Should I Run a Kickstarter Campaign During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

should i crowdfund my book coronavirus

Last week, we heard from children’s book author Nikki Filippone about why she canceled her book’s Kickstarter campaign after reaching 50% funding in 13 days.

This week, we’ll learn from children’s book author and wildlife photographer, Dennis Glennon, about why he’s continuing with his all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign for his book, Buddy’s Magic Window.

Below, you’ll find Dennis’ reasoning for why it’s important for writers to not give up on their dreams even in times of economic uncertainty.

Reasons to Continue Marketing Your Books During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Well, there are a lot of reasons. The most important being is that I believe my book is worth fighting for.

I believe it will bring smiles and inspiration to both children and adults. I know it will inspire children to read and want to help animals and the environment.

Despite the current circumstances, I believe that positivity, inspiration, and smiles are needed now more than ever. This book has all of that.

I also believe that when you put enough force and drive behind something that is good, and you work extremely hard to make it happen, it will find the right people to support it.

I also know this will be tough work, and it might fail to reach its funding goal. This is a calculated risk, but I still believe it will get funded.

“Despite the current circumstances, I believe that positivity, inspiration, and smiles are needed now more than ever. This book has all of that.”

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Need to Fight Extra Hard

Another reason I kept the campaign going is that I want more than anything to be a full-time children’s book author. It has been a dream of mine for a long time.

This book has been just about ready for over six years. I had health setbacks, which forced me to put the whole project on the back burner.

Whatever the next few weeks or months forces me to deal with will pale in comparison to what I went through to get healthy.

I also believe that when you own a small business, you must be creative, fight, and be persistent to succeed.

Owning a small business and running it full time is no easy task. By continuing a Kickstarter campaign at this time, I will need to fight and scrape for every dollar.

See it as a Learning Opportunity

I am learning new things every day. This campaign is forcing me way out of my comfort zone. The things I am learning will be invaluable as I go forward on my goal to be a full-time author.

The biggest take away is that you will always need to be thinking creatively to sell and market yourself. There are endless opportunities to market, even under the worst circumstances.

Just imagine, if I succeed in bad times, how much better it will be when the economy gets back to normal.

No certainty when that will be, but I will have books and be ready to go.

In the meantime, I will be building an online store and start branding my book. I am going to offer a whole merchandising line.

I will start offering puzzles later on today because they are in high demand since everyone is stuck at home.

With Amazon currently only delivering necessities, it is the perfect time to drive sales to your website where the profit margins are higher.

buddy dog coffee dennis glennon
Photo credit: Dennis Glennon Photography

The World Needs Artists to Continue Working

On a more philosophical note, we are artists, authors, and creatives. We take the time to pour our lifetime of thoughts into a book.

To me, it is a higher calling that we must get our stories, which we are so passionate about out into the world.

Keep in mind that this is a business, and you need an excellent book, a solid following, and a great plan to make this happen.

Competition is more fierce than ever.

To that end, we must work even harder and smarter to get people to buy our books and fund our creative projects, no easy task at the moment.

Advice if You Plan to Crowdfund Right Now

Here’s my advice if you are going to launch a campaign soon: Get professional help!!!

This is no time to play around and try to figure this out on your own. You need a solid plan and following to make this happen.

I hired Lisa Ferland to help me. Her expertise is priceless.

She will put you in the best position to succeed. She has a ton of knowledge and is super generous in helping her clients succeed.

I could not have done this on my own. An added bonus to having Lisa on your team is that she alleviates a large amount of stress. You’ll know you have proper direction or will be re-directed if things start slipping.

I also talked with and follow children’s book author, Jay Miletsky. His business advice is sound and will put you on a path to profit. His groups are awesome, and there are a lot of resources there to help in your book publishing endeavor.

Keep in mind that running a Kickstarter campaign will be a ton of work and more complicated than you think.

At this point, you might want to consider lowering your original goal (before you launch) a little and aim to go over.

I had no way of knowing this Corona scare would happen, but, in hindsight, I wish I would have gone with my original goal of $6,500 and then gone over to the $9,500 that I really need for the 2,500 copies.

I chose 2,500 copies because there is enough profit margin to be able to get a second print run paid for and sustain an adequate profit margin.

buddys magic window dennis glennon

Keep Asking for the Sale

So then there is another question “How do you ask people for money in this time of economic uncertainty? “

Ultimately, it is a personal decision, and there are no wrong answers. However, my response is, “How do you not?”

