Building Children’s Books: My $550 Process

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Writing children’s books is difficult. On the surface it looks fairly easy. You hire an illustrator, tell them the basic story, write a few lines per page and you’re done. I can say from experience that it’s a very difficult practice. Please note, I am sure there are ways that this could be easier. I might be doing this the hard way because I am trying to keep costs down. I’ve read online at self publishing 411 that the average children’s book costs $3100 to make. I am paying about $550 for mine. Please note; I know how to use GIMP (a free image manipulation program). I would not be able to do this without GIMP.

Here is my process:

  1. Buy 5x Vector Backgrounds from Deposit Images (They offer the best price on their extended license images)- $300
    • So I split my page so that one background is on two pages (left and right). I then use the same background twice. That means each vector image ($60) makes up the background for 4 pages. It’s also important to use Vector, so that it can be the proper size and resolution. (You can choose this yourself)
  2. Work with an illustrator on Fiverr to create the character drawings. – $225
    • This one requires the right illustrator, so it pays to try out several until you find the right person. You want someone who can offer a good price for a bundle offering where you get high resolution/vector and full commercial rights.
  3. Work with a cover designer on Fiverr – $25
    • Like the previous point, you want to find the right designer. I also needed to go to a free font location to ensure that a free commercial use font was used. Many Fiverr designers don’t have time to build an amazing product. The more you can help speed them up, the better! (You’ll be happier with the result)
  4. Work with my girlfriend (a teacher) to help edit the content – FREE
    • I am very lucky that my girlfriend is a elementary teacher and can help teach me what children like / understand.
  5. Weave the background and characters together with GIMP – FREE
    • This can be time consuming, as things need to look like they were drawn together.