4 Essential Steps to Succeeding as an Independent Author

Publishing a book is not easy–any author can tell you that. Signing with a traditional publisher is often a challenging and lengthy process, and if you’re successful in signing with a publisher, you then forfeit the rights to book. For authors who want to maintain a sense of freedom and rights over their content, self-publishing can be a very rewarding route.

If you are venturing into the world of self-publishing a children’s book, here’s a list of four things that you absolutely need to do:

  1. Write, write, write…and when you think you’re done, write some more.
    1. If you’re thinking “I’ve written and rewritten this concept a couple times, I’m ready to publish,” you’re wrong. A book that has only been written and revised a couple of times is not ready to be published. If you want to put out the best book possible, it’s important to continue to write, edit, and revise until you are 100% satisfied with the final draft.
  2. Hire an illustrator and editor–just because you’re independently publishing doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.
    1. If you’re interested in creating a children’s book just for fun, you can go ahead and skip this step. However, if you’re interested in publishing a well-made and successful children’s book, this step is absolutely necessary. Having a good editor and illustrator exponentially increases the quality and marketability of your book.
      1. Ironically, the old adage of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” doesn’t apply to books very well… especially children’s books. Readers shop with their eyes first–quality illustrations can make or break the success of your book.
      2. Do you research to find an editor and illustrator that are not only interested in executing your vision but also aren’t afraid to give you some push back for improvement.
  3. Build an audience.
    1. One of the main setbacks of being a self-published author is that you don’t have the name, power, or pre-established audience of a publisher to help market your book. That’s why it’s incredibly important to build a dedicated audience before you even publish your book. Here are two great ways to start building an audience:
      1. Get active on social media–pick a couple platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and consistently engage with your audience and others in the industry to build credibility. Find where your audience is most active, and start making connections. Check out this article on how to become a savvy social media marketer.
      2. Connect with an offline community–talk to your local schools and libraries about potential partnerships for more exposure.
  4. Consider working with a hybrid-publisher.
    1. A reputable hybrid-publisher offers a lot of the benefits of traditional publishing while still giving authors a considerable amount of freedom over their books. Since hybrid-publishers are more selective in the projects they take on, they are more likely to be invested in bringing your book up to industry standards.
    2. Here’s a comprehensive guide by the Independent Book Publishers Association that outlines what you should be taking into consideration when working with a hybrid-publisher.

Becoming a successful, self-published children’s book author is no small feat. However, with effort and a good network of connections, it’s not an impossible feat by any means.

Leave a comment below telling us what publishing route you would take!