Books in the wild!
I always have a great time at the writer workshops I co-sponsor. (Well, not me personally. The Southern Breeze region of SCBWI technically is the sponsor. I’m just the smiling face up there, introducing the talented writers and illustrators and agents who come to share their wisdom. The awesome Gwinnett Public Library System is the other generous sponsor.) But the last workshop was especially fun because it was on self-publishing, and writers who go that route are especially passionate.
They have to be, if they hope to find success along that road.
In traditional publishing, you have publicity people behind you, getting your books out there to the public. Some houses do a lot; others do considerably less. Still, they get your book off to the right start so it can land in bookstores and libraries.
But those who go the indie route must start at the beginning of publishing and work very hard to get a book…well, anywhere. So self-publisher types tend to be real go-getters, and I love their enthusiasm. Heck, before the workshop was over, I was seriously considering that route for one of my books that hasn’t been picked up by a traditional publisher yet.
Anyway, during the workshop, talk eventually came around to promotion and getting your book out there. Maybe that’s what inspired me for today’s post at the Muffin, Paying It Forward the Write Way.
I think it’s pretty good advice whether you’re self-published or traditionally published. What do you think? Maybe I’ll have another workshop on your suggestions. (Well, not me personally. Ugh. You know what I mean.)
Because I host writer’s workshops for kidlit writers, I often meet folks who are interested in self-publishing their picture books.
Some writers are just not interested in waiting years for a traditional publisher. They’ve poured their hearts and writing souls into a manuscript and they want to see it in a book, sometimes for family and friends, and sometimes, the dream is bigger. Still, producing a picture book—a good picture book—and getting that book into the hands of readers, is not exactly child’s play. And so these writers ask me about self-publishing their picture books and I have very little good advice or resources to offer. I’ve just never come across a good how-to for those PB writers who may not have a lot of experience in design or publishing.
And then Eve Heidi Bine-Stock asked if I’d take a look at her recently released book, How To Self-Publish a Children’s Picture Book (The Easy and Inexpensive Way to Create a Book and Ebook for Non-Designers).
Would I? Here was a book specifically addressing the needs of the writer who wanted to produce a picture book. I couldn’t wait to read it!
And here’s what I loved about this book (and I’m going to do a list because you know I love lists, too):
- It’s easy to read, easy to understand. Yes, you’re going to be introduced to everything you’d possibly need to know about the publishing world but she explains every term, every step along the way. It really is a manageable process to learn how to publish a picture book!
- There are a ton of illustrations! I like illustrations; I’m a visual learner. It takes the guesswork out of the process, and I like that, too.
- Eve has done all the legwork for you, comparing the big things like prices and publishers. But she’s done the homework on the little things, too, like fonts. She covers it all.
This is a book for the writer who’s a do-it-yourself type, who wants to use a print-on-demand publisher and save money. So if you’re thinking of self-publishing your picture book, you don’t need to spend your time chasing down information from one link to another or in books on self-publishing in general. Eve Heidi Bine-Stock has the specifics you want in one great primer, How To Self-Publish A Children’s Picture Book.
And yes, I often give away my writing how-to books after I review ‘em, but sorry, y’all. I’ve got a couple of picture books of my own—this one’s a keeper! (You can get your own copy here, either in paperback or an ebook. And happy self-publishing!)
Five years ago, I wouldn’t have stopped long enough at IndieReCon to even figure out what the abbreviated words meant. Heck, five years ago, IndieReCon may not have even existed. But indie publishing has come a long way in five years. And the group of writers/authors/bloggers behind this free online conference know quite a bit about how indie publishing has grown–and they’ve lined up quite a few folks to share their expertise as well.
So here’s my tip: If you have EVER thought, even for just a minute, that you might consider indie publishing for your picture book, your memoir, your novel, your chapbook, WHATEVER, go now and check out all the articles offered at IndieReCon. Or at the very least, bookmark this site and check it out later (the dates of the conference are February 19 through the 21st) because all the material will remain online and available.
And even if you think that you’ll never consider indie publishing, it’s worth a look just to see what’s going on in this rapidly changing business. The publishing business is not at all static. It’s like some kind of swirling whirlwind of words, business, and marketing, growing and evolving every day.
The savvy writer will evolve along with it. (Reminds me of the book, Savvy, by Ingrid Law. It’s a really swell middle grade novel that fits in rather nicely–and metaphorically–with my post. Even if I do say so myself.)