Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing a Picture Book

Creating a picture book for children is an art. Picture books have very few words. Every word and every picture you add count. But if you get the foundation right, you know, the illustrations, the next few steps to book publishing will be simple. And ultimately, we promise that all will come together pretty neat. This blog shares the steps for self-publishing a picture book with pictures and illustrations.

Find the Purpose of Your Picture Book

Picture books are children’s first introduction to reading and writing. They develop children’s brain functions, motor skills, learning ability, cognizance, knowledge, vocabulary, and creativity. Illustration books also improve the bond between parents and their kids and allow parents to introduce their children to various topics. This is why it is essential to write and publish high-quality picture books that build different skills in children.

Pro Tip: Before you write, read a lot of picture books. If you are unsure where to start, explore or ask your mommy friends. They sure will have a lot to share. 

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Illustrator 

The crux of a picture book is its pictures, a.k.a the illustrations. They are more than the ‘eye-catching’ factor of the book. They tell the part of the story that your texts don’t. Without them, your story will be incomplete. 

That means you need someone who can translate your ideas, thoughts, and stories into drawings. And only a professional illustrator can help you here. Look for an illustrator who understands your language and has experience creating drawings for children’s books. 

Guide to Self-Publishing a Picture Book for Children

Rule #1: Select a Good Idea or Topic: 

Your picture book should talk about something that interests, entertains, and educates children, all at the same time. 

Rule #2: Choose Your Audience Wisely

If you know your craft, you will also know that your audience is 2 to 6 years old. You can categorize your picture book in three ways: board books for babies, toddler books, and illustration books for 4 to 6 years old. 

Rule #3: Don’t Exceed 600 Words

The number of words in your book plays a crucial role. Children do not like reading. They flip through the pages trying to find meaning in the pictures. And even if they like it, it is the parents who read to them at bedtime. But parents have got busier; they prefer reading short stories that put their kids at ease quickly. So, the magic word count for picture books is 500 to 600 words. 

Rule #4: Make Your Book Funny, Sweet, and Playful

The words in the picture book should be playful, new, and interesting to your young readers. And also, based on market indexes, books that are sweet, funny, and make children and parents smile are easier to sell. 

Rule #5: Follow the Industry Page Standard

Whether you are self-publishing or choosing the traditional method, it is important to follow picture book page standards, which is 32 pages, including title, copyright, back and front cover, and acknowledgment. Why is it important? Because picture books are printed in 8 or 16 pages per parent sheet, which are then folded and bound into the chosen size (two or four signatures). However, if you wish to publish a picture book with a lesser or a greater number of pages, make sure to do it in multiples of 8 (24, 32, 40, 48, 56, etc.).

Rule #6: Don’t Hire an Illustrator Until Your Text is Complete

Use this process: write, edit, revise, proofread, finalize your manuscript, and hire an illustrator. Book illustrating is a costly affair. You don’t want to get the illustrations first, then decide on the big changes, only to realize that you need to redo the illustrations. It will be messy. So, finalize the story or content first, then do the drawings. 

Steps to Self-Publishing a Book

Once your book is completed, your next step is publishing it so that your little readers can enjoy reading as much as you did while writing it. At Writat, you have three options to book publishing. 

  1. Self-publish your picture book if your manuscript is ready and you can easily follow these steps for self-publishing here. 
  2. Self-publish your book + choose affordablecustomizable services for better results. 
  3. Publish via Writat’s assisted publishing packages.

Option B is for you if you need little help in self-publishing your picture book, like designing the front & back cover, illustrating the drawings, or/and meeting your marketing objectives. 

Option C is for you if you don’t know how to or don’t have the time to edit and format your book, design the cover, or get the marketing going. 

Self-publishing at Writat provides as many benefits as you can claim from a traditional publishing company. 


Quick Read: Advantages of getting a picture book published at Writat cost-free. 

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