The Ultimate Publishing Preparations for Children’s Book Authors
Before you take the time to find an illustrator for your children’s book, we recommend deciding on which publishing type you want to use to publish your book. This part is important for you to figure out because knowing what you want will make it easier to start the publishing process once your manuscript is done. Once you’ve determined the type of publishing you want to use and you’ve finished your manuscript, you’ll need to find a suitable publisher. At this stage, it is important to stay alert to the possibility of publisher scams.
Types of Publishing
To determine which type of publishing you want for your children’s book, it’s important that you understand the 3 types of publishing, which we’ve explained below:
This is the old-fashioned way to publish a book; at one point in time, it was the only way to get your book published. If you choose to go this route, you’ll need to find a literary agent to help you get your manuscript into the hands of traditional publishing companies once you finish writing it. Then, the traditional publishing company will ask you to work with their internal editors to revise your manuscript. Sometimes they’ll take creative control over your manuscript. Once the text suits them, the publishing company will pass on your revised manuscript to their in-house design team to work on the book cover, illustrations, and other creative finishing touches.
The advantage of traditional publishing is that you don’t need to pay upfront costs to hire editors or illustrators or cover printing and other publishing costs. In addition, publishing companies are full of experienced people, so you don’t have to worry about how the results will come out.
On the other side, there are disadvantages to traditional publishing. For instance, you won’t have full creative control over your manuscript because the publishing company will adjust your ideas to suit their “taste” and market demands. Moreover, with traditional publishing, you will pay the publishing company royalties of approximately 30%.
Most indie authors choose this type of publishing for their children’s book manuscripts. Note that “self-publish” means you will work on your own throughout the whole process, including finding the right marketing strategies when the book is done. This gives you full creative control over the final product, but you can still hire professionals to help you. For instance, you could hire freelance editors to revise and give you advice about your book’s plot or characters, or you could hire a children’s book illustrator to help you out with the illustrations you want for your children’s book. In this case, you will be shelling out the cash to pay the professionals you hire, including for any marketing you choose to do.
The advantages are that you’ll have full creative control over your work, and you can learn about the publishing process by acquiring professional help along the way if you need it. In addition, all of the profit you make from selling the children’s book goes into your pockets, and you don’t need to pay royalties to anyone.
Some traditional publishers have switched their strategies and become hybrid publishers. Hybrid publishing is a combination of traditional publishing and independent publishing. Thus, it can sometimes be a great way to get your manuscript published at lower costs to you than traditional self-publishing. Typically, a hybrid publisher will invest half of the costs, and you will be expected to cover the other half. The costs include production, marketing, and distribution to bookstores. In addition to helping you with the financial part, a hybrid publisher also will offer you some help with the various publishing steps, working with you before and after the book is published to ensure the quality of you and their investments.
You and the publisher will divide the profit between you since both of you invested equally in the publication process. All good hybrid publishers should provide you with several services, including distribution services and publishing according to industry standards.
Now, we move on to the technical part. Every printed work, including children’s books, requires lamination for the covers and paper. As a self-publisher, you might want to know what common lamination styles are used for children’s books.
What is Lamination?
Lamination is the after-printing process that is done by applying a thin layer of plastic to cards or paper. Lamination is used to protect and enhance the look, quality, and content of the printed matter. The most common lamination types that are used by the publisher are gloss, matte, and silk, which are often used for business cards, product packaging, brochures, book covers, and other printed items. Using lamination has several product advantages. For example, laminating a children’s book cover will make the cover more durable and tear-resistant and will protect the book from creasing, sun damage, and water damage.
Using gloss lamination will make your printed piece look a bit shiny or glass-like. It will enhance the ink’s colors and vibrancy. Also, gloss lamination is a durable choice that is easy to clean. It is often used for marketing or promotional purposes, where a strong visual impact is required.
Matte lamination gives a natural and softer look and makes it easier for people to read the printed piece. The softer look is created by softening the contrast of dark colors so that they won’t stand out too much. The texture of matte lamination is velvety, which gives it a satisfying feel for various readers. Usually, matte lamination is used for retail signs, seasonal packaging, clothing labels, or other printed pieces that need to have a soft look and velvety texture.
Applying silk lamination will give your printed piece a soft texture and a natural look that will be reflective in certain light but not as reflective as gloss lamination. With silk lamination, the product will look and feel like a premium product. Silk lamination is commonly used for book covers, business cards, brochures, and other products that need to have a natural and clean finish.
So, when do you get to use gloss or matte laminations?
Gloss lamination is best to use in the following circumstances:
- Will be handled a lot every day (because it will give greater protection and is easy to clean)
- A strong visual impact is desired
- Should be shiny in appearance
- Costs less than matte
Matte lamination is best to use in the following circumstances:
- Will be placed underneath direct lighting (because matte lamination helps to deflect any glare, making it easier to read from any angle.
- A modern and elegant look is desired
- Printed piece contains subdued color tones
Silk lamination is best to use in the following circumstances:
- A premium impression is desired
- A soft texture and natural look that reflects but is not as reflective as gloss is required
Start Writing Your Manuscript
Now that you know your options for publishing, it’s time to start writing your manuscript. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Start Your Research
The first step when it comes to self-publishing a children’s book is to research the topic you’re going to write about. Even if you’re writing a fictional story, there must be some truth to the story. For example, if you’re writing a fictional story about a rabbit, you need to include some real details about rabbits’ behavior—for instance, how they eat, how they jump, how they survive, and so on.
The other research you have to do is in regards to your audience. Who you are writing for? How old are your readers going to be? What kinds of things and genres interest your ideal reader? What language are you going to write in? This research will be beneficial for you as you are planning and implementing your marketing strategies too. You can also research children's book topics that haven't been written about much before. Or, you can base your subject on something that concerns you that you want children to know and learn from. For instance, if you’re concern about the environment, you could write about it in an interesting way and make children know and understand how important it is to put rubbish in its place and save the environment.
Also, you need to do some research about the illustration styles that are available for your children’s book. These include whimsical, cartoon, realistic, stylized, and sketches. You can also use your favorite children’s book as a reference for your books’ illustrations.
Write Down Your Plan
The next step after doing some research is coming up with a plan of the story that you’re going to write, including who the main characters are going to be, where the story will be set, what the story’s plot will be, and what problem will be solved. The planning stage goes until you figure out every detail that you’re going to write for your children’s book manuscript.
After planning the story, you must come up with an idea for the illustrations that will accompany your book later. We advise you to do some research on available illustration styles or use your favorite children’s book illustrations as a reference. This will help the illustrator to illustrate your writings and shorten the process.