Why did you start making children’s books?

Old Mate Media founder Chris Stead is a father of three. He found himself making up stories to tell his offspring on long car trips when reading a book wasn’t possible. He soon discovered that his children loved the stories and would ask him to tell it again and often want to know what characters and locations looked like. Being someone active in publishing and app industries, he decided to start turning these ideas into digital books to show his children, but then also self-distributed them through digital portals so they could also bring in an income. With the knowledge, the artists and the team to create these books, he is offering that service to other parents through Old Mate Media.

What is the best attitude to take?

For us, nothing beats being able to take the story we tell our children and make it into something they can actually read. We then put them up for sale in the hope, over the long-term, of recouping our costs. It’s not a glamorous goal, but believing your book will go crazy overnight and become the next big thing is a risky way to think. Start humble; build from there. The nature of digital distribution is that products don’t age or get superseded; they are always there, can always be bought, and can always be found. You may make your money back in a week; or maybe a year. But go into it with the desire to make something for your child and to become a published author, with the hope of making some money on the side, and the journey will be far less stressful.

What is the biggest threat to my book selling?

Awareness. That’s the long and short of it. The first task is to get your book on places like the App Store and Amazon so that it can turn up in searches and people can organically start reading it. Hopefully they will like it and tell their friends, but if you rely on this process, you could join millions of other authors with disappointing sales. A lot of the services we offer on Old Mate Media are design to help your awareness – elements like building a unique website and a trailer, and coming up with a brand strategy – but it mostly comes down to you knowing where to find an audience. Maybe you can post something on the kindergarten wall, or post in a mother’s group on Facebook? Maybe you can hit up bloggers and ask them for reviews. Getting a book created is only half the journey; the other half is awareness.

What is the profit-share arrangement?

If you’d like to experiment with a Children’s Book, but don’t want to invest overly on it, ask about our profit-share arrangement. In some circumstances, we can look at covering the cost of your book’s development and then splitting the gross profit down the middle.

How is payment made?

After we have finalised a quote and it has been accepted, we will require a 50% deposit. The other 50% will be payable upon completion. Payments are made through Paypal. In the event that the final 50% payment is not made by the agreed upon due date, the book in all its entirety will become the property of Old Mate Media. All due warning and care will be taken, however, to ensure that the due date is clear and all parties are informed.

Is my story idea protected?

Absolutely. We will sign a non-disclosure agreement ahead of locking in any plans so you can feel secure that your idea will remain your idea, and that we will not share the contents of the book outside of the company prior to its release.

How long will it take?

Creating a children’s book isn’t a short process, and it’s highly dependent on its size and the complexity of the visual style you are after. We’ve had books take as little as a month, and as long as six months. If there is a special occasion on the calendar – such as a child’s birthday – we will do our best to expedite the process, but be aware that asking artists to do things quickly often comes at an additional cost.

How much will it cost?

Each book is unique, which is why we need to quote on each Children’s Book individually – this allows us to keep the cost down, as we don’t need to bloat a standard rate to ensure it covers all potential circumstances. There are optional services we offer that are but icing for the cake – such as trailers and theme tunes – but here are some general thoughts you can keep in mind as you gestate your idea that will impact the cost.

  • The number of pages requiring art
  • The style of art you’re after (simple cartoons are cheaper than complex backgrounds)
  • Number of key characters
  • Number of characters in a scene
  • Do you want a cover and a back cover?
  • Deadline requirements

What publication layout options do I have?

Anything is possible, but the trick is to not make it overly complicated. We have, for example, created interactive books for iOS that have lots of buttons and animations and pop-ups, but then that won’t convert to Amazon Kindle easily, so you need to re-jig the layout to fit your ePub into that channel. A simple layout, however, with text overlaid, or next to the image, is cheaper to get across multiple formats. It’s up to you whether you want to go fancy and niche, or reserved and broad.

What are the benefits of doing more than one book?

If you have created a character and a world, and readers like it, then turning a single book into a series is definitely worth considering. Work to create a brand that stands for more than just a single book. Even if it is simply another book unrelated to the first, you can advertise one in the other, and therefore someone who likes the experience will know exactly how to get more of your work. Get a number of books up, and they can each serve as a portal into your catalogue.

How much should I charge for my book?

That is the big question, isn’t it? Old Mate Media will offer a recommendation based on your type of Children’s Book, but we generally advice coming in just under the competition – not too low to suggest poor quality, not too high to be passed over. We also suggest pursuing your digital book store of choice and looking at what other, similar books are selling for – the ones that are selling well, of course. Also be aware that the revenue from a book isn’t the price it sells for – the channel operator (such as Amazon or Apple) will take a cut, and the price in some countries will include a tax, and in other it won’t. The channel operators also use banks that charge a fee to deposit into your account, and your bank may also charge a fee for receiving an international transfer – it’s quite frustrating, but it is the nature of the beast. As we mentioned previously; best not to focus on the revenue, but instead on the experience, as you never quite know what the day will bring in the digital landscape.

Can I update my book after it has been published?

Old Mate Media can make changes for you to your Children’s Book for a fee based on what change is required. If you want to change a line of text, or the way an element displays, that is small and relatively inexpensive. If you want a whole new page to be added, which requires new art to be created and a change to the pagination, then that is more expensive.

Do you just do Children’s Books?

We do all kind of digital books; Children’s Books are just a particular passion of ours. We’ve also developed cookbooks and games magazines, as well as travel photo books and marketing tools. The beauty of digital stores is that there are so many people going through them that the demand for just about anything is there, as long as you know where to find the audience. If you are in a forum filled with 10,000 people who love nothing more than Beef Pies; then you could do a book on the 10 Best Beef Pies in the World, and have a strong chance of selling that to a good portion of that forum group. Just drop as an email and let us know what you have in mind, and we can start from there.