Introduction: Publish a Picture Book for Free

If you've ever wanted to publish a picture book for kids, but couldn't get anyone to take you seriously--times are changing. It is now possible (fairly easy) to publish electronically on Kindle (which can be read on Windows 8, Android, iPad and Kindle devices).

During September of 2014, Amazon released "Kindle Kids' Book Creator" software (free) to greatly simplify the process of putting a book together.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=10029...

In my fifth grade class (long ago) I had to write a poem for an assignment. While it's not a literary masterpiece, it is something I have remembered ever since.

With my limited drawing skills, I created illustrations and put the package together in a couple of days. Follow along if you want to see how it is done.

Step 1:

First, create your story and images. I produced my drawings using Photoshop Elements (about $80.), but you can draw or paint your images on paper. The full size of the Kindle is 2540 pixels by 1600 pixels. Don't worry about that, just fit your drawing into a space 8 1/2 inches by 5 5/16 inches. Scan at 400 dpi, then make sure that you crop so that the ratio is 2540 to 1600.

If you are using something like Photoshop Elements, then you can add your own text into the picture. If not, don't worry. You can add text with the Kindle Kids' Book Creator software.

Step 2:

Download and install the software on your computer.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=10029...

Step 3:

Choose "Create New Book," then fill in the title, author name and language the book is written for.

Step 4:

Choose the orientation for your book. I selected "landscape."

Step 5:

After choosing landscape, I had to choose from "two portrait" pages or one "landscape" page on the landscape page. I chose landscape.

Step 6:

While you could (if you did everything perfectly in a PDF file) download the PDF and be done with the process, I chose to take things one step at a time (after all, it's a picture book with a limited number of images).

Step 7:

Select the cover image.

Step 8:

In "Add page," add your first page.

Step 9:

To make the image fit on the computer screen, I typed "45" in the little white box at the upper right corner of the screen.

If your image does not include text, choose "Add text" (upper left) and you can select the font, color and placement of your text.

Step 10:

Choose "Add page" and add the next page. Be certain that the "after page" box is the last page inserted.

Step 11:

When you finish inserting pages, go to "File" and drop down to "Save for Publishing."

Step 12:

Your book file is now ready.

Go to kdp.amazon.com and follow the instructions to publish your masterpiece.

They will ask you for your cover (again), so be ready with that. They will ask you for the file you just created. If you want to sell your creation and receive royalties, then you will have to provide an address, tax ID (social security number) and bank account information if you want proceeds deposited directly.

Step 13:

You will be asked to set a price (though there is automated guidance to assist). Royalties are 70% of list price minus delivery charges (the more megabytes your book, the less your royalty) or 35% without delivery charges. My book, listed at $2.99, will generate about $1.85 to me.

Your book will go "live" (available for purchase worldwide) within a few minutes to 24 hours (mine took about 30 minutes).

Here's my "fifth grade wonder," The Flea and the Bee.

http://www.amazon.com/Flea-Bee-Mike-Rigsby-ebook/d...

Comments

author
db11 (author)2015-05-19

i am so super excited to try this!! thank you a ton for sharing with us!! my favorite instructable yet!!

author
MikeTheMaker (author)db112015-05-19

Thank you! Let me know when you publish something and I'll purchase a copy.

author
RENE-L (author)2015-02-04

Let me know if you need an illustrator. I work with author's budgets.

author
onoyoudint (author)2015-01-31

Thank you for sharing this information. I am eager to try my hand at publishing an electronic book! I am certain that your own notes (like pixel size, etc) will greatly simplify the process.

author
nd2819 (author)2015-01-25

I downloaded the program but it won't open on my computer... What app or program do I need to install the kindle creator?

author
MikeTheMaker (author)nd28192015-01-25

According to the Amazon website,

System Requirements

Windows 7, 8

Intel Mac OSX 10.7 or later

I loaded it on a Mac with no issues. The "Previewer" led me through some extra hoops to download free files related to viewing--but the preview function is not totally necessary since you can preview your book on a Kindle device.

author
ashleyjlong (author)2015-01-21

Interesting! Do these independently made books pop up in a regular amazon search? Like if I searched "Children's book bee" would you come up easily, or be buried deep within listings since you're homemade?

author
MikeTheMaker (author)ashleyjlong2015-01-21

They are treated in a search just like books by the big publishers (more sales with the same keywords will be up front). That being said, there are lots of books about bees--but if you type "bee flea" then it will come up quickly.

It's the same as paper books by larger publishers. I recently had a book published by Chicago Review Press "A Beginner's Guide to 3d Printing." If you type "3d printer book," it will be buried. If you type "3d printer book beginner" it comes right up.

Obviously, there has to be "quality" of story and illustrations to have a chance--(I'm not pretending that "The Flea and the Bee" is medal winning material; I was just seeing how hard it would be to get from story to publication).

Getting your material "discovered" is something you can work at, but it's still part chance. My wife and I wrote a few iPad apps (Phil and Freddy Frog Series). For two years, they sold one or two a month, then one day, Phil and Freddy's Picnic sold 900 copies--in one day. It's now selling 100 or more per month. I don't know why--couldn't find any magic review or endorsement. It could drop to zero at any time or climb higher--who knows?

Look at lots of childrens' books, there's no "formula" to success. I just picked up "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type." The story is great and the pictures work.

If you've got a great idea, go for it!

author
Battlespeed (author)2015-01-21

If you're not an artist, there's a lot of great free (and legally usable) art available on the Web, too, at sites like Pixabay.com and OpenClipArt.org.

Dingbat fonts are another great source of images like the ones shown here. Dingbats are resizeable without loss of quality, and many fonts are legally permissible for a commercial use.

And, you can trace your own images from photos using several applications, including PowerPoint.

dingbats.jpg
author
Battlespeed (author)Battlespeed2015-01-21

This is a boat that I traced in PowerPoint from the inset photo. The tracing is my own drawing, and so it can be used any way I wish.

boatinset.jpg
author
Battlespeed (author)Battlespeed2015-01-21

Here's a "letter" (letters are represented as images in dingbat fonts) from the "Once Upon A Time" font, enlarged to demonstrate the re-sizeability of dingbat images. Click on any of these images to see them in full size.

dingbats2.jpg
author
Battlespeed (author)Battlespeed2015-01-21

..and here's the same image, which you can easily color in an application like Paint or Photoshop Elements.

dingbats5.jpg
author
MikeTheMaker (author)Battlespeed2015-01-21

Cool! Nice idea.

author
cleo72 (author)2015-01-21

that is awesome

author
Phoenix Flare (author)2015-01-20

Great! I would love to be an author! Thanks for sharing!

author
seamster (author)2015-01-20

This is so cool! I'm going to have to check this out. Thank you for sharing this!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby
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