Illustrating a Children’s Book

Are you self-publishing your children's book? Here's what to expect when working with an illustrator.

Are you self-publishing your children’s book? Here’s what to expect when working with an illustrator.

Since I started writing and illustrating a couple of years ago, I have met so many people who are interested, curious and have considered writing their own children’s picture book. Lots of teachers want to write books they wished were available to them in the classroom. Many parents are inspired by adventures or struggles with their children. Grandparents want to write about memories and share their experiences. Even industry experts have talked to me about making educational nonfiction children’s books. Does any of this sound like you?

Are you self-publishing your children's book? Here's what to expect when working with an illustrator.
Are you self-publishing your children’s book? Here’s what to expect when working with an illustrator.

While anyone may write a story or manuscript, illustrating a picture book takes technical skill and training. Not everyone can do it. While I am just in the beginnings of my illustrating career and working on building my freelance portfolio, I do want to share my illustrating process and demystify it for any authors out there considering children’s bookmaking.

Also, please consider that at this moment I am working with self-published authors. This means that I, as the illustrator, get to work directly with the author – which I love doing. I love getting to share the vision and hear author intention because they are enthusiastic and excited about their projects! This is different than traditional publishing, where the author and illustrator most often do not communicate and work with the art director, editor, or even agents. So if you’re considering self-publishing your children’s book, this post may be of particular interest to you.

Let’s dive in! Here is what the book illustrating process looks like for self-published authors and freelance illustrators.

Finding An Illustrator

How do I find my author clients? In the past, it has been through personal relationships, so a friend or family member, through Instagram or social media referral, and through the SCBWI. I have spoken with other self-published authors who have found their illustrators through freelance sites such as Fiverr or Upwork. Either way, always ask for a portfolio of work.

I do my best to be upfront about pricing and timeline with the author. Sometimes authors have expectations that I as an illustrator just cannot meet. Also, how are we going to handle delays in the project? These are all terms we discuss before working together. Once we agree on the terms and sign a Work-Made-For-Hire Agreement, and possibly a Non-Disclosure Agreement, we can move forward with the real work – illustrating! I do not start any illustrating, not even sketching until the author has completed their manuscripts and edits. This saves everybody time and prevents going back and forth.

Pagination and Imagination

Art Process for Illustrating a Children’s Book: I take notes on the margin after reading through manuscripts, and then go on the computer to type up changes.
I take notes on the margin after reading through manuscripts, and then go on the computer to type up changes.

Once the author has completed their manuscript, they hand it off to me. I read through it cold just to get a sense for the book, overall themes, how the book makes me feel. Then I think about how I can communicate all that with illustrations. I will take notes in the margin on things I imagine.

The first thing I look for is pagination. Pagination is simply separating the text by the page it should be on. This is essential for picture books because the words will be paired with the illustrations. Sometimes the author gives me the text already paginated. Other times, I make suggestions of pagination for the sake of story flow with the illustrations. Though, I find it best to keep communication open with the author and not jump ahead without the author input.

Thumbnails and Dummy Books

Using good ol’ paper and pencil, I sketch out small thumbnail sizes of some of the visions I have for the book spreads. It’s easy to erase and redraw using a pencil. This is internal, only for me and does not get shared with the author (though I may share it on social media for a behind the scenes look).

Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book. Picture Book Dummy and Thumbnails
These are several pages of thumbnail sketches for picture books.

Then I sketch out the final thumbnails on my iPad. I illustrate all my picture books with my iPad and the app Procreate. It is so easy, intuitive, and transportable! Ha! I am usually illustrating in cafes, bookstores, or anywhere I can get away from my kids and focus. These final sketches do get shared with the author for feedback.

Color Roughs

The next phase is color roughs. This is just color blocking the illustrations and not adding too much detail. To be honest, this is probably the hardest part for me. I am a very detailed person and have a hard time leaving things undone like this. I want to spend extra time making it look nice, with small details in the shadows and light, every blade of grass, etc. But it is good to leave it color blocked so that the author can get a sense of color scheme, placement, where the words will go on the page, and so on.

The author gives feedback such as the skin tone colors, hair textures, dimensions, and more. It’s important not to get to far ahead of the work, and just allow it to “be in the process” and invite the author to participate in that process by providing feedback. When working with a traditional publisher, it is the art director that will be providing this regular feedback to the artist. The author normally does not have involvement.

Finals

This is the final round that is open for author feedback. All the details have been added, and there has been so much communication with the author at this point that there is usually very little to do. The feedback is about a shadow, a word placement, or something minimal.

