You found this blog post because you want to publish a picture book. I was in the same boat as you over a decade ago and since then, things have changed drastically. I will save you some time in telling you that everything you need to know is available at your fingertips, right there in the Google Search bar. I’m not kidding. Authors in the Kidlit space have been beyond generous sharing their processes to submit their manuscripts, experiences of a variety of publishing paths as well as their success stories.
Due to time constraints, I no longer consult aspiring writers on the process. Again, if you are self motivated, the resources available to you below and online may be enough to get you started! If you require accountability and a little more hand holding, I have colleagues to recommend you to! Happy writing!
TYPES OF PUBLISHING PATHS
There are many different ways to publish a book. You can go the TRADITIONAL route, which is the type of publisher Cardinal Rule Press is. We do not request any funding from the author or illustrator and in return our creative team receives an advance and royalties on the sales of the books.
There are HYBRID options available. This means you are financially responsible for producing the book, but a professional publisher will guide you through the process and get your book on the market.
In addition, there is a SELF PUBLISHING option. You are financially responsible for the production of your book from manuscript to print, and furthermore, you are in control of the entire creative process.
TIPS on PUBLISHING A BOOK
- What is your purpose, vision and mission for writing this book? Get clear on WHY you are headed on this journey.
- Do your research. Get to know the industry. What is trending right now? What is overdone (don’t add to this!)? What is needed in picture books? How do you find these details? Sign up for Publisher’s Weekly newsletter Children’s Bookshelf. Visit your local library and browse the new book section. Head over to Bookshop and Amazon to see the bestselling lists. Grab a cup of Joe and support your local bookstore while you do your research there.
- Write, edit, revise and join a critique group to look over your manuscript and give you productive feedback.
- Repeat the process above one more time!
- Decide on the publishing path that is right for you. This is going to take time researching Traditional, Hybrid and Self Publishing options. One size DOES NOT fit all here!
- I talked a bit more about the differences in publishing on this podcast episode of Media Maven.
- Work at this daily and you will get somewhere.
- Realize that writing a book is one task but marketing the book and getting sales is an entire part time job. If you want to sell books, building an author platform that includes a website, social media following and more is critical and necessary. Start this as you are going through the process, do not wait until you are published to begin connecting with an audience. I wrote the following blog posts on how to market your book:
- Connect with other writers and authors along the way. A support network is amazing!
CLASSES ON WRITING AND PUBLISHING A CHILDREN’S BOOK
I recommend the following courses:
- Miriam Laundry offers a great class on the process. Find out more here.
- HOPE WRITERS
- WOMEN IN PUBLISHING SUMMIT-So many wonderful interviews happen during this free event that teach you what you need to know. It happens once a year in the Spring.
A community of working writers dedicated to helping you make progress as you learn to balance the art of writing with the business of publishing.
–SCBWI-The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators is an organization that provides training and support for aspiring writers. You do need to purchase a membership.
–12×12 Challenge is another paid group for writers that I would recommend. The women and men in this group are very connected in the industry.
– Authors Who Lead Podcast– listen in as I share my writing process, how I got into creating my own traditional publishing company, criteria for writers, and some golden nuggets for other aspiring authors
– The Author Inside You – once your book is published, what else can you do to generate revenue? I share how you can get paid to read your book at schools!
– Foot Traffic Podcast – I talk with Stacy about how I became a successful author and how I built my author empire.
– Mompreneur Show – How to Write and Self-Publish Award Winning Children’s Books
– Brilliant Business Moms – Marketing A Self-Published Book and Empowering Kids
– BizWomen Rock – How to Sell 26K Books in 6 Months