Publish a Picture Book on Kindle for <$250
by Jim Duyer
(San Jose, Costa Rica)
The $5 Fiverr Cover
How to publish a Children's Picture Book on Kindle for under $250.
(My book is not available in print form yet; I'm still working on that aspect of it.)
I'm Jim Duyer, the aspiring writer whom you helped with the title for my books: What's a Glyph?
I finally got my picture book up on the Kindle two days ago, and so far it seems to be doing well. I'm in the middle of the 'terrible days that never end' of self-promotion, but I wanted to take the time to show you that with the help of you fine people, I did come up with a publishable title.
I have to confess, that I really did not have much money to do this book. I could not afford to hire an illustrator, so I had to cut some corners, and do a lot of the work myself.
Publish on Kindle for <$250
So, let's begin with some tips for the author on a budget:
Yes, GOOD artwork costs. You are, after all, paying an artist for his or her talents. It also takes some time for the proofs, approvals, etc. I had neither the time nor the money, so if this sounds like you, here's some ideas on how to get it done inexpensively:
1) Plan your book. Determine who the main characters are, and the background scenes you cannot live without. Be conservative, but be thorough.
2) For the Kindle picture book I decided to put the text inside each page, using full size images for the page and the text above the image. It's easy as pie if you use Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop. What font would I use? You really need to buy a commercial font. $$$
OR - you could find an inexpensive font, on a site like dafont.com, and ask the author for permission to use it in a commercial project. That was my choice; I paid $5 for the font, and the author was so happy she bought a copy of my book. So net cost of that transaction was almost zero.
3) Go to Google image search. Find an image that is close to what you are looking for. You may have to use paint shop to combine two or more images - it does not matter as this is for Example Purposes only. You WILL NOT be using the copyrighted material you find.
4) Go to www.fiverr.com, and search under the Graphics & Design Gigs. You'll want someone who has a high rating and is reliable, so check the indexing under ratings.
Browse through the listings. Yes, this takes some time, but it's going to save you a ton of money.
When you think you have two or three prospects, take ONE of the sample images you have prepared, and ask them to create something original based on this example. You can ask for black and white if you want, as this will be cheaper, or you can ask for limited colors. I actually used B/W and added my own colors to the images and saved $100 for doing it.
The reason you choose two or three artists is to check out how they work. Yes, you already checked out their work on the reviews, and No, they will not always deliver for you what they did for another.
You will be able to ask for some changes if they do not deliver what you want, but you can't change talent, and that's what we are looking for here.
Be prepared to lose about $10 in this part. I did. One of the artists with the highest reputation, and excellent work, repeatedly returned images to me that would not work for my story - it's about two 7 year olds, and she kept drawing a Hannah Montana 16 year old wearing nylons!
So I sucked it up and went to the next artist. I ended up spending $200 in total on fiverr.com.
5) When you have one you like best, order another gig for each of the rest of the images, and tell the artist that there will be xxx number of images to follow.
(I also happened to sell a copy of the book to both of the artists, as they love to have a portfolio of their work. Also, I listed them in the contributor section of my book, because the more helpers you list the better Amazon likes it.)
6) These will be the artwork for your Picture Book guts, and now we need a front cover.
7) Ask the nice people at best-childrens-books.com to help you with a title. (Webmaster's note: visit our writers' forum, The Writer's Block!) You love your title, and it probably will not be the best, no matter how clever you think you are. Ask and receive. I did.
8) You can either ask the fiverr people to come up with a cover page for your book, or you can go to www.archive.org and find a book cover on one of their old public domain books. You can use these, if the page says 'public domain'. They have a legal staff to check copyrights.
I have used both of these methods; I used fiverr for my first book, and I just released my second book, using an archive.org image. They both work.
9) Second book? What? A week after your first?
Sure. Why - because two books by the same author will gain you more sales space at amazon, and you need all the sales space you can get. How - I simply paid $100 for a neighbor to translate the first book into Spanish. I re-used the same art that I had paid for, above, and I reset the type using the translated words. I also sent a copy to a Spanish-speaking friend, who assured me that the translations were good.
10) You do not need an ISBN number to publish your picture book on Kindle. I did buy 10 for $250, but I plan on using them for the next books, so it really only cost $25 for each of the first two books.
11) So now we have TWO books for $250. See, I saved the best part for last!
12) Sad to say, if you ask the kind people on the amazon forums, they will not give you the correct answers as to how to format your book. I hope that this is due to their inexperience and not greed or envy. It really is very simple to format a children's picture book for Kindle - forget epub, kindlegen, word docs, scrivener, calibre and others...
Type your entire outline on one .html page with contents, zip this into one file with your images, and you are good to go. I won't bother you with posting the entire .html that I use, as this post is way too long already, but if you wish I will send it to you at no charge.
My first thought was to polish this up and wrap it in an ebook for sale on Kindle! But then I recalled the nice help and encouragement you all gave me, and I wished to pay some of that back.
I sincerely wish you all the best of luck on publishing a Kindle book on a budget.