
this when I have it done?” Good friend of mine, and also legendary animator
and cartoon artist, John Celestri, actually was able to share just a little bit of 411. And hopefully here very soon I’ll get him back onto the channel to speak a little bit more on it. John was interviewed here on this channel, you may remember such cartoons as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, or Dragon’s Liar, the video
game from back in the eighties. And he was a big part of the animation of those particular series. So, with that being said, I
actually reached out to John and had him drop a
little bit of 411 on me. So I’m gonna paraphrase
some of the information that he was able to share with me. So of course, you’re gonna
draw the content yourself. Let’s just assume that
graphic design software aside, you’re drawing it and you’re
hand drawing all this stuff. What do you do after you
have drawn your pictures? It’s a rather simple process, and it doesn’t require
a lot of fancy software or hardware for your computer. Believe it or not, you can use something as
simple as what John did. He said it was a cheap Epson model printer scanner type model. And what he does is he
goes in and he scans it. He shots for a 400 DPI
resolution or greater. So you don’t wanna go real low resolution, because it becomes a
bit pixilated if you do. So make sure that it’s a
lossless quality of some sorts, that way you’re getting as
fine a detail as you can, and you’re not missing out on any of the intricacies of your artwork. When you scan it, scan it to gray, so that way you could go in to any kind of graphic design software and clean up and harden those lines, and kick up the contrast to where it goes into a darker color. And then, last but not least, if this is your intentions,
you wanna have it full color, you can colorize those pictures. Again, you’re gonna probably have to use some type of graphic design software. And again, you could probably be a good illustrator of some sort, but you’re not really
good with the software, so there’s gonna be a
bit of a learning curve, or, hire a professional. All right, so now, what do we do that we’ve got the illustrated content, how do we publish it? One of the simplest
ways I’m gonna recommend is the Kindle Kids Book Creator. Before I mention the software, you can hire out
professional book designers, people that are able to go in and fix the formatting so that
it looks clean and perfect. But I’ve found zero issues in using the Kindle Kids Book Creator. And that’s 100% free, it also has other tutorials
available through Amazon KDP that you can follow and it’s a very intuitive walkthrough when you actually use their program. In fact, I talked a little
bit about how to use the Kindle Kids Book Creator
program in this previous video about how to publish a
children’s book on Amazon. The really cool thing is,
the Kindle Kids Book Creator will make an ebook version of it, and if you’ve done all
of your work correctly, when it comes to formatting, you can also put it through KDP print and just publish it through the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. I actually talked a little
bit about the quality when it comes to full color
books on the KDP print and Kindle Direct Publishing
platform altogether. But, that’s for another
video for another day. I told you before, I was gonna give you a
free image resources guide, and I’m gonna go ahead and deliver it. If you just go ahead and meet me on over at Hey, so before you jump
off and go grab that guide, what I’m gonna get you to do is let’s go take a look at that old video about how to publish
children’s books on Amazon so you can get a better idea of what you need to do going forward. I’ll see you on over there. Now that I’m an
experienced self publisher, I’m happy to share, I’ve crossed one item
off my life goals list, publishing a children’s picture book.

22 thoughts on “Publishing A Children’s Book: Easy Guide to Getting It Done!

  1. Yes, yes, yes, I'm glad you did this video. I think I told you I've got a series of children's books based on a three-generations told character called the Friendly Giant, but has never made it to paper. Thanks again, Dale.

  2. I looked at writing children's books before. I got stopped on the illustrator prices. In a few years, my daughter can illustrate for me though 😊

  3. Thanks for your video! I am very interested in self publishing my children's book. I am concerned though with copyrights on the book itself and with illustrations. How does that work? Thanks!

  4. Yes this is awesome. I'm going to add it to the email we send to folks who aren't a fit to work with us because so many of those folks want to publish a children's book!

