I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What?
Part 1: Critique and Editing
I’m taking this from the viewpoint that you have made the decision to self-publish your children’s book. Maybe you have sent it to publishers and have already received rejection notices OR you have decided to go the self-publishing route from the get go.
From my experience, and believe me I’m not an expert by any means, read everything you can find about self-publishing. Join groups on Facebook or other social media forums that are on self-publishing children’s books. Join organizations dedicated to self-publishing. Join children’s book review groups and review books yourself. Make friends with Google (ok maybe that seems a bit silly, but it is true), search every topic you can think of about self-publishing children’s books.
Ask people who are close to you read your book. Ask them to provide honest feedback. Be open to that feedback. Take into consideration their suggestions. Make changes. Let it sit for a week maybe two. Pick it up and read it again. Does anything jump out at you? Make more changes. Let it sit. Pick it up and read it again.
Having your book criticized is hard. This is your baby and you have probably have poured your heart and soul into it. Just remember, there are going to be people in this world who like your book and people who don’t. The most important thing to remember is that you love your work. Most likely there is a good reason you wrote it. No one can take that away from you.
Download the free version of Grammarly. Use it to check your book for obvious punctuation errors and basic grammar issues. Then hire an editor. Reach out to the groups you are joining to find one. Ask your friends. Not only did I hire an editor for my first children’s book, I asked one of my friends who is an English teacher to read it (I was surprised at what he made suggestions on versus the hired editor). If you are wondering what editors cost – well mine was $75. Some editors charge by the word, others by the document. My book is right around 560 words.
I had a difficult time when I received the edits back from the editor. She had made quite a few changes to my work and not just simple changes. Some of the suggestions I was ok with, and some I wasn’t. To be honest I didn’t know what to do. This was feedback from a professional editor. I set my work aside and ignored it for a week. I printed out my original document and the edited document side by side and when through each change and read the editors reasoning. I still wasn’t convinced to make all the changes. I went back to my self-publishing friends in my social media groups and asked for advice. The overwhelming response was this. Take the suggestions you want, leave the ones you don’t. Remember again, ultimately this is your book.
Congratulations, now that you’ve made it to this point, you are probably thinking what’s next?
Stay tuned for Part II: Planning your book – Number of Pages and Book Sizing.