I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a set of three children's books in the "Oliver and Jumpy" book series for the DIY Mom Blog. I was so impressed with the quality of author Werner Stejskal's book I reached out to him. Werner was kind enough to share a generous excerpt of his "How to Make and Publish a Children's Book" with My Book Tour readers. He has a lot of great advice and information so read on...
My series was born after a sleepless night that gave me the idea of my two main characters, Oliver and Jumpy, including their first three adventures. Whether it was a sign from God or simply the result of my need for a new goal in life, Oliver and Jumpy were ready to take their place in the world!
I started writing the next day and focused on expressing my thoughts in the best way that I could. Initially, I wanted to have the stories be approximately 1,000 words in length, but this plan was impractical, as I realized that a picture book simply does not need that much text. After all, the pictures tell the story. Then I took a different approach. Envisaging my story in pictures first and then writing the accompanying text proved to be a better procedure.
Picture books usually have 32 pages, which is required by the printing process. My books are eBooks and PODs (print-on-demand books), and these have no page limitation. Actually, my PODs normally have at least 80 pages. I prefer to offer more value for the customer’s money than most other picture books. I find it a bit silly to have hard covers but not much in between.
Where Do the Stories Come From?
Basically, I just review all scenarios that have been proven to delight children. My daughter has her beloved black cat, which inspired me to use a tuxedo cat. I live in Australia with many kangaroos around. So it was natural to have Oliver the Cat and Jumpy the Kangaroo share adventures. Scenarios are easy: fairies, princesses, giants, disasters, winter, moon flight, and so much more! With a bit of imagination, you can come up with a variety of story lines.
Illustrating My Stories
After I had written three stories, I wanted to have them illustrated, but was this feasible? Each of my stories would need six to eight pictures. Local illustrators were charging from $300 to $500 per complex color illustration, so it was not possible to finance the pictures myself.
I came across an online company called Upwork.com, which has been crucial to my success. Professionals you need are available on this site, and the 10% commission is affordable. To be successful in the Internet age you need to outsource. Most illustrators will show samples of their work on Upwork. I posted my job description on Upwork and waited until interested illustrators contacted me. Within just a few hours, many people had applied for the job. I selected a suitable illustrator from the Philippines and later worked with people from India, Indonesia, and other countries. Upwork’s arrangement is great! My money is kept in an escrow account until I am satisfied with the job. Everybody is safe! My money is returned if the job is not delivered.
After trying various apps, I found Book Creator, which worked best for me. Now I was able to make up a book with pictures and text combined. I asked my illustrators to produce HD-quality pictures to iPad size (3x4). This format works with most eBook platforms except Amazon. Book Creator can create PDFs and ePubs. Amazon needs mobi files. You need all three plus ePibs for Barnes & Noble to reach all sellers of eBooks.
Offering a free book is necessary to solicit reviews easily. You need to read my booklet How to find Book Reviewers, which includes many details. Basically, I grow a reviewer list through searching similar books on Amazon and extracting email addresses from the reviewers there. It takes time to compile a large list of relevant reviewers. I tend to get about 70 reviews for each of my books within two to three weeks of launch.
"HOW TO MAKE AND PUBLISH A CHILDREN'S BOOK" BY WERNER STEJSKAL IS AVAILABLE FOR JUST .99 ON AMAZON. COM HERE
ABOUT WERNER STEJSKAL
Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna.
His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally married. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children's stories, had them illustrated through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the eBooks on most platforms. Werner's dream is to see "Oliver and Jumpy" animated as a TV series.
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