Tik Tok has been the hot new social media app for quite some time now. I have never seen a social media that has so many sub-communities and specific niches. I'd argue that you can truly get to know a person solely based on what pops up on their "for you" page.
If you were to scroll through my "for you" page, you would get a combination of videos centered around photography, Harry Potter, Disney, Marvel, spirituality, Taylor Swift, art, and a bunch of other random things that keep me scrolling way longer than I should! But one other genre of videos that often pops up on my feed is what we like to call "moneytok." This offers up a large variety of financial advice as well as ideas to create extra income sources and revenue streams. One idea that I seemed to keep calling my name was to write and self-publish a children's book to sell on Amazon!
A lot of youtube tutorials later, I finally dove into the process. Firstly, my main motivation behind doing this was to try something I have been wanting to try for a long while now. I wanted to create a book that I was not only proud of but could be enjoyed by others. I could make no money from all of this and still be glad I did it! All that said, self-publishing children's books, journals, and other simple products like that are some of the most popular moneytok recommendations I saw. Here are a few reasons why this was the recommendation I chose!
It Looked Fun!
Who doesn't love a nice, colorful, and cute kid's book? As an aunt of three, I also loved the idea of making something my nephews could enjoy! Being able to put work into something with a tangible result is a very rewarding process, and this combined creativity, teamwork, and fun in the best way!
Small Startup Cost
Compared to many other businesses, processes, or things that you could invest in, this is an affordable task to take on. Now affordable doesn't mean super cheap, but everything that makes money will cost money to start. Like many other endeavors, small costs that you didn't expect or prepare for add up. In this particular case, the bulk of my startup cost was paying an illustrator and all the administrative costs of making the book publishable. How much you pay upfront relies mostly on which illustrator you choose, and traditionally, you get what you pay for. I was lucky enough to find an illustrator that went well beyond my expectations! If you are already a great artist, that will make the process significantly cheaper if you are able to make the illustrations yourself!
High Reward Potential
Firstly, after you have put in the work to create and publish the book, it becomes a source of passive income. That essentially means you are making money while not doing anything! Second, there is a very large market for children's books. You can sell your book domestically and internationally, and there are millions and millions of people out there that have access to your product. Finally, you can make a lot of money. While the individual profit margin per book is quite low when self-publishing, the earning potential is high due to the accessibility and reach of your product. My book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel Online, and other online retailers. Even though you may only make a few dollars per sale, when you multiply that by the high sale and accessibility potential, it makes sense. On top of that, your publishing provider does all the heavy lifting for you. The printing, distributing, and sending of your product are all taken care of, and that honestly where most of the money is going.
How Did I DO It
This was a question I got asked a lot after I announced that I had done this and that the book was for sale! While Tik Tok may have convinced me to try this, youtube was my biggest helper. As I mentioned, this is becoming a popular thing to do! There are so many great resources out there to help you out. The process of bringing this from an idea to a tangible product is more of a facilitation process. Your job is to bring all the pieces together so it's ready to go out into the world. If you wanted, you could be the writer, illustrator, and publisher of your book. Also, you could simply be the person that brings a writer and an illustrator together. Since I'm not good enough at that type of art to make illustrations I would be happy with, I got the help of someone who was an incredibly talented illustrator. I was mostly like a very involved project manager who wrote it! Overall, my process looked like this:
Find an idea: In my case, I was inspired by one of my little nephews who has a love for animals and Taco Tuesday. I did a quick search to find that there weren't too many children's books out there about Taco Tuesday and that seems like a great opening! On top of that, almost every kid I have ever met is interested in animals. I decided to combine the two and A Wild Taco Tuesday was born!
Write the manuscript: Find something fun and simple for kids to read. In my case, I went with writing something repetitive but also teaches the lesson of sharing. If I can write another, I will make it rhyme as that is also a very popular direction for kid's books.
Find and Illustrator: There are many ways you can do this, but the way Tik Tok told me to do this was to go to Fiver and find a freelancer online. Tik Tok made it seem like it was super cheap to do this, but this was the priciest part of the process. If you want high-quality illustrations that will be cleared for commercial use, you will pay for them! Fiver is one of those sites that can go surprisingly well or be very disappointing. You could pay 10 dollars for an illustration worth 50, or could pay 50 dollars for an illustration that worth ten. It's inherently a risk no matter what. I will say that I have used Fiver for multiple creative projects and I have not had a bad experience yet! In my case, I paid a mid-range freelancer and honestly feel like I got illustrations worth above what I ended up paying. Given that there is a 24 page limit for most self-publishing providers, keep in mind that the quality and quantity can add up. I feel as though it was totally worth it to go with an illustrator that wasn't as cheap but had a portfolio of illustrations that I would be proud to share with others!
Format the book: Now you will need to put the illustrations and manuscript in a form that the publishing provider will accept. By far the most popular publishing provider is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP.) For a variety of reasons, I decided to go with IngramSpark. You will want to decide on this before you format since that will dictate how you do it. I would highly recommend you return to Fiver and pay someone to do this as well. It's super cheap and they know what they are doing. This will save you a lot of headaches and will ensure all the work you put in so far more likely yields the result you are hoping for! This will be delivered to you in the form of a pdf. with all the individual illustrations put together and in order. The margins and all the other small details will be taken care of as well.
Publish the Book: This is the part where you go to your publishing provider and follow all the prompts and steps. This is a tedious process of filling out all the information about you and the book, uploading the formatted files, and making sure it's good to go! You may want to try and copy-write your book to protect it from being copied, but be sure to do that before the formatting process. Be sure you have ironed out all the legal details so you are good to release and sell to the public! It's nothing too scary, just be sure the images are cleared for commercial use and that you have it in writing.
Now you get to enjoy it!
Now that you're done, order a few copies to be sure you are satisfied. Once completed, you get to enjoy and share your new book! It's incredibly satisfying to feel the pride that comes with creating something new! I was so surprised and blessed with all the support I got from friends, family, neighbors, and so many others! This was the cherry on top of the cake and made an already rewarding result even better! I had people send me pictures of their copy, videos of kids reading it, and expressing so much support. People I never expected to care or be interested ordered copies! I am incredibly thankful to each and every person who supported me, ordered their own copy, and shared it with others!