How to self-publish a children’s book

Ever wondered about how to self-publish a children’s book? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I will take you through what you need to know.

Children’s books are important because they give children of all ages the ability to react to books while also developing their emotional maturity, imagination, interpersonal skills, and character.

Literature made for children is made to teach valuable lessons about life. Many people who have grown up reading books as children have felt a positive impact in their adulthood.

Children who read are more likely to have an active imagination and a fun outlook on life. Authors of this genre have stood the test of time; think Dahl or Dr. Seus!

If you’ve got a story to tell and are brave enough to share it with the world, then being a self-published author might be for you.

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the practice of an author handling all aspects of the editorial process independently or using their funds, comprising of printing, reviewing, editing, layout, cover art, and publication promotion. You can accomplish this without the aid of a formal publication or publishing industry.

Becoming a self-published author is relatively easy as long as you prepare yourself for the challenges along the way. You will have to do all these steps by yourself, but that’s what makes it astounding because, at the end of the line, it will be satisfying when you’ve successfully published your book.

Steps on How to be a Self-published Children’s Book Author

1. Write your Book

It might seem logical but the first thing you need to do is write. Without a manuscript there is nothing to self-publish.

When it comes to a children’s book, you first need to decide are you writing fiction or non-fiction. Then, which type of children’s book are you going to write. I have listed the different classifications below:

  • Picture Books – usually for 2-8 year olds, have 50 – 1000 words (commonly less than 500) and contain mainly pictures to tell the story. Have a look at JMcG Books for an example of self-published children’s picture books
  • Early Reader – for children who are just learning to read by themselves, usually from 5-9 year old
  • Chapter Books –  for children ages 7-9 and they are 4,000-15,000 words in length. They are broken up into chapters
  • Middle Grade – for children 8-12 year old. Books in this genre usually include 20,000-40,000 words. The age of reader is connected to the age of the main character.
  • Young Adults –  for readers aged 12-18. Books in this genre are 40,000-80,000 words in length.

2. Edit Your Manuscript

Once you have written your children’s book, you need to edit it. I highly recommend you don’t edit it yourself as it is easy to miss things. When hiring an editor, they shouldn’t just look at grammar and spelling, there is development editing and line editing as well and each are looking at different parts of your work.

Read my article about how to edit a book for more information.

3. Have your artwork ready

Being a self-published author means creating layouts and the art yourself. The option to commission someone to do it for you is good if art is not your strength. I recommend Fiverr or Upwork to find freelancers who you can hire to do this for you at a reasonable cost.

Using pictures you have taken from the internet is a big no-no, especially if you don’t have the legal rights. Make sure your art is of high quality, has a good resolution, and is original.

If drawing yourself, you should use a high-resolution scanner to ensure the art you’re using is of excellent quality for printing.

4. Get an ISBN Number and Barcode

The ISBN and barcode will give your book its identity, making it an officially published work of literature. You can purchase an ISBN from different organisations in your country. In the US and Australia – Thorpe-Bowker is quite popular.

Once you have an ISBN, you can use this to create a barcode using free internet tools available online. Some organisations charge for a barcode, this is a waste of money and not necessary when there are tools for free.

This part has to be the most straightforward process of all. Once you have the ISBN and barcode, your book is halfway ready to be published!

5. Layout

Once you have the illustrations you need, you know how to create layouts for your book. This includes the typography, especially if it is a picture book. There are lots of easy-to-use software available, both free and paid, that you can use to do this.

You need to layout your book so that it will be easy to read for your young readers. If this is not your strength, you can commission freelance layout artists who can do it for you for a reasonable price. Again, I recommend Fiverr or Upwork.

6. Make Sure You Have the Copyrights to your Work

This step is essential to protect your rights as a creator and your future revenue. Copyrighting ensures no one else has the right to print or publish your work without your permission. You can register your work online and pay a fee to ensure it is safe and secure from anyone who wants to steal and profit from it.

If you have commissioned a freelancer to create images for you, make sure you have the commercial rights to these and it is documented as proof.

7. Printing and Advertising

You made it to the end! It is now time to print your work. The easiest way to sell your book is to use Amazon or like services that offer print on demand. This way the book is printed only when it is purchased meaning you don’t have to have printed books in stock which can be very expensive if they don’t sell and you don’t have to worry about shipping.

With Amazon, it is generally a third for printing, a third for Amazon (as you are using their platform) and a third for you in royalties. Again, this is just a guide and does depend on the price of your book.

Pros of Being a Self-Published Author

Being a children’s book author is an excellent career as children are more likely to read than adults. They have more leisure time than most adults, so it’s easy for them to pick up a book and read for hours. Aside from this, there are many advantages to being a self-published children’s book author.

Here are some of them:

1. Create your brand and identity

If you’re a self-published author, you will have total control over your work. Many successful authors began as self-published authors before they became well-known. They could have complete creative control over the narrative of their story without having to follow orders from bosses.

Once you are an established author and have been signed to a publishing company to release your work to a greater mass, your voice will be valued more if you were able to create a brand and identity for your work. You won’t be ordered and told what to do because your work had already sold before you signed up with a publishing company.

2. More Income from Royalty

Because you work for yourself and have fewer people to pay, you’ll be making more money as a self-published author. You’re the one doing everything; instead of paying a group of staff to run around and do things, you’re capable of doing it yourself.

Publishing companies also take a considerable amount from sales of the books made by authors signed on to them. So being a self-published author is an economically wiser decision than other options.

3. No deadlines

Being a self-published author means you don’t have a boss to answer to. If this is more of a passion for you than a job, then being self-published is the best option. You get to brew into your creativity without sacrificing the quality of your work so that you can pop out one book after another.

Selling out and being money-making machines is a problem for many authors working under big bosses. By doing everything by yourself, you’ll have the liberty to carry on and use your voice to create your masterpiece.


The voice of self-doubt in your mind is something all people have; it is just up to you how you would overcome this fear to achieve your dream.

Do not be afraid to share your story with the rest of the world. Dare to be the voice of the next generation and inspire them to be exemplary people of this society with your stories. You don’t know whose lives you’re going to change! Be brave and publish that book today!

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