Art Process for Illustrating a Children’s Book. A finished spread from my picture book Fear and a Friend.
A finished spread from my picture book Fear and a Friend.

I use Adobe InDesign to add the text to the illustrations and to turn the document into a PDF which is compatible with most publishing sites and softwares such as Amazon KDPS, IngramSpark, or Blurb.

When I first started illustrating picture books, I greatly underestimated the amount of time that goes into the project. Now, I can reasonably predict a project life cycle. Usually about 6 months for a standard 32-page picture book, book cover or jacket.

So What Does The Process Actually Look Like?

You’re wondering what will the process look like for you? Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Find an illustrator. Whether that is through social media, word of mouth, referral, freelance websites, SCBWI, or any other way. Look through their illustrator portfolio, see what work the illustrator has done.
  2. Be upfront about payments, timelines and contracts. The relationship between author and illustrator is very important and requires trust. After all, the author is entrusting their manuscript and their money to the illustrator! Ask the illustrator about their pricing, and what payment arrangements they accept. Talk about the timeline you can expect, and how you will handle delays in the process. Have it all down in writing, and sign a Work-Made-For-Hire Agreement.
  3. Go through the process. Illustrators have their own unique way of working through their art and communicating it to the client, whether that is with a self-published author or through a traditional publishing house. The process should be agreed upon before payments are made, and listed out in the contract. Again, setting up expectations from the beginning. Trust your illustrator, and don’t be afraid to ask for updates.
  4. Publish your book! Your children’s book is illustrated! Celebrate good times, come on! The work isn’t over yet. Now it’s time to publish your book, whether that is using online platforms such as Amazon or going with a hybrid print publisher.

Writing a book is a large undertaking. Don’t be discouraged, it is absolutely an achievable goal! Whether you are writing a novel or a 32-page picture book, they are all projects and labors of love. I want to see you get through your project, turn it from a dream into a reality, and produce a work you are proud of! Hopefully, this article takes away some of the uncertainty behind getting an illustrator for your children’s book.

Did this article answer your questions? Still unclear about agreements, disclosures, payments, publishing platforms, or more? Leave a comment below with your questions. It is very important to me that I keep making content that is helpful to you!

To receive more helpful articles like this, or to learn more about self-publishing your book, sign up for my author newsletter! If you want to follow along on my freelance and illustrating misadventures, follow me on Instagram.

Starting Small and Celebrating Big

2018 has been an exciting year for me. As you may know, this year I self-published my first picture book with a Kickstarter campaign. This past month was spent receiving books, packaging, and shipping Kickstarter orders. It was such a gratifying feeling to hold the final book in my hand, and to receive boxes of them in the mail! It was months, over a year, of hard work on this book and promoting it. My expectations were low, to be honest, and I am so happy with the way everything turned out! 

Receiving boxes of books from my first Kickstarter! 

Truth be told, I was overwhelmed most of the time. When I am overwhelmed, I tend to ugly cry (no pictures of this, thank goodness!). It took four months to get the book finalized, formatted, printed, and shipped. Not to mention the time before that to write and illustrate the book, as well as prepare and run the Kickstarter campaign.  Everyone received their book in time for Christmas, just as I had planned, but I always had a sense of frustration for not being able to deliver as fast as I had hoped. In all of this, I have learned to give myself a break! 

There is a saying that goes, “When is the best time to plant a tree? 25 years ago. When is the next best time to plant a tree? Today.” With this in mind, I began my journey towards becoming a published author/illustrator. I stopped waiting for things to be perfect, and just started taking baby steps. A tree takes decades to grow big and full, but a career also takes decades to grow and be fruitful. I learned to stop comparing myself, to stop being hard on myself, and to just do it! Now I sound like a Nike commercial… 

Like I said, I have been baby-stepping my way. Baby steps include branding myself as a children’s artist on social media, picking projects and creating art that are in line with this brand and the direction I want to go. I have been actively building my illustrator portfolio and network of other children’s writers. 

This month’s big step was opening an Etsy shop. Though I am still working on uploading my art prints to Etsy!

The biggest ongoing challenge has been managing motherhood and starting a side hustle, mainly time management. I did not enjoy the continual feeling that I was frustrated with my kids for distracting me while working, but I was also frustrated at my work for getting me frustrated at the kids. It was a cycle that had to stop! Common advice I received has been to wake up early or go to sleep really late to get work done, but most days I was too exhausted to even stay awake during the kids bedtime routine. Other moms are nodding in sympathy as they read this.

