Help Needed for Author of Children’s Books

I have been asked for help by an author who is ready to publish her first children’s book. She’s interested in self-publishing, and has the finished book with illustrations ready to go, but has no idea what to do next. While I’m very happy with CreateSpace, and could offer her help with them, I’ve read they are not necessarily the best choice for image-intensive books.

Can any of you offer alternative suggestions that I can pass on to this writer? I’d love to be able to point her in the right direction.

THANKS!

58 thoughts on “Help Needed for Author of Children’s Books

    • I knew they offered it, but the last time I’d heard any back and forth (not recently), I’d heard there were better places. Perhaps that’s all changed now. Thanks, Tony!

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      • A lot depends upon how your friends wants to publish her children’s book. If as an ebook then the Amazon KDP app. – Kindle Kid’s Book Creator – is probably her best bet. I haven’t use that KDP app. but I have used the Kindle Textbook Creator. Getting the size of the fonts right took a bit of experimenting but it was easy to use and I was happy with the finished product [ebook version].

        For the print version of my screenshot-intensive how-to books, I used CreateSpace and again, the finished product made me very happy…and that’s with graphics that are less than the recommended 300 DPI. CreateSpace only use PDF files so each page ends up as ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’.

        For a beginner I’d advise going with CreateSpace because they will provide a free ISBN so the author can experiment without having to spend any money [you can view a simulation of the book rather than paying for a proof copy]. BUT…CreateSpace do not do hardbacks so if this is a game changer then perhaps Lulu.com or IngramSpark would be better as they both offer hardback print options. No idea on cost though.
        Hope this helps and best of luck to your friend. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for your input. I will forward your comments to my friend, for sure. And I will remind her about the hardback vs paperback issue. I use CreateSpace for my novels, and have been very happy with the results, and the covers turn out looking just the way I like, too, but it might not be the way to go for a children’s book.

          BTW, I never upload a PDF for content to CreateSpace. Thankfully, they started taking Doc files a year or two ago, so I use them instead. Now, I can fix any paging issues, myself, rather than having to ask someone who has full PDF capability to do it for me. I do, however, submit PDF files for my covers, which is how my graphics designer sends them to me, so not a problem.

          Thanks for sharing your comments. This has been a very informative discussion. πŸ™‚

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              • lol – it’s been driving me crazy for hours! I’ve been searching for more info. as I’ll have to update both my how-to books, but I need to know exactly how it works before I do. So glad you mentioned this or I would never have known.

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                • You don’t have to do anything different. The process is exactly the same, except that you upload your doc file instead of converting it to PDF first. They still take PDF, but also doc, and I think docx. Maybe even another one. I use their template for the size book I want in Word, and cut and paste each chapter into place, save as a doc, and upload. Voila.

                  Maybe you can just make a note that CreateSpace now accepts files other than PDF, including docs? I do everything else exactly the same. Hope this helps!

                  BTW, I just double checked my files on CreateSpace to be sure I wasn’t having a senior moment–entirely possible for me–and they are all docs. Whew. I would have hated to have been driving you crazy for nothing. πŸ˜€ (Of course, if I have a REASON to drive someone crazy, all bets are off!) πŸ˜€

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                • lmao – I’m not a betting woman! And thanks for the update. I actually emailed CS support and they said they take PDF, RTF, DOC and DOCX but they /prefer/ PDF because they have to convert the other formats. And sometimes ‘changes’ do occur.
                  You’re absolutely right about the process though. Unfortunately I made a point of saying that CS would NOT accept Word files so…that is definitely going to have to be changed.
                  I also discovered that converting Word files to PDF was a lot harder in earlier versions of Word [I used 16 for all the screenshots]. So I’ll have to provide a bit of extra info. there as well.
                  The Kindle versions will be easy to change but I’m not sure about the print version. I may have to create a 2nd ‘edition’. Meh…
                  Still, better to get it right than to have someone buy the book and blast me to hell and back for the mistake. πŸ™‚

