3 Reasons Why I’m Self Publishing a Children’s Book on Amazon.

And Why I Think its Pretty Awesome.

In March of this year I decided to pull the trigger and announce to the world that I will be creating a children’s book from scratch. I’ve never written or illustrated a book before but it has been a dream for so many years. Ideas starting flooding in, stories and characters began to take shape and then people starting to ask me the same question.

“How are you going to get it published”

Great question, how in the would I get it out there?

Self doubt started to pile up. I’ve never done this before, there is a good chance the story might not be that great and the illustrations certainly won’t look like Where the Wild Things Are. My chances of getting noticed by an agent much less a publisher are pretty much zero.

But I kept reading something else into that question. It wasn’t just the nuts and bolts of how I was going to get the book out there, instead the voices in my head were saying: “How are you going to get past the gatekeepers? There is no way you are going to be good enough, there is no way you can actually make it.”

And you know what? Those voices are probably right but I’m going to self publish and here is why.

#1. It doesn't cost a lot of money.

Turns out writing a book isn’t cheap, especially a children’s book. You’ve got to pay for things like:

  • Agent fees
  • Editors
  • Illustrators
  • Marketing
  • Websites
  • Publisher

And then sometimes the books themselves. This can get pretty expensive when you are talking about hard back 32+ page full color.

How much does it cost to publish online through Kindle? Nearly $0. There is a small fee based on the file size of the book, but that’s pennies on the dollar.

#2. It takes a lot of time.

Before I decided to pull the trigger I remember Googling, “How to write and publish a children’s book”. The majority of the advice I got was for traditional publishing and it seemed like so much time wasn’t actually spent creating the book or talking to the people that would buy it.

Instead, there were tactics on how to approach an agent, email templates and pitches to copy. Ways to get noticed just to get a shot at pitching an idea.

Then you had to have a great idea of a book and spend so much time shopping it around to the big publishers.

Then maybe just maybe they would like the idea but you would go back and forth and back and forth making changes and tweaks so it could make as much money as possible.

That seemed like a lot of time not…you know…. creating the book.

Which leads me to the last reason.

#3. Connection

I was at the coffee shop at a Barnes and Noble recently. I was needing some inspiration and was finding it next to the children section with all the great books. While I was working on an illustration I noticed a little girl and her grandma had just sat besides me.

The grandmother had pulled a book from the children’s section and started to read it to her granddaughter. They probably sat there for 20 minutes, reading the book over and over again. They were laughing, the girl was asking questions. They were having this awesome bonding moment. They were connecting and it was through a story.

It’s that connection that gets me excited and what’s crazy about self publishing is that I don’t have to spend years getting through all the gate keepers to have those connections with my future readers.

I’m actually making those connections every week, before the book even comes out.

From the start I knew I wanted to get people involved in the creating process and figured the best way was to actually ask them what they wanted.

So for the past 3 months I have been creating a survey about something that is happening the book and asking people’s opinions. Then I share it and see what people like. People have voted on things like:

  • The name of the hero of the story (Alfred)
  • What he is afraid of (people).
  • What he is (a dinosaur)
  • What special ability he has (time travel)
Self publishing is allowing me to talk to the people that would actually want the book, and ask them what they want in it.

You can join in as well, the book is getting close to the finish line but I have a few key decisions to make. Click here to take the latest survey and cast your vote to help me tell a great story!

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. I love the publishing industry. I have countless memories of my grandparents, my parents and I reading books that came from it. There are amazingly talented people and the books are amazing.

But for me, at least for now, I’m going to self publish.

My first book “Alfred is Afraid of People” is set to release on September 13th, 2015. Get my first book for free and vote on what happens next in Alfred’s Journey.

By Brandon Cullum | @brcullum