Can I make money writing a children’s book? | How much can I earn self-publishing children’s books?

Today I’m answering a question that I’ve been asked. And the issue isn’t the question, right. If you are going to dedicate your time and effort to something you want to at the very least cover your costs and maybe make something. We all have this deep desire to create something that people will love and will find value in. But, when the first question I get from someone isn’t how to write the best children’s book ever, how to get their important message in front of more families, but instead they’re focused on how much they can make self-publishing children’s books, eh that gives me concern.

Mainly that some guru or another has told them they can make buttloads of money self-publishing books. And listen there are people that do that. But if your aim is buttloads of money let me tell you… books would not be my first option. After print costs and the royalty split that the retailers and distributors take, you’ll make a couple of bucks a book. Because you don’t set the price, your market does. And there are lots of children’s books and most of them aren’t that expensive. Kids tear through these books.

So the per book revenue isn’t great which means you need to sell buttloads of books to make said fortune.

Oh, and before that happens you need to somehow pay for the book to be created. Because you have to write it and have it edited. Granted not a lot of words, but you better not have a single grammatical or spelling error in your children’s book. If a 100,000-word door stopper of a book has a typo in it, eh that’s understandable. Your max 500 words book… come on?

Oh and the length, well are you writing for babies for toddlers for pre-k children? The attention span and therefore your word length will vary greatly.

But we haven’t even gotten to the biggest expense which will be your design. That book better have amazing images. You’re looking at a minimum of $1,000. And that’s just the images. Can your designer put them, you know, in a formatted print-ready document or are they just making the images?

So, not to be a total Debbie Downer and completely talk you out of this idea, but instead of focusing on these promised buttloads of money, focus on the message of your book. How will this book help kids? How will it make them laugh? A book that kids and parents love will be recommended and sell itself. A book to try to “produce” to just make a bunch of money, kids will spot it from a mile away.

Can you make money selling children’s books? Yes! How much? How hard are you willing to work to get in front of librarians, local schools, etc? There is no upper limit to what you could earn. But it isn’t easy. It will be fun and rewarding to make and self-publish your book, but not a walk in the park.

Still excited? Check out this video series I did with an author who crowdfunded his successful children’s book and this PDF checklist to get you started.

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