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  1. I don’t have much experience with this, Marcia. But I did publish a children’s picture book using CreateSpace and it came out well. And it wasn’t expensive at all for full-color images. So if the author decides to go that way, it can work. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

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    • I’m very glad to hear that! My information is probably outdated, so I’m really glad I asked. If CreateSpace can handle it, I have no qualms recommending them to her. Frankly, I’ve loved the way my own books look, though they have no illustrations. And I like the ease of working with them, and getting help on the phone when I needed it. Very happy to learn they did a good job for you! πŸ™‚

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  2. The next step would be choosing your publisher. CreateSpace or Amazon are very popular choices for children’s books. I have some of mine published with them. You might also consider a small independent publisher like Monday Creek Publishing. They did a fine job with my latest book.

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    • I will mention both to her. Honestly, I’ve had such great luck with CreateSpace that I’m very happy to hear they can handle children’s books. A couple of years ago, I’d heard there were problems, but a) it was only hearsay, and b) time passes. Things improve. πŸ™‚ I’m going to share all of these comments, and we’ll see which appeals to this writer the most. Thanks so much for your input! πŸ™‚

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  3. I’ve published 3 children’s books (2 were picture books.) I published with Ingram Spark and then with Createspace. The reason I went with Ingram first was so that my library could reorder my books, and should I choose I could publish a hardback version, also having one number avoids any confusion. I purchased the ISBN through Bowker and used that number for both Ingram and Createspace. To use one ISBN for both publish-on-demand services you must first publish through Ingram and then go to Createspace.
    Hope this was somewhat helpful and a little clearer than muddy water. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • MUCH clearer than muddy water, thanks! πŸ˜€ And very helpful, too. I will pass this along to her, for sure. Very interesting about Ingram and the ISBN thing. When I published my first book, I had no idea I’d ever write another, so I just went with the number provided by Amazon, and have never changed that approach. But I’m aware that it would almost definitely be better to own my own number, and I’ll keep this info tucked away in a handy spot! πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      Just out of curiosity, were you happy with the quality of the CreateSpace books? Hope so! It would make answering questions like these much easier for me going forward. πŸ™‚

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  4. Hi Marcia,
    I recommend using Amazon’s Kindle Kids Creator to create the eBook. Then use a separate PDF file and publish the paperback with CreateSpace. The quality is excellent assuming the illustrations are created with 300 dpi (minimum) images.
    With any publishing endeavor there’s a learning curve.
    Found your post thanks to Mr. Ape.
    P.S. He also helps with book covers and trailers, too. Grin.

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    • Mr. Ape is a very helpful kinda guy! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your suggestions, Tracy. I suspect this will be the easiest way for her to go, and I’ll be sharing these comments with her later. I really appreciate how everyone has helped answer her questions. πŸ˜€

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  5. Hi! Annett Rochelle Aben mentioned me. I’m Russ Towne. I’ve written a bunch of children’s picture books and am happy to provide suggestions. I use CreateSpace for all my softcover books, and IngramSpark for all my hardcover books, and am generally pleased with the result in both cases. I’d be happy to provide additional information and feedback and can be reached via my website at https://russtowne.com.

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    • Hi, Russ! Thanks for taking the time to comment today. This is just the kind of thing I wanted to find out, and I really appreciate your being willing to help. I’ll be sharing all of these ideas with this author, and will definitely point her in your direction. I’m very pleased to learn that CreateSpace works so well with images, contrary to what I heard a couple of years ago. Also, to learn about IngramSpark. I do a lot of speaking engagements, and now I know which way to point aspiring picture book authors. Thanks again!

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  6. I recently published an illustrated poetry chapbook with Lulu (https://www.lulu.com/) and was satisfied with the result. I’ve also seen a children’s book that they printed, and they did a fine job. They run a system similar to that of CreateSpace, and in some respects are easier to navigate than CS is (I’ve used both of them a multitude of times). Lulu offers favorable revenue and royalty rates, as well as distributing to Amazon and elsewhere. They also run their own Lulu Store, which is an advantage since Amazon did away with the CreateSpace store. Lulu is very diligent about taking care of their customers, and are faster to respond to problems than CS is. I intend to keep publishing with Lulu.

