Old Mate Media specialises in helping indie authors realise their publishing dreams. Here's our guide to creating a children's book.
Old Mate Media’s goal is to help parents, writers and illustrators at any level of experience create and publish children’s picture and storybooks. You don’t have to be an artist. You don’t even have to be a writer. All you need is an idea, and your journey can begin.
Browse through our detailed step-by-step guide on how to create a book. This will hopefully take something that feels overwhelming, and to break it down so you can understand the process from start to finish. Our services target either all or some of these steps. This allows you to not only take control of your investment but retain ownership of all your work while still getting the quality and help of a professional publisher.
This is Your Journey
We want full transparency for every step on how to create a children’s book. We’re confident our rates are the most competitive you will find and we know our quality is world-class, but every dollar matters and its important you understand where that it is being spent.
Children’s stories can be incredibly simplistic, or wonderfully detailed. They can be educational or theatrically fantastical. Some rhyme perfectly, and others jump around erratically. There are no rules. We find a good place to start is just to talk to your child and listen to the way they describe their world. Now you have an idea; begin by jotting it down. Turn that idea into sentences that set up that idea, carry through that idea, and conclude that idea. Break those sentences up into pages. Now you have a story. Here are the steps for how to create a children’s book.
So You Have An Idea for Children’s Book
Children’s stories can be incredibly simplistic, or wonderfully detailed. They can be educational or theatrically fantastical. Some rhyme perfectly, and others jump around erratically. There are no rules. We find a good place to start is just to talk to your child and listen to the way they describe their world. Now you have an idea; begin by jotting it down. Turn that idea into sentences that set up that idea, carry through that idea, and conclude that idea. Break those sentences up into pages. Now you have a story. Here are the steps for how to create a children's book.
Step 1: Get Started
Contact us about your desire to turn your idea for a story into a children’s book. We will send you Old Mate Media's famous free children's book creation template. It will enable you to properly prepare your story for the processes detailed in the steps below. There are two aspects to this template; how to show your text ahead of editing and how to brief an artist ahead of illustration.
The most important thing is to give it a go; life's too short. If you have a story you want to tell, start by writing it down. If you're unsure whether or not you've actually got an idea worth pursing or just need a bit of encouragement, book in a free call. Note: We’re happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect the security of your idea if that makes you feel comfortable.
Step 2: Editing
Members of our team have worked as editors for some of the biggest magazines and websites on Earth, and have produced numerous bestselling books. The children's book editing process involves two key elements; the first is about moulding your idea into a natural storyline and ensuring it makes sense from page to page: start to conclusion. This includes trimming any fat from the text to downsize on page count, subbing for errors and plenty more.
The second element involves ensuring the communication between you and the artist is accurate, so that the finished art looks as close to your vision as possible, and that the image compliments the narrative. Here's where you can find more in-depth information about editing.
Step 3: Art
This is the longest and most expensive step in the process when we look at how to create a children's book. Depending on your page count and desired style, it can take quite a long time to create the art as you can imagine. Old Mate Media has a team of artists on hand that work across a range of styles – we start by establishing the general theme you are after, and then go through the initial concepts for key characters and the setting. For picture books, it's vital that the art and text work cohesively together to not only tell a story but engage young readers imaginations and inspire interaction. Here's more detailed information on the art creation process.
Step 4: Layout
Once the art and story are created, they need to be laid out for publication. This process involves taking the text and the art and combining them together on a page. Then you need to link each page together into a book. Depending on your needs, that final book can be tailored for digital and print formats to maximise the reader experience. Design also involves establishing meta-data and testing across formats. At the end of this step, you will have a version of the book you can examine and enjoy, but it won’t yet be available for sale. For more on design ideas and processes, head here.
Step 5: Publishing and Distribution
Once your children’s book is ready to be published for sale, it will need to be uploaded to a location online where consumers can reach it or order it. There are plenty of options out there, but obviously, the best place to start is on the big hitters like iTunes and Amazon. At this point, we can deliver you your book as an ePub for digital release, and a print-ready PDF for paperback. You can then self-publish these as you desire. Alternatively, Old Mate Media can publish the book for you through our portal, or help organise large-scale print runs of physical books. For more on the publishing process, head here.
Step 6: Website (Optional)
You do not need a website in order to sell your book. As part of your package with Old Mate Media, we will post a blog about your book to the Old Mate Media website and build a basic landing page for yuo. You can then link to these as part of any self-promotional activities as a base approach. Alternatively, we can design a website unique to your book (or book series if you plan on doing more than one) that fans can land on. We can simplify this and look after the whole process for you or help set it up for you to control.
Some key questions to ask yourself ahead of thinking about a website are; do you have a domain name? Do you have a website host? Will you upload and forget, or do you need it to be maintained? And have you set up social accounts for your book?
Step 7: Trailer (Optional)
Nothing helps advertise a product like a video. We can put together a small video trailer that shows off your book, which you can upload to YouTube, share on social media, host on your website and use to help promote your book’s existence.
Step 8: Theme Tune (Optional)
It’s quite extravagant, but we have made theme tunes for our children’s books that play when they are opened on digital devices. This allows you to have a memorable jingle that can play when parents and kids load up your web page or open up the book on some formats.
Step 9: Promo Images (Optional)
We can show you how to create a children's book, but how to market is a whole other chapter. As we’ll discuss with you in detail, there is no such thing as luck when it comes to selling your book and you may want to read our guide to setting the right expectations. You will need to self-promote and be active in forums and social feeds, pushing for reviews on websites and uploading to news sites. To do this, you may want an additional array of supporting images – for Twitter and Facebook - for sharing. Old Mate Media can give you the whole suite of marketing material, generated from the main book images.
Step 10: Translation (Optional)
English is a great starting point for your children’s book, but you increase your potential audience dramatically by getting your story translated into other languages. Perhaps Spanish, or French, or Japanese. Old Mate Media designs children’s books with translation in mind, which means we keep our text and art as separate entities that are later merged together. This allows us to change the text into a new language, without having to create new art. Old Mate Media can get your text translated into additional languages on request.
Step 11: Brand Strategy (Optional)
This is a guide on how to create a children's book, but what about a children's book series? Old Mate Media offers a coaching service to help you create a brand strategy around your book so you can turn it into a series. This is about creating a brand that has the potential to expand beyond your books and become something of interest to investors or networks. It involves character development, series structure, building and developing an audience, managing a social following and creating content beyond the book itself to deeper engage fans.