Friday, September 16, 2016

Indie Publishing for Children's Writers

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

I was recently asked about marketing indie children’s books. I hated to say it, but I have never seen anyone do really, really well in the children’s ebook market.

Part of the reason is possibly the subscription service Amazon has called Amazon FreeTime. For just $2.99 a month parents get access to “10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.” The indie with an ebook at even 99 cents has a hard time competing with that.

So should authors with products for youth just skip indie all together?

Not necessarily, but they should for sure market like a traditional author. For an author of kids’ books—picture books, chapter books and the like—the mode of reaching your audience will be the same if you publish on your own or have a contract.

And it will be fun!

Most of us indies sit in our bathrobes at Starbucks (er, or maybe that’s just me?) and click a few buttons to get an ad. Yawn.

Children’s authors get to go to book fairs (contact homeschool fairs, curriculum fairs, regular fairs), libraries and schools (just email them! They are all dying to have great authors come visit-- especially the small private schools who can’t afford JK Rowling.) These authors get to go to small, local indie book shops for signings. (In this regard, a quality product and personable presentation will make up for a lack of recognizable publisher.) They get to do classroom talks for their friends who are teachers, they get to send free copies to every single reviewer they can think of or find. 

The children’s book author-indie gets to have a blast. They get to work hard, of course, and they get to worry and fret and wonder if they will get any bites. They get to wear holes in the soles of their shoes travelling from location to location. They get to wear their knuckles out knocking on doors, but they get to interact with readers, a rare and wonderful treat in the indie world.

Don’t let the lack of immediate ebook success stop you from indie publishing your children’s books. And don’t let the idea of hard work stop you either—if your dream contract dropped in your lap, you’d have to work even harder!


Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven Romantic Mysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at

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