Packaging Kickstarter orders while the kids nap.

But over time, I learned how to structure the kid’s day in a way that allowed me to free up at least one hour to get my work done. Every morning (okay, most mornings), I make a priority list to tackle during their nap time to get the most important things done. Eventually, I trained myself to wake up at 6:30 am, and then 5:30 am, and now I get up at 4:30 am to get my work done (about 4 out of 7 days I wake up at 4:30 am). During the day, I am present with the boys and not thinking about my list. During work time, I am not thinking about the boys. I have found this is the best way to make it work for me. 

2018 has been a year of growth! Of keeping commitments, mainly promises I make to myself. It has been a year of growing in confidence and getting out of my comfort zone. My next goals for 2019 are to promote my Etsy shop and share my art, not just the book. 

May your holidays be merry and bright! May your New Years be full of growth  and hope for the future!


Illustrator Inspiration Board

I am intentional about following other illustrators on Instragram. It has been a huge help to my art! First, I love to study other artists’ art process, what mediums they use, their techniques. It helps me improve my own art. Whenever I feel my artwork is getting stale, I study other artists to see what they are doing. Second, I love to see how other artists market themselves. It helps me stay creative not just in creating art, but in sharing it. For instance, how artists run their social media, or how they get speaking and presentation engagements. There is so much to learn from other artists!

The challenge lies in not getting jealous of other artists success, or FOMO. It is very easy to look at other artists highlight reels on Instagram or on media outlets, but not see the hours or years they put in to build their career. To avoid jealousy, I try to follow artists that are in a different niche than I am. For instance, I love looking at Holly Nichols fashion illustration, her use of copied markers and the iPad. Though, I am a children’s illustrator and not a fashion illustrator, I truly admire her work. So I learn a great amount from Holly (and she has even personally answered my Instagram questions!), but I don’t get jealous because I am creating a different kind of art.

Here is a list of all my favorite illustrators, and a brief description as to why I follow them:

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Holly Nichols

I first started following Holly back in 2016. She is very generous with sharing her art process. She shares how she uses copic markers, how to blend them, how to choose colors, how to outline figures, and more. She has since then also given mini tutorials on Instagram on the Procreate app. She gives out a lot of information, and it is for free on Instagram. I love her fashion illustrations! I love watching how she markets herself, from various fashion events to workshops at Apple stores, and so on. Also, how she runs her Etsy shop. All in all, Holly is a BOSS and there is so much to learn from her on how to make a living as an artist!

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Vashti Harrison

I have been following Vashti since before her book, Little Leaders, came out. It was exciting to watch her career take off! She really leverages Instagram to promote her art, and she is very open about her art journey by sharing photos of even her high school sketches! If I would describe her artwork in one word, it would be “magical”, which is perfect for children’s illustrating! She definitely has her own style, but experiments with different techniques which I appreciate. Just like Holly, Vashti is also very generous with her information and teaching others. She has a class on Skillshare on using the Procreate app to make art, which was really helpful to me. I find my favorite artists are the ones that share openly about their process and journey.

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Benji Davies

Benji Davies makes artwork that I aspire to produce. Granted, I don’t want to make work exactly like his, but I really do enjoy his style and let it inform mine. There is a childlike quality to it. It reminds me of the children’s books I used to read growing up. I look at his artwork and always get inspired by different techniques I can use in mine!

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Mark Conlan

Mark Conlan is a great artist to follow for Instagram inspiration! His feed is wonderfully coordinated and so colorful. His artwork uses bold colors, and more color blocking than you see in traditional picture books. I am also very curious about how he makes videos of his art process, and plan to learn that one day to share my own work. I really look at Mark for his social media marketing mastery and his colorful work.

A few other illustrators I follow and greatly admire include:

Mark Chambers

Kim Smith

Rebecca Green

How To Fail Hard

How To Fail Hard. Lessons learned on my first Kickstarter, and self-publishing
How To Fail Hard. Lessons learned on my first Kickstarter, and self-publishing

This summer I successfully launched my first Kickstarter campaign. I also made many, M A N Y mistakes along the way. These mistakes cost me hundreds of dollars and a lot of time wasted. I don’t know about you, but I get discouraged very easily and deal a lot with Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you doubt your accomplishments or feel yourself a fraud. Yes, Imposter Syndrome is very real. So these mistakes started to derail me! And yet, I know how important these mistakes are to the learning process. Let me describe few of the mistakes so you can understand what I was dealing with.

