Can You Self-Publish a Picture Book?

Can You Self-Publish a Picture Book?

Lots of people want to write picture books. Part of the reason for this may be that they think that the task is easier because picture books are so much shorter than novels, but most of it probably stems from the fact that picture books are children’s first readers, and parents and other adults remember picture books that they loved as well as picture books that they read to their own children or young nieces and nephews. Whatever the motivation, many writers are not sure whether they can self-publish a picture book. The process seems much more complicated than publishing a novel. The fact is that picture books can easily be self-published, but you have to keep a few things in mind. This isn’t an in-depth look at the topic but if you’re looking for more information on how to publish a children’s book Reedsy has a pretty detailed article on the topic.

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Picture Books do not Sell Well on Digital Platforms

The first thing that you should know about picture books is that they do not sell well on digital platforms. One of the reasons is that people prefer a physical book so that they can read it to the children at bedtime. It is pretty difficult at present to read a book with your child on a digital device because you need to both be able to see it easily. Books just make more sense for bedtime reading.

It Can Be Difficult to Format Picture Books for Self-Publication

Picture books can be a nightmare to format, which is why many people avoid self-publishing them altogether. While there are methods for getting them uploaded to digital platforms, the fact is that formatting the text and illustrations within a book for young children often requires an expert – and most people cannot afford this expertise. Reedsy has been working on novel writing software to make that process easier.

Picture Books Can Be Really Hard to Market

Picture books are difficult to market even when they are in physical form from a traditional publisher. One of the things that make them harder to market is the fact that Amazon and other retailers pay you a lower royalty due to the increased size of the book. The more pictures there are, the bigger your book size is and the less money goes to you. In addition, you are not going to be listed in the industry catalogs that libraries and schools buy from. This is where a significant percentage of children’s books are purchased, and getting listed in these catalogs when you are a self-published author is difficult and impossible if you are strictly digital. You will likely need to make sure you hire yourself a good book publicist to help.

Picture Books Are Harder to Write Than People Think

Most people think that writing picture books is easy to do. The truth is, Dr. Seuss was a genius not a two bit poet. It is actually quite difficult to write good children’s books, but many people think that they are good at it and editors have to sift through this pile every year to find the small percentage of authors who actually do have the talent to write children’s books. With self-publishing, and without an editor to guide you, you will have an even more difficult time.