Writing Kids eBooks: Lessons Learned About eBook Publishing

There are so many lessons that I learned while writing and subsequently publishing my very first ebook for kids. Most people have thought about writing a book at some stage in their lives, and many people have already done so. It used to be that a writer wrote the story, an illustrator created the graphics, an editor checked to ensure the flow of the story and that it was error free before publication and a publisher published it. Well that sure isn’t the way that self-publishing with ebooks works.

On my journey to self-publish, I came to the slow realization that it wasn’t nearly enough that I already had the makings of a complete story to tell. There is so much more to making an ebook than writing. I had a lot of things to learn on my journey, mainly regarding technology and the fact that you need to be many things rolled into one – not just an author!

I actually published my first ebook back on April 30, 2012. I’m now excitedly preparing to publish my second book aimed at children. I can tell you now that if you haven’t done something like this for a couple of years then it is quite easy to forget. So I actually found the advice here that I made from my first attempt at publishing to be really helpful in re-learning what I needed to do the second time around.

Color Wheel Painting with Animals

One of the images from my upcoming 2nd book featuring a color wheel along with the animals that feature in the story.

You’ll find in this guide, many of the lessons I learned here along with tips to help you and the process I went through to get my first ebook published. My first attempt took some time because I had no prior experience to draw on and the world of formatting and self-publishing can be a tricky one to navigate. It finally got done and now I’m passing my knowledge on.

My first published kids eBook is titled Ryan the FIREMAN and you can find it on Amazon as a Kindle edition. Watch this space for my next book!

The Journey to Writing a Kids eBook

Ryan the FiremanSeveral years back I wrote a story for a little kid which I was really pleased with and I thought it would be great to turn it into a book. I hired someone to draw the pictures for me, but didn’t do anything more with it for quite some time.

The story and the pictures sat in a file for a long time until a friend mentioned about writing digital books. I’d never thought of going down the digital route for kids but I was intrigued at the idea and up for the challenge. And what a challenge that first journey was!

The initial drawings I had made were all simple black and white line drawings. I realized that young children would like color much more than black and white. So the first real challenge was to give the pictures some color.

Ryan the Fireman images

Poll Results:  Do Kids Like to Read

book reading poll 3

Learning about Self-Publishing

Learning about self-publishing including formatting for e-Readers

Kids love ebooks

Self-publishing has many benefits to it and also a lot of unknown factors. How should you format the book for example? You need to learn how to format the story you’ve written and, believe me, there are a ton of books and videos that all give advice on this.

Everyone has something to say on the topic of formatting but it can all be very confusing. I found some of the information easy to understand but that didn’t help my stress level any. The mere thought of pushing that upload button terrified me – just as it does a lot of people.

Writers and authors are not necessarily great with technology. So doing your research along with trial and error is about the best it’s going to get unless of course you pay to outsource the work instead.

Lesson on Copyright That I Almost Missed

Even clip-art has to be acknowledged

Yayas puzzleYayas Home made several puzzles and mazes for my first book, but I wanted to dress them up a bit with images. I had a digital photo program that had a good variety of clip-art in it so I found a few I liked to match up with the fireman theme. However, when I clicked on one of the images I saw it had some copyright info on it. This was rather confusing because I had assumed that the clip-art bundled in the program was mine to use as I wanted. Never make assumptions! All clip-art has rules for usage. If you look on the bottom of the picture you will see the copyright notice as well as attribution for Yayas Home.

Thankfully I learned this lesson on copyright. And I was lucky to have the help of some very good people who gave me their opinions when I asked about the legality of using the images. The boot graphic is mine, but the others are not and need to be attributed accordingly.

Formatting Issues

While trying to finish my eBook

This is a raw look at the frustrations I had as I tried to format my first ebook and it is written from what I was feeling at the time …

Apparently my computer that had been sabotaged by an unscrupulous repair man no longer has Microsoft Word on it, or any other word processing software. And I need to format my eBook before it can be uploaded.

Today I am ready to scream, and my frustration level is through the roof. I keep stepping away from the computer hoping to calm myself down, but the looming deadline I set is fast approaching! Yes, just another set-back that would in any other situation bring my project to a complete halt! But not this time. This time, although I am very good at negative self-talk, I have decided that no matter what I will finish this.

I found a solution during one of my breaks. I downloaded an open source, free, word processing program called Open Office.

Self Publishing Tip

If you aren’t sure of your own artistic talents or abilities, look for someone else to work on the pictures. Not only will you save some time but you can also save yourself a lot of unnecessary aggravation.

Book I Found That Has Good Tips on Publishing

How to Publish and Sell An Article on Kindle

When I want to learn something new and do the best job that I can, I look for many different resources. Buying this particular eBook was a great help to me. Starting right away with a tip on not following the traditional advice from publishing guidelines on how to do the Title Page, Table of Contents, Copyright, and all the other things that you normally find at the beginning of a book. The author’s advice really makes perfect sense when you discover why! The tips given on the images alone made this eBook really invaluable to me!

