The Children’s Book Self-Publishing Process

The Children’s Book Self-Publishing Process

What is the children’s book self-publishing process,
and why is it essential for children’s book authors?


When it comes to the children’s book self-publishing process, it pays to know in advance what steps are coming up. By understanding the children’s book self-publishing process, you’ll be able to avoid making mistakes at the start, which could come back and haunt you in the end.

In this article on the children’s book self-publishing process, we’ll be focusing on:

  1. Story Creation Stage
  2. Book Planning Stage
  3. Editing Stage
  4. Illustration Stage
  5. Layout Stage
  6. Cover Design Stage
  7. Uploading and Self-Publishing Stage
  8. Social Media and Marketing Stage
  9. Bonus Tips for Children’s Book Authors


A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Step 1 – The Story Creation Stage

This is the very first step in the children’s book self-publishing process. You’ll need to answer the following questions before you get started:

  1. What Age Group are you Writing this Children’s Book For? – What’s your ideal age range, and will the story be meaningful for them in the age range you choose?
  2. What Type of Children’s Book are you Writing? – The main options you have as a children’s book author are picture books, early reader books, and chapter books.
  3. How Many Pages Would You Like the Final Children’s Book to Be? – Most children’s picture books are a minimum of 24 pages, and then increase by 4 pages. This has to do with bookbinding. If you end up with an odd number of pages, your printer may add blank pages to the end of the book. A children’s chapter book is typically between 15,000-20,000 words. However, you have a little wriggle room here.
  4. A Final Review of Your Story Before Sending It to the Editor – While self-editing is an essential step in the editing process, don’t get stuck in a loop of self-editing and rewriting. Remember, a book that is done is better than an unfinished book, and that’s why we have excellent children’s book editors. An unpublished book sitting on your computer will never sell a single copy.


Step 2 – The Book Planning Stage

This stage of the children’s book self-publishing process can come before or after the first step, the story creation stage, but it should be done as soon as possible so you have more time to research. You’ll need to answer the following questions before you get started:

  1. Decide Where you want to Self-Publish your Children’s Book! – Understanding where you plan on self-publishing your children’s book will help guide the rest of the process. The two biggest self-publishing platforms are Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark Publishing. To learn more about which self-publishing platforms are best for you as an author, check out Why Publishing on Amazon KDP and IngramSpark Makes Sense for Canadian Authors!
  2. The Children’s Book Self-Publishing ProcessWhat Formats Do You Want Your Children’s Book Created In? – You have four main options: ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook. Different self-publishing platforms offer different format and trim size options, so you may need to use multiple self-publishing platforms to get all your choices.
  3. Children’s Book Categories & Keywords – Your category and keyword choices are critical later on, so start working on these early. That way, when it’s time for book uploading, you aren’t panicking. There isn’t a sure-fire method for picking keywords and categories, so it’s trial and error. So keep track of all of this and update as you change things. Check out this article, Using Amazon KDP Keywords and Categories Correctly in Your Book, to learn more about Amazon KDP’s keywords and category options.
  4. Book Pricing and Royalties – Researching your competition in your chosen category or genre is an excellent way to find a price point that works for you while also being competitive. Remember, starting low is easier until you get some sales and reviews, and then you can increase the price later. How low you can price your children’s book will be determined by printing and shipping costs and your royalty option.
  5. Don’t Forget Your ISBNs – You need one ISBN per format, ebook, paperback, hardcover, or audiobook. To learn more about ISBNs, check out this article: Do I Need An ISBN for My Book In Canada?


Step 3 – Editing Stage

This stage is crucial. While some authors think a children’s book is short and they can edit it themselves, getting a professional edit will save you a lot of hassles later. With so little text in a children’s book, even the smallest type or grammar mistake stands out and is easy for readers to spot. If you get an editor specializing in children’s book editing, you can take your book to the next level. Below are some options in this stage depending on your story needs:

  1. A Manuscript Evaluation – A complete manuscript evaluation involves a thorough read-through of your entire manuscript while taking notes on details such as the project’s themes, title, premise, opening, genre, voice, style, format, flow, tense, dialogue, plot, character development, setting, writing habits, size, and overall strengths and weaknesses. If your work falls under the umbrella of children’s literature, a manuscript evaluation will also address reading level, breaking down your language and sentence structures to work perfectly for your target age range.
  2. Developmental Editing and Copyediting – Developmental editing takes a big-picture look at your children’s book, including all of the elements listed above in the manuscript evaluation, but then implements these changes in your manuscript. A copyedit is less involved and focuses on correcting grammatical errors, typos, and punctuation.
  3. Proofreading – Your proofreading is done after the layout/formatting of your children’s book is complete. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for typos before this. Reading your book out loud is the best way to spot any sneaky typos.


Step 4 – Illustration Stage

The illustration stage is probably the best and also the most fun part of the whole children’s book self-publishing process. This is where you take the text of your story and bring it to life with children’s book illustrations that work with the text, elevating it, not overpowering it. Below is how the illustration stage works:

Illustration Stage

  1. Decide what Style of Illustrations you Want! – This stage sounds easy but is often more complicated than you think. You might have already decided this, but if not, take a look at other children’s books for illustration inspiration.
  2. Review your Final Story and Break Down into Illustrations within a Word.doc File –Using a storyboard for this part of the children’s book self-publishing process can assist with this. It makes it easier to see it visually and also know how the pages will look.
  3. Create Illustration Lists – Under each illustration page, use bullets to indicate what you want to see in the illustrations. Try to be as specific as possible, as it will assist the illustrators in creating your vision. If you want something designed to look like a person or place, include photos.
  4. Hand Over the Illustration Guide – Once you have your illustrations planned out, it’s time to provide the instructions and text to your illustrator to start creating your pictures.


