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How to Publish A Childrens Book: A Complete Guide

Looking to publish a children’s book? Publishing a book is a dream come true for many creative other writers. Some children’s book writers have vivid imaginations, and their creativity flows as they write.

But it can be intimidating for beginners because they find it difficult and daunting. However, proper planning and execution can be a lot of fun, and the effort can be well worth it for your first book! 

There is no better way to teach a child than through a book. Books can be read over and over again and can be used as tools to teach children habits, life lessons, the world around them, and how to read and write.

Books are also an essential source of entertainment. Most children love being read to or read on their own if they can.

how to publish a children's book

Have you ever wanted to write your first children’s book? Have you thought about it but never really taken the time to do it? If you have answered yes to both questions, this post is for you! In this post, I will take you through the entire process of writing a book.

5 Reasons Why Publishing A Children’s Book Is A Great Idea

how to publish a childrens book

You’ve always loved children’s books and wanted to write one of your own. But is it worth it? Is self publishing a book worth your time, energy, and money? Absolutely! Here are five reasons why you should self publish a children’s book.

1. You Can Make A Real Difference In A Child’s Life

When you self publish a book, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in a child’s life. Your book could be the one that helps a shy child come out of their shell or that encourages a struggling reader to keep going.

Children’s books have the power to change lives, and there’s no better feeling than knowing that you were the one who made that happen.

2. It’s A Good Way To Make Some Extra Money

Self publishing a book can greatly supplement your income or even provide a full-time living.

However, there’s something to keep in mind every single time.

If your book is successful, you could find yourself making royalties for many years to come.

And with e-books and print-on-demand technology, it’s easier than ever to get your book into the hands of readers.

how to publish a childrens book

3. It Can Be A Lot Of Fun!

Writing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Seeing your words come to life in your own illustrations and hearing young early readers talk about your characters is an unparalleled feeling.

Not to mention, it can be great fun coming up with wacky plots and delightful characters. Writing a children’s book is worth considering if you’re looking for a creative outlet.

4. You Don’t Need To Be A Professional Writer To Write A Children’s Book 

If you’re thinking about writing a book but don’t consider yourself a “writer,” don’t worry!

You don’t need to be a professional writer to get your children’s book published. Many successful children’s authors started as a professional illustrator or even passionate fans of children’s literature.

The most important thing is that you have a great story to tell that will resonate with young readers (and their parents). 

how to publish a children's book

5. It’s A Great Way To Leave A Legacy 

When you write a children’s book, you’re creating something that has the potential to be around long after you’re gone.

Unlike most things in life, children’s books have the staying power to be passed down from generation to generation.

What better way to leave behind a legacy than by writing something that will bring joy to kids (and adults) for years and years to come? 

Different Types of Children’s Books

how to publish a children's book

Writing a children’s book can be a challenge for many reasons.

There are so many children’s books out there that it can be hard to stand out. In addition, there are so many different types of children’s books that it can be challenging to find the one that is right for you.

The first step to getting direction when wanting to self publish a children’s book is knowing what type of book you want to create.

Wordless Book

This book is a kind of writing that does not use text to convey a message. It’s a form of poetry conveying the message through visual images. These children’s books may include words like names or dates to give context to the illustrations, but it’s primarily abstract stories with no direct meaning instead of focusing on word count. Children simply have to use their imagination to create messages from pictures. Wordless books are an art form; you can find them in many different languages, cultures, and styles.

publishing a children's book

Alphabet Book

It is a collection of letters or symbols, objects, characters, and images arranged in a way that starts with a specific letter. It’s an educational program that helps children learn their ABCs.

It often has colorful pictures of the letters to be entertaining and eye-catching. Alphabet books can also include tracing dotted or broken lines to form letters, helping kids to develop their writing skills.

Counting Book

This type of book is a tool that helps kids learn how to count and practice their number recognition skills. Counting books are perfect for kids because they offer them a fun way to learn numbers while making them feel good about math.

how to publish a childrens book

Nursery Rhyme Book

It is a type of book with poems or songs written for children—usually, an anthology of nursery rhymes collected and put together to share the fun with their family members or friends. It has very familiar lyrics which children and adults can quickly identify.

Poetry Book

This type of book is a compilation of poems that children can use to learn how to read. These books are usually divided into themes—such as nature, friendship, and animals. It helps children grow intellectually and emotionally and expand their language development and understanding.

how to publish a childrens book

Interactive Book

This book belongs and is designed for kids to play with. There are many different types of interactive books, from children’s board book to puzzles to word games to action games.

