Published: May 4, 2023
Publishing a children’s book can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for first-time authors. Amazon’s self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), allows you to publish your children’s picture book, the same as it does for any other book. It’s important to remember, though, that KDP provides a platform to sell your book; they do not create it for you. It is up to you to ensure that your book is professionally designed and edited before submitting it for publishing.
What’s the difference between publishing a novel or memoir and a kid’s book?
The publishing process is the same for any type of book –as long as your book size meets KDP’s specifications for print-on-demand publishing. However, creating a children’s book can be more challenging than other books.
Elements of a Children’s Book
Children’s books have more elements compared to a typical novel or memoir. The main differences are illustrations, structure, and storyboard. You can read more in our post about the Six Essential Elements of Children’s Picture Books.
Authors and Illustrators
While most fiction books are written by one author, the process of creating a children’s book involves, in most cases, a writer and an illustrator. Because illustrations are crucial to the success of the book, you want to find someone that understands your point of view and matches your style. The more capable you are at describing the setting and your characters and outlining not just the story but the illustrations, the easier project will be.
How to Write a Children’s Picture Book
- Brainstorming – The first step in writing a children’s picture book is to come up with an idea for the story, if you don’t already have one. Consider the age range of your target audience, the themes you want to explore, and any characters or settings that might be appropriate for your story.
- Outlining – Once you have an idea for the story, it’s important to create an outline. The outline should include the main characters, the plot, and any important events or themes that you want to explore.
- Writing – After you have created an outline, it’s time for the actual writing. Keep in mind the age range of your target audience and use appropriate language and sentence structures. Picture books typically have less than 1,000 words, and almost never more than 3,000 so make every word count.
- Editing – Yes, you should edit your children’s book manuscript. You can start with self-editing, but we always advise hiring a professional editor.
- Illustration – As said before, illustrations are a key element of a picture book. If you are not the illustrator of your book, look for someone who has experience working on children’s picture books and who understands your vision for the story.
- Layout – This involves deciding on the size of the book, the font, and the placement of the illustrations and text. At the end of the process, you want to have a single file that includes the text and the illustration in the order they should appear in the book.
Once the book is done, it’s time to move to publishing.
How to Publish a Children’s Picture Book on Amazon
Let’s review the steps to go from a completed and edited children’s book manuscript to a published book available for sale on Amazon.
- Asset review – Make sure your manuscript includes all the illustrations at the right resolution, the writing has been reviewed and edited, and you know the size of your book.
- Design your book – It is essential to have a professional-looking book cover and interior to catch the attention of potential readers. Your book cover is the first thing that people will see, and it needs to be eye-catching and relevant to the content of your book. We always recommend hiring a professional designer to create a unique and memorable design that will help your book stand out on Amazon.
- Create your Amazon KDP account – To publish on Amazon you need to create an account on Amazon’s self-publishing platform, KDP. This is a straightforward process that involves providing your personal information and bank account details for payment processing.
- Create the files for publishing – You need to generate the files for your cover and interior to meet KDP’s guidelines. You can either do this yourself or hire a professional designer to do it for you. Many authors of children’s books want a hardcover version of their books. If you are among them, you’ll need to repeat the process for each version. The hardcover edition requires a different cover and ISBN.
- Upload Your Book to KDP – Once your book is formatted correctly, you can upload your files to KDP. You will need to provide all the necessary details about your book (also known as metadata), including the title, author name, description, categories, and keywords to help readers find your book on Amazon.
- Set Your Price and Royalty – Next, you will need to set the price of your book. You can find more instructions on how to price your book and calculate your royalties on our blog. Pricing for a children’s book is particularly important as most books are printed in full color, which is more expensive than black and white. KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate, minus the cost of printing the book, on both paperback and hardcover editions.
- Publish Your Book – Once you have completed all the steps above, you can publish your book on KDP. It usually takes up to 72 hours for your book to appear on Amazon’s website, and once it is live, you can start promoting it to your target audience. We always recommend getting a printed-proof copy of your book before publishing.
If you need a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to self-publish your book, we offer an online class (now on sale!) that covers the publishing process. Alternatively, you can hire us to design and publish your book professionally!
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.