In my first post of this series, I wrote about the writing, workshopping/editing, and formatting process we've used to help my kids create books to print in hard copy for themselves. In this post, I'm sharing how we took Cricket's book, "Rascal's Life," to another level by independently publishing it.
(Side note: if you want to make an 8-year-old's day, please consider purchasing Rascal's Life for your kids. Cricket, who thought it much more authorly to go by her real name, Caroline, will receive $2.20 in royalties per copy. She says she will likely spend the money on the real-life Rascal. No surprise there.)
If you're just joining me, I suggest you first read the previous post in this series. Once you're caught up, come back here and read about the publishing process. The great news is that as long as you have access to Word to format your document, you can publish a book.
Independent publishing (also known as self-publishing) is a fantastic and empowering way to put work out there, for both adults and kids. Many successful authors now prefer independent publishing over traditional publishing houses, because publishers offer substantially less assistance and marketing support than they used to. I published my intro photo course for kids this way and will likely go the same route with the nonfiction book I'm writing, so I can maintain complete creative control and put the book out on my own timeline.
Independent publishing may also be the most viable option for the publication of most writing by kids.
Since there are many platforms for independent publishing today, I sought the advice of a highly successful indy author in deciding which to use. He recommended what is now Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), the platform he's used to publish several books. Amazon recently bought this platform, so you can sell your work directly on Amazon (with Prime shipping, no less).
There are no upfront fees to use the service. Your royalties are a percentage of the price you set, minus the printing cost, depending on which distribution option you choose. You can publish paperbacks and Kindle books.
KDP prints books on-demand when someone places an order, and you can unpublish your book at any time. This process appeals to me for my kids' books, because if they turn 20 and decide they no longer want to sell the work they published as 8-year-olds, they can simply unpublish the books and no new copies will be printed.
I won't get into specific details of preparing your manuscript, because KDP has numerous tutorials available. Use them. But I want you to see that the process is manageable. Here's the general process:
Independent publishing takes some elbow grease, but it's accessible and doable. Your kids can put their work out into the world, and so can you. Share your publishing successes with me!
In my next post of this series, I'll share how we celebrate a newly published book in our family.
This post reflects my own personal views and experiences and is NOT sponsored by KDP.
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I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.
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