Publishing a children’s book is a long and winding road that doesn’t look the same for every writer. Instead, you need to learn the best journey for you and your book! These are the children’s book steps you could take with your story.
What the Children’s Book Publishing Roadmap looks like:
Imagine getting to hold your children’s book for the first time. All your friends and family have come out to your local bookstore to support you and ask you to sign a copy of your new book. Maybe there’s also a large group of kids to read to the next day at an area school.
But how do you get here? What are the children’s book steps you take to go from finished story to published one?
There are two different paths a children’s book author can take to publish their book:
1 – You could work with a publisher.
This is what’s known in the industry as traditional publishing and it’s when an author sells their book to a publishing house. Sometimes that’s by using an agent to help them sell and other times it’s by pitching the book directly to the editors themselves.
Although, this journey has dipped in popularity, it’s still relevant for children’s book authors to use.
If you are interested in publishing your children’s book with a publishing house, these are the steps you should take:
- Decide if you’d like to try a small publishing house or one of the big 5. (Naturally everyone would love to sell to somewhere like Scholastic, but really think about the perfect home for your story. Who’s list would it fit best on?)
- If you have enough picture books that are ready to publish or want to work with an agent first, then research and query agents instead of reaching out directly to publishers.
- Write a compelling query letter that hooks your reader and gets them asking for more.
- Send that query letter off to agents or editors then sit back and wait. (This could take anywhere between 6-12 months to hear a response, so work on other stories while you wait.)
- Either receive the call to sign with that person or start the journey all over.
Traditional publishing can have a big payout at the end, but there is a lot of waiting involved. So you need to be patient with this option!
2 – You could publish your children’s book yourself.
This publishing option has been growing in popularity over the past few years. Self-publishing gives you a lot more control over your story and allows you to earn a higher profit margin, which is AWESOME! But with that kind of power, comes a lot of work and upfront cost.
(Before you decide to publish your book, watch this short video I made on the 4 types of people best-suited for self-publishing.)
If you’re interested in self-publishing your children’s book, here are the steps you should take to make it happen:
- Finalize your text. (Especially with longer works like chapter books & novels, you should plan on hiring an editor.)
- Find & hire your illustrator.
- Purchase all your numbers including an ISBN.
- Decide on how you want your book printed. (Are you going to order a bunch of copies at once or will you opt for a print-on-demand option?)
- Determine your marketing plan.
- Launch your book and SELL, SELL, SELL!
Sometimes it takes a while to get a book off the ground. Just remember that sales can happen ANYTIME after the book’s been published. Even if you don’t hit your goal in the first month, you should never quit selling!
Those are the two different publishing options a children’s book author can use to publish their kid’s book. What one do you think is best for you and your story?
To help you answer that question, I created the Children’s Book Publishing Roadmap. It allows you to think critically about your vision for your story and brainstorm the action plan you need to take in order to publish your book.
And for more publishing tips, check out these other articles around the blog:
- Everything You Need to Know to Publish a Children’s Book
- The 4 Types of People who Should Try Self-Publishing
- How to Format Your Kid’s Book Correctly
- The Children’s Book Template to Write Your Next Book!
- The Complete Process to make a Children’s Picture Book
- How to Design a Winning Children’s Book Cover