It helps develop fine motor skills as books of this type encourage kids to manipulate objects in the book.

This also comes in digital format, which allows children to click or drag their fingers across the pages to make the characters move or zoom in and out to read different parts of the story.

It allows them to be more immersed in the story and have more fun reading.

Fantasy Book

a boy reading a book

Fantasy stories are one of the most popular types of books for children. This book contains a fiction work with magic and mythology elements and could be a series. It could be a new kind of fairy tale.

It is a great way for children to learn more about the world around them and see how their imagination can be used differently.

Picture Book

A picture book contains simple stories, colorful pictures, bright illustrations, and minimal text. Also, a picture book often has an emphasis on the narrative style. A children’s picture book typically designed to be read aloud, with a beginning, middle, and end.

Children love to look at pictures, and picture books allow them to explore their creativity in a new way.

Folklore Book

Books written about this are a way to share information about oral traditions from any region of the world with future generations. It also includes a collection of tales about people who have lived in the past, places where they lived, exciting facts about these people, and even funny stories about them.

It is written to teach children about their community and develop an understanding of the world around them.

How to Publish a Children’s Book

There are so many steps in producing a quality children’s book; not all are obvious or easy to figure out. Here is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to help any beginner or aspiring author create the book of their dreams.

Know Your Market

If you want to get your book published, knowing your children’s book market is essential. Research what the children usually read and watch at the current market, how they spend their leisure time, the things that are helpful for them to learn, etc.

You also have to know what ages are most likely to enjoy reading your book to use it as a learning curve for your first book.

When writing a book for this kind of audience, you can consider the things you should consider, such as age-appropriate vocabulary, sentence structures, number of words, etc.

Knowing those things will help you write more effectively and create a book that resonates with them.

Get Your Manuscript Ready

Writing is a major undertaking! While writing a childrens book, keep in mind the story’s theme, tone, and style. Your project should have an age-appropriate setting, characters, conflict, and even the story’s plot.

Think of a way to make the story flow nicely, make sentences clear, and use the right words to express what you want to say. Also, make sure that it’s well-written, entertaining children and teaching them something.

Edit, Rewrite, and Revise

When writing a childrens book, the first draft is not usually the final version. Here comes the editing process, where a first time author improves his piece of writing and makes it adhere to his style guide.

Look for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, character inconsistencies, and plot confusion. To do this, you have to look at your work from a fresh perspective. Let the draft sit for a while before picking it up to read it.

Editing right after finishing the initial writing often leads to missed opportunities to improve because you will be reading from what you remember and not precisely what has been written. Giving yourself a little break from your book will allow you to read it objectively.

It’s essential to edit the manuscript for clarity and to strengthen the book’s voice, tighten the plot, and improve it.

how to publish a kid's book

Get a Professional Editor

Sure, you can write a book for your grandchildren and spend the rest of your life in the shade of your grandkids’ bookshelf. Still, if you want a book meant to be read by millions of kids, something that will make a difference in their lives, it is advisable to get help from an editor with experience editing childrens books.

You will be surprised at how much an editor will enhance your manuscript. They have the expertise to make it readable and provide you with constructive feedback to help you improve it.

Most authors hire editors to help them make progress. Although there will be an additional cost for you, it can be worth it. But of course, you can edit your manuscript if you are confident with your skills.

Get Feedback From Beta Readers

publishing a children's book

You don’t want to be too proud to get feedback or shy to share your ideas with people who will help you improve your work.

Critiques from people who are knowledgeable about the subject are essential. To get feedback, all you need to do is to invite people who will read your manuscript.

Ask your young niece or nephew to read it, or your friends and their children, or even booksellers and librarians, anyone who is included in the age range of your book or well-informed in that field.

Any comment or opinion they give about your manuscript is necessary, so write down notes about the things that worked and the things that didn’t work so that when you edit your manuscript, you can use those comments to improve your work and avoid the mistakes you made during your initial process.

Plan the Book’s Format

The world of childrens books is vast. When planning a book’s format, it’s important to remember that it should match the story’s theme. The illustrations, colors, and other things should also be appropriate to the children’s age ranges and match their literacy level.

The words should be simple and succinct, with minimal detail and plenty of pictures. Set bright and clear font size and correct line spacing so young children can understand it. Create a format that looks attractive and eye-catching for kids.

Illustrate Your Work

This is one of the most exciting parts of to self publish a children’s book. Before starting with the illustration process, decide what the most exciting part of the story is. Is there a character or several characters that need to be highlighted?

Is there a primary scene that needs to be the focal point? This will help you determine what parts of the story should be necessarily illustrated.

