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How to Self Publish a Board Book?

How to Self Publish a Board Book?

Board books are a beloved staple for kids ages 0-3. With their thick, sturdy pages and bright colors, they can withstand anything curious little hands throw at them.

If you have an idea for a board book that would delight little readers, self publishing can help bring your vision to life. As a professional board book printing manufacturer, I’m familiar with the effort it takes to create something from scratch and get it out into the world.

Self publishing a board book has its challenges compared to other book formats, but the rewards for you and your young readers can make it worthwhile. Here’s my guide to successfully self publishing a board book.

How to Self Publish a Board Book?

Why Self Publish a Board Book?

Children’s book authors have several options when it comes to publishing:

  • Traditional publishing: Pitch your idea to publishing houses. If accepted, they handle editing, printing, marketing etc. But you sacrifice creative control.
  • Print-on-Demand (POD): Use a service like Amazon or IngramSpark. Easy but board books usually not supported.
  • Self publishing: You handle (and pay for) everything but retain creative and design control.

Self publishing board books allows you to produce exactly the book you envision without compromises.

Your investment risks are higher because you front all costs. But so are the rewards if successful, since you keep all profits and build your own audience.

If going solo with full creative license appeals to you, self publishing could be the right path for making your board book dreams a reality.

How to Self Publish a Board Book?

Plan Out Your Board Book

As with any creative endeavor, properly planning your self-published book upfront saves headaches later.

Pick Your Concept

Think about popular board book themes like:

  • Alphabet books
  • Colors & shapes
  • Simple first words
  • Baby faces/emotions
  • Building blocks/construction
  • Animals
  • Book adaptations (shorter versions of classic picture books)

Make sure other bestselling titles aren’t already too similar to your idea. Analyze competitors to find gaps your book concept could uniquely fill.

Write The Story

Board books demand simplicity from their limited page counts.

Convey the essence of your story succinctly with only a few words per page. Rhyming, repetition, and rhythm help make the text flow and aid memorization.

Bring in a developmental editor to refine the writing for your audience’s needs.

Source Illustrations

Great illustrations appropriate for your young demographic are vital. They tell just as much of the “story” as your words do.

If lacking artistic talents, find a professional children’s illustrator. Provide detailed briefings to articulate your vision, then collaborate to bring the drawings to life.

Full color illustrations are strongly recommended for board books to stimulate kids’ still-developing minds.

Design The Layout

Board books require special layout considerations vs. standard books when handling aspects like:

  • Page sizing
  • Bleed, trim, & safety areas
  • Typeface & font selections
  • Image-to-text alignment

Work with an experienced graphic designer on layouts to handle technical specifics correctly for printing.

Collaborate with your illustrator and designer early so all elements coordinate visually across illustrations, typography & layout in the finished book.

Choose A Printer

Carefully vet and select a printer with demonstrated board book printing experience. Watch out for sneaky additional fees and lack of transparency.

A good printer functions like an advisor, providing helpful templates, resources and guidance to set your files up for smooth printing.

Building relationships with international printers often nets significant cost savings over local printers while meeting all required safety standards.

Produce Your Book Prototype

With your concept & team in place, it’s time to prototype before fully committing to production.

Refine Your Files & Specs

Collaborate closely across your writing, illustration and design team to align the “look & feel” across all elements.

Provide your printer finalized files meeting their specifications—no last-minute creative tweaks!

Review A Test Copy

Don’t skip examining a physical test copy from your printer. This verifies quality and catches errors before large-scale production.

Thoroughly check layout, print quality, colors, page ordering, trim sizes and binding. Have your full team inspect the prototype from their unique perspectives.

Refine anything necessary in another round of edits until you have a final, flawless physical copy.

With an approved final prototype, now’s the time for a full print production run to stock your own inventory.

Select A Run Quantity

Calculate your budget, estimate demand, weigh upfront printing costs vs. per-unit savings from larger quantities.

Then finalize the number of copies for your first print production run.

Fund The Print Job

Children’s board book printing costs far exceed typical books due to specialized materials and bindery required.

Budget a few thousand dollars for a small to medium self-published run, likely prepaying 50% upfront.

Explore printing grants if eligible. Or alternatively crowdsource printing costs by preselling copies.

Ship Books To Yourself

When books arrive from your printer, have them shipped directly to wherever you’ll store inventory.

Inspect deliveries thoroughly upon arrival. Confirm receipt of the precise contracted number of copies and check randomly for defects.

Market & Distribute Your Book

With printed books finally in-hand, the real work begins—selling them!

Launch Marketing Campaign

Develop and execute well-planned marketing initiatives before and during launch:

  • Build online presence: Website, emails, social media
  • Advertise strategically: Choose child & parent venues
  • Get sales channels lined up: Online retailers, bookstores, consignment
  • Plan special events: Book signings, readings
  • Promote relentlessly: Measure and adapt efforts to perform best

Persistently refine your sales process leveraging robust analytics.

Handle Order Fulfillment

As orders roll in, decide whether to:

  • Self-fulfill orders
  • Use a 3rd-party fulfillment service
  • Have retailers stock & fulfill

Weigh factors like:

  • Per-order labor & shipping costs
  • Returns processing
  • Inventory space available
  • Lead time expectations

On-demand fulfillment through retailers or services reduces effort but lowers profit margins.

Invest In Future Books

Making children’s books profitably is a gradual endeavor with slim margins. Invest earnings from early book sales back into creating your next title.

Your back catalog will earn passive income over time. Plus each new release cross-promotes the rest, expanding your reader audience.

Keys For Board Book Self Publishing Success

If embarking on your own board book self-publishing journey, keep these core pieces of advice in mind:

  • Commit fully to the endeavor—it requires tons of effort!
  • Watch every penny—children’s books sales don’t produce windfall profits
  • Collaborate effectively by communicating clearly and listening openly
  • Obsess over quality through every production milestone
  • Learn from experience to sharpen your future book launches

Self publishing board books is very hands-on but richly rewarding. By staying organized, budgeting carefully, and doggedly promoting your title, you can successfully produce a book loved by kids for years to come.

If you have any other questions on self publishing board books or my own experience with DIY book creation, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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