Learn tips that can save you time and money with your own ebook.

A few of my favorites from the book are:

  1. Learn which format to use for saving files that works best on different types of e-readers.
  2. WHY you want to make sure that your Title Page, Table of Contents, Description, Copyright and Acknowledgements etc. do not appear in the front.
  3. Information on images including the optimal sizing with visual examples.
  4. Special tips on uploading articles and books.

An Idea For Promotion and Another Lesson Learned About Books

Videos are a great way to promote your eBook for kids

I saw some cute videos being made for this market and thought I’d try it myself. You had to have a front facing image and this was the only one for my Ryan the FIREMAN story.

Back when I first had this video made, and for all the years that my story sat in a filing cabinet, it was called Ryan McAlister the Fireman. So that was the name I had put in the video. During the process someone mentioned that it might be better to just call it Ryan the FIREMAN instead. Considering my readership market was aimed at young kids I figured perhaps they were right. McAlister is quite hard to pronounce and to remember. So this video is really no longer applicable to my published book.

Oh well, at least this wasn’t such a frustrating lesson!

Ryan McAlister The Fireman by Kathy McGraw

eBooks vs Print Books Poll Results

ebook poll 1

Kids at Play Can be an Inspiration for Writers

GumbootsThis little boy shown here in his big, red fireman boots can be very inspiring. I wished I had remembered this particular photo when it was time to color the fireman boots in my story. Inspiration can come from many different sources when we are looking to write stories.

Lessons Learned About Writing

Writing in any form can be lots of fun, but it’s also hard work! Here are some tips I learned while writing my ebook. Despite it being in a digital format, I found it much more time consuming than any of my other writings.

  • Make sure you set a schedule to write! I started out having a commitment of 2.5 hours per day. At the start, I felt that was enough. However I learned that when I was on a roll with something I would actually work more hours. Besides having some scheduled time to keep you focused, it also helps to have a certain spot to write in and keep all your notes and things handy.
  • Know who you’re writing for! If you are writing for children, it makes sense to first research what they like and don’t like. If you’re writing for a niche market such as for Pug Dog Owners then don’t talk about things that are more specific to a German Shepherd breed.
  • Graphics: ebooks require certain sizes of illustrations and photos. It’s important to learn the size and format required. The book cover and the graphics inside the book are normally different sizes. Jpg files are the preferred choice because they condense well. You can also resize them and optimize them on a scale of between 6-8%. This still shows up nicely on various e-readers and the web but is not good enough for the print market. That’s a different ballgame!
  • Writers block days: There can be times when you want to do absolutely anything but write. This is the time to go work on something else like research or images – anything else that’s part of your book. This helps with the writers block and keeping your self-publishing schedule on track.
  • Know when to hire a professional and when to do the work yourself!
  • Trust yourself! Negative self-talk never gets you anywhere. Replace this with a positive instead …”I can, and I will, do it!

What Not to Do When Writing

Snake in the bath

Does this picture look like it has anything to do with a fireman?

The lessons kept on coming during the process of getting my project done. This time, I’d been reading through some of my old writings and poof … I just imagined this picture in my head. The creative juices started to flow and I not only got the first of several new illustrations done but I sat and wrote some more for THAT story!

Lesson learned: Don’t work on 2 books at the same time!

How to Print From a Kindle

Amazon’s eink Kindle device doesn’t have the ability to print. According to Amazon, users “can copy pages to the My Clippings section, then copy them to their desktop computer by using a USB cable and print from there.”

Pricing an eBook

Pricing an eBook is another consideration for the Author

While writing there was an awful lot to learn, including on how I should price my finished story. Everyone wants to make some money for the work put in but there are different things to consider when choosing which price to give.

Amazon has a Kindle self-publishing platform for submitting your work to. Since about 70% of ebook readers use a Kindle or a Kindle app, this seemed the logical place to start. Amazon have two different choices for their royalty options that they award to authors. You can choose between a 70% or a 35% commission, depending on the price of your book and how large the file size is. Who wouldn’t want to choose the 70% on first glance, however it’s not that straightforward.

“Digital books with a file size greater than 3 megabytes up to 10 megabytes must also have a list price of at least $.99, and digital books with a file size of 10 megabytes or greater must have a list price of at least $2.99.”

If you price your book at 99 cents then you can only get 35 cents a sale, but if you price it at $2.99 you get around $2 a sale. That can make a big difference, as you have to sell a whole lot more 99 cent books to get the same amount of money. John Locke, best selling author sold over a Million eBooks in 5 months, selling them for just 99 cents each. I read that he made around $12,000 in only 2 months!

