As a children’s book illustrator, I hear from lots of first-time authors. The thing that most of the authors I work with have in common is that they’ve all battled imposter syndrome at some point. If you’ve ever felt like that too, here’s why I think that you should ignore your imposter syndrome and publish your children's book!
I know you've got the perfect story! Whether it's in your head, or on paper, and I know there are plenty of kids out there who will fall in love with your words. If you’ve submitted to traditional publishers, you may have faced rejections. It hurts, it’s rough, and it’s easy to feel like your story isn’t good enough. But publishers reject stories for a wide range of reasons. Maybe it doesn’t align with their brand, maybe your target audience isn’t their customer base, or maybe it’s too close to something else they’ve published recently.
Don’t get me wrong, I always encourage authors to submit their story to their favourite publishing house(s), if they’ve always dreamed of being published traditionally, because sometimes you just don’t know until you try. Ultimately, publishing houses are businesses, and they select children’s book manuscripts that they can easily take to market, firmly get behind, and sell lots of. If your story doesn’t meet their criteria, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth publishing, and it doesn’t mean you can’t make some money off it.
Publishing houses are great because they have so much knowledge, and such a wide reach, they’ll take care of everything for you, from illustrations and design, to marketing and distribution. This can be a blessing if you want to be hands-off with your story, but it does come with the tradeoff of not having the final say on some of the details when it comes to bringing your story to life.
If your story is super special to you just the way it is, if you have a clear vision for the illustrations for your children’s book, you want it designed a certain way, or you want it published by a certain date, then maybe traditional publishing just isn’t for you anyway…
Maybe you want the proceeds from your children’s book to go to a charity close to your heart, maybe your book isn’t destined to be an international best-seller, but you know Kiwi families would love it and it could still have a massive impact where it matters most to you! Maybe your book is a personal passion project that you only want a few copies of to read to your children at bedtime and share with friends and family. If that’s the case, then maybe you should self-publish your book.
With self-publishing options these days, you don't have to go through the process of pitching your manuscript, facing rejection, and tweaking your story so that it appeals to a wider audience. You can share your story the way you want to be shared and, with print-on-demand services, you don't have to pay for an entire print run or store and distribute your book yourself.
Trust me, it’ll be so rewarding! Seeing your story in print, in bookstores, and on children's bookshelves will make your heart swell (in a good way, not a cardiomegaly way)!
If you decide to self-publish, I happen to know a good children’s book illustrator who takes on self-publishing projects *wink wink nudge nudge*. So what do you say? Would you like a hand bringing your story to life?
Here's a page from the self-published children's book, Wise ole Whisky, that I illustrated earlier this year.