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Why Choose Self-Publishing – Jo Linsdell’s experience as a new children’s picture book author
“Why did you choose to self publish?”
I wanted full control over every aspect of the book. I wrote the story for my son and designed it to suit his tastes. the fact that he played such an active role in it’s creation makes it all the more special to me. By self publishing I got to call all the shots and make it exactly as I wanted it.
“Why did you choose to do the whole book yourself, instead of collaborating with a writer or an illustrator? Are there drawbacks to going it alone”
I studied art and design at college and love it. I figured I might as well put both my writing skills and my illustrating skills to practice. Why hire someone else when i can do it myself? There is a down side to going it alone though. For example, I had no problems in sketches the illustrations for the book, but making them digital and print quality was a whole different story. I’d never used a graphic program before and so it was a huge learning curve for me. Luckily for me, one of my tech savvy friends was on hand to give me advice and assistance. he saved the day more than once 😉
“How has the experience been for you so far? “
Great. This book has been so much fun to do right from the beginning. I’m having fun with the marketing side of things too.
Is the process something anyone could undertake or do you need to be tech savvy?”
I think a certain amount of tech-savviness is definitely a plus. If you’re not lucky enough to have a graphic friend to help out with the technical stuff than I suggest going a different route. There’s so much you need to know, from what colours you can use to dealing with transparencies and layers, in order to get a quality end result. Producing a children’s book is not as easy as some people might think.
“How cost effective is self publishing?”
Very. I spent no money in the creation of the book. I wrote the text and did the illustrations myself. I’m also lucky to have a fantastic network of friends that volunteered to proofread for me and help out with my technical questions. My network has been amazing in supporting my promotional tour to launch the book too with many of them offering to host me on their sites, review the book and help spread the word.
The only cost I’ve had was $25 to have the book added to expanded distribution via createspace (to make it available to bookstores, onlne retailers, libraries etc…) and the cost of a proof copy.
“How time effective is self publishing with regards to all the promotional and marketing work?”
Marketing takes up a lot of time. I don’t think self publishing differs particularly from other publishing routes when it comes to marketing though. Even if you publish through a traditional publisher you will be expected to do a certain amount of promoting yourself.
“Would you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?”
I did. Self publishing was plan A for me. The reputation attached to self publishing has changed a lot over the last few years and even big name authors are ditching their traditional publishers in favour of self publishing their work.
“Would you self publish again?”
Definitely. I would only consider using a traditional publisher if I couldn’t get the result I wanted on my own.
Jo has chosen a palette of bright flat colours such as young children love for her first picture book, “Out and About at the Zoo”, which she wrote with her small son acting as honorary head of her children’s consumer advisory panel. Her son influenced her story’s creation each step of the way, which has made the whole experience of making this, their first picture book, very special indeed.
The images of the animals are cheeky and fun and are complemented by the simple narrative with a strong rhyming element. Children love the musicality in rhyme so I can see why her little boy loved this mode of storytelling. I’m sure other children will find it fun too!