Self Publishing Children's Picture BooksSelf-published children's picture books
The Tale of Peter Rabbit was taken up within a year by Frederick Warne, one of the editors who initially rejected it. Today it is one of the best-selling and most popular children's books of all times. At Potter's times, the self-publication phenomena was scarce and costly, so The Tale of Peter Rabbit's first print did not contain colour casts.
Today, authors who want to republish themselves have several different publishing sites to chose from; Amazon's KDP Kids, BookBaby, Blurb and Lulu Jr. in particular are perfect for picture-writing. So I asked the frahlings Erin Murphy and Susan Hawk about their thoughts on the self-publication of children's books and what the picture book's possible futures might look like.
As a rule, conventional publishing houses choose and engage illustrations for the picture books they have commissioned. What is the best way for an author to find an artist - through an organisation like SCBWI or a creative college like RISD? Under most of the conventional publishing agreements, both the author and the illustrated artist are entitled to a royalty and are remunerated by a third person (the agency or the publisher).
Should in a multi-author situation one side be willing to pay a lump sum to the main writer and the other side, although most authors and graphic designers who are historically willing are warned not to take work for rent? -Erin Murphy: These are great places to find illustrations, and there are many more on-line.
Authors can be sure to look for illustrations who are particularly knowledgeable with picture books, because it is its own size. Textbook artists know how to upgrade a history in the arts, and they think of the subtleties such as different angles, blending commercial style with two-page and such.
There are a lot of on-line resources: you can see the work of illustrated artists on a story-telling plattform like Storybird, Kathy Temean's Writing and Illustrating Blog often shows new work by illustrated artists, and I am often intrigued by illustration that I see on websites that are not directly related to children's books like Etsy and Spoonflower.
On the trading bookshelf, picture books are usually 32 pages long, because 8-page signed machines are able to effectively produce large volumes of books. With self-released writers choosing print-on-demand (POD) rather than off-set publishing and probably not turning to conventional publishers to resell their work, is there any justification why these writers should not be satisfied with the default page number and number of words (usually 1,000 words or less) of picture books?
- Erin Murphy: The basic version is available because that's what the industry wants. Indeed, many historically-released picture books are currently 40 pages or even 48 pages that have sneaked under the radar, are they? If I receive inquiries or contributions from writers who have themselves written or are considering self-publication, they usually have text that is far too long to be successful in the conventional markets - and usually also far too didactical.
But I don't know that self-publishing will be a success when it comes to find these books as a audience, unless the author is willing to take an upfront look at what he is trying to achieve and rework to make the books as powerful as possible - fun, touching, not reading, that exists to learn something.
That is one of the marvellous things about self-publishing authors and performers do not have to follow the "rules" of tradition. It' s interesting to think about how self-published authors can shift borders within picture books. However, some of the regulations have developed from something systematic, such as the way books are produced; others come from what happens on the market, and that will impact any books, no matter how they are publsihe.
The first year students are beginning to learn how to write books. For example, school press children to start reading these early and first year students are beginning to write books. Since children move away from the picture books early, this means that the longer fairy tale book is no longer as much as before. This is a fact for all books, regardless of their origins. An intelligent self-publisher will deal with these tendencies, just like a conventional publishing house.
Attending schools can be very profitable for picture-perfect authors, sometimes even more than a royalty from their books. Is schooling a top of the list for self-published picture-book authors, as their books are probably not available in bookshops and they can earn much more per copy than traditional authors?
When self-released picture-book authors without a proven success rate approach a college, what should they be expecting? Although endorsements are not usually requested by authors and teachers for picture books in the commercial world, do you think they would help in the self-publishing world? Or, should these authors concentrate more on getting coverage from popular magazines like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus or Library Journal to gain credence?
- Erin Murphy: The only way I can recommend a picture author or illustrated artist (as distinct from those who work in other formats) to release themselves is if they have a built-in store for the work. When they are publishing in a recess where they have specialist knowledge and know sales points that would not be skillfully used by conventional publishing houses, or when they are active in visiting schools for books that have been previously released and are out of stock, they see a great need, or when they go to schools in a different ability - as storytellers, shall we say, it can make good to have a self-released work.
In my opinion, many of our playwrights go into self-publication without knowing how much work is invested in the sale of the shares they do. If you have a sound roadmap to get through to your readers, or you have costly crates of books in your car park. Suzan Hawk: Back when I was doing penguin book schooling and library marketing for young readers, my division was running my schooling for all penguin editors, so I am a great creditor in their authority to establish the profile of an editor, and I would be encouraging any editor, whether or not he publishes it himself, to persecute them.
Authors and graphic designers need a website that outlines their books and the kind of programmes they do at school - are you discussing the writein? Make a leaflet describing your books and programmes (keep it short) and hand it in to your school, library and bookstore. Considering that publishing digitally is a relatively low-risk venture, do you imagine that conventional publishing houses offer first editions for picture books or simple people?
Will this be something that self-publishers can test the water before they invest in the high costs of creating manuals, including factors such as trimming sizes and materials, colour consistence and picture definition? Are there a certain number of online purchases (without free downloads) or hits on a certain page that you should be able to access before you plan an edition?
