Kids' Golf Book
by Randy Guyton
The Adventures of Birdie and Bogey
No one knows your book better than you.
I wrote my children's golf book, "The Adventures of Birdie and Bogey: Learning The Game of Golf," two years ago but did not know where to turn in order to get it published. I had looked at a number of different websites that promised to make it easy by helping with the design and the marketing, all for a fee of course.
A friend of mine had gone through the self-publishing process and told me that those sites were a waste of time and that I needed to self-publish my book and then market it on my own, because who knows the book's target audience and marketplace better than the author? So I created my own publishing company, Birdie Press, and set out to get my ISBN number and bar code for my book, which was pretty easy by going to Bowker and signing up--and paying for them of course.
So, I found an illustrator--a graphic artist friend of mine--and we set out to illustrate and create the book. It was a looooong process, mainly because we needed to get the sketches just right, making sure the kids looked right, making sure they weren't aging page to page, etc. Once the illustrations were done and the book was laid out, we created a press-quality pdf and uploaded it to the printer. It was a very easy process, although I think it was tough to get the specs just right for the printer, especially on the cover, which needed to be a double-page spread with a 1/8" spine.
When the printer had everything ready to go, we did several color checks to make sure that our scans were printing correctly. We had a few issues with some blues turning kind of purplish, so we tweaked those on our end. Once everything was fixed, we did a press check for the cover and once I signed off, the printing began.
It took about a little more than a week to get the books in my hand. They looked great, and it was definitely the right way to go. Now, marketing the books has been tough. Knowing that my book is more of a gift item, I have concentrated mainly on children's specialty shops and golf courses/country clubs. I also created a website, www.birdiepress.net, and directed people there. I did a couple of gift shows, and then I reached out to various media outlets looking for press. I got an article in a local paper, as well as a radio show.
All told, I have sold about 500 books in about 5 months - so not great, but okay so far. The hard part has been convincing stores in this economy to take on new products, but being willing to put them on consignment has been a good way to get in the door - and has led to repeat orders.
I'm still looking for that game-changing order, or a distributor willing to help push the book on a national level, but I have been pleased with the process so far.