You can find John’s ebook listed further down the page. If you want to know more onpricing eBooks for Amazon, this is the place to begin: Amazon Kindle direct publishing pricing and commission structure

 

Know Your Market

Kathy McGraw’s Promotional Video for Kids eBooks

Ryan the FIREMAN

Again this has the wrong name shown for the published book, but hey, it’s still cute 🙂

Kathy McGraw’s Kids eBooks by Kathy McGraw

Price for Kids eBooks Poll Results

ebook poll 2 price of ebooks
Bookcover for Kathy McGraw’s Kids eBook

Ryan the FIREMAN

Ryan the Fireman big

This is an extract of my feelings written back before the book was actually published:

I wanted to have the book totally uploaded and ready to premier here, but that didn’t happen. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll be available on Amazon in the next couple of days. The normal time is about 48 hours to have everything uploaded, formatted into their system, and made available to the public. I heard it might take an extra day for the description to be available, but we’ll see. Oh, the joys of writing kids eBooks!

Update My book is now published on Amazon, yay!

Published and Unpublished: Lessons Learned During the Next Step

More lessons learned during the process of self-publishing

Ryan the Fireman on Amazon

Well, from the date I originally wrote this on the 29th of April I was actually published! Was!

I finally got the formatting done with help from my son. He had the right Word program to use and, after a couple days of frustration, I called him to see if he’d help.

Apparently I was doing the formatting right, but there was an easier way to do it. By using Microsoft Word 2010, I did not need to use H1 tags (Title formatting) and it was much easier. Since I had links, there were a few steps to bookmark and add hyperlinks, but that was pretty easy. Pictures needed to be inserted and aligned “center”, nothing else if already optimized, so I was good to go.

Word has different options for saving files. Amazon indicated that it was possible to upload a doc file or a docx file which is what I did. Wrong!!! The picture shown above shows a successfully published book. But when I clicked on the preview section I had an immediate heart attack…..there were NO PICTURES!

Panicked, I tried to figure out the problem. Here are some more of the lessons I learned during this part of the self-publishing journey.

So, here are the Publishing Lessons and Tips for Others:

  • A HTML file will strip out any images if you don’t zip the file! After uploading docx files, and a couple of html files, I finally learned (the hard way) that you had to zip the file in order for the pictures to be visible.
  • Check the file before sending it. I watched the upload button spin round and round … for over 12 hours. Clearly I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what. Apparently, when I opened the zip file there was something called a tree that wasn’t supposed to be there. It was like a sub-folder. Once I deleted it and re-uploaded the file, it was less than 2 minutes before I saw the sweet words: “your file has been successfully uploaded!”
  • Your HTML filtered file automatically saves the pictures and the text and then puts them all together during a conversion process on the Kindle Direct Publishing site. Zip up the file and make a separate file folder to save it in. Make sure you double check it. Only the text and images should be in there.
  • SAVE your description If there are any problems during the whole upload process … you may have to redo the initial steps which include adding a description. After the 10th time doing this, I was really glad I saved it so I just had to cut and paste it in.
  • You DO NOT have to un-publish in order to re-upload another file On your Bookshelf (the admin part that shows each book you’ve added along with the status) you’ll see a box next to the Title. Checking this box then clicking edit details from the drop down menu will take you back to the beginning screen. You go back to upload and the new file you upload will automatically overwrite the current one. Just remember to hit save and continue on that page … then publish on the next one.
  • Find the Forums to ask questions I found the forums and learned they had a publishing bug all that week. I read loads of good info from others, including questions that I wanted answers to.

When all else fails … write to support! However don’t take their answer as gospel. My question wasn’t answered to my satisfaction. When the survey popped up, I marked no, my question wasn’t answered. I got an email to say they’d checked everything and it was all working including images. AND that the book was live and ready for people to purchase.WRONG …. it wasn’t showing. So, I replied thanks, but …. Later on I received another email saying they’d look into the issue. So don’t accept the first mail from support if you are still confused.

Update May 6, 2012 It was finally done!

Ryan the FIREMAN by Kathy McGraw

Resources for Writers That Want to Self-Publish

Learning all these technical things and completing everything for a book to be published is only the first step. One of the most important things when you self-publish is to promote yourself and your book with the aim of getting some reviews. It’s recommended that you have your own website or blog where you can let people know more about you, your book(s) and what your qualifications are.

I used a domain name I’d had for years, my own name, and started a wordpress blog. It’s the first link given here. This is where I plan to document the progress of the other projects to get my writings into digital and maybe print format.

The other links provided are ones that were helpful to me during the process of self-publishing and promotion. I hope you also find them useful. The Book Designer Blog has a fantastic newsletter (link below). I love it!

Kathy McGraw’s Site | Kathy’s Writings and Stuff for The Whole Family

My site for my kid’s eBooks, and other creative things that are child friendly.

FREE tips for Building Your eBook for Kindle: Amazon.com: Kindle Store

FREE eBook on Building Your Book for Kindle. Get tips on how to format your book for this platform.

Barnes and Noble’s Nook Self-Publishing Platform

This is the platform to self-publish for Nook e-readers. Popular for eBooks for kids because of the colored e-readers.

Kindle Previewer

Download page for Kindle Previewer. FREE Kindle previewer for desktop computer use. This allows you to see what your ebook looks like. Also a good option for Nook or other e-readers to see what their work looks like on a Kindle.

