Do you have one of those? I suspect you do … that voice in your head that you pay attention to is the whole reason why you are a sensible, normal person.
And now that you have discovered, and are developing, your creative side, that voice in your head will help prevent you from turning into one of those flighty creative people.
It’s easy for a creative to get really excited and pumped up about their latest project. This is especially true for children’s book creators. But save all that excitement and energy for the writing and drawing you’ll be doing.
When the writing and drawing is done, and it’s time to begin considering actually publishing the book, you want to turn off the “flighty” mode and get into your “sensible, business person” mode.
Not so long ago, the only way to have a book published was to send the publisher a proposed manuscript in the hopes that they would buy it and produce and publish the book.
Today we live in a wondrous time where technology has opened the way for authors to bypass traditional publishers and simply publish their book themselves. The biggest issue with self-publishing is the cost, and how long it takes to re-coup that.
A traditional publisher buys your manuscript, oversees and pays for illustration, cover design and layout and printing and producing the book. When books are sold, the author gets a small royalty off each book and the publisher gets the rest.
With a self-publishing company, the author pays upfront for the illustration, cover design and layout and printing and producing the book. When books are sold, the author gets a small royalty off each book and the publisher gets the rest.
Producing a children’s book is a very costly endeavor. A lot of time and money can be spent before you find out that it may not be going anywhere. When a book is successful, it is a rewarding experience for both the author and the readers. But when it’s not, there aren’t any readers and the author has no way of recouping the losses.
When you’ve only just discovered your creative side, and you want to try your hand at writing a children’s book, you’ll get it written and show it off to family and friends. They’ll ooh! and aah! and give you that invaluable feedback that will help you decide if you want to take the next step.
Maybe you should just try sending it out to a few publishers or agents and see what happens. If you need some guidelines to prepare your manuscript, check out my article, Submitting To Publishers. Maybe you really like the idea of self-publishing, but that voice in your head is screaming $$$$$$!!
So I have another suggestion …
Get a professional website and begin writing a weekly blog.
Don’t get a do-it-yourself site or try to skimp to save some money here. Your website will be your base of operation. It needs to be as professional as you can make it, because the impression people have of your website, is the impression they’ll have of YOU.
Shop around … a good website with a good company can be very affordable. Check out my web company, 11 Fingers Design, if you like. You want a company that can build a custom website for your specific needs, that offers good customer service and will work with you, because as you grow, your website will grow with you. When you need to add to it or change things up a bit, you’ll have an established relationship with people who know you and who can assist you. A good web company will keep your site up and running smoothly so you can concentrate on your own endeavors and content.
Start with a good Opening/Homepage and maybe just an About Me page, a Contact Me section or page, and a Blog page.
On your Blog, begin writing a weekly blog in general about whatever interests you. Maybe write specifically for children … short stories or articles about things that would interest them.
Experiment. Try different kinds of themes for different kinds of readers.
Writing a weekly blog is a great way to learn to write. Writing on a regular schedule will help you find your voice and learn what you want to say to readers.
Be patient and give it lots of time. Eventually you will discover if/how readers respond to you. If you’re not getting much reaction, change up what and how you’re writing. You should always write for yourself first, but with a blog, you can afford to experiment and explore. You might discover something new you hadn’t thought of! Join a local writers’ group or organization who will critique your writing and help you improve.
Your writing needs to offer something of value to your readers … that’s what will grab their interest and keep them coming back.
Find the right groups on social media to post on and direct traffic to your website and your latest blog. If you do get a good response and build up a following, that might be the signal that it is time to self-publish.
Add a Store on your website where you can sell your book. This is another good reason to hire a professional web company, because they will understand all the ins and outs of online selling and how to set up your Store the best way for you.
You may totally flop and no one will be interested, but at least you didn’t waste thousands by first publishing a book no one would buy. And that will make the Mother in your head very, very proud!