Keep in mind that this is an unusual period, and we should be diplomatic, sympathetic, empathetic, and know our audience, as we do not want to alienate anyone.

The economic uncertainty is brutal, and people are understandably stressed and holding onto their money.

Imagine that this is your full-time business. What would you do? Would you just fold up? Or would you fight for survival?

I think we are safe if we politely ask for the sale and support. People either can and will support, or they cannot at this time, and they will not, and either way, it is OK.

But without asking, we will fail.

Artists Can Help Others Heal in Times of Crisis

I will give you an example of what happened to me post 9/11 when I had an Art Show shortly afterward that may shed some light on the current situation.

I live in NJ. When 9/11 happened, I had an art show scheduled in Montclair NJ not far from Manhattan. I knew people who died in this tragedy, including the priest who baptized me, Father Mychal Judge, who was the Fire Chaplin and a family friend.

I struggled with a lot of things, and one of them is, “Do I go do this art show? How can I possibly ask people for money at this time of tragedy? I struggled with it. Not an easy decision, but I went. That is what artists do. We show up and support.

My reasoning ended up being I will set up my booth and just be there for anyone who needs the support. I will provide a pleasant distraction for anyone that was there, figuring if they were out, that is what they needed.

I did not push for any sales for those two days but talked about my work and certainly accepted the sales that came my way. I learned that people really appreciated the artists that showed up.

We help heal in a time of crisis.

Yes..sales were probably horrible, but I did make some money and provided some much-needed relief. So with that in mind, I could not give up on my current campaign.

Crowdfunding is Tough No Matter When You Launch

I truly believe I can be there for people in need of something positive, a welcomed distraction, and my book has value and that people will feel good about the purchase.

Then when July rolls around and the books are delivered, they will be thankful they helped support the campaign.

Will it be tough? Absolutely!! I was funded 50% of my $9,500 goal the first week.

The second week, when the pandemic started to become more of a reality, and people started getting sent home from work, I only gained 7%. SCARY.

I will have to gently push harder and be even more creative to get to the finish line. I realize that not all people will agree with me on this, and I respect that.

But if you gained just one bit of wisdom or insight in this article, then I have provided value, and I wish us all success in our book publishing journeys.

It is a tough journey, better traveled with the support of good friends and fellow authors who understand the difficulty.

Would I recommend launching a campaign right now??? I would consult with Lisa and Jay’s group to get a better pulse.

Ask me in 2 weeks.

Best wishes to all. Keep up the fight. Most of all, be safe.

Stay healthy and be kind to yourself and others. These are tough times. We need to come together and support one another.

Keeping it positive!

dennis glennon photography

Dennis Glennon is a professional dog, wildlife, and nature photographer. He has photographed some of the most beautiful places in North America including most of the U.S. National Parks. His focus has been on photographing landscapes and wildlife, but once he started photographing dogs it took on a life of its own.

Click here to visit and support Buddy’s Magic Window on Kickstarter
Click here to follow Dennis Glennon’s Photography on Facebook

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Crowdfunding Lessons 101: Is Crowdfunding Your Book a Good Idea?

Enroll in Lisa’s free mini-course on Crowdfunding for Authors to find out if it’s right for you

Animal lovers take over Kickstarter: Opossum Opposites by Gina Gallois

Opossum opposite cover square

Gina Gallois knew she wanted to launch Opossum Opposites on Kickstarter.  She knew she had to build an audience and keep them engaged during her campaign.

We worked together and in only two sessions, Gina was on her way creating funny opossum memes and articles that her readers love.

In this interview, I asked Gina about her experience building an audience from scratch, her Kickstarter campaign, and her plans for her future books.

What surprised you the most about running your Kickstarter campaign?

It really is a lot of work. I was surprised about the amount of upfront work, before the first backer has even pledged.

I would not have done near as good a job making sure all of my links were consistent and working together if I had not had Lisa’s help.

It takes a long time to get all of the advertising materials together – even though I didn’t do any paid ads, I made a lot of memes and graphics to post throughout the month.

Also, the work that went into the “simple” video, the Kickstarter page was a lot more than I expected. 

However, it was a great exercise because now I have all kinds of info ready to go, and I basically pinned a post to the top of my blog with all my lovely Kickstarter info so people who visit the page will see that first.

