Your publishing plan!
I’ve talked in my previous blog post about getting started with the writing process, useful courses, and errors to avoid making. In this post, I’m going to focus more on the practicalities surrounding it. From my personal experiences, I’ll start you thinking about how your book will look, where to get inspiration, and the publishing logistics you’ll need to consider.
1. To start you are going to want to do lots and LOTS of research on writing for children. If you don’t already, get reading lots of children’s books. Get into the mindset of a children’s author. Look at what works well, look closely at what books are selling, look at illustration styles. Pay particular attention to the structure and components of the stories. If you don’t own any children’s books – go to the library, go to the bookshop, follow children’s book reviewers and bookstagrammers, and immerse yourself fully in the world of children’s publishing. Make notes of things you like, and things you don’t (especially the things you don’t) as these notes will really inform your decisions going forward. Your notes could be particular illustration styles or illustrators, story types you see are doing well, and those that aren’t. Seeing what reviewers are saying will give you a good insight into current trends within the world of children’s books and show you which areas are saturated.
2. Learn about independent publishing. I’d recommend seeking out some blogs, books, and YouTube videos (I have listed below some I’ve found to be particularly helpful). I’ve also found some brilliant Facebook groups filled with like-minded indies who are always more than happy to connect, answer questions, and discuss all things writing and self-publishing. Ask questions of these people, no matter how basic or silly you think they are. There’s a very good chance that when they were at your stage, they didn’t know that answer either, and they will be more than happy to help!
3. Invest in your learning. Find mentors in authors who are where you want to be. Read/watch everything they have to say, and if they offer their services - pay for their time, knowledge, and experience and learn from them. Use the benefit of their experience to save yourself time and money down the line! Again, ask the questions - and take notes on the answers!
4. Consider early HOW you will print and distribute your books. Amazon KDP, Ingram Spark, hybrid publishing, bulk printing, short-run printing, and selling from your own website are all options, so really think about which route you would like to take. Don’t forget to research the options - this could mean talking to other indie authors, asking for advice from an author’s virtual assistant, or even doing a deep google search.
When I published my first book, I ended up going around in circles, having to adjust print files every 5 minutes for varying print requirements. I even ended up re-publishing afterwards, because after a while I wasn’t happy with the size. Save yourself the headache and get this decided up front.
Take a serious look at all these options and figure out what will work best for you and what will help you to achieve your goals. Personally, I use print on demand (POD) with Amazon KDP – for paperback and eBooks. I also use Ingram Spark POD for wider distribution to bookstores and libraries. I also do short-run prints of a slightly higher quality that I sell from my own website. There are pros and cons for each option in terms of quality, cost and ease of distribution. But this is what works for MY personal publishing goals (remember that WHY we talked about in the last blog?)
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to develop your own publishing plan, in line with your own personal goals.
Then it’s time to start putting your plan into action. After all, there’s no substitute for learning on the job! So don’t procrastinate for too long – get stuck in!
Is there anything else that you think should be on this list? Let me know…
List of helpful resources:
The Creative Penn: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/
Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn
How to Make a Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn
The Successful Author Mindset – by Joanna Penn
The Indie Author Mindset by Adam Croft
Alliance of Independent Authors
Facebook group: Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators: Publishing, Marketing and Selling: https://www.facebook.com/groups/187350425346975/