So You Want To Create A Book

personal life, rojo book -

So You Want To Create A Book

For those of you who have a deep desire to someday publish your own book, here was the research I found while going through this process. Please keep in mind, this is all from my research, it may not be accurate as I can only speak with 100% certainty the path I actually went down (i.e. publishing through Mascot Books). Do your own research for your own path. I knew that with Rojo's fanbase, there would be a market already in place for my book so I sought out information pertaining to sell with confidence my product. Ask yourself your honest purpose for creating a book and what you think can realistically come from it and search out answers in relation to that. 

Originally, I was planning on going through Lightning Source to self-publish. Lightning Source is owned by Ingram Sparks which is a well-renowned publishing company. If you want something just for you and friends/family from your book or you are uncertain of the level of success your book might have, self-publishing is the way to go. Large publishing houses involve you sending in your story to MAYBE get a response back (in 4-5 months). Even then, they hire the illustrator and you and the illustrator split 3-4% of the profits from the book. They also own the rights to your book and the illustrator typically gets a larger portion. If you are in the Portland/Vancouver area, there is a really great children's book publisher called Ripple Grove Press. I sent my manuscript first to them, and alas, never heard back...

Lightning Source is the most recommended self-publishing site I found. They aren't a hard-bound book but they are very good looking. I met Kristy Cameron who is an author who uses them for all of her books and they are really nice! They just aren't hard-bound.

Lightning Source is a print-on-demand service so you don't need to order a million copies of your book up front. You can order as many or as little as you'd like so your funds aren't all wrapped up in a bunch of inventory.

With that in mind, you shouldn't even need to host a kickstarter unless you like the idea of people pre-ordering your book so you have the funds for inventory before you order. That might be helpful for you and also help friends & family feel attached to the project before it's released. I would recommend looking on Kickstarter under "children's books" to see what their goals are, if they've been met, and what type of rewards they offer for pledges for some ideas.

My funding was necessary because my illustrator was $6,000. Which is amazing because she dedicated 3 months of full-time to the project so I figure at $2,000 a month, that's less than I made bartending. She also needed to do a TON of research to accurately depict a baby llama from a 1yr old llama to an adult llama. If you notice in the book, there are 4 differently aged Rojo's and that took a lot of time and research to get. I also felt to have Rojo looking like Rojo, she was worth every penny. She not only illustrated amazing but she had insight into page layout and text balance and "book stuff" that I didn't come across on my research (like something as simple as children's books are 32 pages and the importance of having a professional font). Seriously: worth. every. penny.

Through my kickstarter I was reached out to by Mascot Books which opened a whole new door to self publishing through them with the hard cover books I have now (THANK GOODNESS!). Anyone can publish through them but they have a membership fee, I don't know how much. Since they found me, I had that waved. All they ask for is 1/2 of the price of inventory up from and 1/2 before they go to print. Once you sign with them and give the first 1/2, they create marketing & ordering material, take care of all of the barcode and licensing papers, and register your book with the Library of Congress as well as several other reputable distribution channels. As if that wasn't enough, they also fulfill all of the online orders through their website as well as through Amazon and set up Amazon for the UK and Canada. Mascot for my first round of books was around $4,000.

As amazing as Mascot Books is, keep in mind they are a specialty hybrid company. Meaning the offer all of the amazing resources as a large publishing company but you have to do the work to get your book out there. They send a book to the top 5 or 6 book stores in America and the rest is up to you to get into retail outlets. The upside to this is that you still get to keep 85% of the profit when a store orders your book.  

If instead you would rather have a really nice hard-bound book as a keepsake for your friends and family and aren't really looking to sell them in large quantities, then Lulu.com might be a good option for you. They're somewhere around $30 for a book (To be honest, it's been a while since I did this research so I've forgotten the actual amount. I just remember for me thinking "yeah, right!" haha) but you can do print-on-demand with them and they are a nice hardcover book. You could also do them through shutterfly. It's just that through shutterfly wouldn't be able to add a barcode or have it officially registered as a book with an ISBN or anything but then you would have a very sweet keepsake for you and loved ones for maybe around $15-20 for a hardcover book (shutterfly also has promo codes ALL THE TIME so you could get them for probably closer to $10). Besides registering an ISBN and getting a barcode (needed if you want to have the option to sell to bookstores), Lulu - I think - offers a service to add your book on Amazon. 

That's all that comes to the top of my head to throw out at you. I googled a lot of my questions and "how to create your first children's book." There is a TON of information out there even blogs describing the difference between Lightning Source, Lulu, and CreateSpace (another print-on-demand outlet owned by Amazon so listing on there is free through them).

I might have made this happen, but it honestly feels like all of the pieces have just been placing themselves so I don't know how much help this will be. If anything, I hope is sparks more clear questions for you to research, because sometimes it's hard to start researching what you don't know you need to research :)

Here is a great graph I found that helped me way back when. Maybe it will help you, too!