Guest Post by Jess Spencer
Jess Spencer is a mum of two babes from Adelaide. She founded Adored Illustrations with the intention to create Children’s Books that are beautiful in both their illustrations and words, and are a fantastic learning tool for little ones to learn their ABC’s.
The Enchanting ABC, The Incredible ABC and The Amazing ABC are the result of a collaboration between five artists, whose details can be found in each of the books.
Please follow @adoredillustrations to see more beautiful pictures of their books as well some insight into their business/work life.
My journey into the world of self-publishing began in 2016 when I noticed a gap in the market for beautifully illustrated children’s books. This journey has continued to the point of which I have now left my corporate job to concentrate solely on running my business, Adored Illustrations and pursuing my passion of writing books, blogs, and more.
This journey began in 2016, my daughter was 3 and my son was 1 at the time the idea for my first book began to take shape. I really wanted to explore what I had determined to be a somewhat limited market for beautifully illustrated children’s books with a whimsical and magical theme. So the decision was made (somewhat naïvely) that I would make my own!!
Although I knew I could write the words for this book, (I have always enjoyed writing – poetry, quotes and even a novel in it’s early stages) I wasn’t at all confident in my artistic ability. I therefore scoured Instagram and found some amazingly talented artists who were at the time selling their work as prints. I approached them to see if they would be interested in having some of their work published as a collaboration within an ABC book . Luckily, the answer was yes, however then came the next hurdle as there was no backing out now – I had to find a self-publisher.
I’ve had the query from quite a few people about whether I went through a publishing house (e.g. was offered a publishing deal) or whether I self-published. The truth is I eventually had the option of both, however I started out and continue to self publish my books. Getting a publishing deal is no easy feat as many readers will know. It happens so infrequently and I knew that if I wanted realise my dreams and visions for this book I would need to do it myself. I began the arduous and confusing search for a self-publisher. So how did I find the right one? I researched. It’s as simple as that. I made contact with five different self-publishers all up and created a spreadsheet outlining all the things each company did (or didn’t do), the costs, the print runs they offered etc. It was time consuming. It was tedious. But it was necessary. If you want to end up with the RIGHT self-publisher for you then take the time to be tedious. I know there are many other ways to self-publish. There are programs such as InDesign that allows you to create the whole book yourself and then print directly. However I was (and still am) very time poor and I wanted this book to be different. I wanted a high-end quality product which meant investing in someone with expertise to make that happen.
The publishing company I ended up working with was Captain Honey who were and still are brilliant! As mentioned previously I had spoken to a number of self-publishers and almost signed with someone else, but they didn’t quite understand my ‘vision’. If you want your book to be successful you need to make sure the people you are working with believe in you and your idea. This is really important – make sure you are working with people that share your passion and vision for the book you are trying to create.
Self-publishing has led me to the point in my life where I have left my corporate job and can now run my business from home, around my children, whilst pursuing my passion for writing new books. If there was one piece of advice I would offer anyone looking to self-publish, it would be to know your audience. If there is a gap or a particular niche in the market for your type of book it is bound to be more successful. Research is also key. Take the time to research artists, self-publishers and analyse your competition. And be unique. Don’t copy or try and replicate someone else’s success. Believe in you and the stories and ideas you have. It may not always be easy but in the long run, it will be worth it.
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