Why you should self-publish your children’s book
Last month’s post was a rather gloomy look at why not to self-publish your children’s book. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend starting there.
Now that we have dealt with all the doom and gloom, I wanted to write about all the reasons you should consider self-publishing your children’s book anyway. After all, I did. And I don’t regret it.
As mentioned in last month’s post, there are genres where indie authors do really well. Romance and crime are among the top of the list.
The downside for authors in these spaces is that these are very saturated markets. Authors writing for these genres are all trying to access the same reviewers, readers and spots on bestseller lists. Although I don't subscribe to the opinion that authors are competing against one another (a reviewer will pick up more than one book in a genre they enjoy), the crowded marketplace does still have an impact. There are more books on the market than reviewers to review them.
This is much less true of children’s books. Probably in large part due to the barriers to entry we considered last time, there are far fewer indie authors writing for children. A less crowded marketplace makes for more opportunities for authors.
Another point in favour of indie children's authors is that reviewers of children's books are really passionate and dedicated to their genre. They're not in it for freebie books; they really want to find great new books for children.
There is definitely a thirst from children’s book reviewers for new books to recommend to children. I was floored when I got over 170 requests to review my book on NetGalley. I declined about one third of them, but that still left me with a healthy review team.
I got 30 reviews, which is a feedback rate of just under 30%. Given that 10% seems to be the norm, it’s obvious that these reviewers were very engaged with the content and motivated to review it. Occasionally reviews still trickle in, so it’s possible these numbers could still increase.
In last month's post, I spoke about the difficulty of accessing readers of children's book. There is one obvious exception: school visits.
School visits are a fantastic way of meeting readers, engaging with them, spreading awareness about your book and cultivating a reader base. Many authors of adult fiction would be envious of this incredible direct access to readers. The children are a captive audience. They're at school – where they can't leave! And have to stay to listen to you talk!
It can be a great secondary source of income for authors as well.
Cheaper marketing and sales options
It's also possible for children's authors to access more promotion options for their books. Many discount promoters have cheaper options for children’s book genres.
A BookBub featured deal for a crime book has a starting price of $788. (Picture me laid out on a chaise longue, trying to revive myself with a fan.) For a middle grade book, the same deal is just $105. Although there are fewer subscribers in this genre – 370,000 vs crime’s 2.5 million – they are much more accessible to reach.
Similarly, at Bargain Booksy it costs $20 to reach 57,000 subscribers to the children’s book list. Whereas authors of steamy contemporary romance pay $90 to access the 194,000 subscribers in their genre.
Being fully informed
Although there are huddles to surmount for author's wanting to self-publish their children's book, it isn't impossible. I believe in knowing the challenges before you set out on your publishing journey. You can then make a fully informed decision about whether this is the path for you.
If you do make the leap and decide to publish yourself, then you are fore-armed with the knowledge of possible difficulties to come. And you can write a plan to help you face them.