1/9/2023 0 Comments
Starting out, I had some knowledge in art and illustration, but children’s books were something completely new to me. It’s a different animal than any other art form and you need to learn the basics and fundamentals of the niche. I was living on my sister's couch at the time, broke and anxious about my future. I wanted to make illustration my full time career and I did not want to "get a real job" to pay the bills
So how exactly did I go from 0 clients to fully booked for a year?
âI have the honor of bringing you the amazing Children's book author Kim Ann! She is a 10x bestselling and award-winning self-published author who has published more than 20 children's books and has sold more than 85 thousand books around the world! Her titles include Ninja School Rules and Ten Little Sandpipers, as well as the popular Ruby the Rainbow WitchÂ®, Goldy the PuppyÂ®, and the Go On Vacation book series. Thank you Kim for taking the time to share your wisdom with us!
How did you get into writing childrenâs books?
âI have always had a love of writing and reading, but once I had my own children I knew that I would one day write my own.
Tell us a little bit about your latest childrenâs book?
âMy latest book is Where Do Pirates Go on Vacation? It is a fun, rhyming story about where pirates might go if they had some time away. It is part of a collection asking similar questions. These books inspire creative thinking and inspire children's imagination.
What made you decide to go the self-publishing route vs traditional publishing?
âI attended a writer's conference a few years back. At the end of the second day, the speaker basically told us that you can go ahead and send in a manuscript, but it would be put in a pile with a million other submissions and most likely you will never hear back. After that I started researching how to self-publish and that seemed like the best option for me.
What was a challenge you had to overcome during your self-publishing journey? â
Like many self-published authors, I was affected by the paper shortages and the shipping delays. I relied heavily on print-on-demand during those times. â
âWhat is one thing you wished you knew before you started?
âSo many things, actually. When you start out, you don't know what you don't know. I struggled with putting the right team together, at first. Now, I have awesome people that help me with editing, formatting, and printing. My illustrator, Nejla, she has been amazing since the start!
âIs there a lesson you have learnt in your journey that you would like to share?
âAsk for referrals and references.
âWho are some of the people that have helped you make your book a reality?
My amazing illustrator, Nejla Shojaie, my sometimes co-author Yobe Qiu, Misty Black, Amy Weaver, Shannon Jade, Brooke Vitale, Robin Katz, to name a few.
âWhere can we find out more about you and your books?
â I have a website authorkimann.com, and I am on all major social media platforms as authorkimann.
âWhat is your favorite childrenâs book?
Green Eggs and Ham is my son Aidan's favorite and mine too!
âIf you wrote a book about your career so far, what would you title it? Why?
âFrom small town girl to bestselling author. Because I am really proud of how far I have come.
Kim Ann also provides coaching services to aspiring self-publishing authors, you can read more about what she offers here âhttps: //authorkimann.com/product-category/coaching-sessions/
If you are an aspiring children's book author who wants to self-publish or you are a children's book freelancer join the Caterpillar Collective Launch Team. The children's book freelancer directory will be launching early 2023. Get a 30 day free trial to list your services or find a vetted illustrator if you join the launch team before 31 January 2023
I am so excited to chat to the inspiring Jessica Dailey. She is the self-published author of the children's book My Tiny Pet Elephant, a wife, mom of three, SA advocate, photographer and she has her own podcast. Jessica took the time out of her busy schedule to share some words of wisdom with us.
"There are people who will say things and possibly leave reviews that will most likely make you so sad it will make you want to quit... happened to me. We all make mistakes and like everything else in life, it's all an opportunity to grow and learn."
Mistake nr 1: Not Charging Enough for my Illustrations
When I just started out, I had no idea what the standard rates for children’s book illustrations were and I under-valued myself badly. I did not know what my value as an illustrator was. Yes, I just started out with children’s books, but I have been illustrating for other industries for almost 10 years. Under charging yourself in the beginning of your illustration career is not a train smash though, you can always raise your prices as you gain confidence and skill. The more value you bring to the client, the more you can charge.
Mistake nr 2: Illustrating the Words not the Story
12/12/2022 0 Comments
Self-publishing companies assist and support authors in their self-publishing journey by providing a service or a platform to distribute their books. There are 4 main types of self-publishing companies: Aggregator, Distribution Service, Author services and Self-publishing Education.
What is an Aggregator?
An aggregator is a middle man that distributes your book for you through digital services on a global scale.
What is a Distribution Service?
A distribution service takes your book from the printer and distributes it to retailers.
What are Author Services?
These are companies that package up services like editing, illustration and design to help you create your book.
What is Self-Publishing Education?
This includes courses, coaches and mentors that help, support and educate you along your self-publishing journey.
What is a Vanity Press / Vanity Publisher?
A vanity publisher puts themselves out like they are a traditional publishing company but authors have to pay to have their book published by them. They profit, not by distributing author’s books, but by charging authors publishing expenses.