- Erin Murphy: It looks like it' s not a good way for picture books. Myself is feeling that most picture books sellers are supplementing prints as if parents want a copy they can have with them lightly in doctors' waiting rooms or in the vehicle, perhaps when they did not foresee the need to fill out the copy that is on the picture books shelves at home.
Hawk: As far as digitally publishing is concerned, I don't think anything is off the desk! When and how conventional publishing houses are offering digital-first, I cannot say..... yet. I feel that there are as many problems with the self-publication of a picture album in the electronic form as there are with printing - it's just a change in technology and the associated detail.
Like when deciding whether or not to pay a lump sum, the number of digitally generated purchases or hits that make up an edition depends on the author or graphic artist and his or her objectives. Which are some of the best ways to advertise your illustration books for kids on line? As it is usually the illustration that sells a picture album, is making a books trailers or other type of videos from the illustration an efficient advertising strateg?
- Erin Murphy: But even the production of a movie doesn't help, unless you have a few places where you can use it. Here, too, self-publishing is best when the writer has an existing presence and a good name in a particular niche area. Are you an veterinarian who knows how to deal with children and adults about pets, you have a good excuse to publish a movie trailers or a commentary in a blogs in your on-line world.
As a handicraft specialist who is often at handicraft exhibitions across the nation and has a large following in the handicraft fellowship and you have a self-published handicraft guide, you have a logical valve. This can be a great challange for self-published authors; it can also be great if you concentrate on the things you like most ( "and that will be efficient, of course).
Now I haven't seen much use of Pinterest or Instagram for picture books, though it's a good notion ( and maybe I just haven't been noticing the folks using those sites). Despite all the proof to the contrary, there is still the stigmatism that picture books (and children's books in general) are much more easy to read than grown-up books.
You think the "I can do it" approach encourages more of us to post picture books ourselves? Most of them have good plans - there are the incumbent authors of novels who want to experiment with a new generation, those who see a market niche and want to raise their kids on a certain subject, and those businessmen with a built-in sales outlet who want to develop their brands.
How do "hobby authors" differ from the real "authors"? -Erin Murphy: The real "authors" (beautiful word!) have really formed instead of having a few full loopholes with fantasy truth about how publishing works. You don't have a bright opinion of how simple it is; they have actually learnt how bookshops work, why things are done the way they are in conventional publishing (and what parts of that they should do themselves or someone should be paying to do), what is involved if one wants to start the shop of the sale of your own books, how many you need to sale to even fraction and real-world how long it takes.
You also know in which classes different subjects are dealt with in the syllabus, what else exists on this subject and whether a perceptible niche in the markets is actual or not. It is sometimes more about not transferring one's personal/political perspective to other human beings than if everything that is necessary to get more human beings to consent to you is a work... for children!
It is sometimes a matter of believing that children should know something at a younger stage of life than makes good sense to most of them. Occasionally this space is filled to the brim and the author thinks that looking at the bookshelves of a bookshop and/or public librarian is enough research. Undoubtedly there are more self-published picture books than 10 years ago, but I don't think there has been an explosive development in this class, as in others.
But what I really like about self-publication is what you point out here - that it gives these authors and graphic designers with a certain public the opportunity to be there. For example, the large publishers are not suitable for certain local books. It' s great that so many books that may not otherwise have found their readers can now.
In accordance with DBW, the use of electronic literacy (on e-readers, trays and telephones) is also on the increase for small kids and the kids are more autonomous when shopping now. Which further national and international tendencies do you see in children's books? Imagine a days when digitally animated children's books will be as much loved as printed books?
- Erin Murphy: -No. But from the era of early acceptance of electronic books, I have felt that it is just another media, and I have felt that the best books come from the long-noticed processes of dieting and curating that conventional publishing provides. Of course there will always be exemptions, and there will be changes in tech and in the market, and commercially there will be new things to try - but to reach most people, you need to produce a great work with the help of expert people and find the reader who will like it.
I would really like to see a better existence of a picture album in the field of photography than in printing - one that is really enhanced by the existence on this plate. The most I have seen so far are display copies of printed books, with some clocks and pipes that make my children sleep.
But there is a heat dissipation in the field of electronic technology that I have not yet seen obscured by an ingenuity within the plattform. -Erin Murphy (@agentemurph) is the founding member of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, which concentrates on developing a professional and social life. Erin Preferred Agents work editorialally with her customers to create their submissions by looking at the overall picture of each customer and their work, imagining a way for a long-term carreer, and deciding to work with really friendly, committed individuals.
Elizabeth is based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Suzan Hawk (@susanhawk) is Frahlingin at The Bent Agency and represents every kind of children's work. Recent customer work has included The Graham Cracker Plot by Shelley Tougas (Roaring Brook), 17 First Knocks by Rachael Allen (Harper Teen) and The Ninja Librarians (Sourcebooks).
Prior to working as an agent, she worked for fifteen years in children's books at Penguin, Henry Holt and North-South Books; she also worked as an editor at Dutton Children's Books and as a children's library and bookselling books.