Free: 10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing

Free 24-page eBook packed with tips, links and resources to help get your books in print and on the market

The Book Designer – Practical Advice to Help Self-Publishers Build Better Books

Book design and production, cover design, consulting and book services for independent publishers, self publishers and authors

John Locke Best Selling Author

Made lots of money with his 99 cent Kindle books!

Some FREE eBooks for Kids

Free Kids eBooks ages 4-8

Otters picture

This is another image from my 2nd book based on one of the animals in the story. Having good visuals is important for young readers. You can always hire an artist if you are not possessed with artistic skills of your own.

Comments I Have Received

The following are comments I have received over the years based on this guide to writing ebooks for children. 

Marcy Goodfleisch: Kathy – you are really talented! I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing children’s books, but I don’t know that I could (possibly adult books, or even teen – just not sure about the younger kids!). I think Children’s Literature requires a very special skill – I admire what you’ve done. Thanks for the informative page!

Sheilamarie78: Hi Kathy! I wrote to you on this comment section 2 (!) years ago and am still dragging my feet about creating ebooks. Your advice is still good. Maybe this year I’ll get there.

Kathy’s reply: You will get there when the time is right for you.

anonymous: Your HTML filtered file automatically saves both the pictures and the text, then will put them all together during the conversion process on the Kindle Direct Publishing site. Zip the file and make a separate file folder to put it in, but double check it. Only the text and images should be in there. What did you mean by Zip the file. Do you have an external zip drive or is this already on your computer. I have not used a zip drive in a long time. Also does an ebook need a bar code and number?

Kathy’s reply: No, you don’t need a bar code and number for an ebook, but would need it for a print version. Zipping the file can be done from Microsoft Word 10, the professional version.

gottaloveit2: Excellent article! Really above par. You’ve spelled out my frustrations and success when publishing my own 2 kindle books. It’s a whole new world out there.

Wendy Leanne: My husband and I want to write children’s ebooks. I’ve written 5 children’s books. I only tried to find a traditional publisher for one of them. After receiving 53 rejection letters, I love my confidence and didn’t shop around any others. My husband writes computer software and has some graphic skills. So, he thought he could make animated illustrations to go with my children’s book. Thanks for sharing this information.

Kathy’s reply: Oh I sure hope you reconsider and get them published. Self-Publishing whether an ebook or a print one sounds like the perfect option. I would love to see one, so let me know if/when you do this. You can let me know at my site http://KathyMcGraw.com. Best of luck with it, and thank you for coming by.

peterb6001: A very interesting page Kathy, I really hope I get round to needing to refer to this page. If I do try to publish something I will definitely give you more feedback but at first looks this page looks really helpful 🙂

ThreeQuarters2Day: My friend has written a couple of books and is trying to get them published with no luck. She’s thinking about the self publishing route. Good reading, there is a lot to learn and she’s technology challenged.

Kathy’s reply: There sure is a lot to learn. I suggest if she is technology challenged to either pay someone to get it into the right format and uploaded, or hire someone to help her like a kid that’s good with Word and following directions.

Stuwaha: I have been researching how to write and illustrate children’s books for some time but never considered ebooks 🙂 What a fabulous resource you’ve created!

Kathy’s reply: Thank you Stuwaha….let us know if you decide to do an ebook 🙂

anonymous: Wow this sounds like really hard work. I wrote and printed several booklets years ago and sold them on ebay. I keep thinking of turning them into an ebook. But keep chickening out. So will rethink again about it. thanks for all the helpful information

aprildawncreati: Wow! Thank you for sharing this information with us. This is by far the most realistic how to on self publishing that I have read.

Kathy’s reply: Glad you found it useful 😉

HomeArtist1: LOVIN’ all this valuable info!!! Thanks so much for your generosity!!

writergrey: Very useful information – thank you!

EarningMoneySecrets: very useful info for kindle writers, I also have read that childrens books is very lucrative market on Amazon Kindle…

bskcom: Thanks for your wonderful inspiration!

ajgodinho: Wow, that was quite some experience you gained from writing just one eBook. I’m sure what you gained from the experience itself is valuable in itself. Given that you enjoy writing kids eBooks, this experience gained will pay-off as you continue your journey. Thanks for candidly sharing what you learned during this process. I’m sure it brought a lot of satisfaction and relief as it all came into fruition. Congrats Kathy, and wishing you much success in this endeavour.

ItayaLightbourne: I visited this article a while ago and am back. Thank you again for sharing so much info about your process for publishing your book! Congratulations as well. 🙂

Chris-H: I’ve got several kids ebooks kicking around in my head. A few I’ve committed to paper. I’ll need to find an illustrator though as even stick figures are a challenge! 🙂

Kathy’s reply: Hi Chris….I hear you on the illustrating 🙂 Let me know when you get one of the committed ones written, would love to read it.

coolaunt: Thank you so very much for sharing your experience. Learning curves can make you bald or give you hives. Or crack your teeth I suppose if you are a clencher.

