Parent toolkit for Kid Authors #7: Publishing the book

I wish I could write that when your Kid Author (KA) writes a book all the hard work is over, a book magically appears, and you’re done – ta-da!

If I wrote that, I would be lying. Writing the story is certainly a process. When it’s over there’s a lot to celebrate.

Then, if you choose too, the publishing process can take center stage.

Publishing a book offers the opportunity to continue to build skills in the areas of decision-making and priority management. This is similar to the writing process. Unlike the writing process, publishing tends to be more linear. In writing, you only have to be linear if you want to be.

The first step in publishing a project is to decide how to publish. For adult authors the option exists to write a book proposal and submit work to a traditional publisher. There currently aren’t a whole lot of traditional publishing houses distributing books published by kids, for kids.

At JBD Kids we define traditional publishing as the process of working with an existing publishing house that will help you with editing, design the book for you, take care of distribution, get books printed for you, and even possibly organize marketing campaigns for you to promote your book.

We define self-publishing as being responsible for all of that yourself. With tools available today, anyone can self-publish a book. There is of course, still a need to know how to use the system.

At JBD Kids we work with KA’s and parents to complete the publishing process. We help with editing, cover design, interior layout, writing front and back end pages, setting up with a printer for distribution, and making some preliminary marketing decisions.

We make the legal aspect easy for parents by assigning your KA’s book an ISBN, filing copyright documents, and sending your book information to the Library of Congress.

We work with families to make the publishing as fun and engaging as possible for KA’s.
She gets to make decisions about what her book will look like. These include:

  • Size of the book
  • Hard cover or soft cover
  • Hiring a cover designer or using a piece of art created by the KA – or both!
  • Fonts used throughout the book
  • White paper or cream
  • Color or black and white
  • Front end pages (copyright page, dedication, table of contents)
  • Back end pages (about the author)
  • Back cover summary, reviews, or special images

At JBD Kids the KA is included at every step of the process. We consult about what the book should look like, I draft a layout, and we make changes as needed.

This process can take many weeks, especially when we get to the point of looking through the book for errors. Using a print-on-demand service typically means a human is not looking your book – other than us! So, we go through it with a fine-tooth comb, ideally more than once, before we submit it for printing.

Then, it’s time to order a proof. When we get the proof it’s time to sit back and read the book as if reading for the first time. This is not always easy, but with a pencil in hand, we’ll hopefully catch any errors we missed before.

For books written by younger kids, having the KA read it aloud, especially if they haven’t read it in the last week or so, is a great way to catch small errors in spelling or punctuation. Most readers fumble when the cadence or rhythm or flow of a book is off. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to catch those moments.

When you’re sure the book is as perfect as it can be, it’s time to submit it for print again, and then click the button to distribute it. Most on-demand printers will distribute the book to Amazon and other online booksellers. They will also make the book available for bookstores to buy. It’s important that in the description of the book you include that it was written by kids, for kids Some booksellers might not be excited about that. But there will be some who are attracted to the idea.

At JBD Kids your KA starts with a story idea and leaves with a book in hand. If you’d like to learn more about our packages for writing and publishing services for books by kids, for kids, click here.

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