First, I did not know the difference in digital art formats and how to prepare digital art for printing. I am talking about knowing pixels, DPI, CMYK vs. RGB, margins and bleeds, etc. When I originally did the artwork for the book, it was formatted incorrectly (72 DPI, not nearly enough for printing!). This meant I had to spend hours going back and reworking a lot of the artwork for the book. HOURS! That nearly killed me, at least, killed my ego.

Second, because I was unaware of this, I began paying the processing fees to the publishers when submitting my work, only for the work to get rejected because of these formatting issues. I ended up having to pay fees twice, several times in some instances. Now, the project was costing me time and money.

Third, I wanted to avoid learning Adobe InDesign so I went with an easier software to format my book into ePub and PDF files. Big mistake! I ended up having to pay a formatting fee for that software, and eventually ended up having to pay for InDesign and learn it anyway. So more time and money!

Fourth, I applied for the wrong copyright (in my defense, the online application says children’s books applied for Single Application). I then had to pay again for the different application. Again, more money.

Are you getting the gist yet? Talk about a learning curve! But in all seriousness, I am very grateful that I learned these lessons on my first publishing project. I learned how to correctly format illustrations for future picture book projects. I learned InDesign, which is a very marketable skill for freelancers, digital artists, graphic designers, and anyone in publishing. I learned a little something about copyrights. And I learned how valuable my time is! Oh. My. Gosh. So valuable. All of these experiences and skills learned will benefit my current and future illustration or publishing projects.

I could have allowed those mistakes, failures and losses to derail me from my goal of getting my first book in the hands of readers. Instead, I realize that each failure and mistake was a huge learning opportunity. These mistakes are essential to the creative learning process.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill

Successful people don’t fear failure, but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from – Robert Kiyosaki

Here are two specific lessons I learned through this experience about the creative process.

1. Redefining Creativity

I used to think creativity was what you do, and usually meant for the right side of the brain. For instance, musicians do music, they are creative. Artists do art, they are creative. Writers write, that is creative. But a mathematician is not creative. Or a computer engineer is not creative. So wrong! Creativity is simply the process of creating something, and I found that the more you chase what makes you curious, the more creative you become. Therefore, to me, creativity is not a thing you do, but an action of pursuing your curiosity. You can be creative in any field as long as you are curious!

If our creativity is rooted in our curiosity, you should view every experience as an experiment. An experiment is simply testing a hypothesis to see if it is true or false; in life that means whether it fails or succeeds. How does this apply here? I experimented with lifestyle blogging in my early twenties, and found in fact that I strongly disliked it. That hypothesis was proven false, that I would enjoy lifestyle blogging. With my art, I experimented with watercolors and found that I couldn’t keep up with it. Eventually, after experimenting with different mediums, I found the one that does work best for me- my good ol’ iPad and digital art. I found that I really enjoy blogging about my art and writing process. But it took several years to come to these conclusions! Creativity is pursuing your curiosity, and life should be viewed as a series of experiments leading towards your success. This way, you don’t take your failures personally, but as a stepping stone to your next success.

2. Embrace the learning curve

The learning curve is defined as “the rate of a person’s progress in gaining new experience and learning new skills.” Since it is a curve, there is really no point of ever “arriving”. The goal here is to continually be growing on this curve by gaining new experiences and learning. Enough is never enough. This requires a level of hunger. You have to be hungry to know more and grow more. This is opposite of conventional education, that teaches us once we have a degree or diploma than we know what there is to know in that field or subject. The degree provides a false confidence in your knowledge. With that mode of thinking, we kill our curiosity and hunger to grow and know more. Instead of reaching for the degrees, reach for growing on the learning curve. And allow yourself to go at your own pace on the learning curve.

Making mistakes can be disheartening, but you are always making advances if you learn from them. My hope is that you find what makes you curious, what keeps you hungry, and that you continue to grow!

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How to Become An Author By Self-Publishing Your First Book

Are you an aspiring author? Are your queries getting rejected? Are you considering self-publishing?

How to Become An Author By Self-Publishing: Tips For Your First Book

I wrote my first children’s book manuscript in college, around 2010. It was a cooky rhyme scheme book that didn’t rhyme very well. After some time, I dropped my efforts with the book. I returned to my writing in 2016, digging up my old manuscript and re-writing it from every different angle, point-of-view, and voice possible. I ditched the rhyme scheme. I queried agents. I attended conferences and workshops. I leveraged my network and made connections. I learned to handle rejection had a book and I wanted others to read it. I was ready to buck the system and go with self-publishing. I started researching other children’s books that were self-published. Some research questions I had included:

  • What other children’s books were self-published, and how successful were they?
  • How are self-published books marketed?
  • What was the best platform to self-publish?
  • What were the costs and how could I finance them?