What was the best aspect of crowdfunding your campaign?

We made our goal and went well over, so now I can invest in my Spanish translation and my French editor.

It was great to see how many of the backers came from the Kickstarter community—over $1K of the funding.

What was the worst aspect of your campaign?


Being obsessed with checking my numbers for several days! Then, thank goodness I calmed down a bit once I reached my goal at the start of day 11.

I still kept pushing through the month, but I let off a bit for about 2 weeks to give people a chance to breathe before the final call for pledges. I didn’t want people to get sick of me.

What were the best strategies you did to build your audience before you launched?

I started pushing my email list really hard, and that worked pretty well—for my particular case, I promised special exclusive memes about opossums.

I mostly needed email subscribers since I was pretty much starting that from scratch, but I already had over 1000 Facebook followers, and I’m still building that audience all the time.

I think it also helped that I wrote on Medium and got my call to action out there in lots of articles related to my book (that was Lisa’s idea, and was really helpful).

You said you build your audience from zero.

What strategies did you use to build you readership before launch?

So, I am in five or six different private Facebook groups about opossums and each day of the week for several months, I made my own memes with pictures people had posted of their rescue opossums (I always credited the photos on the meme).

I posted the memes on my IG which simultaneously posts on my FB page.

Then I shared that FB post in each group with a different little quip in each new post.

People in each group saw my FB page each time I posted and sometimes they mosey on over and follow me.

Even if they only go to my page and like a post, I could scoop them up that way by inviting them to like the page later. 
 
I think the secret is that I was always giving them something entertaining and sneaking a little info and/or link in with the meme, so it didn’t annoy the crap out of people that all I was ever doing was pushing my book.
 
I rarely shared direct marketing things for my book in these groups—only to announce the beginning of the Kickstarter and maybe one to say it was about to end.
 
Otherwise, I usually got my link in the first couple of lines, but the star of the show was always the original meme.
 
I was getting over 200 new followers every month for several months.
 

What advice did you receive that helped you the most?


To write related articles, to have things ready in advance (although I could have done much better with that, I had time to do it during the month, too, luckily).

I also emailed about 200 people individually, and I think that helped even if a lot of people didn’t reply at all.

Some people I didn’t really expect to hear from were super excited about my book.

What advice would you give someone thinking about crowdfunding their book?


Get help from Lisa Ferland! Read as much as you can, study the projects that are not working and figure out why, look at the ones that are and analyze that too.

Make it yours, make it clear, make it great.

Would you crowdfund your book again?

I would if I had to, but it was so much work (and since I did pretty well), I plan to use the funds to get my publishing empire rolling and then reinvest in my next couple of projects.

I finally found a day to draft most of the next book I’ve been percolating, so I want to use all the money the first one brings in to keep going and hopefully not annoy my friends and family with guilt trips for cash anymore. Don’t want to run out of goodwill.

Although, crowdfunding is a very good way to get to people you wouldn’t normally have reached. Those super backers are nothing to sneeze at!

Final thoughts?

I learned and am still learning so much from all of this that I wouldn’t have necessarily learned so easily if I had not gone through the process of crowdfunding my book.

I could not be happier with my results. I feel prepared for anything!

Bio

Gina Gallois bio

Gina Gallois is a longtime opossum enthusiast. She recently left teaching college French to be at home with her infant daughter and to write.

In addition to children’s books, she also writes humor and personal essays on Medium.

Gina is the proud, incredibly lucky mother of two bilingual children. She’s married to an imported Frenchman who recently became a US citizen.

Connect with Gina on her website: https://livingimperfection.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LivingImperfection/

Instagram @artemisopossum

 

Are you interested in crowdfunding your book in 2020?

Do you want four weeks of free coaching, an accountability group of fellow authors, video tutorials, email templates, and resources to help you save time?

I have a new program that is perfect for you but I’m only taking in a few authors.

Want to know more?

Email me at admin@lisaferland.com with the email headline,

“I want more info on group coaching” and I’ll get back to you right way.

Seats are limited, so email me TODAY if you’re interested.

Translating Your Books Into Foreign Languages

translating childrens books pirate ship

Want to reach more readers by translating your book into foreign languages? Be sure to read this article to see if it’s a good idea for your business.

Translating books


Many indie authors are interested in translating their books into other languages to reach as many readers as possible.

As the publishers of our work, we own the rights to translate our words into any language, which is pretty amazing.

