How to Write and Publish a Children's Picture Book

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These are the broad strokes of how to publish a children's picture book.

How to Write and Publish a Children's Picture Book
An original page as an example of following these steps.

The premises for self-publishing a picture book are:

  1. You should be able to use tools which are available on any computer you want to use (except maybe your smartphone) and
  2. It shouldn't cost you anything to get started beyond your existing computer and Internet connection - except maybe a simple scanner if you don't have one.
I've been publishing regular books for years, but always wanted to get into Children's Books. Recent market research showed that this was a very, very profitable area to get into as a genre.

What is a children's book?

If we take a look at the pre- and early-elementary (like 1st grade in the U.S.) - you'll see they are traditionally a 32-page book, about 500 words, with a first grade vocabulary list. Dr. Suess books would be the model for this.

The books are printed sideways (landscape) on letter-sized pages. Usually there are illustrations on every page, or at least every other page.

We won't go into styles here, or where inspiration comes from.

The idea of this post is to simply tell you the broad steps to follow.

(Note: I haven't published my first children's book - this is really a summation of what I've researched so far, built on the success of the couple dozen-dozen regular books I've gotten into print and distribution.)

The tools to use:

  • A good text editor, or LibreOffice (for spell-checking.)
  • Gimp (for scanning and correcting your original artwork.)
  • A scanner (doesn't have to be fancy.)
  • LibreOffice Impress or similar presentation program.

Why build it like a Powerpoint?  Because it's simpler to move the images and text around without having to start up an object-oriented desktop publishing program. You can move the images and text anywhere you want.

I like Impress because it will export PDF's with embedded fonts so your publisher can use these without costing you anything else.

The general sequence of producing your book:

  1. Get inspired.
  2. Write your story.
  3. Illustrate your story.
  4. Format it in a way you can get it published.
  5. Publish, and then market it.
Any or all of the above can be outsourced. You pay for what you get. If you're trained in everything above, then you can do it yourself.

Where to publish

  • First, it's - because they can get you everywhere, even as an ebook.
  • Then publish the ebook versions to those distributors (and use the Lulu-generated PDF proofs to get your print book into the Espresso Book Machine network.) I've covered the distributors elsewhere.
  • Create a video trailer for it. Bundle that video with the ebook for sale, and excerpts for marketing your ebook version and hardcopy.
  • Then market the hell out of it - while you get your next book ready.  


Because there's no Amazon stigma attached to it. Some indie bookstores won't carry anything with a CreateSpace logo on it.

Also, Lulu can use your PDF to create paperback, hardback, and even sell the PDF for you. If you submit your own epub file (or work through their steps by providing your own .doc or LibreOffice .odt file) then they will ship it to all the major distributors (although that's another piece out of your royalties.)

Creating children's picture books are just that simple. 

Sure, I've cut these steps down to just a few, and there are a lot of details to many of these, but the idea is to lay out the tools for all of us to use. The point of creating it as a Powerpoint is the real breakthrough to this, as most people know how to create one, and it's a short learning curve if you don't.

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