All this research led me to launch my book with a Kickstarter campaign that successfully served as a marketing and branding tool, as well as a means to finance the first print run of my book.

In this post, I am sharing with you my best practices and lessons learned for self-publishing your first book, launching your book with Kickstarter, and marketing for self-published authors.

These are all my experiences, insights, failures and successes and I truly hope they are of help to you, aspiring author! Let’s dive in and get to the nitty-gritty.

self-publishing for the first time_ how not to regret it.

Self-Publishing for the First Time? How not to regret it.

You have a manuscript you have written. You have mildly revised it, some friend or relative has looked over it, maybe it has made its rounds in your critique group. You now feel ready to share it with the world! You start querying literary agents and are confuzzled when you are continually rejected. So instead, you are just going to make it happen and self-publish that masterpiece.

Pump the breaks and hold the phone! Before you self-publish your first book, I want you to consider all of the following. Here is my best advice for first-time authors considering self-publishing.

  1. Have a great manuscript. This is where I first went wrong. I look back at my early writing in college and recognize it was just not good. Sure, it had “potential”, but there is a gap between potential and profit, and that gap is called hard work. A lot of writers want to spill the whole story without developing it, the movement, characters, plot, voice, etc. Especially with picture books (which I happen to write). Because picture books are only 32 pages, writers think they can write their best draft the first time around. Just not true! Even Matt de la Peña revised his award-winning children’s book 70 times. As I’ve seen in other author interviews with Jonathan Roth and Deborah Schaumberg, the revision process can span several years. Make sure your priority is first an excellent manuscript. That may mean hiring an editor, which you can find through various resources such as Writer’s Digest, SCBWI, or even freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr.
  2. Know your reader and identify your audience. So you had your friend or relative read the book and they loved it? Well, the likelihood is they are not your ideal reader. I took this into consideration with my picture book. Sure, kids read picture books. But really, parents make the purchasing decisions and parent’s (or educators) read to children and talk with them about the book. Ultimately, parent’s are my audience, too. What do they care about? What do they want to teach their children? How can I meet those needs with my book? Know your audience, and give them what they want.
  3. Know how best to reach them. Now that I knew my audience, what was the best way to reach them? And could I reach them by self-publishing? This is really important to know because it allows you to consider whether you can make your book available solely as an eBook (which may be a good option for nonfiction or resource books), as a paperback, a hardcover, or a board book. It also allows you to consider whether you can reach your reader online through platforms like Amazon or Goodreads, or will you need a different marketing strategy. For example, since my book is a self-published picture book, I knew I needed to connect directly with parents and educators to best reach my reader, kids ages 2-6. This meant I didn’t have to promote an eBook so heavily (which has a fairly low cost of production), but rather the physical copies of the book.
  4. Know what platforms you will use. The next step is to research what is the best platform to self-publish your book. There are so many ways to self-publish today! You can go with Amazon, IngramSpark, Blurb, Lulu, and various hybrid publishers out there. What works best for you? Ultimately, I always recommend setting up on Amazon, in addition to any other platforms you want to publish on. Nowadays, a presence on Amazon is simply necessary. It is the largest marketplace for books. Think of it this way, a bookstore is limited to the foot-traffic it gets on any given day. It’s also limited to the 100,000 or so titles it can hold on its bookshelves at a time. Amazon has neither of these limitations and also has a higher profit margin potential. I also chose to publish with IngramSpark, which I believe is the most bookstore-friendly self-publishing platform available.

In sum, I want to make sure that you are publishing a work that you are proud of! It’s not just some quick sloppy story you put together in one night. There is so much to consider when publishing a book, at some point you just have to do it! So keep it simple and be sure these four things: it’s a great manuscript, you know your reader, you know how to reach them, and you know how you will self-publish.

launch your book with a kickstarter for first time authors

Launch Your Book with a Kickstarter Campaign

As part of my research, I looked into other books that were self-published. I wanted to know how they did it, how did they market it, and what were some of the best practices out there for books in my genre, which is children’s picture books for ages 2-6. This led me to a few publishing projects that were successfully launched with Kickstarter: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, which is the most funded publishing project on Kickstarter, and Bravery Magazine. In looking at these projects, it gave me a sense of how I could self-publish my book in a why that cash-flowed it upfront, and also served as a marketing tool. I found Kickstarter to be a great solution for my first published book, and here is why.