Kathy’s reply: LOL they sure can 🙂 And isn’t it amazing that once we get over that “first” one that things are always easier 😉

paperfacets: A new adventure! Those learning curves are very stressful. I hope your work is rewarded in many separate ways. Just the experience is the first rewarding step.

Kathy’s reply: You are so right about the experience 🙂

IncomeFromHomeT: I’m in the process of writing my first EBook for adults, so I’m sure I’ll go through a LOT of what you went through! Thanks for the hints, the links to great resources, and the encouragement!

Kathy’s reply: I love your writing, and know how exciting it can be to get our books done. I hope you let me know when it’s done 🙂

yayas: I had no idea there were so many things to know about writing kids ebooks. I am thankful that I found your page about writing kids ebooks so I can avoid some of the problems. I have the ‘Ryan the Fireman’ ebook an’ I love it. My grandies also love it. Very cute story.

Kathy’s reply: Why thank you Yaya for your kind words about Ryan the Fireman. Yes, the little kids that read it like it. I just hope I learned enough to make my 2nd kids book go much smoother.

CamelliaPenny: Thank you! I have a collection of Southern short stories published in paperback and all e-book formats, but have been considering trying a children’s e-book next. Very good info here.

Diana Wenzel: You did it! Very impressive. Like about a million other folks, I’ve always wanted to publish a children’s book. Now there is no excuse for me not to finally do it. Very helpful suggestions, tips, and resources. Thank you!

Kathy’s reply: Ahhh we will have to compare notes one day as I am sure you will get yours done 🙂

montanatravel52: Great ideas, I have 2 young kids – thanks for the informative read!

Vikk Simmons: Great job at revealing the behind the scenes.

jhinnash: Thank you so much for a great post and some very helpful info. My husband and I have just jumped into the world of self-publishing and this has been one of the best articles on the subject I’ve found. Our project is an animated children’s book utilizing video, sound effects and music – currently only available for IPad, Robot ABC by Jerry Hunt. Jerry used the IAuthor software, and I think, pushed the boundaries of what it was meant to do – in a good way 🙂 Now we’re deep in the waters of trying to market the book and draw readers to it – no doubt we have an amazing journey ahead of us but we’re optimistic that good books find their audiences… Thank you again for all the great info!!

Kathy’s reply: Your book sounds like quite an interesting project. Amazing what we can do nowadays, and I wish you all the best with marketing yours :).

agoofyidea: Congratulations on publishing your ebook. I am in the beginning stages of writing and editing my first ebook. I still need to get a website and do the marketing and guest blogging necessary. Sometime I feel that it will never happen, but reading your story has given me faith that I can do it too. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you sell lots of copies of your fun book.

Kathy’s reply: Good for you….just keep at it 😉 Please come back and give a link to your book when you get it done!

latiptop: Thank you for sharing all that wonderful information and insight! I think I am ready to try my ebook now!

Kathy’s reply: And best of luck to you too, please come back and give a link when you are done with it.

Gypzeerose: I have fresh appreciation for this as I am a budding writer myself. In fact I am now retiring to my bed with a small glass of wine to read a new ebook about writing fiction on Kindle. Glad I saw this before I did that.

Kathy’s reply: Oh, how exciting…what are you going to write?

BarbaraCasey: I’ll be adding this page to the writer’s resources list on the next update. Great info for newbies.

Kathy’s reply: The more resources we can find, the better it is for all of us!

aesta1: I wish I still have grandkids to appreciate your book, The kids I buy books for don’t really have a Kindle, not even a computer. I really appreciate your sharing this experience.

Kathy’s reply: I hear you, and I think maybe I will make a PDF for people to share with kids that don’t have the technology tools to read an ebook online. Thank you.

fullofshoes: Kathy… I found your post to be, once more, one of the best ones I’ve read. I loved this, so well done. Writing for children…it’s something I’ve thought of many times and attempted only once but I am truly inspired now! (of course I just HAD to do the “find a word” – couldn’t help myself.

kimmanleyort: Of course, you write an ebook and immediately share your tips with others. What an excellent post! I personally love your Ryan the Fireman ebook, and my kids are all grown. Saving for grand kids. Congratulations on achieving your goal.

Kathy’s reply: Thanks Kim…this has been quite a journey, but the end result was worth it 🙂 Glad you liked it…..and thanks for your support 🙂

Mihaela Vrban: Wow! You’ve been busy! 🙂 I look on another side for a bit and you make a book?! Way to go! 😀 And, of course, I have a complaint about the page! “Update May 6, 2012” should be even more prompt! 😉 PS. I hope you sell million of them! 😀

Kathy’s reply: Hey Michelle….yep, I was busy~ I have a couple more I am working on now too 🙂 LOL, a million…now that would be good news 🙂

TheWritingnag: Thanks for writing such a thorough post on writing ebooks for kids. I’ve been thinking about this path and you’ve answered a lot of questions.

sheilamarie78: Hi Kathy! Congratulations on finishing this process! I have also published a children’s book recently — Fiona the Theater Mouse. It’s quite a process, but like you, I kept putting one foot ahead of the other until it was done. I am almost finished the study guide I’ve prepared to go with it. Great idea to add the activities as part of your e-book! I have set the goal of publishing these two as ebooks as my next step and will use your wise advice to get me there. I wish we could sit together over a cup of tea to talk about this!

