It’s never been easier to self-publish children’s books on Amazon.
In today’s world, publishing power lies in the hands of authors themselves. Gone are the days when the only way to publish your book was through a traditional publisher.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps to follow which demonstrate exactly how to publish a children’s book on Amazon.
The ‘how?’ is relatively straightforward, but it’s just as important to know the ‘why.’
Why you should publish a children’s book on Amazon
Publishing children’s books have never been more accessible. Amazon’s publishing features allow any author with a prepared manuscript to upload it to their site and get their book published.
The process involves a learning curve, but it doesn’t take long to learn how publishing on Amazon works.
Through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform, authors can make their book available to the public as an e-book or print (on demand). The print-on-demand service means you don’t have to pay the hefty cost of printing in bulk. Instead, buyers can request a printed copy.
Authors who self-publish through Amazon rather than through a traditional publisher do so for the following benefits:
1. Creative control
As a self-publisher, it’s up to you what goes in and stays out of your book. If you were to approach a traditional publisher, they may have preferences or themes to which you would have to adhere.
When you self-publish, you’re only accountable to yourself and can cover whatever themes or ideas you like.
You can choose the illustrator and illustrations if you want to. When you publish with a traditional publisher, they take over the design process.
When you self-publish, you keep your complete creative control. You can choose to work with an illustrator you know, find one to work with, or even create all the illustrations yourself.
3. Higher royalties
When you self-publish, you can potentially earn much higher royalties than you would if you were to publish through the traditional route. On Amazon KDP, authors can earn between 30 and 70 percent of royalties through their book sales.
How to publish a children’s book on Amazon
Before you try to publish your book, prepare the following:
Edit and proofread
Ensure your children’s book manuscript has been diligently edited and proofread. You can do that yourself or hire a professional. Hiring a professional is a popular choice for self-publishing authors who want to focus their energy on other aspects of the creative process.
Hire an illustrator or create the illustrations yourself. Remember that your images must look professional and should appeal to your target audience.
The type of book you write will require a specific approach to illustration.
Books for children under five years old are typically picture-heavy, where a picture (or several) are found on every page.
Books for older children should still involve some illustration, but pictures will be less prominent if the target reading age is between 6 and 10.
Format your book. Make sure it’s well formatted with Word, Scrivener, or any formatting platform.
You can start formatting before signing up to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, but Amazon also offers the kindle kids book creator program.
With Kindle Kids Book Creator, you can format your book with pictures included to make it look appealing to the reader.
When it comes to children’s books, format and illustrations are crucial. Children don’t have an adult’s attention span or focus and will be quickly drawn to your pictures or any part of the page that looks interesting.
Consider the child’s eye when formatting your book.
2. Create an account with Kindle Direct Publishing
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform makes it easy for the author to upload your manuscript and get your book published. The very first step is to sign up or log in to KDP for free.
3. Upload your manuscript
Once you’ve edited, proofread, and illustrated your manuscript, you must upload it to KDP. With KDP, this step and the ones that follow all take place on the same page, making publishing with KDP an incredibly user-friendly experience.
4. Fill in the details
When you upload your manuscript, Amazon will ask you to fill in details about your book. These include the book description, categories, and keywords, which we’ll explain next.
First, you’ll need to enter basic information, such as the book title and the author’s name (your name or a pseudonym).
Amazon also offers a book cover creator service. KDP’s cover creator lets you create your cover with their help or upload a pre-made cover.
5. Write your book description
Once you have an account and have filed in the basic details, the process is relatively straightforward.
Next, you need to write a book description that gives a potential buyer (most likely a parent or caregiver) an impression of your book.
Keep your description short.
The description should inform the reader about the contents of the book.
For example, if your children’s book is about a young girl who goes to the beach, a description might look like this:
‘It’s Ally’s first time at the beach. Help her build sandcastles, swim in the sea, and make new friends!’
