How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Children’s Book? Keeping It Real

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This beautiful book celebrates the special bond between mother and child. Choose the name and appearance of both characters for a truly unique gift.

For years, the idea of publishing books for children was brewing in my head. The passion for the creative process and the act of writing for children was so inebriating that it overtook any remote idea that didn’t suggest entertaining children and stimulating their minds—costs included. Did you ever ask yourself how much does it cost to self-publish a children’s book? The real

I think it is safe to say that if you have a passion for writing and enjoy sharing your stories with young people, you are likely to fit into one of two categories. However, I don’t mean to imply that these divisions are a straightforward choice between traditional and self-publishing, but rather a more intricate discussion of two unique crowds.

If you are sure that you want to work with a traditional publisher, then you can begin your search right away.

You are determined to self-publish your children’s books and not to become the “next big thing”. Your passion for writing children’s stories combined with the desire to have full control over the self-publishing process is what motivates you.

How much does it typically cost to self-publish a children’s book? Is it more advantageous to self-publish or take the traditional path for a children’s book?

If you are seriously considering embarking on this journey, it’s important to ask yourself a number of questions. Not only are there costs associated with the illustrations, but there are many other factors to consider when self-publishing children’s books.

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Children’s Book?

A lot goes into self-publishing for children, and I have covered that extensively in our comprehensive guideIt may come as a shock, but the total cost of a wedding can range from $1,500 to $6,000. That’s a huge amount of money and took me a while to process.

Keep in mind that when I talk about costsWhen self-publishing a children’s picture book, it is important to take the individual characteristics of the genre into account. Therefore, I will examine each element individually in order to better understand the cost.

The amount that one has to pay to self-publish a children’s book can vary greatly depending on factors such as:

I have gained a lot of insight from my experience in the publishing world, and I would like to discuss the true price of self-publishing a children’s picture book. Let us take a closer look.

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This beautiful book celebrates the special bond between mother and child. Choose the name and appearance of both characters for a truly unique gift.

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How Much Does It Cost To Hire an Illustrator for a Children’s Book?

The cost to hire an illustrator will vary greatly, depending on how seasoned the artist is—that includes their credentials, skill set, years of experience, location, and the medium they use—and where you find the right illustrator

Although there is variation in pricing dependent on the websites you compare, you may find more budget-friendly options with freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru.

On Fiverr, there is a vast range of prices for illustrators. For example, a “Level 1” illustrator can charge anywhere from $5 to $20, while a “Level 2” illustrator will cost anywhere from $20 to $50. A “Top Rated” illustrator, on the other hand, can charge anywhere from $20 to $300. If you’re looking for the highest quality work, a “Top Rated Seller” will cost at least $100.

Upwork is a platform where you can hire freelancers or agencies for work. Prices typically range from $20-$25 per hour, or you can purchase a package of services from the “Project Catalog” feature, which includes “Top Rated” illustrators for $30-$350.

Guru offers a variety of projects with prices starting at $25 and going up to $500.

You can also locate illustrators on numerous other sites, such as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Picture Book Artists Association, DeviantArt, or their individual webpages. They provide various packages that range in price from $850 to $3200.

One of the advantages of creating books for kids is that the cost of the cover is usually included in the overall package. This means the artist who designs the illustrations for the picture books will usually take care of the cover, which can be a relief for those who are worried about keeping costs down.

I used a variety of artists from multiple platforms to create the artwork for my children’s picture books. I spent an average of $360 on the illustrations and covers of two books, while the third book was the result of a collaboration with an artist, so I didn’t have to pay anything.

I also paid $150 for a new cover to the second edition of Dinosaur Adventure,

If you maintain an open-minded attitude, it may be advantageous to look for illustrators who are open to collaborations or willing to exchange services in order to reduce costs.

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Considering the amount of time spent exploring illustrators, the sources they are found on, and the approach taken to the task, there are numerous possibilities.

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The Cost to Format Books for Children

Creating a layout for a children’s book, specifically picture books, is more precise than setting up a format for other types of books. The cost to format picture books for children may vary, although not as much as it would to hire an illustrator, unless you encounter any issues like I did.

Generally, the formatter or layout designer uses software like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop to arrange the book’s layout. This enables them to create a book interior that meets the requirements of different vendors.