Kathy’s reply: Yes, I would love to sit and have a cupa with you and talk about kids ebooks 🙂 I will go look for yours and Congratulations!

JoshK47: Excellent information you’ve put together here – I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at ebooks.

Kathy’s reply: Thank you Josh….and like all of us, the hard part is starting 🙂

Spiderlily321: Congrats on publishing your book! My fiancé and I wrote a book and are trying to find a literary agent who is interested. We are considering possibly making an ebook. Not sure yet. Thanks for sharing this great info!

Kathy’s reply: Ahhh you are doing it the conventional way! Mine sat in the file cabinet since 1993 because I never got up the guts to do it that way. Once the ebooks became popular, and my friend challenged me, well, you see how I went 🙂

katiecolette: Congratulations on publishing your book – sounds like it took a lot of effort and patience, but I am sure it’s going to be easier if you decide to publish more books. I have been thinking about trying out the self-publishing – so bookmarking your post in case I do decide to try it out 🙂

Kathy’s reply: Katie- oh yes, go for it. Once you figure out the basics, and have patience with any snafu’s then it’s all worth it 🙂

Bookmama2: Nice job, you set a great example about perseverance, thinking positively and taking action! Here’s to your future sales of this book and your next!

GrowWear: So happy and proud for you, Kathy! Can imagine that there’s not much that feels better than writing something that inspires a child’s imagination. Much success with it!

anonymous: I have a friend who’s interested in publishing an e-book. Thanks for all the interesting info. I think formatting the book might be the biggest challenge.

RuthMadison: I write fiction for adults on Kindle, but I wonder if it’s difficult to get color pictures to format correctly? I’ve heard that Kindle doesn’t support images well.

Mistl: Very inspirational. I am slowly starting to dream about publishing myself one day and this was a great read for me. Thank you! 🙂

ecogranny: Thank you for sharing your e-book writing experience, as well as all the pitfalls and learning moments along the way. What an undertaking! Congratulations on publishing your ebook. What an accomplishment!

wyrm11268: Congratulations on getting your book on Kindle. I enjoyed reading about your experience. I have self published books and have a few ebooks but now I and going to take the leap into ebooks for kindle.

Gypzeerose: Thanks a lot for this, pinned to my Writing board. I really admire your tenacity and creativity in working on this ebook.

Nanciajohnson: I have been curious about writing an ebook and this sure has answered many questions I had (and didn’t know I had)! Thank you and I will be looking for Ryan the Fireman on Kindle!

GabStar: great tips here, once I have my childrens book finished I will definitely come back here to ePublish

aishu19: I am glad that you pulled through and Ryan the fireman is there for all to read about. The thought of my own book has been quite daunting but now you are an inspiration to many. I am thinking of getting this book for my son to read, but need to be sure I can use it without a Kindle. Would check that out and get it soon I guess. Once again! Congratulations!

grannysage: I’m impressed and proud of you. One learning curve after another. But you persevered and the rewards will show up soon. I think pricing is a tricky thing, since so many free e-books are out there. Visualizing lots of books flying off the shelves, no wait, into the Kindles.

julieannbrady: My dear, I just heard about this … that you are now writing kids ebooks? Awesome! May the force be with you and you sell lots of those ebooks. What’s the next one?

Terrie_Schultz: Congratulations on getting your book published! Thanks for the great tips. I’m working on a middle grade novel that I’ll probably publish as an ebook. I won’t have to worry about the illustrations, though, since it’s not a picture book.

Ramkitten2000: Yay! Congratulations on finishing the book AND getting it published on Kindle. I know firsthand what a learning curve there is to self-publishing, especially in the digital realm. Writing is the easy part! And the fun part, if you ask me. The rest can really be a chore. But, thankfully, there are people who’ve “been there, done that,” now including yourself, who are so willing to help others as they come along, to publish their own ebooks. Best of luck with your book. And I LOVE the graphics!

OhMe: Wow, congratulations on your eBook. It sure sounds great and I hope you get tons of downloads. You sure have given me something to think about. I have several childrens books that I wrote many, many years ago and would like to have at least one of them published. I tried sending it to various places but no one seemed interested so I basically just gave up. I will be back here to study some more. Thank you for this great info on Writing Kids eBooks. I am excited for your success!

BarbRad: Congratulations on completing this long process. I hope you will reap some rewards. Thanks for sharing what you have learned.

Richard-H: Congratulations on getting your e-book published. A wonderful achievement, my friend 🙂

Ruthi: Congratulations on Ryan the FIREMAN being published! Thanks for sharing your eBook publishing journey and tips.

