There’s more to publishing a book than writing, editing and printing a manuscript. If that was all, more people would do it. There is the added element of illustrations for a picture book which, if you draw as well as me, will be a talent you will have to find elsewhere for an additional price. Once you get the book into the printers, there is the marketing and distribution, the largest, most time consuming aspect of publishing. Publishing a book can become a massive undertaking.
Distribution of the book takes a lot of leg work especially if it is your first book. Publishing companies usually take care of marketing and distribution. If it is a traditional publishing company in the industry like Simon & Schuster, Candlewick Press, Harcourt, etc. then you will have great distribution (and most likely a literary agent), but make pennies on the individual book sales, which feels like you aren’t being adequately compensated for the original creativity of the work. You may even lose creative control once the book is accepted.
If you self-publish the entire process is up to you, and the task of marketing and distribution can become overwhelming unless you have great talents with social media and web design, a lot of networks, and a team of volunteers. However, there is a third option that I will call indie-publishers.
For an upfront cost, these publishers assist with the task of editing and printing your manuscript as well as marketing and distribution. They make themselves available to help get your book out there where you may not have connections; not at the same level as a traditional publishing company, but they also don’t leave you with pennies for your individual book sales. In fact, you maintain the creative license through the production and keep the majority of the profits from individual book sales.
I’ve searched for a literary agent, but they are difficult to find. I sent in many different manuscripts to many agents who were listed as working with children’s books or picture books. However, most of the responses (and maybe they were just being nice) basically said they liked my stories, but it wasn’t the type of writing with which they usually work. They seem to be very specialized and finding one that would support me and be a voice with the publishing companies proved to be difficult and time consuming. It took a minimum of about 6 weeks for the agents to get back to me, some up to 6 months, and some not at all.
So I looked into other possibilities. My friend, Keri Ems, who was in the process of publishing with Mascot Books, recommended I look into them. After seeing the cost for self-publishing wasn’t much different from indie-publishing, I decided to submit some manuscripts to Mascot. They told me they liked my manuscripts and helped me choose the one they thought would most appeal to readers for my first book. Thus, the process began to publish Speckles and His New Home.