I was inexperienced when I started looking for a designer to format my books; however, I soon discovered that one of them used Microsoft Word to do the job. Needless to say, the formatting was far from acceptable for distributors such as IngramSpark. This was only one of the problems I encountered, and I wrote an article about the mistakes to avoid when publishing books for children. In the end, I had to pay a hefty sum of $400 to get the books formatted properly.

You don’t have to go through the same struggles. Through freelancer marketplaces, you can find competent designers who offer services to format your picture books for a price range of $20-$100. Additionally, there are services available beginning at $5 on Fiverr.

If you are in the market for a formatting professional, consider exploring the options available on social media. LinkedIn is a great place to start as it provides access to a wide variety of experienced designers who are likely to be willing to negotiate a fair price. With so many qualified professionals available, you should be able to find the perfect fit for your book formatting needs.

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How Much Does It Cost To Edit a Children’s Book?

The topic of editing costs for children’s books is often overlooked, yet it is an essential aspect of publishing.

The expense of editing a children’s book may vary depending on the kind of editing service required, such as copyediting, line editing, developmental editing, or proofreading.

The Editorial Freelancers Association sets an average rateThe average cost of fiction copyediting, developmental editing, and proofreading is between two to two point nine cents per word. This cost can fluctuate based on the expertise of the editor. Additionally, if an editor charges by the hour, the cost can range from thirty-one to fifty dollars per hour.

Many professionals specialize in a certain type of editing, however many children’s book editors provide a range of services in one package. For instance, an editor may offer developmental editing as well as copyediting, or copyediting and proofreading.

Employing the services of an expert in children’s literature can provide helpful guidance on the various stages of the book’s production process, making it an economical decision.

Talking about overall editing costs, a survey by Written Word MediaThe data indicates that the majority of writers in various genres spend between $250 and $499 on editing, while a large proportion shelling out between $100 and $999. Just 23% of writers spend less than $50.

Editing is an important task that should not be overlooked. If you are in search of competent editors for your children’s books, consider looking on LinkedIn, ACES: The Society for Editing, and Reedsy.


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How Much Does It Cost To Print a Children’s Book: Picture Books Distribution Costs

Once your book has been edited, the subsequent step is to decide the cost to publish and circulate a children’s book. This will differ based on the distributor. Generally, children’s authors use services such as Amazon, IngramSpark, BookBaby and Lulu.

Cost to Self-Publish a Children’s Book on Amazon KDP

Amazon is a major distributor and the go-to choice for a lot of self-publishing authors. Uploading titles on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform is free, though other costs such as costs for paperbacks can be incurred. Amazon offers a 60% royalty on standard distribution and 40% royalty on expanded distribution, with the amount being determined by the list price, minus printing costs.

Though children’s book authors and publishers gain several advantages from publishing through Amazon KDPWhen it comes to ebook costs, there is an important consideration to keep in mind, despite the various advantages of publishing ebooks, such as the ability to upload for free and access promotional options like KDP Select and Kindle Countdown.

When determining the expense of children’s ebooks, the outcome fluctuates based upon whether you select a 70% royalty or a 35% royalty. If you pick to receive a royalty of 70%, Amazon KDP requires a “delivery” fee, which takes into account the file size. This means that due to the size of the images, which need to be least 2500 pixels per side, you usually end up with a sizeable file.

There is no charge for a 35% royalty rate, however this will reduce the lowest price permissible for your ebooks.

The size of your picture book file could potentially affect how you plan your promotions. You need to consider if enrolling in a KDP promotion, such as Kindle Countdown, is necessary in order to be able to set a price as low as $0.99 for your title. This is something to keep in mind when making decisions.

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Cost to Self-Publish a Children’s Book on IngramSpark

IngramSpark is a popular choice for independent authors. It has a set-up fee for ebooks of $25, $49 for print books, and a “value deal” that includes both ebook and print for $49. To make changes to print books, there is an additional fee of $25.

The expenses for printing and circulation are generally higher with IngramSpark than with Amazon. On the other hand, IngramSpark provides more options for interior printing paper (black and white, 50 or 70 standard color, and premium color), as well as taking into account other elements such as the binding type (paperback or hardcover) and laminate cover type (glossy and matte).