However, translating books can become an expensive endeavor with very little return if you don’t think through every aspect of the publishing process.

Foreign publishers contacting you

Sometimes, a foreign publisher will contact you offering their translation and publishing services of your book into their language.

I recommend hiring a foreign rights agent to help you negotiate these contracts so you get the best deal possible.

Contacting foreign rights agents

John Penberthy received almost $40,000 in advances when he sold the foreign rights for his motivational self-help book, To Bee or Not to Bee, to multiple foreign literary agents. 

He researched the email addresses of foreign literary agents and sent them a descriptive email, including a link to his book trailer. 

This effort resulted in offers and translation rights in Korean, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Chinese, and Romanian. 

He said, “I strongly recommend using literary agents (as opposed to contacting publishers directly); they are worth their weight in gold.” 

If you’re interested in learning more about translating your fiction/nonfiction, head to ALLI’s blog on how to sell your foreign rights.

For children’s book authors, keep reading.

You’ve been warned—this is about to get ugly.

translating childrens books pirate ship
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Translating Children’s Books—especially those that rhyme

Working with foreign rights agents may work well for straightforward fiction and nonfiction, but it’s a different story when it comes to children’s books—particularly books written in rhyme.

Balancing proper rhyme, meter, story plot, and reader interest is difficult to do in any language and often doesn’t translate well.

Rhyming books will never translate directly between any two languages (nothing ever does), and the language for children needs to be applicable.

This always results in the creation of a new storyline.

Oh, and you’ll need a snappy new title with market appeal in your target language.

A revised storyline requires one of two approaches:

—commissioning new illustrations ($), or
—shoehorning your new story to match your existing illustrations.

Translating a rhyming children’s book can become quite expensive for the indie publisher and difficult to market if you don’t know the language.

Click the image to purchase the hardcover version
VI FIRAR HALLOWEEN INBUNDEN
Klicka länken att köpa inbunden boken

My experience translating English rhymes into Swedish

When I originally planned to publish my books in two languages—my native English and my adopted language Swedish—I didn’t fully grasp the consequences of my idea.

I was naive in thinking that since my books were short children’s books, we could find words that rhyme in both languages.

It doesn’t matter if your books are 300 words or 3,000—if there is rhyming involved, you might want to reconsider taking on this arduous task yourself and pay a foreign rights agent their hard-earned 20%.

Merely finding a Swedish author to help me take on this task took a few months.

I reached out to numerous children’s book authors who wrote in Swedish rhyme, but nobody seemed interested. It’s a tough job!

I finally connected with a local author, Veronica Linarfve, who was a delightful collaborator and relished sinking her teeth into a new project so different from her novels.

Veronica had to do the heavy lifting as I could not offer intelligent alternatives to improve the meter. I can barely trust my ears to hear meter cadence in English, let alone detect it in my second language.

Fortunately, Veronica is super talented and stuck with me. We found words that worked and Swedish kids and parents absolutely love the book. 

Veronica Linarfve o Lisa Ferland
Photo credit: Veronica Linarfve

Ohh, but merely translating the words does not a book make. 

You may need new illustrations ($$)

Fortunately, I was able to crosswalk most of the existing illustrations from the English version and repurpose them for the Swedish book.

VI FIRAR HALLOWEEN spoke

Kevin the ghost needed a new costume with the words “Bus eller godis” but otherwise remained the same

Other considerations included a new book title, book cover design, title page, copyright page, ISBN, updated sales page description, and a marketing plan.

You’re definitely going to need a new title

Your translated work may have a completely different title based on the market appeal and genre of your book.

“When the clock strikes…” is a well-known phrase in English, but it doesn’t mean anything in Swedish.

The new title has to mean something to potential readers, so we changed it to, “Vi firar halloween” (Swedes don’t capitalize their titles like we do in the US/UK) which translates to, “We celebrate Halloween.”  

It doesn’t have quite the same gravitas as “When the Clock Strikes…” but Swedish readers are enjoying it and that’s the most important part.

How are you going to market your translated book(s)?

Oh yeah, marketing, don’t forget about that! No book sells itself, and neither will your translated book(s).

If you don’t know the language, you’re going to struggle to get it in front of potential readers. Google Translate will only take you so far.

Writing persuasive copy in your native language is tough and now you’re in charge of doing it in a foreign language? Ehh, ok. 