Lee Hansen: Yikes, Kathy, great work on the book AND the post!

Linda Pogue: Inspiring! I have some stories rumbling around that I would like to put into an ebook. Thank you for the information.

Blackspaniel1: I have several books on Kindle, but they present a problem with images. Since the reader can change the print size, if you do get an image in it may walk. GoogleBooks does not have this problem, since it uses pdf files, and you can publish in multiple places. I believe I also have one or two on a Barnes and Nobles site. My son puts them up, and I am not quite certain where he places them. But, do consider multiple placement. There are price restrictions, such as not selling at a lower price elsewhere, but if you keep the price the same it works quite well.

buelerlm: How long do you think it should take to have a good ebook ready by? Do you recommend any resources or contacts that are decent when it comes to outsourcing the artwork?

Kathy’s reply: As you can see this is my first attempt so I don’t think I am qualified to say how long it should take. Mine is a young child’s picture book…so it is not text heavy, therefore it is different than one that is mostly text. As for outsourcing the artwork, again that depends. There are so many talented artists around, but if you go back up and click the link for Shannon she might know of an artists network if she herself couldn’t do the work for you.

LisaMarieGabriel: Having just published Colin’s book in print format, I thought I would have a go at ePub – only to discover it would not format right! This lens is one I shall favorite and draw inspiration from. Well done, dear Kathy, and good luck with your sales! {{{{{hug}}}}}

Kathy’s reply: Oh Lisa…thank you, and boy did I need or want a hug a couple times 🙂 I have some more resources now…and am so close to having this done……so close, but no cigar yet 🙂

RachelDillin: I have not purchased an kids eBooks, but I will soon. My son learned to read this year, but I haven’t been able to spare my Kindle lol.

DahliaValentine: Loving this! You did a great job exploring this market Kathy.

Kathy’s reply: Dahlia…thank you 🙂

favored: You did a wonderful job with this article and I’m looking forward to your book. I’m trying to get a few of my books that are out of print into ebooks, and I’ve been having a difficult time getting mine finished because of graphic issues also. You’ve given me hope. Congrats on your success!

Kathy’s reply: Oh, looks like we will have a whole network of writers here. Yes, it has been a challenge, and this week there was a publishing bug, so that too added challenges. But with tenacity…we will both be published 🙂 Let me know how it works out.

Silverstar2154: This is really informative. There are a lot of things in here to keep in mind for people who want to write children’s books and people who want to write books in general. I never knew there were so many things to consider regarding the self-publishing route.

Kathy’s reply: It is amazing…and I have learned even more now 🙂

NYtoSCimjustme: I always wanted to write a book, this article and your success is motivation and inspiration to get my mind back in writer mode and get serious again about my writing. Good Luck with your book!

Kathy’s reply: Thanks….and I hope if you love writing as much as I do that you do get back to it.

iWriteaLot: Very inspirational. You make me want to get up off my duff and publish my own ebook. Now that you have one under your belt, the next one will be a breeze. Congratulations!

Kathy’s reply: Thanks 🙂 Yes, I am planning on having fun with that snake for another little kids story. I have no doubt when you are ready to do yours, you will!

Michey: Great post! Kids nowadays are different then kids in our generations as they have so much technology at their disposal… so, we, the adults, must adapt as well… not that easy sometime … and I have to confess that I learn some “cool staff” from my grandson.

Kathy’s reply: HI Michey, I too have learned from my grandkids. You are right that many “grandparents” have had to adapt to things like technology and it’s not always easy 🙂

flycatcherrr: Good for you, Kathy, persevering and learning all these news things to see your ebook project through. Well done, indeed – and so inspiring for others!

Kathy’s reply: Thank you Flycatcher! I really am amazed I finished it, as normally I would’ve quit somewhere along the line with all the technology issues happened. But knowing I had made a commitment wouldn’t let me 🙂

mumsgather: I finished writing two eBooks for Mothers recently and was thinking of an eBook for kids next but an eBook with lots of illustration which I feel a kids eBook requires gives me a headache just thinking about it!

Kathy’s reply: LOL…oh yes, those illustrations are really important for kids eBooks, and they can be so cute, but they have their own issues.

aurora7: This is great. Congratulations on writing an ebook.

Kathy’s reply: Thanks!

Sylvestermouse: Wow! Impressive and awesome! You never cease to amaze me!!!

Kathy’s reply: Thanks Mouse…one more step to having accomplished everything I wanted to 🙂

MartieG: Thanks for the really good information for writing your own eBook. What a tremendous accomplishment! :>)

Kathy’s reply: Thanks…it’s been an adventure 🙂

ElizabethJohnson: Awesome post! I’ve always thought about writing eBooks, I didn’t know where to start, but this helps a ton! Thanks Kathy! 🙂

Kathy’s reply: Elizabeth I do hope you start..just open a word doc, and start typing 🙂

Morgannafay: Kathy! I can’t wait to be able to read it! I’m gonna have to say, when you told me about writing it, I had no idea about the in’s and out’s of ebook self publishing. None! Now, I have an even better sense of what it took you to bring this project through. You should be very proud! Also, I did so love the puppet video too. Can’t wait!