  5. Great if you need illustrations I could help or any one needs it could let me know I am a freelance illustrator my instagram account is Aldona_design i could make a deal

  6. Children's writing, editing and publishing was my first passion so this is a topic near and dear to my heart. After publishing 5 books in my children's series and editing for many others, I'll add some tips I always share with authors.
    #1: Writing for kids isn't as easy as people think. Like you said, you have to get past the parents first since they're the buyers. But even so, kids are smart and they deserve quality books just like adults do.
    #2: Because children's books have fewer words, every word has to count even more which is one reason it's harder to write for kids sometimes. Speaking of words, it's a good idea for authors to look up what the industry average word counts are for the different age groups. That's a common mistake I've seen with clients. They think their story is for one age group yet their content, word count, language, whether it's illustrated or not, etc. doesn't match their intentions.
    #3: I've written poetry and rhyming stories for about 30 years (yep, I'm old) but didn't publish my first children's book until 2012. Writing rhyme is hard. Writing rhyme well is even harder. There are so many different rhyme schemes and rules that most writers aren't even aware of but kids can notice when something doesn't sound right. There are a lot of good, free resources online for people interested in writing rhyme. I have a short list of my favorites but didn't want to spam this with links. 😉
    #4: Sometimes an idea is okay for verbally telling a story but that same idea may not work well in book form. I ran across that situation fairly often. It follows that saying, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." I explained it one time like this. Someone comes home from work or a child comes home from school and tells about their day but that same story in written form may not be interesting enough for a book. That's not to say that with a lot of revising, embellishing, and editing, it couldn't become a book but sometimes authors just try to retell an event and it's not enough. Books need a wider appeal.
    #5: Illustrations can make or break a book, just like cover design and while someone may be the most talented artist in the world, that doesn't necessarily mean they can illustrate a book. There are actually 3 main types of picture book illustrations: symmetrical where the words and pictures have the same message, complementary where words and pictures are dependent on each other, and then contradictory where words and pictures show opposite information. Most children's picture books use the symmetrical type because it's the easiest to implement. A professional book illustrator can help an author decide which option is best for the story and the target audience. They'll know where the story should break for page turns. They'll know if the illustrations should be full bleed with text on the images, if the story warrants one page with just text and the opposite with the illustration or two-page spreads, what font/size to use, and a lot of other decisions and choices.
    #6: And always, always, always, have the editing done before the illustrations are started. Otherwise, an editor may change enough text where some illustrations may not be necessary or more might be needed. If that happens, the author has wasted time and money. Also, like any book, you want an editor who works in your genre. For example, hiring an editor who has worked on a thousand adult fiction books is probably not the best option for a children's rhyming book.
    #7: Don't get too attached to your working title either. There are lots of reasons why it made need to change. Sometimes an editor will have a better option to make the book more marketable. Other times the cover designer may have a tweak that makes the title fit better with the design. And sometimes a new title lends itself to becoming a series instead of a stand-alone book. That's what happened with my series but I'll save those details for another time. 😉
    #8: Lastly, just like any other book, marketing should start long before the book is live. When authors wait until their book is on Amazon and then ask, "how do I market it?", they're working an uphill battle. I'll admit I'm like most writers where I'd rather write or create than promote but it's the necessary evil to publishing.

    Sorry this was so long but it could have been longer. lol

  7. Gahhhh! You jerk. 😛 At least you qualified the recommendation by telling people to check reviews and have a convo with the pro…but I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS suggest referrals over race-to-the-bottom freelance job sites.

    Also, I have a good friend who edits children's books. I'll share this vid with her, and I'd be happy to connect you two if you'd like. 🙂

  8. I just wrote a kids book and I am trying to find a illustrator and help to publish my book. Thank you.

  9. I plan to use pictures of my kids in my first children’s book, and use the cartoon editor on it, is that ok to do for my book I’m new to this lol

  10. I have two childerens interactive learning books, I have an idea that can become a TV show on Disney jr or nick jr or whatever. I got an idea anyone wanna finance my idea? Inbox me

  11. Hey Dale, could you help me with this- when uploading an ebook cover to kdp, does that cover include the back cover or would it just be the front cover ? Thank you so much, im a little stressed/confused about this atm.

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