Children's book Author Lance Waite.
Author tips and suggestions for manuscript preparation, book design, selling and marketing Publishing Tips after the manuscript.
So your great idea has finally made it from your head to the paper. Now what?
Well, if you are lucky enough to be able to "self publish", great, it will make its way to print. But even if you planned from the beginning to self publish, you will need help. I would recommend two different companies and you can find them on-line. On the less expensive side there is Dragon Pencil a Big Tent Books company www.dragonpencil.com. Dragon Pencil does all of their work in line with you.
They are very organized and have an extensive checklist to help you get through all the steps needed to get your book published. You are in the driver seat with them, though, you have to push them. They will give you a list of illustrators and recommend one for your story.
They will provide some editing services and some comments on the illustrations, but it is you in the end that makes ALL the decisions, so you need to be prepared. Their website access and process for tracking changes and emails is great and will help keep you on track. They will call or send reminder emails out when you have not done what you are suppose to by a certain time, but if you wait for that it will take years to finish the process. Their prices are reasonable.
They have packages for every level or stage of the process. In the end, you can get your book to print as fast as 9 months with this process. After this stage you will need a distribution or "fulfillment" company to take your books and get them on Amazon or other book selling locations. You will also need a marketing company or help in marketing and getting your book out there to the public. If you want or need more guidance and more assistance with the big decisions then I would recommend Author Marketing Experts, Inc. It is a well established company in the field of children's book publishing and marketing.
They can provide you with ALL the pieces to completing your book down to marketing and distribution. AME has most of the resources in line to get you onto the shelves. No matter which route you take as a self publisher, you will need a "marketing plan" for your books to have even the slightest chance of getting onto the shelves in the Barnes and Nobles of the world. This plan must outline the book, and the entire process you are willing to make to "get the word out". These plans can be as many as 50 pages in length for a children's book alone. Do your research on how to put this together. But, if you are hoping to get a publisher to pick it up and take it on as a project there are a couple of quick and simple things to know.
1) Do NOT get it illustrated. The publishers want to do that on their own, believe it or not. I know it seems like you have all these images in your head, but they don't care. They only want to sell books, period.
2) Try getting a Literary Agent to take on your manuscript. They generally only want a manuscript. No illustrations either. A Literary Agent will read your manuscript and if they like it enough they will help you sell it to the larger publishing houses. Just Google "literary agents" and you should get a number of responses. Be sure to choose one that specializes in children's books, many do not accept children's books.
3) This route is wrought with a very high percentage of stories that never make it to the market. So be prepared for a lot of rejection, before getting the right Agent or Publisher.
4) The smaller publishers will do nothing to market or distribute your book. So be prepared for this stage and try to get a larger more commercial publisher. This is the hardest stage, probably much harder than writing or selling the idea to an Agent. Most of all, if you believe in your idea and your story, don't give up. But don't quit your daytime job either.
Children's book author.