IngramSpark’s system gives the publisher the ability to adjust the remuneration for their printed works based on a wholesale discount. This discount can be set to a preferred retailer discount of 55% or lower, however, it must not go below 30% as this would result in a negative publisher compensation.

An example: if you set the cost for a paperback title, which was printed with a standard 70 color interior, at $11.99 and offer a 50% wholesale discount, you can expect to receive around $2.00 in compensation for each book. However, if you sell the same title as a hardcover with the same interior color at $16.99 and provide a 45% wholesale discount (which is not great for retailers), you can expect to be compensated about $0.50 for each copy. As you can see, the margins are very slim.

Publishing Children’s Books Through BookBaby

BookBaby offers a variety of services to suit any publishing needs. From print-on-demand models to assistance with a single step of the publishing process, BookBaby has an option for everyone. No matter what individual preferences are, BookBaby has an ideal solution.

BookBaby provides three different self-publishing bundles at prices of $1,090, $2,190 and $2,890. With the cheapest package ($1,090), you can have a digital and print version of your children’s book created and distributed to their worldwide channels. Additionally, you will be given 25 paperback copies of the book.

Stepping up to the mid-level package ($2,190), you get all the features of the first tier plus design assistance. For an extra cost of $2,890, the top tier will give you all the features of the middle tier plus marketing services.

If you are considering using the print-on-demand service by itself, you can create a single copy of your ebook and print it through BookBaby, which could potentially cost you upwards of four hundred dollars.

I recently experimented with a 9″ x 7″ landscape picture book of 24 pages and calculated a single copy to be around $476 with 25 copies costing $774.50. Discounts are available for orders of 25-2000 copies, though the savings are not too extreme.

If you are only looking to use BookBaby for distribution, you may have to pay $399 (for orders of 25 books) for worldwide POD distribution, or $99 for distribution in their bookshop. However, when you compare the cost of their most economical package, you will find that you will be saving $85.50. Therefore, it is more worthwhile to choose the package.

As an author of children’s books who publishes with BookBaby, your royalties will range from 12%-26%, or $1.02-$4.25, depending on the price of the 8.5″ x 8.5″ paperback book of 28 pages ($7.99-$15.99).

The royalties appear to be slightly more than those offered by IngramSpark, however the initial cost is significantly greater.

Publishing Children’s Books Through Lulu

Lulu is another distributor and POD provider of children’s books, although it is not as widely used as the other companies. Compared to the more popular companies, Lulu does not offer a broad range of sizes and binding options for children’s picture books.

Lulu places a greater focus on providing discounts for large orders than for smaller orders, similar to how BookBaby operates. This could be why it is less widely used, as it tends to be a bit pricier than other options.

If you wish to print an 8.5″ x 8.5″ hardcover book (no softcover available) with 28 pages, it will cost you roughly $10.47 per book. If you leverage their global distribution channel, then, following their recommended guidelines, you must set your retail price at least $20.94 to receive compensation for printing and distribution costs.

Lulu imposes a 50% fee on the author’s gross income, meaning that after the costs of printing and distributing are deducted, they will pay out 80% of the net profit. If you calculate it, there won’t be much left unless the price of the book is kept at a high level.

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The Cost to Market Your Children’s Books

As an independent author, promoting your book is a must. The expenses for advertising your children’s books will be based on the kind of marketing plan you decide to use.

Promoting children’s books requires a very specific plan. This is because the purchaser of the book is not the child, but rather the adult. Consequently, the intended audience consists of parents, teachers, and those who provide care.

Creating picture books is particularly significant, thus it is important to use creativity when trying to effectively reach those people.

No matter which book promotion strategy you opt for, such as promo sites, BookBub, Amazon ads, blog tours, social media posts, or newsletter exchanges, you should strive to make the most of it. You can either take the free approach or invest some money for a more satisfactory outcome.

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Promoting with BookBub

One way to spread the word about your work is to use Bookbub as a platform for promotion. This is a popular choice for many authors.

Although you don’t have to pay for a BookBub account, you will need to pay a figure for its most popular and prized feature: BookBub Featured Deal.

Many writers, not just authors of literature for kids, have seen success with BookBub’s “Featured Deals”. Unfortunately, one must meet certain criteria to be accepted for this promotion. Should you be eligible, though, the cost for a BookBub Featured Deal for books targeted at children, middle grade, or teen & YA readers can range from $122 to $898. This amount may differ depending on the genre of the book and the discounted price.