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    • Thank you so much for this information, Christine. I will pass it along to this author, along with your thoughts on the two. She will have plenty to think about, and check on, thanks to all of you who’ve responded today. I appreciate it very much! πŸ™‚

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    • Kinda glad to hear this. I have been reading through and wondering about trying another company, but you suggest that my lulu isn’t broken at all. I am horrible with all this stuff but managed to make a couple of books with lulu. I have no issues with lulu. I have had a difficult time e.formatting. It works through lulu but is unacceptable to the amazon criteria for ebooks. It is something I need to get on top of, that ebook thing.

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      • Perhaps I should have specified that I was referring to printed (paper) books. I have have not tried Lulu’s e-book option, and have never published (and will never publish) via Amazon Kindle. I use Smashwords for e-book publishing (see also Richard Haiku’s comment, below). Best wishes for more successful publishing experiences than you’ve had in the past.

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    • Haha. Thanks for the heads up, Chris. I’m buried under a truckload of construction inspectors now (not NEARLY as much fun as it sounds like!) but I’ll get over there shortly. This last week has been simply insane, and I’m at the end of my patience with everything and every ONE Irma dumped on us! 😯

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  7. In reply to acflory: We used up so much space, I had to start a new thread! Hahaha. Yes, they convert the doc files, but I check them pretty carefully in the online thingie, (that’s a technical term!) and then again when I get the proof. I’ve yet to see them mess anything up, so I’m still happy to skip the whole PDF mess. And I’m glad to know which other files they accept. I had totally forgotten some of those. I use Word 16, btw, and so far, so good.

    And I don’t blame you for wanting to make sure your instructions are correct. No better way to lose someone as a reader than to lead them astray, or be unclear as to what you mean.

    Since I can easily convert my docs to html for Kindle, and can also fix my own errors in the doc and resave as revised html file, I still upload the html format for Kindle. It was trying to fix errors in a PDF file when you don’t have the full Adobe program that gave me all my gray hairs. No, seriously. Every one of them! (Hahaha.)

    Good luck with your revisions. And thanks for all your input. πŸ™‚

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  8. Hi Marsh. Darlene Foster and Janice Spina are successful children’s authors and friends of mine. I’ll share this in our author/blogger group on FB if you want more recommends. And just a reminder that if you ever have a question you’d like some authorly opinions on, don’t hesitate to post it in our helpful group on FB – author/bloggers rainbow support group. πŸ™‚ xx

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    • I usually see Darlene around here a couple of times a week or more, so I figured she’d weigh in at some point. Janice replied over on The Ape’s blog. I’ve gotten a lot of good info from everyone, and I appreciate your sharing over on your author’s group, too. I’m passing everything along to my friend, and I hope it will be helpful to her. THANKS so much, Deb!! πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. If the book has lots of images I would recommend IngramSpark over CreateSpace for the paperback as IS is less expensive for images. You can use the same interior files for both (assuming you pick a size that’s available on both platforms) and the cover can be more or less the same, with just the spine width adjusted. If you try uploading on both platforms you will see the significant difference in the end price. And best of luck to her! June.

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    • Thanks so much for the information, June. I will pass it along, though she may have already made a choice by now. I’m often asked these questions at various events, so I’ll make note for my own records, too. πŸ™‚

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  10. What did your friend decide to do? Is she happy with her decision? I want to publish a children’s book by the end of June. I’m really hoping to publish by creating my own publishing service, but if I can’t make that deadline with my own service, I’d love to hear results from experienced children’s book authors.

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    • I wish I could tell you. This was a lady who approached me at an event I did, gave me her email, and asked for my help. I sent her every response that came in, and never heard back from her. 😦 Oh, well. Hopefully, she made a decision, but that doesn’t help you much. I’m sorry for that, and I wish you well with your book. Keep us posted when you get it published. πŸ™‚

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