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7 Steps for New Authors

So, you’ve finished writing your children’s book, and you’re ready to send it out

Once you’re done celebrating, it’s time to figure out what your next steps are

In this article, we’ll give you a step by step guide for how to publish a

Just like with all other kinds of fiction, there are three possible paths for publishing a children’

If a publishing house loves your book, they’ll sign a contract with you

In addition, they’ll pay you an advance against royalties before your book even gets published, which

Independent or “indie” publishing is an increasingly popular publishing path

Independent publishers are smaller presses that accept unsolicited manuscripts

Indie publishers vary widely in terms of how much they pay you and how much control they

When you self-publish a book, you oversee the entire publication process on your own

You’re responsible for deciding who edits the manuscript, who makes the illustrations, how the book gets

You’ll need to act as a businessperson and a marketing expert in addition to being a

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for which publishing path you should take

If you want to choose your own illustrator or even use your own illustrations in your children’

Selling your children’s book to traditional publishers will cost you nothing, while self-publishing successfully will require

It’s important not to send your book out into the world before it’s ready

Does your book have a clear beginning, middle, and end? Are the characters interesting and engaging? Are

If you know other children’s book writers, you can offer to read each other’s manuscripts

Additionally, you can find great communities of critique partners on online forums and social media

On the other hand, if the consensus is that your manuscript is ready, it might be time

Here are the seven steps to follow to get traditionally published

A single typo or grammatical error might not be a dealbreaker, but if your book is littered

You should complete both developmental editing and copyediting before you seek publication

Developmental editing focuses on big-picture issues like character, plot, and theme, while copyediting focuses on your line-level

Start by figuring out which age category your book belongs in and ensuring you’re within your

Are you writing fantasy, adventure, or mystery? Does your book include any tropes that are popular in

You can go to your local bookstore and look for the place on the shelf where your

Figuring out which books are popular in your category can help you decide how to pitch your

That means you’ll need a literary agent to submit your manuscript for you

There are many resources online that can help you search for literary agents

Compile a list of at least 20 literary agents who seem like a good fit for your book

Querying can be a long process, so it’s good to give yourself a lot of options

To begin with, you’ll need a query letter, which is a cover letter that briefly pitches

If you’re writing a picture book, most agents will ask for the entire manuscript

If you’re writing a middle grade or young adult novel, most agents will only ask for

Now it’s time to start sending out your submission package!

That way, you aren’t left waiting for months at a time for a single person to

While you’re querying, you can also submit your manuscript directly to publishers

You can start by looking at independent children’s book publishers that publish books in your genre

Some traditional publishers also have imprints, which are trade names for specific groups of books, that accept

Once you have an offer, congratulations! You’ve made it past the hardest step toward publishing a

There are a lot more steps you’ll need to take before your book reaches readers, such

If you’ve decided self-publishing is a better path for you, your journey will look very different

Instead of creating a submission package, you’ll be focusing on preparing your self-published book for readers

If you don’t set a budget in advance to help you prioritize where your money goes,

A professional illustrator will charge thousands, or even tens of thousands, for a full children's picture book

It’s important to determine how much you’ll be able to invest in each step, so

Once you know your budget, it’s time to polish your manuscript to perfection!

You can consider hiring a developmental editor and a copyeditor if you have room for those services

ProWritingAid can help you improve sentence flow, replace clichés, and polish your writing to match industry

Many children’s books require illustrations, especially picture books and books for early readers

You might want pictures that are fun and bright, or you might want pictures that are muted

You can find illustrators through websites like Children’s Illustrators and Hire an Illustrator, or even social

If you like the samples, you can hire them to illustrate the entire book

Book design includes page layout, font choice, book trim size, the front and back cover design, and

All these steps are crucial if you’re writing a picture book, since picture books rely more

Alternatively, there are resources online that can help you design and format your book on your own

An ISBN is a thirteen-digit universal ID for your book, which you’ll often see at the

You’ll need to buy a separate ISBN for each edition of your book, such as paperback,

You can also consider investing in P-CIP data, a PCN number, and other book identifiers

Some of the most popular platforms include Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, Barnes & Noble Press, and Lulu

Alternatively, you can use an offset book printer, which often gives you higher quality results, especially with

The downside is that they usually require you to pay for and store at least 500 books upfront

You can plan a launch event, such as a book signing at your local bookstore or a

And that’s it—make your first sale, and you’re officially a professional author!

The cost of publication depends on which publishing path you choose

If you self-publish a book, you’ll need to invest a lot of money upfront before you

If you choose traditional or indie publishing, on the other hand, you can absolutely publish your children’

Similarly, publishing houses should pay you—you will never have to pay them

If you sell 1,000 copies and make $1 on each, you can expect to make $1,000 in royalties

If you work with a publishing house, they’ll usually pay you an advance against royalties

Advances can range from $0 to six-figure sums, depending on how well they think your book will sell

Fewer than 1% of all aspiring authors manage to get a traditional publishing deal

The good news is that the authors who succeed are those who persevere

You’ll gain new skills and experience with every children’s book you write

Many famous children’s book authors never sold their first book, but achieved commercial success with their

As we mentioned earlier, you can absolutely publish children’s books for free if you choose the

Spending money is never required in order to traditionally publish a book, but it can be a

For example, hiring a professional editor to look over your story can help you take it to

Hiring an editor on your own can give you a higher chance of being accepted into traditional