Writing Children’s Picture Book Tips
1 – Keep An Eye On Your Expenses – If you want to be a children’s picture book author, look beyond your first book. There’s nothing more common than an author looking for an illustrator, paying them handsomely, and then not getting a return on that investment.
For example, if you pay an illustrator $200 – $300 for your images and your book only goes on to make you $100, that book was a loss on that investment. There’s only so long a author or any business can absorb losses like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against illustrators, but once they’re paid the problem of recouping your money is your problem now. If your book is a vanity project that’s far enough, but if you want to be a children’s picture author you’re going to have to give more thought to your long term future.
2 – Self Publish Your Book – Although you could if wanted to, go looking for a publishing contract, it’s probably best to self publish your work instead of waiting around. Not only will you get your work up faster, to see what’s working and what’s not, but you’ll save money in the process.
Although the thought of self publishing your own book may seem like something that’s beyond you, it’s not. And don’t listen to anyone that tells you that it is. Publishing your book in the Amazon kindle store means all you need is a book cover, the manuscript of your book, and the text information to go with your book. If you’re still shaking your head in confusion, I’ve a blog post here that goes through the whole process bit by bit.
3 – Look Beyond Your Book – One thing I’m a big fan of is re-purposing content. What this means is taking something and changing it into a different format. Take for example this blog post, I could read into a microphone, take that audio file and use it as a podcast episode. I could also do an over the shoulder video of this blog post and record it as a video for YouTube.com. All the same content, but now in three different formats. (And three ways new readers can find me. )
Now what could you do with your picture book?
Create Your YouTube Video Channel – You could set up your own dedicated video channel with you reading your books to camera, or over the shoulder, for young kids and parents to watch. Not only is it a way to get in front of a new audience, but you can place a link in the description box where viewers can purchase your book.
Create Physical Products – If your book images are attractive, there’s probably a good chance that they’ll look good on a t-shirt, phone/tablet/laptop cover, clock, towel, tote bag, or as a piece of wall art. Although it might seem complicated, the process of creating physical products is very easy and you could be selling your work on Amazon, Etsy, or Ebay, and have another income stream from your book.
If you’d like more ways to repurpose your book, you’ll find more here.
4 – Build An Audience – A lot of authors make the mistake of selling their book to a reader and then focusing on the next reader, this is the wrong mindset. The easiest customer you can sell to is one who previously bought off you. And that’s how you should thinking when it comes to your books and your readers.
An easy way to keep in touch with your readers is through capturing their email address and following up with them when you’ve got a new book released. Once you’ve got their email address you can ask them for…
- Book reviews
- Book ideas
- Book promotion
- And more importantly buy your next book
But if you don’t have that in place, you’re going to constantly need to chase new readers to keep your publishing business open.
5 – Raising Publicity – A book that doesn’t sell well happens for two reasons, either it’s horrible, or no one knows about it. I’m sure your book is going to be a great one, so it’ll be the second hurdle that you’ll fall at. So it’s up to you to get peoples attention and let them know that you’ve published a book.
How to raise publicity…
- Friends and family – If they won’t talk about and share your book on their social media streams it’s a bad sign. Ask them if they’d help you out.
- Local schools – Offer to do a reading of your book at a local school and sell your books at it. You could offer to split any sales profits 50/50.
- Local charities – Working in conjunction with local charity means you can ride on their publicity and also help them out with a percentage of book sales.
- Get in the press – Although a lot of authors go the route of looking country wide with a press release, it’s better to start small and work your way outward. If your ‘local guy/gal done good’ story can’t make it into a local paper, you’ll be hard pressed to find a larger paper take notice of you.
If you’d like more ways to sell books, I’ve got more ideas here.
6 – Publish More Books – And finally, you’re going to need to publish more books. Not only does publishing more books mean more money, but it’s also more exposure for you. Having one book in the Amazon store or elsewhere means you’re a grain of sand on the beach. But having more makes you easier to get found, and makes you look more accomplished as an author. Having one book looks good, having ten or twenty makes you look even better.
Another way of maximising your exposure is to publish your books in as many places as you can. Although Amazon has the largest share of the publishing pie, don’t dismiss stores like the iBooks Apple store and Barnes & Noble. And these are only two that you could be featuring your books in. If you’d like to get your books into stores like this you can use the self publishing platform at Draft2Digital.com.
And there you have it, six children’s picture books tips. Although they aren’t in order of priority pay attention to your costs, building a list, and getting publicity.
If you’re only taking your first steps into publishing a children’s picture book, I recommend you check out CheapChildrensBook.com, here you’ll find ways to lower your costs, self publish your books, and ways to come up with tons of picture book ideas. Go here now.