What to be aware of when choosing a self-publishing company:
There are a lot of scams going around these days. Don't be taken advantage of, be aware of these following traps and don't fall victim of them:
If you are unsure about whether or not you are dealing with a fake publisher, take a look at this list of questionable publishers to stay clear of: https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/thumbs-down-publishers/
List of the Top 14 Trusted Self-Publishing Companies
12/12/2022 0 Comments
You have written an amazing children's book manuscript. Your friends and family love it, your kids want you to read it every night before bed and you really want to publish it and get it into the world. Traditional publishing sounds way too difficult, you would rather self-publish. But before you do, consider why it might not be such a good idea and why going the traditional route might be a better fit for you.
1. You don’t have money to invest
When self-publishing, all the initial costs are on you. You need to hire an editor, illustrator and designer. You might have to hire a coach to help you through the process. Not to mention distribution and printing costs, marketing costs, storage costs, website costs, etc.
There are ways around it though. If you don’t have the money up front to invest, you could run a Kickstarter to raise the funds to cover printing and illustration costs.
Traditional publishers carry all the expenses upfront, but you do not have creative control over what your book will look like at the end of it.
I am so excited to introduce to you: Sarina Siebenaler, self-published author of the "Do NOT Wish Series" including "Do NOT Wish for a Pet Ostrich" and " Do NOT Wish for a Birthday Unicorn"â. Sarina lives with her husband and 3 children in the beautiful sunny Arizona. She took time out of her busy schedule to give us some insider advice about the journey of self-publishing.
How did you get into writing children's books?
When my children were younger, they would ask my husband and me if they could have exotic pets to
bring home when we would go to the zoo or read about them. I'd ask them how they would care for
them, and they would have such silly and entertaining answers.
My son, who was diagnosed with Autism at 22 months of age was non-verbal until the age of 5. We read
a lot of picture books to help with his language skills. He was always motivated by funny and outlandish
stories. I wanted to be a part of helping children, with verbal delays by writing stories that were silly and
fun too. This was my inspiration for how my debut book, Do Not Wish for a Pet Ostrich! was created.
Tell us a little bit about your latest children's book?
The second book, "Do Not Wish for a Birthday Unicorn!" is the sequel to book 1, Do Not Wish for a Pet
Ostrich! I am currently working on book 3, which will be released in 2023. I hope to have one book
released a year if there are readers that continue to enjoy them.
Each book reveals a new character for the next upcoming book. In doing this, I thought that it would be
fun to create an element of surprise for children and give them an opportunity for excitement to read
the next book and the book after that too. What's unique though is that each book can be read as a
standalone story or can be read as a series too.
In book 2, Kat gets a unicorn for her unicorn-themed birthday party! The surprise delivery of
Starlight, the unicorn from the Uni Express becomes an unexpected sight for eyes for Kat and
her friends. With a little teamwork, compassion, empathy, and kindness, Kat and her friends uncover her
At the end of the story, Kat reveals the character of book 3 (A Christmas Elf) when she blows out her
birthday candles and makes a new wish! Look out for book 3, Do Not Wish for a Christmas Elf! Coming in
I look happy, I look like I have my life in order, but I was living with my sister who let me stay in her child's room temporarily. I was broke, hardly any income coming in, with no vision for my future, only a bicycle to get around, an old pc and a Wacom drawing tablet.
I felt anxious, lost and totally behind in life. My 30th birthday was fast approaching and I knew something had to change. I realized that no one is going to save me. I had to make a choice and take charge of my own life.
Firstly, I had to change my mindset. You can't get anywhere if you can't believe it first.
Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a children's book illustrator, but I had been doing portraits and other freelance artwork here and there instead. I finally listened to my gut and took action.
I created my first children's book illustration and I put it out there in the world. Out of pure luck I got my first children's book to illustrate. I was way out of my comfort zone but it just felt right. After that it just snow-balled into a full time career. I aimed to improve with every book I did. I never stopped learning and I always try to go above and beyond for my clients.
4 years later and my schedule is fully booked for a year in advance and I have a waiting list for the year following. I could buy my first house with the man of my dreams and I don't have to cycle my way around town anymore.
I feel so lucky and thankful to everyone who helped me on my journey and who continue to support me in my journey ahead.
My new venture Caterpillar Collective is to help more people in the children's book community. I want to put the professionalism back into self-publishing. I want to help authors find freelancers that can help them create a professional book that will sell. And I want to help freelancers that are struggling to find work, by putting them in front of the clients that are looking for them. Win win.
Join the launch team if you want to try out the platform for free for 30 days when it launches at the end of Jan https://mailchi.mp/caterpillarcolle.../sign-up-to-email-list
There are always so many debates going on about illustrators charging way too low or charging way too high. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you want your book to sell, draw attention and enhance your story, you need a professional illustrator that has the necessary skills to do the job. It's not enough to just be able to draw a picture.
If you are looking for an illustrator or if you are a budding illustrator wondering what it takes or what you need to work on, focus on the following skills: