When I was 15, I pored through the library, reading every book I found about pitching, query letters, and getting published in general. And, as a naive young girl, instead of capitalizing on my youth, I did my best to hide it. Consequently, I learned a lot about marketing, gained a stack of rejection letters, and met some cool people.
So now, I’ve been developing a story idea and doing the artwork for a few years. I feel that I have a very marketable idea. But I wanted to do the publishing independently instead of the traditional publishing. I did a lot of research. In the end, it’s slightly a toss-up, but since my husband and I are willing to do a lot of the work ourselves, have experience in unique marketing, and our jobs allow it, we decided to do it ourselves. The idea of controlling the earnings was also appealing.
It’s also part of the experiment. I’ve worked for a small publishing house, done manuscript editing, and have tried to get things published. This is the logical next step for someone who is independent, been researching the market, and willing to learn.
The first step was what people normally think of when they think of publishing a book. I went through hundreds of revisions on the story, then put it together with the artwork (since it’s a children’s picture book), then went through another dozen rounds of layout design. This is my cookies and cream because I’m a very visual, artistic designer. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this yourself unless you have some experience or are willing and able to take days to do it.
I got quotes from a dozen different printers, both on demand and offset printing. I found a printer in India, a friend of a friend, who was ready to do it for well below what I could get in the USA. So we interviewed him, got examples of his work, figured out pages, and were there for the first printing of the pages.
I raised the money for the printing via crowdfunding and gained a lot of support and encouragement. Since the cost was lower than what we could have gotten in the USA, it wasn’t as scary. Most of my fundraising was done personally. I emailed and messaged people I thought might be interested in the idea. The crowdfunding portal was just a way to collect the funds. I only got a few strangers’ support. I went against my better instinct and didn’t use Kickstarter, so we might try that next time instead. It might work better.
Posts on Self Publishing
- A New Book is being Born (10/24/2014) - I feel like I’m giving birth to a child… I’ve finalized my files for the publisher and handed them off today. Monday, Lord-willing, we will be going to press with my VERY FIRST PICTURE BOOK. I’m super excited and terrified at the same time. Will he books sell? Did I make all the words right? […]
- Book Marketing Ideas and Pushing Down Panic (1/16/2015) - We’re expecting the finished books to be delivered within a couple of weeks. As we started discussing the size of the shipment, panic began rising in my throat. What am I doing? I can’t sell that many books! It’s not good enough!! For most authors and artists, marketing is the bane of their world. But […]
- Feedback for “The Artist” (8/24/2015) - So one of my old friends recently bought a book (Yaayyyy!!) and emailed me the other day with this: “We have been really enjoying reading it at bedtime and any other time momma’s hands are dry! I love the art and the note to your readers at the end especially, it made us feel like […]
- How to Format and Publish a Children’s Picture Book for Kindle (1/24/2015) - Pay someone to do it, or follow these steps: Note: I’m assuming you already have the print version of the book in InDesign, or at least PDF or JPEG. I’m also assuming you have basic web navigation/filling out blanks skills. 1) Download the Kindle Kid’s Book Creator from this page. That’s right, it’s not the […]
- Review for “The Artist and the Clay” (8/9/2015) - This almost made me cry. One of my friends shared “The Artist” with her daycare students, ages 5-9, and asked them what they thought. “Awesomest book ever!” “Total epicness” “She is one of the bestest writers ever!” “I liked her letter to us at the end.” Diana said, “It has already become a favorite for […]
- The Story Behind The Artist (1/6/2015) - So everyone kind of asks when they hear about my soon-to-be-born book, The Artist. And, in some stumbling, run-on sentences, I answer. But what really inspires a book? Why would anyone give years of their life to a project that no one may ever see? I’ve written this like 10 times, because in the process […]
- What is it About? The Artist and “Pitching” to random strangers (1/7/2015) - The Artist is a children’s picture book about a young clay figure who decides he doesn’t like how the Artist is forming him. It reminds us that God creates each of us uniquely and we can trust Him. Then the Artist, Turned and looked at the clay. “Why do you cry? I’ve formed you this […]
- When to Write (3/7/2015) - Write when the passion moves you, when you can’t focus on anything else. When your mind is whirling and you have to pour out on something or stuff it down to ferment, useless.
- Why I Wrote the Book (7/30/2015) - Before and during college, I struggled a lot with what I was supposed to do, career-wise. Though prayer and Bible reading, I came to this conclusion: God creates people different from each other, with unique gifts and talents. He did that for a reason, and it’s a good thing. Throughout the Bible, God talks about […]
- Why Most Self Published Books Suck (1/17/2015) - Self published books suck. The majority of them are a waste of a good tree. Lately I’ve been editing books for a vanity publisher, and only one has been any good. But I’m self publishing. Why? Because I am persuaded that it’s a good way to go for someone who is able to learn new things […]