Step 5 – The Layout Stage

During the layout and formatting stage of the children’s book self-publishing process, the book formatter will put the illustrations and text together to create your print layout. Below are the critical points in the formatting and layout stage of your children’s book:

  1. 1st Draft of your Children’s Print Book – Your formatter will create the 1st print draft using your illustrations and text. The formatter will usually choose fonts based on the genre or illustrations. However, if you have any text preferences, please indicate that to your formatter before they start laying your book out to avoid them having to make changes later.
  2. Proofreading – Once you approve the print layout, this is where we suggest getting your editor to do the final proofreading. It’s a last check before we start ebook formatting and design and save you from having to pay for double edits in both formats of your book.
  3. Your eBook Creation – The ebook format you choose is particular to the self-publishing platform or platforms where you plan on self-publishing your book. Amazon KDP uses a Mobi fixed format file, and all other self-publishing platforms use the ePub fixed format file. They are two separate files, so you need to decide what the best route is for you if you are only looking for one. However, you can get both formats for an additional fee if you plan on uploading to multiple self-publishing platforms.


Step 6 – Cover Design Stage

With most children’s books, this stage of the book creation process can happen simultaneously with layout. Your children’s book cover is either a custom cover illustration or an illustration from inside the book, which has been modified to suit your cover layout. Check out the most essential steps in the cover design stage below:

  1. Adding Typography – The cover designer will take your illustration and add typography to the front cover, including elements like the title, sub-title, and author and illustrator names.
  2. Creating Print-Ready Templates – Once your front cover is approved, the cover designer will get your print templates ready from your chosen self-publishing platform. Different platforms, including Amazon KDP and IngramSpark Publishing, have slightly different paperback cover size requirements and involve creating multiple templates.
  3. Cover Print Files Finalized – At this stage, your cover print files will all be finalized and approved, ready for uploading to your chosen self-publishing platform.


Step 7 – The Self-Publishing Stage

This is the final step in the book creation process of your children’s book. Below, we’ll cover some of the most important things you’ll need to focus on, including:

  1. Create your Author Accounts – If you haven’t already, it’s an excellent time to create your self-publishing platform accounts on the self-publishing platforms you are looking to upload your children’s book to. Make sure you fill out all the banking and tax information once your account is created, as it won’t allow you to upload your children’s book without this information.
  2. Children’s Book Uploading – Now it’s time to upload your children’s book to the various self-publishing platforms using your list of categories, keywords, royalties, and pricing that you researched previously. If you need help uploading your children’s book, we offer guided and unguided book-uploading services perfect for new children’s book authors at Indie Publishing Group.
  3. Your Book is Live – Once your children’s book is loaded on the self-publishing platform and live, it’s time to start pushing your marketing. It’s also essential to order yourself and the author’s copy or proof copy just as a final visual check before you order bulk amounts of your book.


Step 8 – Social Media and Marketing Stage

Your marketing should be a non-stop process. You should be looking at marketing from all stages, as you really need to build up, and it’s not a quick process. Whatever you do, just make sure you research all marketing companies or promotions before handing over any money, as there are a lot of scammers out there. Do your research first. Check with other authors you know to see if they used any excellent marketing results and what results they achieved.

An author marketing plan is a brilliant way to prepare for your children’s book release. If you haven’t created one before, check out The Essentials of An Author Marketing Plan. Below are some ideas on how to easily promote your children’s book without relying on others to do it all for you:

  1. Build up Your Social Media Presence – You don’t need all the social media platforms, but look at which platforms will work best to reach your audience. We have found that Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are the best for children’s books, but each audience, book, and author differs.
  2. Less Is More – Instead of creating okay social media and marketing posts for five or six different platforms, focus on creating fantastic content on two or three.Social Media and Marketing Stage
  3. Don’t Forget Amazon Author Central – If you’re self-publishing on Amazon KDP, then be sure to create your Author Central profile on Amazon. It’s an excellent option for people to follow you on Amazon for updates. Still, it also allows you to update your profile, provide more information on you as an author, and announce new book releases to your followers.
  4. Goodreads for Authors – Goodreads is an excellent option for self-published authors, so make sure you go in and claim your books. Amazon will automatically add them to Goodreads, but creating them yourself means it will get all the information correctly, as often there are errors when Amazon adds them in.
  5. Author Website – Not all authors will need an author website straightaway or at all, but it’s a great option when you have the time and budget. You can create a basic author website relatively quickly, and it can help when promoting your books. If you want to sell books directly to readers, an author website is how we suggest you do it.



Bonus Tips


The Children’s Book Self-Publishing Process – Conclusion

There you go! Everything you ever wanted to know about the children’s book self-publishing process, from illustrations, formatting, editing, publishing, and marketing. It can feel a little overwhelming when you first start creating a children’s book, but with some help, research, and the right advice, you’ll be able to navigate the process successfully.

At Indie Publishing Group, we’re proud to assist Canadian and North American authors in self-publishing their books, including assisting with the children’s book self-publishing process.

If you are in the process of writing a book and need any assistance with paperback or ebook formattingcover designprofessional editing, or uploading to self-publishing sites such as Amazon KDP and IngramSpark, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. We also offer children’s book illustrations and children’s book formatting services.

Our experienced and professional self-publishing team is standing by to assist you with your self-publishing dreams. Do you have any additional writing or self-publishing questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly! One of our friendly and professional team members will get back to you ASAP!

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