Self Publishing Guide
Children's Book Publishing
Teachers are willing to spend a lot of money on quailty children’s books. How can you as an author reach this audience whom are always looking for that "next great story" to read to his or her class? Teachers look for books that have a teachable (workable/manipulative) theme or message. In order to appeal to this specific group of people, the story you write should easily branch to a lesson that can be used throughout many grade levels, i.e. a story that might interest children from Kindergarten to Grade Three, or Grade Four to Grade Six. A lesson does not necessarily mean a message of values or morals (though it can), a lesson can lead to an activity that the students can actively participate in.
Here are a few tips for how to get your children’s picture book published.
Becoming a self published children’s author is fun, rewarding and easy.
Creating a children’s book is a great way to pass down stories for future generations to enjoy and to pass along to their children. BookMark Self Publishing can make your children’s book idea a reality, with our print on demand publishing.
The sky is the limit on being creative with children's books when you self publish. You are in complete control of everything from the content to the book’s size and shape.
Below, we’ll give you an outline to help start your children's book publishing process.
Where to Start
If you haven’t written your children's book manuscript yet, there are a few things to consider about the book you want to publish. First of all pick the age group you want to write for. It will be important to do some research to find out what books in this age group consist of in terms of content and the types of word usage and phrasing.
Producing the Children’s Book Manuscript
Most authors are writing their manuscripts on their home computers using any one of the more popular word processors like Word, Works or other similar word processors.
The content or text of your manuscript needs to be in one contiguous file in order to publish your book. We do not recommend making each chapter a different file, but if you do, eventually they will all have to be cut and pasted into one main file for eventual printing. If all of your chapters are saved as individual files, it is recommended that a new file be created that contains all the chapters in one file.
Selecting the right software to write you children's book manuscript can be a bit confusing. Below, we’ve outlined some of most common features to help you make a wise selection.
Quark Express and Adobe InDesign
These software products are best for children’s book layouts. They can handle complex page design and produce excellent results when used for images, graphics, and illustrations that need to be included in your book.
The draw backs of these programs are that they are somewhat complicated, and with more capabilities makes them a bit more expensive.
This is by far the most common piece of software used to write and layout manuscripts. It’s quite easy to use and produces good print results. If you’re not going for a complicated layout, this may be your best choice. Drawbacks, unfortunately, because Word doesn’t handle images and graphics well, we don’t recommend it for books where imagery quality is important.
Corel Word Perfect
This is another great word processor. You can write and edit your book in Word Perfect with results similar to Word.
Drawbacks, again, similar to Word, for books with lots of graphics and layout other products may work better for you.
You can purchase these programs below:
At BookMark Self Publishing, we offer both custom and template layout out and design service for your book, if you need them.
Finding an Illustrator for your Children’s Book
Finding an artist or illustrator who can turn your ideas into images, can be difficult.
All artists and illustrators have different styles of work. When searching for a illustrator for your book, make sure you look at the illustrator portfolio to make sure his or hers work is what your looking for.
Editing and Proofreading your Children’s Book
One of the first pre-printing tasks you will need to be concerned about is the quality of your written Children’s Book manuscript.
Many Children’s books only require a proof read.
We highly recommend proofreading and/or editing your manuscript before any printing is undertaken.
Children’s Book Size Layout
Since the paper your children’s book will be printed on comes in specific sizes, it’s best to try and keep within more cost effective formats. Another point to consider is that if your book is to be sold in book stores, there are specific formats or book sizes that are preferred by bookstores (and expected by readers).
The most common sizes for children’s books are 8.5” by 8.5” or 8.5” by 11”
Children’s Book Binding Types
The four main ways books for children can be put together or “bound” are listed below, with their pros and cons of each.
- Spiral Binding:
25 to 250 pages: This kind of bindings is common in children’s books.
Advantages, when opened they lay flat and make it easy for children to
read, they are cost effective to produce, and because they make the
book and pages very flexible, they can stand up the wear children will
put them through. Disadvantages, there are no major disadvantages when
using these for children’s books.
up to 48 pages: These are the least elegant book binding to produce. In
some instances, books that do not have enough pages for other binding
types may need to be saddle bound. Disadvantages, the covers tend to
wear more readily because the cover is also the spine of the book
(although we recommend laminating which will help prevent this); these
books don’t quite as lay flat for the reader as a spiral bound book.
50 to 1,000 pages: These are the most expensive to produce but are also
the most valued because they look excellent, and last a long time. They
are sometimes selected for books for young adults as they have an
excellent quality and are long lasting and rugged. Hard cover books
also demand top dollar in book stores. Disadvantages, they are more
expensive to produce and there is a bit of an excess weight for
- Perfect Binding (Soft Cover): Approximately 40 to 300 pages: These types soft cover books retain some of the hard cover “look and feel” because they have a square back. Advantages, less expensive than hard cover to produce while still looking very good (especially with a color cover). Disadvantages, the covers can tend to wear out with heavy use (although we recommend laminating which will help prevent this) these books don’t have the same premium appearance as hard cover books, but are still a very good choice for children’s books.
Children’s Book Cover
The cover of your book is a very important element of your entire book publishing project.
I order to have a professional looking cover; you’ll need professional software to layout your cover with. We recommend using Adobe Photoshop for designing and laying out your book covers. You could also use Adobe Photoshop Elements or Corel Draw as affordable alternatives.
You can purchase these programs below:
With Children’s books, the cover not only helps attract the reader, but also helps protect the book from any wear and tare the reader might put it through.
Lamination is often used to make book covers less susceptible to tearing and generally more rugged. This same lamination is what causes these covers to sometime warp, depending on atmospheric conditions. This is do to the moisture content in the paper and how the plastic lamination coating on one side affects the moisture content in the paper cover. This is a warping or bending is normal feature of laminated covers and is not unique to any specific combinations or processes.
The front cover should have the title of the book and the author’s name, and images should be added to enhance the cover. The back cover could be left blank, a description of the book, or a paragraph about the author. What ever you put on the back, we recommend that it be something that is … “in aid of selling or promoting the book”. Each book and each author will have different needs as to what is contained on the back cover.
The size of the cover of the book will need to be slightly larger than the contents of the book. This is to account for final trimming of the book to make a nice clean edge on all sides. If you are going to be making a “perfect bind” book, you will also need to allow for the thickness of the back of the book (spine) as determined by the number of pages in the book.
If you will be using any images or graphics on the cover that need to print with high quality, we recommend using a professional graphic program like Adobe Photoshop for best results.
We highly recommend color covers, and we also recommend that the covers are laminated to help make them less vulnerable to daily wear-and-tear.
Most authors are not graphic artists, and coming up with a book cover can be very difficult for them.