Self-publishing a children's book
April 12, 2015 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Thinking of trying my hand in the on-demand self-publishing space with a kids' (0-3) book. But I am more or less a noob, so lay some knowledge on me.

So I was singing a song to my daughter. I usually sing only the first 2 verses, because the rest of it is actually quite disturbing (as long of kid's songs are). So I started making up my own lyrics, and to my surprise it came out pretty good. I then looked up the copyright for the song, and was delighted to find that it's just an old kids' song (presumably it had an author but it doesn't seem to be copyrighted as it's quite old). So now I'm thinking of self-publishing it (on-demand). What's the best way to go here.

Let's assume I can write something decent, as well as come up with the artwork. Where is the best place for me to do this sort of thing. Is Amazon (via Create Space) a good option? Are there others?

Ideally I'd like to be able to do some of my own marketing (web/adwords, maybe a youtube video), but I don't want to deal with getting the book on the bookshelves of any stores or anything like that so the whole concept of on-demand printing is very appealing to me.

I'm a complete noob when it comes to this, but I have some skills that could help me do this, so I would appreciate any and all advice from the green. Thanks all.
posted by pyro979 to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
CreateSpace is a good option if you aren't willing or able to do the marketing and other components of getting books into stores. Honestly (and speaking as a publisher who is also a member of a professional publishing association), if you aren't willing to commit the energy, just having it on Amazon where friends, family and potentially a stranger or two can buy it is likely best.
posted by at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

CreateSpace will not get your book into stores. No self-publishing avenue will get your book into stores. Only self publish if you want a way to sell a few copies to friends and family.
posted by Violet Hour at 1:15 PM on April 12, 2015

What is your goal? Do you just want to have a copy of this book for your kid and some friends/relatives? If so, yes, CreateSpace is fine.

If you want strangers (or bookstores or libraries) to buy your book, not so much.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:31 PM on April 12, 2015

Best answer: At most levels of publishing the onus of publicising a book lies on the author, but as a self-publisher it lies the most heavily. I have a few titles out through Lightning Source: they're listed on Amazon and most of the other online bookstores, and I get a statement of sales each month and a chunk of money arrives in my bank account. I trouble a small number of shops where I know the proprieters and who are gracious enough to take a few copies, but the bulk of my sales—and my publicity—are online. I handle the PDF sales through a different company: I'd handle them myself but I'm in the EU where the VAT (sales tax) situation on digital goods is a screaming mess right now.

Createspace has the advantage of being a one-stop shop; the disadvantage is that the shop is Amazon and you are beholden to its terms and rates and idiosyncrasies. Lightning Source is great for those with a few titles but does very little hand-holding and probably isn't for newcomers to publishing. I've never used Lulu but I hear good things and its production standards have improved vastly over the last few years.

Ebooks and PDFs for kids' books are a difficult market and I don't know of any places that do them well. That doesn't mean that one doesn't exist.
posted by Hogshead at 1:57 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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