Just because you have decided to self- publish, does not mean you have to go through the process all alone. It definitely does not mean that you have to do it all yourself. Or that you have to forgo valuable collaborations with editors, artists, agents or marketing professionals.
Freedom to Make Choices
As a self-publishing children’s writer, what you have chosen is the freedom to make a choice. Not the burden to learn it all or do it all yourself. So make smart choices that will give your book the best chance in the business.
Look at your strengths and then select the path to self-publication. Decide the parts that you have the skills to do yourself. Be realistic. Unless you have the talent and experience to match the best in the market, bring in the professionals to give your book a professional appearance. One of the biggest drawbacks of self-published books is poor quality finish and you don’t want your book to fall into that category. Especially if this is your first self-publication venture.
So if you want to increase the marketability of your book, prioritize and budget for getting a team to work for you. Look at it as a one-time investment to give your book the best shot at success.
Building the Team
If you want to hire professionals to get the work done, the four people who will be really important are: editor, illustrator/cover designer, book layout artist, and marketing consultant. The first three will take care of the appearance of your book and the last one will help you get your book stand out in the market.
Alternately, and if you are not a novice at self-publication, you can do parts of the design and production yourself and leave the rest for the professionals. In case of a limited budget, prioritize and look around for good pros who still fall within your budget. This is eminently doable. Ask your friends and colleagues for references. It is always a good idea to work with an editor, an illustrator or any other professional who comes with a personal recommendation. Or else, check associations, websites and online references. Check out the books in your local book store. Contact the local publishing houses and local presses for references.
There is one more choice available to children’s writers, who want to work with professionals without the hassle of dealing with so many different pros. You can partner with an established illustrator for collaboration through the entire publication process: from finished manuscript to bookstore shelves. A package deal of this kind keeps the writer in touch with creative expression related to the book, while letting a reliable partner handle the logistical nitty-gritty of getting the book published.
Look for one who is experienced, has a good reputation and falls within your budget. And ask around for feedback and references, wherever possible.
As a self-publishing children’s writer, it is important for you to keep control of the creative processes of your book. But never lose sight of the fact that your endgame is to produce a good book that reaches as many readers as possible. Be open to investing in collaborative processes that help you work towards that goal.