A monthly column by Anthony D. Fredericks
For many writers, self-publishing is a path to publication that offers a great deal of control and the possibility of profits traditionally unavailable in the competitive world of commercial publishing. Authors who have experienced months (or even years) of rejection often turn to self-publishing as a way to take charge of their writing careers.
Self-publishing your children’s book carries some risks and uncertainties. It’s not for everyone, but it does offer a viable option to all those rejection letters you may have accumulated. But, it’s important that you go into the world of self-publishing with your eyes wide open. Here are some of the positives of this burgeoning field:
It offers a viable option for getting your manuscript into print. When you consider the fact that as many as 95% of all manuscripts submitted to children’s publishers are rejected, then the thought of taking charge of your story by publishing it yourself seems quite inviting. That pile of rejection e-mails and letters sitting on your desk may be calling out to you, “Hey, you know you can still get your book published without having to deal with all those people who don’t know a good story when they see one!”
Everyone has a virtual library in their pocket. As I write this, there are approximately five billion cell phones in use around the world. That means that more than 63% of the population of the planet has a cell phone. That’s a fairly large audience for an e-book, don’t you think? Self-publishing gives you the opportunity of reaching this very sizable audience at a very small cost. The challenge, of course, is making the public aware of your book, but the possibilities are limitless.
You have complete and total control over the production process. With self-publishing, you are in total control. You manage all the editing, all the production, all the profits, all the marketing, and all the distribution. You are a total publishing company wrapped up in a single individual. All the decisions are yours—as well as all the risks. This can be a wonderful opportunity to become a company unto yourself.
Your profit margin is higher. If you publish your book the traditional way, the finances and profits are heavily weighted in favor of the publisher. If a traditional children’s picture book (hardback) sells for $16.95, you (as the author) will earn 5% of that sales price—a mere $0.85. If you do the math, very quickly you will see that you’ll need to sell a ton of books to make any kind of decent profit. On the other hand, with a self-published book all the profits are yours. Instead of 5% of the profits, you have the potential to take in 100% of the profits.
It can open doors to traditional publishing. Every once in a while, lightning strikes, and a self-published book is picked up by a traditional publisher and goes on to sell millions of copies. By the same token, by successfully selling a self-published book yourself, and building up a sizable audience, you now have some “ammunition” to approach traditional publishers with a well-established platform. By proving you have a viable audience, traditional publishers will be more apt to take a much closer look at any future manuscripts you may generate.
There is a wide variety of e-book publishers. With the popularity of e-books, a serious industry has sprouted to assist prospective authors in getting their books published. If interested in this option, you would be well advised to do your homework and systematically research each of these firms to determine the best one for you. You will note that the services and conveniences between these businesses vary widely. Take your time and select the one that best meets your needs.
NEXT MONTH: The negatives of self-publishing.
|In discussions with blogmaster Laura Parnum of Eastern Penn Points, a change is coming to the “Navigating Nonfiction” column. We’d like to offer a wider range of writing topics—for both fiction and nonfiction authors—for maximum impact to our readers. Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following: characterization, plot, points of view, overcoming writer’s block, contracts, editing, common writing mistakes, how to generate ideas, how to begin a story, how to end a story, manuscript formats, verbal clutter, hybrid publishers, and self-publishing. Also included could be a Q&A section.
But first, we need a title for this new column on writing children’s books . . . and that means a contest! WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST AS A COLUMN TITLE? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than July 10, 2019 (please use “Column Contest” in the subject line). The person submitting the winning title (as determined by Laura and myself) will win an autographed copy of Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published (https://amzn.to/2YbaS0D).
So, fire up those brain cells and send along some possible column titles (there’s no limit to the number of potential titles you can submit). The winning title will begin headlining the (“new and improved”) column in August 2019.
Tony is an award-winning author of more than fifty children’s books. He has also authored Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published (https://amzn.to/2tREKCa).