Kathy’s reply: LOL thanks Shannon 🙂 And thank you so much for all the work you put into making those pictures colorful and fun looking! You did a great job!!! Ryan never looked better 🙂

KimGiancaterino: Kathy, I’m so proud of you! This is quite an accomplishment, and I’m sure you’ll keep on creating more wonderful books.

Kathy’s reply: Kim, thank you very much! You always know just the right things to say

Cari Kay 11: My daughter and I have been talking about doing this. We make up stories all the time. You have some wonderful advice here!

Kathy’s reply: Cari…oh how fun! Well, the planning and writing is fun 🙂 I hope you do it…it is a great bonding experience, and the pride she will have seeing her name on the book is priceless 🙂

StrongMay: I love the second video!

Kathy’s reply: Thank you 🙂

Wednesday-Elf: Hey, Kathy, how wonderful. I had no idea you were a children’s book author and that you were working on this eBook. Congratulations – I hope it becomes very successful for you, as well as any and all your future endeavors in this venue.

Kathy’s reply: Thanks a million Elf! I am excited to work on the other one that I started, but just as happy to finally get this from the filing cabinet to the computer. “Good, bad, or indifferent” I met the challenge 🙂

getmoreinfo: These are great resources, I have been looking into self-publishing on Kindle it is something I would like to try.

Kathy’s reply: Oh, I hope you do! It took me two weeks to make the commitment, to say yes, I agree to follow this through, no matter what. Kindle and Barnes and Noble have a bit different structures, then there is Smashwords too. Good luck with your project!

anonymous: When you told me you were working on a big project, I had no idea it would be a book for kids. I’m so surprised and, at the same time, it’s not surprising at all, when we get to know you more.

I told you you were a winner and, once again, against the doubt (pushing that upload button), the stress (finding illustrator, etc.), the troubles (the missing Word software), you come up with something huge, a thing that we’ll speak about for years to come.

Also, I appreciate the time you take to share your work with us, the tips you provide to those who’d like to publish their own ebook, the best resources; after all you could keep these advises for yourself and hide them from the public.

Me too, I want to congratulate you, Kathy, for the project, for your kindness, your creativeness and also your courage! Fingers crossed for this Ryan the Fireman be the first of a loooooooooooooooooooooooong list of ebooks by Kathy McGraw. Big hugs to you 🙂

Kathy’s reply: Thank you for such a lovely comment! I wanted it to be a surprise that I was doing this, and from your comment it was 🙂 Already I have seen a couple others that want to do this, so hopefully sharing my lessons and resources will be of help….that is the goal!

indigoj: You are right, it’s a frustrating process getting an ebook from concept to files to a completed and uploaded book. But the time spent getting it right is well worth it. The fact that you stuck with this through all of the stress and conflicting information, and unexpected errors, shows you’ve got that all-important thing: determination. Plenty of people have creative ideas, but for many they stay in their heads. It’s determination that gets them out in the world. You’ve got it in buckets! Congratulations on seeing the project through. It looks like it’s going to be a fun book for any kid to read.

Kathy’s reply: Nicki my friend…thank you for being my ear during my frustrating days! You are so right about the creative ideas…..and the determination part sure does play a part in the process 🙂 Now, part of MY process, and my commitment here is to make sure someone else finishes theirs 🙂

HealthfulMD: Summer project are to be looking at getting some of the book ideas converted to published eBooks. Thanks for sharing your learning frustrations.

Kathy’s reply: Wonderful…I hope you get them done, or even one to start! It feels great to see your ideas go from paper to the computer 🙂

luvmyludwig lm: Congrats K, I’m so happy for you. The promotional vids are great! Open office is amazing also and I’m so glad you discovered it. Good luck with this project and any others. 🙂

Kathy’s reply: Oh thank you C 🙂 My only issue with Open Office is when it comes time to save in other formats like a .doc file It will save it, but it doesn’t seem to work, but just think how smart I’ll be for the next one, the one with the snake 🙂

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Baby Boomer that was getting ready to live the RV lifestyle until I shattered my arm in the summer of 2013. Since that time I have been told umpteen times that I have a "very bad injury" and continue doing exercises, trying to get function, range of motion, and use of my arm and hand. This is my life right now, so this is what I will be writing about, and recommending some of the better products I have used, or am using right now.

2 comments

  • It is so impressive, how you managed to work your way through the challenges of self-publishing not just one book but on to a second one! Writing and publishing books for children must be especially difficult to pull off successfully, too, because you have images as well as the story itself to consider – and children are often so much more intelligent than we adults are!

    Reply
  • This is very inspirational for anyone wanting to write an ebook – especially for children. The fact that you’ve already managed to publish your first book and are working on your second is a massive achievement. With all the difficulties involved on the technical side, you can see why so many people are put off. This guide will be of great help.

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