Self-publishing a book comes at a cost. Some expenses include an editor, graphic designer for a book cover, ISBN, copyright, fees that platforms charge for self-publishing, not mention the cost of an illustrator if it’s a picture book. The costs could range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Can all of these costs come out of your own wallet? If so, that is great! I know many self-published authors that have self-funded their books and received a full return on their investment from the book sales. It’s very possible! Veronica Goodman is one such author who successfully self-published her first picture book, E is for Economics, and made a return on investment within a matter of months.

But if you are like me and don’t have the money to spare, then Kickstarter is an option to consider for crowdfunding your book. In essence, people are pre-ordering your book and committing the funds upfront (called “Pledges” or “Rewards”). You receive the money when the campaign ends, and with that, you can cash flow your book costs and printing orders. In terms of costs, Kickstarter is a wonderful tool!

In addition, it serves as a marketing tool and an online footprint for your book. Think of it this way, most of us are not social influencers and do not have a large online platform. So, even if I were to google your name, you may not be the first result in my browser. Why does this matter? If people search your title or your name, they want to find YOU and not the doppelganger living in Seattle or Topeka. At least, that was my case. Now, when I google my name Ariel Mendez (which there are many out there, believe it or not), my Kickstarter is on the first page of Google searches. That is great for any press, media, schools, or others searching for me or my book! Also, a successful Kickstarter campaign can be used to pitch to local media outlets to get coverage on your book. You can use it as a selling point for blog tours, or any other form of press you can get for your book. In all forms, Kickstarter helps with the promotion of your self-published book!

Kickstarting a book is not the only way to do it, obviously, but I see it more as a way to finance your project and pre-market your book to build a sense of urgency with pre-sales. With that being said, set your Kickstarter funding goal low, but only low enough that you can fulfill the orders that are placed.

marketing for self-published authors 5 tips to start promoting now

Marketing Lessons for Self-Published Authors

How on earth can you write a book, publish a book, and market a book all at the same time? It seems impossible!

Many writers self-publish their book and expect bells and whistles but are disappointed when the book is not flying off the shelf or selling out. I was speaking with a friend of mine, a fellow writer and bibliophile. She was working on her manuscript but was disappointed that there was no “buy-in”, or in other words, that people seemed disinterested. My heart sank when she told me this, but I think many writers have that same feeling and expectation. Writers anticipate “buy-in” even before the manuscript is complete or revised. I will admit I am guilty of this! But in truth, unless you already have an audience such as social media influencers and bloggers, if you are one of the plebians and common folk of social media like me, then you have some work to do before you can expect any “buy-in”.

Marketing self-published books fall on your shoulders as a self-published author. Here are my top tips to promote your self-published book for first-time authors:

  1. Leverage your relationships. You already have people who want to read your book, even if they are just friends and family. Sell to your first audience, your lifelong supporters, and advocates! Your friends, family, colleagues, and other relationships.
  2. Build hype. Encourage your friends and family to share your book. Build a “Book Launch Team” on Facebook, which is essentially a Facebook group where you are facilitating and incentivizing the sharing of your book. Invite as many people as you can, share tweetable or images that can circulate easily, link everything back to your book, hold contests, and get the word buzzing about your book. It is beneficial for you, and exciting for everyone who is participating.
  3. Share often. People want to buy our book. Believe it! Though, some people may not have the money right away, or they are on vacation, or simply forgot to buy it right then and there. Don’t be afraid to share often your book and remind people! You can share directly, as in simply asking or telling upfront to buy the book, or you can share indirectly by simply posting images of you typing, reading or doing some other activity on your book.
  4. Host a Book Launch Party. This is a great opportunity to work with other small businesses in your area. You can ask a local bookstore to host for you, or a local retailer if it is in the same industry as your book.
  5. Leverage your local businesses. For instance, a cookbook release may be able to host a Cooking Class Book Launch Party at a local retailer like William Sonoma, Sur La Table, or local culinary schools. A book about pets or animals can co-host an animal adoption event at the county adoption center or retailers such as Petsmart or veterinary clinic. This is an opportunity to be a champion of local business! That is a huge advantage you have over larger authors who don’t have access to your local community.

I don’t pretend to be a best-seller or a big name in the publishing industry. At the same time, I want you to publish a book you are proud of and give your best marketing effort. May these tips be helpful to you! May your first self-published book be successful!