The process of self publishing a children’s book. Part 1

The Journey of Self Publishing Part 1

I started with a grand idea of wanting to develop inclusive children’s books

Inclusive children’s books that are illustrated in part from the perspective of the child. It is a perspective that is really hard to find in children’s books. Plus I wanted the characters to be inclusive so the child has no gender, and the people in the story do not have to be nuclear family units.

I began this journey knowing there were a lot of things that I didn’t know. I had no idea how much of a learning curve I was getting myself into. Writing the first book was the easy part. Once the story was complete the journey to get it to a published piece of art began.

Step One in publishing a Children’s book

I had the naive idea at the beginning of the pandemic that if I wrote the book and made some sample illustrations I could send it off to publishers and I would be set… I don’t know if it was the timing of my submissions (January of 2020) or the fact that the idea for the series was really different than the things that I found for my kids… OR my ideas just sucked.

I only heard back from one publisher. They told me they would create the books, but I had to do all my own marketing… WHY would I agree to that?

I am now a self published author

After 4 months of messing around with submitting my books to publishers I realized that if I truly believed in my ideas that I had to make the decision to invest in my own projects. As a marketer, I invest my time and energy into all of my clients work daily. The major hurdle I had to get over was choosing to invest in my own the same way I do my clients. So I stopped worrying about submitting the book.

Stats from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) place it around 300,000 new titles published by publishers in a single year. However that doesn’t count self-published works; in a Forbes article, Nick Morgan cites a figure “somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year.

My book was lost in the shuffle somewhere between a million others. It is like the needle in the haystack approach to wishing and hoping to be found. Add the pressure of the pandemic and you get a really uphill battle.

The only way that I was going to do this things for myself was to be a self published author. That scared me, and excited me all at the same time. While it means that I have to build the audience AND promote myself, I also have to invest in the publishing costs. Not to mention all the legwork to make it worth my time and effort.

Self Publishing on Kindle was the first step of Beta Testing my Children’s Book

Before I invested literally thousands of dollars on getting my book printed I wanted to beta test the first book. At least this way I could see if people enjoyed reading it.

There are over 1 million books on the Kindle marketplace according to Amazon, and a large amount of those are indie authors just like me. I found a statistic that the average self published kindle book gets about 100 downloads…

SO that was not promising… How many of those books were not written well? How many were not marketed well? Where is the data on that? If you find it let me know.

The first 90 days on Kindle Unlimited as a Self Published Author.

“The Night of the Lights” had over 500 downloads without me paying for a single dollar of advertising and had great reviews from the readers in the first 3 months. That was enough of a beta test for me to feel comfortable going forward with finding a way for a self published author to create printed children’s books at a reasonable price.

We will save that saga for another blog…

There are some things the Kindle Unlimited Experience has taught me…

  • Don’t expect the downloaders to review your book.
  • Kindle books are not a great format for children’s book illustrations. I had to completely re-work the graphics that I created for the vertical format.
  • You will not make millions simply from publishing a digital format
  • The next time I do the Kindle Unlimited format, I will have my printed version of the book ready to buy at the same time.

Thanks for following my journey so far. Thank you for supporting my little book “The Night of the Lights” and I hope that you will continue to support my inclusive children’s book series.

Elizabeth Orley

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