Pictures in a childrens book help make the story bring to life. With this, a better writer can convey a message such as kindness and generosity and a visual representation and feelings of what’s happening in the story, which can help children understand the story better.

Remember to illustrate the important parts of the story and leave the rest to the child’s imagination.

how to publish a children's book

Hire an Illustrator

If you’re not satisfied with your skills in drawing, you can hire a children’s book illustrator. Kids love creative and colorful things, and illustrators are trained for that. They can draw pictures that can attract the children’s interest. They can take your story and give it an artistic flair and a fresh perspective on your story’s characters.

Whether drawing the characters or their moods and personalities, a children’s book illustrator can add a certain level of artistry and authenticity to your character’s personality and depth.

The result can be a book with pictures that are beautiful and effective in helping kids understand the text and encourage them to read.

Have Your Book Cover Designed

Illustrators usually work with a book cover designer to create a cohesive look for the book’s inside. A book illustrator is responsible for creating the art that will appear inside a book. A book cover designer creates the design for the front of a book, ensuring that it is unique to the book and can make it stand out.

Get Your Book Identifiers

how to publish a childrens book

ISBN

This is only for authors who got a printing service and will sell printed books. So you don’t need to do this if you are only looking to self publish an ebook without plans to get hard physical copies out in physical bookstores or online retailers (such as Amazon).

A printed book must have an ISBN number to ensure that it is properly cataloged in libraries and bookstores worldwide.

What is an ISBN?

It is a unique identifier of a book given to the publishing house company when they submit the first copy of the book to the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) service. The number given explicitly to your book is not transferable to other titles. 

You can purchase an ISBN from Bowkers—the official source of ISBN number within the United States at www.ISBN.org. But if you’re from outside the US, you can contact your country’s agency that operates ISBNs. An ISBN can be acquired anytime, even before the book is written or published.

children's book

Barcode

A barcode is associated with an ISBN. Each book barcode has a series of black bars on a white background in a specific pattern or layout and is most commonly found on a book’s cover. Enclosed in this is the book’s information, such as the publishing company, title, and weight.

It is used for ease of distribution of the books and also helps booksellers keep track of the books they have on hand.

Here are the top three free barcode generators you can use:

When selling paperbacks on KDP, though, you won’t need to get your barcode. Amazon handles this.

publishing a children's book

Copyright registration is not mandatory. It can be worth it to avoid infringement because it gives you legal protection to your work or book from being stolen or copied by others without permission.

Copyright registration differs from country to country, so check how you can do it where you’re at. Once registered, you will get a certificate that can be presented when you want to enforce your copyright and the copyright laws. Again, this is voluntary and optional.

Publish Your Book

how to publish a children's book

There are several different ways to publish books, but the two most common are traditional publishing and self publishing. Each has pros and cons, but choosing which is right for you depends on your goals and abilities. Let’s discuss these two main options:

Traditional Publishing

how to publish a children's book

Many children’s book authors use the services of a literary agent who negotiates deals with traditional publishing houses to publish their work. This can result in a good-quality book and a small advance on royalties if it’s accepted for publication.

The publishing houses will then handle the distribution and promotion of your book. They will also negotiate with your distributor to get your book into stores.

The upside is that this option offers some great exposure in a wide variety of places. The publishing houses will also take charge of many things required in publishing the book (designing the book cover, drawing the illustrations, getting a professional editor, marketing your book on a blog post, etc.).

The downside is that the publishing houses may offer to make some changes to your book (that you don’t want or to alter) so that it better fits their audience. Your royalties will also be limited to your deal with your publisher.

There’s a caveat as well if you want to be on a traditional route. You need to find publishing houses willing to publish your book. Often, this takes a lot of more work, time, energy, and emotional tax. If you do not have a literary agent, you would need to write a query or cover letter and an elevator pitch (lots of them, actually).

So choose a good agent when looking for one.

how to publish a childrens book

What is a query letter?

The author sends this to a publishing house to introduce himself and his book idea. In writing a query letter, make them brief but comprehensive.

First, have a clear introduction of yourself, a few explanations of why you write to them, and why they should consider publishing your book. Then add some descriptions about your content, the full title of it, the length of the book, and the best possible audience for it. In addition, you can add some of your works to show potential traditional publishers what you are about and what makes you stand out from other new authors.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on the key benefits of your book and use the most compelling words in the cover letter.

Self Publishing

children's book

This is an option where you do not have to chase and beg for traditional publishers to take your book. You are fully in charge of everything. In other words, you control every aspect of your project, including how your book is published and sold.

