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September 23, 2018

How to Self-Publish a Children’s Book

By Anna Tataris De Jesus

As a mom, I’ve always dreamed of writing children’s books. In fact, it’s been on my bucket list for a pretty long time. I’ve had many ideas over the years, but simply didn’t know how to go about self-publishing them. My love for writing led me to a career in journalism, but it’s my “Mommy Brain” that fueled many of the ideas.

I am happy to say I finally checked this item off my list this summer with not one, but two published books on Amazon.com. And, the best part is I wrote and published the books with my 7-year old daughter Sophia. Will I ever be a bestselling author? Probably not, but my daughter
can say “My Mom and I wrote and published a book together!” For me, this is the happiest ending a story could have.

If you have great ideas and don’t know what to do next, take a look at the 3-step self-publishing process below!

Step 1-Write your ideas down.

I got one notepad and wrote “My Ideas” on the front. Each time I thought of something, I took note. Then I started talking to my daughter about them and listening to her thoughts, which helped me complete my thoughts. She started using her
imagination and giving me some great ideas. As she talked, I typed, and soon we had a concept for the book. We titled the first book “Can I Bring Home a Mermaid?” It’s about what it would be like if a mermaid could come home to play. Sophia helped me think up themes for each page: A tea party, baking cupcakes together and swimming in the pool were just a few. Of course, she
threw in a unicorn too! This actually became my favorite part of the book because it gave my
daughter and me a chance to be silly and use our imaginations together.

Step 2- Pick a Self-Publishing Company.

Self-publishing is much quicker and easier than traditional publishing. I did a lot of online research and watched videos on YouTube from other self-published children’s authors. Two self-publishing websites I recommend are IngramSpark.com and Createspace.com for their user-friendliness and great reviews. I went with Createspace because it publishes directly onto Amazon.com. I also wanted to do a paperback book because it was important to me to keep the book affordable. If you want to make a bigger profit on the books, you might want to look at hard copies which sell for more. After picking the platform, you’ll then decide the size of the book. I chose the 8×10 format and then got the guidelines on formatting. I found an illustrator online, but whether you do the same or find someone locally, my tip is to make sure that you give the artist very detailed instructions to get the pictures you envision. Of course, you can also draw your own illustrations. I believe the illustrations are what make the words in the book come to life.

Step 3 – Formatting and Publishing.

This was honestly the hardest part for me. Depending on the self-publishing platform you pick, you have to follow their instructions closely on the layout of the book. However, once I figured out how to make a cover and how the interior needed to be formatted, it was smooth sailing. Then it was just a matter of details like writing a book description and an author bio and getting an ISBN number to sell it. The publishing companies can help you calculate how much you can charge for the books and what royalties you will receive. If you pick a self-publishing company that prints on demand, you’ll never have to stock the book. People order it, and the company prints and ships it. You then get a royalty check.

As a mom, this was a really rewarding experience for me. It took a few months because life got busy and I had to learn how to do it all. However, the work was completely worth it. My daughter was so inspired that we did another one: “Can I bring home a Mermaid: Make my own Mermaid Book”. The second book is a companion book to the first and has blanks for children to write their own book.

We named our book business “My Imagination Books” because we want to inspire the imaginations of other children and their loved ones. You can check out our website at www.Myimaginationbooks.com and find both our books “Can I bring home a Mermaid?” And & “Can I bring home a Mermaid: Make my own Mermaid book”; for sale on Amazon.com.