If you write for an early reader (for children aged between six and ten) about a boy who must deal with a bully in school, the description may go something like this:
It’s Jack’s first day in a new school, and he meets a bully. How will Jack deal with the mean student? This book helps us understand that mean people have problems, too and underneath their meanness, they may just be a new friend.
Who reads the description?
Remember that children don’t usually buy books. It’s their parents or caregiver who will buy it for them.
Even though your book description should appeal to the children who will read it, it should also make a good impression on that child’s caregiver.
Parents want their children to read books that will educate them.
A book about a young girl’s first time on the beach may help that parent prepare their child for their trip to the beach. A story about a boy who must face a bully may help a child deal with a similar situation in their own life.
6. Fill in keywords and categories
After you write your book description, the next step is to fill in relevant categories and keywords.
For example, if your children’s book is a picture book, you should include the term ‘picture book’ as a keyword. Similarly, include ‘educational’ as a category if it’s educational.
Categories and keywords help you reach a wider audience.
Parents who search on Amazon for books for their children may already know the type of book they want in mind. They’ll search for relevant keywords and categories, such as picture books, education, adventure, or animals.
If your keywords and categories match a user’s search, you’re more likely to appear on their search results page.
How do I find keywords and categories?
If you’re not sure which keywords to use or categories to apply, don’t worry. It can be challenging for a first-time publisher to get everything right in one go.
Still, you’re not the first person to self-publish a book, and you won’t be the last. As such, feel free to stand on the shoulders of others who have already succeeded.
Search on Amazon for other children’s books similar in theme or stricture to your own.
If you have a picture book about animals, search for other picture books about animals. Read their descriptions, keywords, and applied categories for inspiration.
Amazon has a limit of seven keywords and two categories, so don’t steal everything from another book.
Find the most relevant words and types from several sources and forget the rest.
7. Define your target audience
Besides the basic details like your name, the book title, and a description, Amazon also requires you to define your target audience.
If you’re not already familiar with a target audience, it’s essentially the people you want to buy your book.
Once again, remember that parents are far more likely to buy your book than the children who will read them.
Your target audience is children (of the age for which your book is suitable), but it’s the parents who will pay.
What is the target age of your book? Your target is likely under five years old if it’s a picture book with plenty of illustrations but fewer than 1000 words.
Chapter books, also known as early readers, are for slightly older readers – typically children around eight years old.
Understanding your target audience is key to effective marketing and promotion.
8. Set a price
One of the most significant benefits of self-publishing with Amazon is that you can set your price. Typically, a children’s book costs between $10 and $20.
If you can, you can enroll in the KDP Select program. On KDP select, you allow Amazon to set your price free for 90 days. During this time, Amazon provides free book promotions to help you boost your visibility.
When you enroll in KDP Select, your book is automatically available to Amazon users who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.
Once you’ve uploaded your manuscript, filled in all the necessary details and descriptions, and hit publish, your book is ready.
Usually, Amazon publishes your book within 24 to 72 hours of hitting “publish,” From there, you can start making sales.
Remember that just because your book is live on Amazon’s store doesn’t mean your work is done. You still need to promote and market your book on other channels to boost your visibility and sales.
Self-publishing is straightforward, but there’s still work involved.
If you’re a first-time publisher, marketing your book may seem daunting, but it gets easier the more you do it. Use social media channels, ads, and public interaction to boost your book’s visibility and make a more significant profit.
Self-publishing is an exciting journey that makes many first-timers want to return for more. Unlike the traditional publishing route, self-publishing offers you, the author, complete creative control over the process.
Sure, that leads to a lot more labor on your part, but since this is your creation, that hard work can feel like a rewarding part of the overall process.
Fortunately, many children’s book authors have paved the way for first-timers to self-publish on Amazon with relative ease. There are many details and steps to consider on how to publish a children’s book on Amazon, but the information is widely available.
This article has covered the basic steps for uploading and publishing your book, but if you’re still unsure, don’t stop here. A wealth of information is available online about Amazon’s KDP and self-publishing.