Publishing, Book Marketing, Writing

How to Publish A Kids Book?

How to Publish A Kids Book

So you’ve written a children’s book and are ready to share your story with the world. Publishing a book can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and approach, you can guide your children’s book from manuscript to finished product on store shelves. Here are the key steps to publishing a children’s book in more detail.

Get Your Manuscript Ready

Editing your draft is crucial. Have 2-3 other writers provide critiques. They can check things like whether the main character’s motivations are clear, whether subplots are balanced, and whether conflict escalates at the right pace. Ask them to flag anything confusing or boring.

You’ll also want other eyes on technical aspects. Have an editor analyze verb tense consistency, spelling/grammar, and sentence structure/complexity. Simpler language is best for younger age groups.

Formatting is important, too. Use a standard print book layout with 1-inch margins, Times New Roman 12pt font, and bold chapter titles/headings. Proper formatting creates expectations that signal it’s a “real book.”

Save your manuscript as a high-quality PDF. This is the file publishers will use to start the publishing process.

Find the Right Publisher

Find the Right Publisher

Research publishers online and in the Publishers Marketplace database. Look at their recent backlists to see if your book fits their style.

Once you find a few possibilities, study each publisher’s submission guidelines closely before sending your query and sample chapters. Proper formatting and providing exactly what’s requested increase your chances of being requested for a full manuscript.

Expect many initial rejections, but take feedback seriously. It can strengthen your work for the right press. Keep submitting to new publishers until you find a match.

Self-Publish or Seek Representation

Traditional publishing offers distribution through major retailers, but you’ll surrender control and see smaller royalties, usually around 15%.

Self-publishing gives full creative control and higher royalties, up to 70%, through services like Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark. Fees cover printing, distribution and marketing support.

A strong alternative is hiring a literary agent. They read full manuscripts unsolicited and can get you in front of publishers. However, representation requires success, such as winning awards.

Consider your goals when deciding on a traditional, self, or agent representation route for guiding your book to market. Each has trade-offs.

Sign a Contract

Now that interest has been sparked, it’s time to negotiate terms in a publishing contract. Key things to ensure are:

  • Royalty rate calculation clarity (often 10-15% of list/cover price)
  • Number of copies to be printed for the initial print run (aim for 3,000-5,000 copies as a debut author)
  • Timeline for edits, production, publication/release date
  • Rights assigned – first print or additional uses like foreign, audio, etc.

Have an entertainment lawyer represent you to get the best possible terms signed. Ask questions until everything is clearly understood on both sides.

Work on Book Design

Get hands-on with design by providing imagery ideas and weighing in on designs. For an illustrated book, hire an artist and work together to capture the scenes you envision.

Stock photos or custom diagrams could enrich the content of a concept or nonfiction book. You can also play a role in selecting fonts, layouts and other visual storytelling elements. Finally, give design draft feedback so the final product reflects your unique vision.

This stage maximizes the reader’s experience of seeing it on the shelf. Beautiful, enticing designs can help drive more sales and launches.

Promote Your Upcoming Book

Promote Your Upcoming Book

Start your author brand platform online in the months leading up to publication. Create:

  • A website showcasing you, your book and future works
  • Social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Newsletters to build an email list for future announcements
  • Videos and trailers to hook audiences

Contact relevant blogs and influencers, such as author Instagrammers, to spread the early buzz. Also, reach out to library consortiums and bookstores for stocking requests and possible readings.

Offer early pre-orders on your website or through retailers for additional visibility and revenue starting on the release date. Consistent promotion leads to discovery and advocacy from readers.

See Revenue and Reprints

Publishers and distributors tracking book sales data will determine if your initial numbers merit a larger second print run. Continued strong sales years later could even lead to a new edition!

Taking feedback from reviews, look for insights on how to evolve the story or target additional demographics. Successful books find new audiences through creative marketing, such as tie-in products or curriculum use.

Follow the journey of breakout authors to see the long-term brand-building strategies that kept their stories profitable for decades through her passionate promotion.

There you have it – a comprehensive guide to taking a children’s book manuscript through the full publishing process and building a sustainable career as a kids’ author. While challenges will come, stay dedicated to your craft and connect with readers. With hard work, the rewards of sharing your stories can be incredibly fulfilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I self-publish a kids' book, or is traditional publishing the only option?

Yes, you can self-publish a kids’ book. Many authors choose this route for creative control and quicker publication. However, traditional publishing offers benefits like wider distribution and access to professional editing and marketing resources. Consider your goals and resources when deciding which route to take.

2. Are there specific themes or topics that are more likely to appeal to publishers of kids' books?

Publishers often look for stories that entertain and educate or convey important messages in a child-friendly way. Themes like diversity, inclusion, environmental awareness, and emotional intelligence are increasingly sought after. However, originality and quality storytelling will ultimately capture a publisher’s attention.

3. How crucial is it to have a platform or online presence before seeking to publish a kids' book?

While having a platform can help market your book, especially in today’s digital age, it’s not always a prerequisite for traditional publishing. However, building an online presence can demonstrate your commitment to promoting your work and engaging with your audience, which publishers may view favorably.

4. What are some common pitfalls to avoid when publishing a kids' book?

One common mistake is neglecting to research the market and understand the preferences of your target audience. It’s also important to carefully review and adhere to submission guidelines provided by literary agents or publishers to ensure your manuscript receives proper consideration. Additionally, be prepared for rejection and understand that perseverance is key in the publishing industry.

5. How can I protect my ideas and work when submitting manuscripts to publishers or agents?

While it’s natural to be concerned about intellectual property, manuscripts are typically protected by copyright law as soon as they’re created. However, you can register your work with the relevant copyright office to provide additional protection and peace of mind. Additionally, be cautious when sharing your ideas and consider signing non-disclosure agreements when appropriate.

6. What role do illustrations play in the success of a kids' book, and how do I find the right illustrator?

Illustrations are often a vital component of kids’ books, as they help bring the story to life and captivate young readers. Finding the right illustrator involves researching artists whose style aligns with the tone and theme of your book. You can connect with illustrators through online platforms, attend illustration conferences or workshops, or seek recommendations from other authors or industry professionals.

7. How much creative input do authors typically have in the illustration process for their kids' books?

Authors’ creative input level in the illustration process can vary depending on the publisher and illustrator. Some authors may have significant input and collaborate closely with the illustrator, providing detailed descriptions or reference images. Others may have less direct involvement and trust the illustrator’s artistic vision. Communication and collaboration between the author, illustrator, and publisher are key to ensuring the illustrations complement the text effectively.

8. What marketing strategies can I employ to promote my kids' book once published?

Marketing a kids’ book involves a combination of online and offline strategies. Utilize social media platforms to connect with your target audience, engage with influencers or bloggers in the children’s literature niche, participate in book fairs or author events, and consider school visits or library readings. Creating a visually appealing website or landing page for your book can also help generate interest and drive sales. Additionally, soliciting reviews from reputable sources and leveraging word-of-mouth recommendations can boost visibility and credibility.

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