Wednesday, September 1, 2021

4 Reasons Self-Publishing Your Children’s Book May Be Your Best Option


 To traditionally publish or self-publish?

That's a question just about every author thinks about. Well, if you're a children's writer, self-publishing may be a good choice.

Here are the reasons why.

1. You know it’s getting more and more difficult to get signed on with a traditional publishing house or literary agent.

Publishers are businesses. They want as sure a thing as possible to ensure a profit on their investment. Unagented authors or authors without a huge social following don’t stand a chance.

In an article at Huffington Post, the author noted, “Nowadays, most publishing houses only read manuscripts submitted by agents. Finding a literary agent is as difficult as finding a publisher, unless you are a celebrity, of course.” (1)

You know the odds – they’re super-slim. So, instead of spending lots of time and effort on research and submissions that could go on for years without any results, you’d rather invest in you.

If you believe in your story, go for it.

Keep in mind here, although you’re bypassing the gatekeepers of traditional publishing, you still need a quality story. Self-publishing isn’t a free pass.

2. You really, really, really, want to be author of a children’s book.

If this is what you really want, then go for it.
There are a couple of things to do first though:

A. Have a GOOD story. This means the story, structure, grammar, punctuation, formatting, and so on.
Please take the time to do it right, even if you have to get it ghostwritten.

B. Have GOOD illustrations. If it’s for a picture book or chapter book, get decent illustrations. Don’t self-publish a substandard book. Be proud to be the author of that book.

You don’t have to break the bank, but you will need to make an investment for quality. I know illustrators who do good work and charge $80-$100 per interior illustration.

Know what your expenses will be before jumping in. If you’re budget’s willing, go for it.

3. You know the chances of becoming rich or famous are slim to none.

In an article at Jane, author Brent Hartinger said, “I actually think it’s easier to land a traditional deal right now, especially in children’s books, than it is to successfully self-publish.” (2)

Going into something realistically helps you avoid major let down. The market is oversaturated, so keep your expectations in check.

If your purpose for a book is to share something or say something then by all means go for it. But again, keep your expectations in check.

If your purpose is to write a story for the children in your life, go for it.

Maybe there’s a story in your family that’s been passed down from your great grandfather and you want to get it in a book. Again, go for it.

There are lots of reasons people may want to write a children’s book and not expect it to be more than they intended.

Whatever your purpose, if you’re going to write and publish a children’s book or any book for that matter, please create a quality product. Don’t add to the inferior books that are being self-published. Publish a book you’ll be proud of.

4. You have a middle grade or young adult story.

Middle grade and young adult stories done usually include illustrations, although middle grade might have a sketch at the beginning of each chapter. Because of this, they’re less expensive to self-publish.

As with any type of book, you do want a quality book cover and back cover. And, you want the interior design done right. You can get this done with self-publishing services.

Helpful sites to get your story published:

Services that will take your Word document or PDF and format it for upload to sites like Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords, Ingram Spark, and so on, include:

– Word-2-Kindle

Some of these services will format your manuscript and upload it for publication and distribution. Some will only format it. Some only do ebooks. You’ll have to review their services.

You can also do some research for self-publishing services over at:

If you want a bigger pond to fish from, you might do some research and hire someone on Upwork or Fiverr to design and format your book for uploading.

If you have experience self-publishing a children’s book, it’d be great if you’d share some tidbits of advice or services you found helpful.


This article was originally published at:


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Karen’s children’s books include Walking Through Walls and The Case of the Stranded Bear. She also has a DIY book, How to Write Children’s Fiction Books. You can check them out at: If you need help with your children’s story, visit:



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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Lots of these ideas apply to other genres, too. Example: Poets often have ideas for extensive interior design, too!
Love those “sorta” links as resources, too. It bypasses Google’s distaste for multiple links! 😊
Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

lastpg said...

Excellent article, Karen. I also recommend 100 Covers for terrific book covers and media images, Formatted Books, who did a great job on formatting my book, Secret in the Stars, and for illustrations, 1000 Storybooks, who has illustrated my book, Tall Boots, and have done terrific job.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

You must let me know about your illustration and book cover costs. So I can decide whether or not to put them on the list I have for clients. 😊📚

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, I do that because of broken links also. You never know when a site will go out of business, change directions, or other. Google frowns upon broken links in articles.

I used 100 Covers for my writing for children's book. They didn't have the kid's image I wanted so I gave them mine. They're very reasonable. Illustrations, on the good side, can go from $80 to 200 per illustration. I have a list of illustrators I recommend to my self-publishing clients and will send it to you if you like.

Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, glad you like the article. Oh, I used Formatted Books for the interior design of my How to Write a Children's Fiction Book. They did an amazing job also, and were very reasonable. I'll have to look into 1000 Storybooks. I'm always looking for good (and reasonable) children's book illustrators to share with my clients. Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Karen, I often find myself avoiding using Links altogether so I won’t have dated material in my how-to books! Do you have a special formula you use or shortening these links without using a service like Bitly?

Thanks in advance,

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, links in books is a tricky one. It's not easy to edit and republish for outdated or broken links. That's why it's important to make the statement in the beginning of the book that you've done your best to keep the information accurate but due to the ever changing online landscape...
I added a number of links to my book and hope they stay valid for the reader.
I don't have a way to shorten links aside from the services, like Bitly.
Wish I could be more helpful.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Karen , You are always full of information!❤️

deborah lyn said...

Karen, great article and informative comments back and forth. I love your reminders of "If ... then go for it"!
Self-publishing made sense for my memoir, so happy I chose that path.
What we must keep our focus on is Quality, we're no where without a quality product. Thanks much for this post.

Karen Cioffi said...

Deborah, I'm so glad you found the article helpful. I went for self-publishing with my DIY book "How to Write Children's Books." It was worth the time and effort. And the cost was minimal. One thing that we all need to promote with self-publishing is creating a quality product.

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