I live in Sweden, so I can take my book around to markets and stores and sell it in-person.

If you’re translating your book into Korean and you live in the US, how are you going to get it in front of Korean readers?

My long-term solution is to get my Swedish books into the Swedish version of Amazon (bokus.se) via a local fulfillment center.

Until I can get the books in circulation, I’m selling them on my Shopify website, which has been quite simple to set up and get moving.

I’m directing traffic to that site via Facebook ads.

None of this is remotely easy as I’m working in my minority language.

Again, Google Translate can only do so much.

US-based solutions, like Shopify, are super helpful but their buttons aren’t in every language so some English may remain on your page.

Here’s what my Swedish book looks like on my Swenglish Shopify page.

An Alternative Solution for Rhyming Books

But wait! I don’t come to you with only problems, I also offer potential solutions.

Tamara Rittershaus is an experienced poetry coach and editor living in Mexico.

Her family is trilingual, and she understands the need for books to be available in multiple languages.

“You need a translator and editor experienced with stories for children, because translating stories is it’s own art form,” Tamara explains.

“The translated text not only has to convey the story itself, but the jokes and puns still have to be funny, the language rich and beautiful, and the vocabulary simple and accessible to children.”

Tamara has teamed up with other bilingual professionals to offer translation services for children’s book authors in English and Spanish.

If your story is in rhyme, you have options: 

1. The story in verse can be translated as a story in prose. A good translator can use rich language to bring your story to life without using rhyme and rhythm.

2. The story can be translated to have a lyrical, rhythmic feel, but not be in rhyme. This is a step harder for the translator. He/she will need the freedom to change small details, like the order of words or the details described, to make the meter work. 

3. The story can be translated into poetry in the target language. Most likely, this is only possible with straightforward texts. It will probably require editing some details of your story and maybe even changing the illustrations. Depending on the topic and tone of your story, it may not be possible. 

Note that Option 3 is the path I chose for my Eng-Swe books. I wouldn’t really recommend it to everyone.

Be sure to contact Tamara about these options and discuss your manuscript with her team. 

They can help you decide which option is best for your story.

Pro tip: Wait until your manuscript is FINAL before attempting any translations whatsoever

If you’re publishing two separate editions —an English edition and a Spanish edition— wait for translation services until everything in your original version is finalized. 

If you’re still making changes to your text or illustrations, it’s not time to start another language edition yet. 

If you’re publishing a bilingual edition, you need to have your bilingual text ready for the illustrator early on so he/she can create the space required for the text within each illustration. As you make changes, you’ll need both an English and a Spanish editor to review the finished manuscript before publication. 

Tamara and her team offer a complete translation & editing service: 

– Professional translation services 

– Professional editing in English and Spanish 

– Digital text placement for your bilingual or Spanish edition 

They also offer marketing assistance to help you sell all of those beautiful books you had painstakingly translated.

Tamara’s website: https://www.picturebooktamara.com/

I will admit that I was a bit ambitious with my first books and eager to get them to market despite it taking an entire year. 

It will take time for me to get the books into Swedish circulation but I know that it’ll be successful once it does. We learn by doing, which is often a bit painful and expensive, but that’s how we make progress.

Whew! Ok!

So how are you feeling about translating your book?

Ja? Nej?

 

Bobbie Hinman on How to Create a Bestselling Children’s Book

Bobbie Hinman has sold over 50,000 children’s books and has won numerous awards for her Best Fairy Books series.

In her latest book, How to Create a Successful Children’s Book (part of  KindleUnlimited), she gives readers her tips and tricks to creating a bestselling children’s book (hint: fart and poop jokes will go a long way).

Like any good fairy godmother, Bobbie was gracious enough to answer my questions about her Fairy books and take us behind-the-scenes on creating a book like a traditional publisher.

What was the original inspiration behind your fairy book series? 

It all started when my husband and I were babysitting our six-year-old twin granddaughters.

I was trying to comb through Emily’s morning tangles, causing her to wail loudly, so…I did what grandmas do so well—I made up a story.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, came the story of the sweet little Knot Fairy who visits sleeping children and loves to tangle their hair. Emily stopped crying. She loved the story and begged me to tell it every day. I was energized by my grandkids’ excitement. The Knot Fairy book was born.

Deep down, I had always known I wanted to write a children’s book. Hubby and I were both retired. So, why not?

