Here we go...A few things that saved my behind as a newbie Indie Children's Author plus a few things I wish I had known then but am glad I know now.
Let's get into it...in no particular order of importance
1. Research! Research! Research! Go to libraries and bookstores and check out every children's book in sight. Figure out what you do and don't like and take note of it. Use this as inspiration and a guide for how to layout your book.
2. Don't rush the process. You are in control, (one of the benefits of being an indie Author) and you have the power to set your own deadlines according to what's going on in your world. Rushing the process often leads to settling in subtle ways. Just don't...
3. Establish your WHY early on and remember it when things get frustrating, which they will. This goes for any new project, whether it be a children's book or not. New is sometimes scary, and that fear can lead to overwhelm, hence tip #2, enjoy the journey. You will regret it if you don't.
4. Join Author Facebook Groups. They do actually exist. I must warn you that they can be a bit overwhelming, at least for me they are, but they are helpful nonetheless. It's important to surround yourself with others on a similar journey, as your friends and family, even if they support you, will simply not understand.
5. Spread the word NOW, don't wait. Looking back, this is definitely something I wish I had done. Once you make it up in your mind that that is something you are committed to doing, start sharing the great news with any and everyone who will listen. It helps build momentum and excitement before you are ready to sell. If you get your social media and email list set up beforehand, which you should, you can start to build a following and will have a built in audience when its Go time!
6. Find the balance between freelance and industry professional. Let's be honest, you get what you pay for. We all know that this holds true in most instances. It is what it is. Every now and again we get lucky and catch a great deal at a fraction of what its worth, but most likely, if it is abnormally cheap, there's a reason. The process of writing a children's book(s) is not cheap, but you also don't have to "break the bank." Try freelance websites and check within your network for people to join you on the journey. Remember that your work product is a reflection of you so put your best foot forward.
7. Be prepared to give away FREE copies. I can't say I completely grasped this concept immediately, but I quickly adapted. In hindsight, I would have started forming relationships with book reviewers, influences, etc. pre- book launch, but hey, you live and you learn, right? Determine the number of books you are prepared to give away for free and strategically select people in the children's lit space to connect with to send copies to in exchange for reviews of your book.
8. Take advantage of as many free tools and resources as possible. You have likely already heard of graphic design apps/websites like Canva, but I cannot tell you enough how frequently I find myself popping open that little blue app with the white C on it. It does take a little patience to learn how to get your graphics jussssst right, but once you do, you might just become a tad bit addicted like me.
9. Negotiate! This is important for profit margins when it comes to purchasing bulk copies to keep on hand. Obviously this won't apply to POD pricing but if you plan to personally sell books in bulk or at in person events, this is something to keep in mind. Don't be afraid to shop around with different local or smaller print companies to compare print costs. Many of us have a WHY that doesn't involve the money we expect to make from the books we write, HOWEVER, it is absolutely ok to want to do well financially as a result of putting good work into the world.
Last but not least....
10. Be a walking billboard! Even if you are not ready or interested in launching merchandise to compliment your book, you must represent your brand every chance you get. Create or purchase customized swag like t-shirts, sweatshirts, buttons, hats, jackets, phone cases, car magnets, etc. Don't forget to have business cards on hand at all times, but especially when you are wearing your swag. People will be intrigued and possibly ask questions and handing them a card is both professional and good for business.
So there it is, 10 tips for the first time self publisher, from a first time self publisher! I have already learned a ton on this journey and continue to find new ways to better myself as a new Indie Author! I hope you find it valuable and find success in implementing these tips on your journey as well.
P.S. Drop a comment below and tell me what your favorite tip is or add to what I have included above with something you have found useful. I can't wait to hear from you!