So you want to self-publish a children’s book but don’t know how?

Before we get started, what is your why? Why do you want to publish a book? Is it for fun? Is it because people need to hear your story? How much do you want to invest? What do you want to do with the book once it’s printed?

The answers to these questions will help determine if you try to get Traditionally published, Self-published or just print through a Photobook platform.

How to self-publish a children's book

If you have decided you want to self-publish a book, read on.

I often get asked “How did you publish your book?” so I thought it was about time I wrote a post about it. Self-publishing a book is a big investment that takes a lot of time, effort and money. Coming up with the idea is the easy part.

Here are the steps I took to self-publish my books.

  1. Write your story – This is the fun part. When you have all these ideas going around your head and you just write them down, eventually piecing them together into what you think is a great story.

  2. Join writing groups – There is probably a writer’s support group in your area that you can join (like Write Links), or there are some great online author groups on Facebook. These groups are a great place to share wisdom and encouragement.

  3. Get feedback – Let other people read your story, including friends, family, Beta readers, peer groups, writing groups etc.

  4. Get your manuscript edited – Once you have taken onboard all the feedback you have received and made your manuscript the best you can, get it edited by a professional editor (possibly multiple times).

  5. Layout  – Most children’s books are 32 pages. Create a storyboard to design the layout of the pages of your book. (You can find a template on my free resources page)

  6. Illustrations – If drawing isn’t your thing get a professional illustrator (You can find plenty in Facebook author groups). The pictures in a children’s book matter! You want them to enhance your story.

  7. Title – Come up with a great title and get feedback on this too! For my book ‘Born To Stand Out,’ I had about 5 titles I was playing with. I shared these titles with my friends, and peers who voted clearly for the title “Born To Stand Out”. It’s fun to involve other people in your book journey.

  8. Cover – Like it or not people will judge your book by its cover. Even if you do the illustrations it’s good to get a cover designer or at least get advice.

  9. Buy an ISBN and Barcode – Every book needs a unique ISBN and barcode. You can buy them at Thorpe & Bowker.

  10. Format your book – I used Indesign to format my books, but you can hire a book-formatter, use KPD or Ingramspark’s platform or you can use Canva’s storybook templates.

  11. Printing – You can get off-set printing, spend thousands, and fill your house or garage with boxes of books, OR you can simply go Print-On-Demand (POD) through Amazon and Ingram Spark. Offset printing will cost less per book but requires a large outlay of money to begin with. I do both because having my books available on Amazon and Ingram is beneficial, but I also like to have books on hand and I sell more than a few so it is worth it for me. Yes, my garage is full of boxes of books.

  12. Legal Deposit – Once you have officially published your book you need to send a copy to the National and State Libraries. This is called a Legal deposit.

  13. Sell your books – This is probably the hardest part. Agh, marketing. Getting yourself and your book out there can be daunting, especially if you’re an introvert like me. However, if this is something you believe in enough to go this far, people need to know about your book. I do markets, sell online and sell to some stores wholesale.

  14. Support other authors! – There have been many times someone has come up to me at markets, told me how beautiful my books are, talked about how they want to write a children’s book, asked a tonne of questions, and then walked away without buying a book. Just remember to value and support other authors and small businesses when you can. That could be you someday! Besides, as an author (or teacher), you can claim purchasing books in your genre as a business expense. You’ll get a book to love and they will internally (or externally) do little happy dance. Win-win!

So, after several months or maybe even a few years you have a beautiful book in your hands. Feel proud. It’s a big deal! It was a lot of effort, but when you hear feedback from children who love your book, it makes it all worth it. I hope this post about how to self-publish a children’s book has been helpful for you. All the best with your author journey!

Nikki Rogers 🙂