You were self-publishing before it was popular. What convinced you to give self-publishing a try? Did you ever pitch your ideas to traditional publishers?

As the author of seven traditionally published cookbooks, I had learned a lot about the book business.

Thankfully, I did learn that, no matter who publishes your book, you, the author, must plan to promote, promote, promote. Even with a traditional publisher, I spent many hours working hard to supplement their marketing efforts.

Yes, I could have submitted my ideas to traditional publishers. It had worked with my cookbooks.

However, the publishing world today is more competitive than ever, especially when it comes to children’s books. I didn’t want to start sending query letters and possibly fill a shoebox with rejection notices while waiting for the right publisher to show interest in my book.

This time I wanted to be the one to make all the decisions—and keep all the money.

You published your first book in 2007 before a lot of the self-publishing tools exist today were available. In your opinion, how has the self-publishing industry changed in ways that have had the greatest impact on indie authors?

Competition in the book world is tougher than it has ever been. Yet many more people are self-publishing. The dilemma I see is that it is too easy for people to publish books that are not of the highest quality.

With the advent of Print on Demand publishing, anyone willing to pay can publish a book, often resulting in higher priced books and, sadly, too many books of poor quality.

Often there is little or no editing offered, and the paper and covers are of inferior quality. I’ve also witnessed the growth of social marketing sites, such as Facebook.

The good news for authors is that they now have a giant platform for marketing their books.

Unfortunately, the growth of social media is bad news for two reasons:

First, too many authors rely only on these sites to market their books, making their marketing efforts very one-dimensional; second, these sites are extremely crowded with authors saying “Buy my book” to an audience of thousands of other authors.

If you don’t mind sharing, how do you print your books? What printer have you found that has the best quality for the price?

My books have been printed by a wonderful company, Amica, Inc., that has headquarters in Kent, Washington in the U.S. I chose them after seeing their finished products at Book Expo America.

They print in China and they produce top-quality books. I recently had 2 of my books printed in the U.S. by Bang Printing Co. They also did an excellent job and were very fair with the pricing.

The price depends on the amount of books ordered—the larger the order, the lower the price. 

You include an audio CD with your books, which is something I haven’t seen any indie author do before. What level of production is required to add such a valuable item and do you feel it is worthwhile?

Having been an elementary teacher, I felt that adding a CD would provide an added bonus for toddlers and young readers.

It gives the book the ability to appeal to another one of the children’s senses, helping them learn better by both hearing and seeing the words at the same time.

Producing a CD is an interesting process that involves writing a script and recording it in a sound studio, with an audio engineer.

My basic script consisted of the story narration and an original fairy song. I became a song writer! I tapped into a lot of local talent to make the process work without breaking the bank.

I found a young audio engineer with a studio in his basement, “hired” my vocalist daughter-in-law to sing, and turned my grandchildren into a children’s chorus.

People love the added value of having a CD inside the book, and also love the fact that their children are learning to read with the help of the CD.

If I were to do it today, I would go through the recording process but, in place of a CD, I would use a QR code that would take the reader to my website to listen to the recording. (I haven’t explored the details of doing this, but I have met people who say they have done it successfully.)

Approximately how much does each book cost to produce?

There are so many variables here. It depends on the format (hardcover or paperback), the size of the book, the paper quality, and any additions (dust jacket or CD)  and the number of books ordered.

I certainly don’t recommend mortgaging your house to purchase thousands of books, so you have to be realistic and know how you plan to market your books before you print.

Also, of utmost importance, is to first produce a top-quality book that has been professionally edited and market-tested with a focus group of age-appropriate readers. 

Your illustrations are beautiful and it is clear that there is a team behind each book. Where did you find your collaborators? 

I don’t know why it’s called “self-publishing” because you certainly can’t do it all yourself!

A team of professionals provide the checks and balances you need to produce a top-quality product.

I found my illustrator (Kristi Bridgeman) by doing an internet search for “fairy illustrators.” It was love at first sight! Her magical watercolor illustrations turned my books into works of art.

My graphic designer was a young friend of a friend, who worked from home and was affordable. He meshed the words and illustrations in just the right way.

Although I am an editor, even editors need an extra pair of eyes to check their work. Luckily, my pilates instructor was a retired editor who had worked for a large publishing house.

My team worked together beautifully, even though we were in different states—and countries!

