This past Saturday I was on a panel about Self Publishing Children’s Books at R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury, MN. I learned alot and it was enjoyable to share what I’ve learned over the years. I also enjoy when I get the opportunity to encourage other writer’s to share their stories.
There were two other panelists, Marion Dane Bauer who has written 86 children’s books —wow, I was impressed! Also on the panel was Judy Galbraith who owns Free Spirit Publishing and publishes 20-25 books a year with a staff of twenty two people. Both are from the Minnesota area.
Marion has always had a publisher, in fact more than one as the industry changed, while Judy has worked with countless authors over the years helping launch their books. It was an interesting mix to have on the panel and hear the many sides to publishing from each of our perspectives. One thing we all had in common was our passion and mission to do what we are doing. Another thing we had in common was that none of has gotten rich from our endeavour’s, but it is the heart of our mission’s that drive us.
The bottom line of sharing our experiences with those that attended is that you have to have a passion to be in this field because if you are looking to get rich it likely won’t happen, whether you self publish or have a publisher. While that may have seemed disheartening for those attending to hear, it was the honest truth. Yes, there are some that have made millions, but those are the exceptions.
I appreciated the honesty from the other two panelists as I heard how hard they have worked, because it is hard work. I think there is often this idea that because you have a publisher, you are guaranteed to make a lot of money and not have to work at promoting your books, which is far from the truth. But I left feeling really good about the choice I made to publish my own books given the many changes to the publishing world, which continue to change. I still stand by my thought that there has never been a more exciting time to publish a book than right now with all the advantages of technology and social media that we have to get our message out there. While I’ve embraced these avenues, it has been a bit more tough going for others that have been in the industry for many years and now must learn to roll with the new changes.
As I thought about the panel discussion the past two days I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I may have not made alot of money from this endeavor, but I know I’ve positively impacted lives. It’s about the friendships and connections I’ve made that feed my soul and keeps me moving forward. And getting away for a mini get-away with John and Joie was just icing on the cake.
Award winning author of Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog book series
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