THIS TOPIC IS COVERED IN How to Self-publish and Market a Children’s Book (Second Edition) or search online where you’ll find lots of info. Just bear in mind that 90-95% of children’s book sales happen in print. There are good reasons to have an eBook version of your titles though, which I cover in my book. 

I will aim to update the content below during spring 2022…

16 Responses to E-books

  1. Lee says:

    Is it possible to distribute e-books directly through the Apple i-bookStore, or is it necessary to go through Smashwords or some other aggregator?

  2. Anjalika says:

    Hi Karen,

    First of all, thank you…thank you…thank you!! In this day and age when nothing is free, your advice and guidance through this blog is priceless!! Thank you so much for sharing all these invaluable lessons with all of us. I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog because I am learning so much through your experience!

    Secondly, I am just curious – from everything that I am reading about self publishing, it would appear that E-books are the safest option for a new author. When you decided to self publish your children’s books, why did you pick the print on demand option too? To be very honest, I prefer physical books…I always have. I am sure if I will enjoy the Kindle or tablet experience of reading a book. However, when I look around, I see children of all ages holding a tablet. Most of the children in my family (even kids as young as 4) know how to work the basics of a touch phone or tablet. So, I am just wondering, is is not just easier going down the E-book route, considering technology and children today? I know that parents buy the book (E-book or physical book) but then once again, when I look around, majority of the parents own a tablet or Kindle. I am in the process of developing a picture book for children and I am so so confused of whether I should just stick to an E-book or go with the Print on demand option as well? I would love to know your thoughts on this. I am just beginning to scrape the surface of the self publishing world and your guidance is an amazing way to start this journey.

    Hope to hear back from you soon,

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Anjalika – firstly thanks for your thanks – and I’m glad that you’ve found the site useful!

      The reason I went with print at the outset was partly because at the time I first self-published The Secret Lake Kindles were only just starting to be used here in the UK by adults. Children using Kindles was virtually unheard of, let alone reading on tablets etc. That of course has now changed and it’s possible I’d have done it differently if starting out now. That said, I like to meet my readers face to face at school events and book signings and clearly I need print books for that! So there is part of your reason.. In terms of what you decide, it will certainly be cheaper for you to produce a picture book digitally than in print – whether or not you have to buy in the illustrations. So you might want to start out with the Kindle Kids Creator tool on Amazon which looks fairly easy to use (though I’ve not used it myself) and then decide after that. See Joanna Penn’s interview about it here http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2015/01/19/kindle-kids-book-creator/ Or – if DIY feels too ominous – then I’d recommend eBook Partnership who I have blogged about on the page called Picture Book to eBook conversion – you don’t need to have a print book to start with… As I have warned everyone here, making money from picture book sales is hard as very few sell online (I think this is because parents simply don’t browse for picture books online -though they may browse for apps. But then if going for apps they tend not to want to pay anything for them….) I’ve sold around 450 copies, or a bit more than this now, of Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep in print but most of those were face to face sales at signings or school events… Best of luck with whatever you decide! Karen

  3. kareninglis says:

    Thanks for your comment, Isaiah – you’re absolutely right. Self-publishing to Kobo is very simple – and I’ve added to my ‘to do’ list to update this page of my blog! And I see that the Chamber Four’s most recent eReader comparison gives a big thumbs up to the Kobo Mini >> http://chamberfour.com/ereader-comparison/#ourpicks

  4. Isaiah says:

    I just wanted to add that Kindle isn’t the only option for self publishers. To gain as much exposure and increase sales we should be publishing on other e-readers. I’ve found Kobo Writing Life to be amazingly good! Definitely less complicated and time consuming. http://www.kobo.com/writinglife

  5. Fiona Murphy says:

    Hi Karen I have had a paper version of a children’s book of poems published and want to turn it into an e book. It is fully illustrated in colour called ‘Down The Plughole.’ It is not as easy as it seems, but I will check out all your recommendations and good luck with the new book. Many thanks Fiona

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Fiona
      I’d recommend asking Doug at Lighthouse24 to get a quote – you’ll find a link somewhere above I think. He’s very reliable I’m going to use them for Ferdinand Fox after the print version comes out. Best of luck! Karen

  6. J Holden says:

    Great post, I wish i had come across this before I started my painful journey into ebook publishing, I would also suggest Authors search around, try approaching companies which Publishers use themselves, ScribeDigital.com work mainly with publishers but took newbie Authors like me on also, research is everything.

    It’s a big world, I suggest people look around and check Blogs like this before committing themselves!

  7. Robin Murphy says:

    Great information!! I too decided to self-publish the second book in my series. I posted some info of my process…quite a learning curve, but worth it.

  8. kareninglis says:

    Hi Martin

    Congratulations on publication of your first Kindle book! And I’m glad you found the blog of help. What’s more – bravo for doing the Kindle file yourself. With Eeek! I used Lighthouse24 in the USA to format it for me – there are so many images throughout that the idea of trying to do it myself just didn’t seem feasible…. I use an iMac here (of late) and it has Word 2008 so your info here is useful – I may at some stage have a go at DIY’ing a Kindle short story or similar – just to give it a go. And I’m sure your info will be useful for others who visit. All the best with your book launch! It looks great fun!


  9. Martin says:

    Karen, Just to say huge thanks for this blog. I’ve just published my first title on the Kindle, and would have struggled without your site to give me confidence and advice. By way of giving something back, I’ve got some tips on formatting for KDP which may be of interest to your readers.

    I had issues with using a .doc file, so tried the Filtered HTML route, and had no issues with the final file, but the guidelines didn’t make it easy to work out how to do it. The trick is to create a folder, then in Word, select File -> Save As Web Page. I’m on a Mac using Word 2008, and there’s no way of knowing how to make it a ‘Filtered’ HTML file, but the answer is to make sure that, on the Save window that pops up, select ‘Save only display information into HTML’. This will save the data into several files inside the folder you created. When it’s done that, right-click the folder and choose to Compress or Zip it. It’s this new compressed or zipped file that you need to upload to Amazon – if you don’t compress it, it won’t work, as KDP won’t recognise the file.

    I also had issues with KDP recognising my cover image inside the file, and it then wouldn’t let me advance through the publishing process. I added the cover separately, but suspect that the preview file had the image in it twice as a result, so I started again. I omitted the cover file from my main document, uploaded the cover separately, and the program automatically inserted my cover into the ebook file during conversion. Hope this helps, and good luck with the new book!

  10. carole King says:

    As a complete novice here. can anyone tell me if you can include illustrations in self publishing ( option2)

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Carole – you can have illustrations in e-books. If you go onto Amazon and look, for example, in the children’s section of the Kindle store and use the free ‘look inside’ feature on a few books you will see some.

      I’m currently having my next book, (‘Eeek!), formatted and that will include black & white illustrations throughout. I will post about it once it is done. I’m hoping to get it out by the end of Feb…

      I’m just talking to the formatter about how the sizing will work – of course people read e-books on all sorts of different size device so the pic size will change according to what they are using – and that in turn means you can’t predict whether there might be blank spaces because the page can’t fit the whole of the picture on… I’ll understand more once I’ve been through the process once!

      I’d certainly recommend using someone who knows what they are doing than trying yourself!


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