Have you ever felt pigeon-holed by your topic? (Ever want to write about non-fairy books?)

No, I’ve never felt pigeon-holed. I love fairies and love finding things to blame on them. I actually have a few other fairy books written that I would like to publish. (No, I won’t tell you what they are.) That being said, I have also been collecting cat photos for a new toddler book and—to add something different to the mix—I am working on a true-life ghost story. Stay tuned…

What would you say was a mistake that you made that taught you something valuable?

Oh, dear. Here it is: When it was time to print the first book, I thought the cost of encasing the CDs in tamper-resistant plastic sleeves was too high, opting instead for paper sleeves. They seemed sturdy enough to me. I ordered 5000 copies of the book!

Only when I sent a copy to the children’s buyer for Barnes & Noble did I learn that my books were deemed unacceptable due to the use of paper CD sleeves. Fortunately all was not lost, as 10 of my family members agreed to convene on a Sunday morning around a large conference table in my son’s office.

We formed a production line and spent twelve hours unpacking each case of books, carefully removing the paper sleeves, placing each CD into its newly purchased plastic sleeve, meticulously gluing each CD back into place and repacking the books.

Lesson learned: Do it right the first time! 

What advice would you give someone considering indie publishing?

  1. Know your target audience. When you decide what age you are targeting, go to the library, find out what this age group is reading, and read as many of these books as you can.
  2. Have your book professionally edited—yes, even if there are only 100 words in your book.
  3. Own your ISBN. Whoever owns the ISBN owns the rights to publish your book.
  4. Before using POD or subsidy publishing companies, ask for samples of the companies’ work and ask yourself if this is what you want your book to look like. Also, make sure to discuss the total price and know what to expect in the way of quality and service.
  5. Read my book, How to Create a Successful Children’s Picture Book.

Are your books available in bookstores, libraries, and schools? Can you briefly describe how you’ve approached each channel?

I have been fortunate to have had my books accepted by a large distributor, which is the only way I know for an indie author to distribute their books to bookstores and libraries nationwide so quickly and efficiently.

As for schools, this has proven to be a very lucrative market for my books.

I do classroom visits where I read a book or two and teach the children the songs on the CDs. I prepare order forms for the teachers to send home with the children a few days before my visit.

I charge a fee for my visit, plus sell my books. For practice, you can offer to do free visits at your local libraries.

What other opportunities has publishing your books led to? (e.g., speaking opportunities, lectures, etc.)

A whole new world has opened since my granddaughter refused to have her hair combed.

I have been a guest presenter at numerous book fairs all across the U.S. and in Canada. I have been a guest blogger on blogs all over the world.

I have had Barnes & Noble book launch parties that have attracted as many as 300 people. I have been invited to sign my books at many Costco stores.

Occasionally someone even recognizes me on the street!

Anything else you’d like to share?

This is an exciting journey. My books have received 28 children’s book awards along the way, including the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medal for “Best Picture Book Series of 2017.” I invite everyone to take the journey with me.

Would I recommend self-publishing? Yes, if you do it right.

Let’s face it: As self-publishers, our books are often judged more critically and held to a higher standard than traditionally published books. Therefore, if we’re going to represent ourselves, let’s make our books the very best.

There’s no room in today’s market for more run-of-the-mill books.

Competition is tougher than it has ever been.

On my journey I have verified an important fact that some self-publishers fail to recognize: In order to compete in the book world, you MUST produce a high-quality product!

Read the Best Fairy Books

Note that all of Bobbie Hinman’s books are available in the KindleUnlimited program so you can check them out for free when you are a member (which I am).

I have also purchased the Belly Button Fairy and the Fart Fairy books with my own dime because I like to do my own research when it comes to bringing you the best information and believe me, these books are a hit with my kids.

Bio

Bobbie Hinman is a former elementary teacher with B.S. degree in Elementary Education/Children’s Literature.

She is the recipient of 28 children’s book awards, including the Moonbeam Gold Medal for “Best Picture Book Series of 2017.” Her achievements are numerous:

  • Author of The Knot Fairy, The Sock Fairy, The Belly Button Fairy, The Fart Fairy and The Freckle Fairy which have sold over 51,000 copies
  • Author of “How to Create a Successful Children’s Picture Book”
  • Ten years experience editing children’s books
  • Member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) and IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association)
  • Judge for the Royal Palm Literary Awards
  • Ghost writer for numerous children’s books