Using Book Promotion Sites

When it comes to raising awareness of my children’s book, I have experimented with both paid and free approaches. I have to be candid; the paid initiatives have been much more successful. For example, I have had good results from running campaigns on book promotion websites, like Freebooksy ($45) and Bargain Booksy ($20), which target people specifically interested in children’s books. Considering the cost, I thought it was a great investment.

Playing with Amazon Ads

I had some success with Amazon ads, although it took me some time to discover the best approach. One issue with Amazon ads is that they can be costly, since it is necessary to maintain them running for an extended period in order to see visible outcomes. I invested around $120 on various campaigns, but didn’t get far.

Working with Book Marketing and Publicists

A different approach to consider is to partner with book marketing professionals, publicists, and book bloggers. Costs associated with working with such experts and publicists can range from $1,400-$6,000+. Although the services come at a price, they can provide valuable insights and skills.

When considering the unique characteristics of picture books, which can be expensive to produce due to printing and distribution costs, it is easy to see how quickly the costs can skyrocket.

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Collaborating with Book Bloggers

You can find reasonable packages working with book bloggers. Those services range from $40-$345, and usually include a mix of book blog tours,

As an author for young readers, collaborating with book bloggers can be very beneficial, especially if your work is in the genres of YA paranormal, romance, or cozy mysteries. These bloggers often have an audience that are eager for these types of stories. Just be sure to research their track record of successful campaigns before investing in them.

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Looking for Reviews Website

Finally, submitting your book to a professional review website can be another great option to market your children’s book. Who doesn’t want to receive the stamp of approval from highly regarded institutions such as Kirkus Reviews or BookLife by Publishers Weekly?

Kirkus offers a standard review for picture books that starts at $350. By contrast, BookLife does not charge for reviews, but there is no guarantee that your book will be assessed (or when, if it does get reviewed). Therefore, you may need to pay a service fee of $399 for a guaranteed professional review.

The amount to pay for reviews of your children’s books on professional sites varies, with estimates ranging from $200 to $300. If you have the budget to commit to such reviews, they may be worth it. However, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a well-thought-out marketing plan that will help you maximize your return on investment. You’ll need to devise various approaches to promote your kids’ books and drive sales.

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Is It Better to Self-publish a Children’s Book?

It is up to you to decide whether to self-publish a children’s book or pursue the traditional route. Both options have advantages and disadvantages that you should consider carefully in order to determine what is best for you and your objectives.

The purpose of this article was to shed some light on the true cost of self-publishing a children’s book, as the information that can be found online is often inaccurate or unrealistic when it comes to profiting from picture books.

I can confidently say that indie children’s book authors are extraordinary people. This aligns with my initial thoughts. They create these stories out of passion and to bring joy to young readers, not with the purpose of becoming rich.

I would love to hear about your experience if you’re a self-published author of children’s books. Please share your story with me.

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Before this article have you ever wondered about the real cost to self-publish as a children’s book? If you are comfortable, share your experiences with us. And if you are thinking of self-publishing, let us know your thoughts about this conversation.

Frequently asked questions

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How much does it cost to publish a children’s book?

The cost of publishing a children’s book can vary widely depending on the type of book, the length, the number of illustrations, and other factors. Generally, most children’s books can be published for around $5,000-$18,000.

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Is it necessary to hire an illustrator for a children’s book?

It depends on the type of book you are publishing. If it is a picture book, it is highly recommended to hire an illustrator as it is an important part of the book. For longer books, illustrations can help to make the book more engaging, but are generally not necessary.

What is the best way to market a children’s book?

The best way to market a children’s book is to create a website or social media presence for it, contact bookstores and libraries, and do online advertising. It is also a good idea to have a presence at book fairs and other events where children’s books are sold.

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What is the difference between a children’s book and a young adult book?

The main difference between a children’s book and a young adult book is the target audience. Children’s books are generally aimed at readers between the ages of 5-12, whereas young adult books are aimed at readers between the ages of 12-18.

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What is the average length of a children’s book?

The average length of a children’s book is typically between 1,000 and 10,000 words. Picture books are usually shorter, around 500 words, while longer books such as chapter books can be up to 10,000 words.

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