Self publishing route is a great option for children’s book writers who want to retain creative control over their projects and not have to rely on a third party to tell them what they should be doing with their successful books. Self publishing also offers more creative freedom than traditional publishing.

However, all this freedom with self publishing means that you have to do a lot of work on your own or hire experts (i.e. marketers) and risk financially.

10 Common Mistakes When Publishing A Children’s Book

how to publish a children's book

So you’ve written a children’s book and are ready to publish it. Congrats! But before you hit “send” on those submission guidelines to your dream publisher, make sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes. 

1. Not Knowing Your Target Audience 

The first mistake is failing to identify your target age group and audience. Are you writing for pre-schoolers, elementary school students, or tweens?

Each age range group has different reading level expectations and interests. Make sure you know who you’re writing for before you start crafting your children’s story. 

2. Not Having A Unique Story 

In a world with thousands of children’s books published yearly, your children’s story must bring something new to the table compared to other authors.

Yes, some tried-and-true themes and archetypes always resonate with young readers (coming of age, loss of innocence, etc.).

Still, if your story feels like a rehash of something that’s been done a million times before, most publishers will likely pass on it and you won’t get your next next book deal. 

children's book

3. Failing To Edit 

Another common mistake is failing to edit your work before submitting it to literary agents or publishers.

Sending in a manuscript full of typos, grammatical errors, and plot holes is a surefire best way to get rejected immediately.

Before you submit anywhere, ensure you have thoroughly edited and proofread your work—or better yet, hire a professional editor to do it for you! 

Self publishing a children’s book is no easy feat, but if you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be off to a great place to start. 

4. Assuming Illustrations Aren’t Important 

Your story is being marketed as a “wordless picture books,” doesn’t mean the illustrations aren’t necessary! The illustrations are just as important as the text in conveying the story—perhaps even more so.

If your manuscript doesn’t fit well with the illustrations (or vice versa), it can confuse young readers and put them off the book altogether.

Make sure the two elements complement each other well before submitting anywhere. 

kid's book

5. Not Formatting Your Manuscript Properly 

If you’re submitting to a publishing house that specializes in board books for pre-schoolers, they will have specific formatting requirements for your manuscript—including things like word count and the number of spreads (i.e., two pages with one illustration).

If you don’t format your manuscript correctly from the right place to start, it will likely be rejected immediately without being read.

Do your research on each publisher’s specific guidelines before sending anything in!  

6. Not Having A Marketing Plan 

Once you have a published book, you need to have a plan in place for how you will also market it.

These days, many authors are expected to do most (if not all) of their own marketing and promotion, so it’s essential to have a solid understanding of things like social media marketing and publicity campaigns before your book hits shelves.

If you don’t have a plan in place for how you’re going to promote your work, many publishers may not want to take a chance on you. 

kid's book

7. Not Understanding The Publishing Process Itself

Finally, one of the most common mistakes aspiring authors make is not understanding how the publishing process works and getting frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as they’d like them to.

Just remember that getting a self published book takes time, patience, and quite a bit of hard work.

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen overnight—keep pushing forward, and eventually, your dream will become a reality.  

8. Not Following Submission Guidelines

When you’re submitting your work to a publishing house or literary agent, it’s important to follow their specific submission process guidelines to the cover letter.

Failing to do so is one of the quickest ways to ensure your work gets rejected without even being read. 

kid's book

9. Querying Too Many Literary Agents/Publishers At Once

Another common submission mistake is sending your query letter to too many literary agent or publishers at once, thinking they will all accept submissions.

While it may seem like a good idea to try and reach as many people as possible, doing so will likely only result in getting more rejections.

It’s much better to focus on a smaller group of literary agents/publishers who you think would be the best fit for your work.

This way, you can tailor your query letters and increase your chances of getting a positive response from your chosen literary agents or publishing houses. 

10. Not Being Persistent

Finally, the biggest mistake you can make when trying to get published is giving up too soon.

The publishing world is notoriously difficult to break into, and even the most talented authors often face dozens of rejections before finding success.

If you’re truly passionate about self publishing your work, you need to be prepared to face a lot of rejection and keep trying no matter what.

Only by being persistent will you eventually achieve your goal. 

Final Thoughts

For many people, the idea of writing a book is intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! Self publishing or traditionally publishing a book is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Take your ideas and turn them into a beautiful, inspiring story that will keep kids excited about reading. Publish a book that will make a difference in kids’ lives and influence the way they see themselves and the world in a positive way.

Take this article as a guide to help you go from reader to a children’s book author.

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