How to Self Publish a Children's Book Using Only Adobe Illustrator and Amazon's Createspace
Self Publishing Made Easy
It's easier than you think to self publish these days and a children's book is no exception. If you want to know how to get started you've come to the right place. I have self published four children's books already and I am planning to do more.
If you don't have it already sign up for Adobe's Creative Cloud. If you're like me and only interested in publishing children's books then feel free to make the one app selection, choosing Adobe's Illustrator as your tool of choice. There are many other options available to you, but for our purposes we only require Illustrator to get the task done.
Next sign up and join Amazon's Createspace which is a free self publishing tool. It will allow you to get the job done in no time. You can wait until your book is finished in Illustrator, however, I recommend getting on there now so you can preview the dimensions allowed for books so you know just how to set up your book in Illustrator.
Using Adobe Illustrator
When you first open Illustrator it is going to ask you if you want to start a new project. The answer is YES! Start a new project, and then it will come up with a box asking you for the dimensions of your artboard. In Adobe Illustrator, an artboard is the basic platform you need to create an illustration, it's like having a white board on the computer.
In this example we are going to use the dimensions 6 x 9 inches, as that is one of the recommended book sizes on Createspace. Don't skip ahead here! Once you've got your dimensions entered you must also enter the number of artboards you want in your project. Choose the number of pages you want in your book. For me, I chose thirty, knowing I was going to have an illustration on the first page, a title page, a dedication page, the story itself, as well as an about the author page. Plan your book as you want it to appear. Now that you have both your dimensions and your number of artboards chosen it's time to start the project.
In Illustrator there are a number of tools you can use to draw and create text for your story. Play around with what you like and what you want. You can get either very detailed here, or keep your book simple. (I like to keep mine simple.) I am not going to go over each of these tools because the beauty of Adobe Creative Cloud is there is a tutorial for nearly everything you could want to do.
Important: Be sure to leave space for margins for when your book is printing! If you don't do this there is a good chance you will have lots of formatting issues when you go to upload your book. If you have respect for your margins then you will have a much easier experience on Createspace.
Now that you're ready to create your book, get going! It could take you months, or it could take you a day, it all depends on how complicated you make it and what you want in your book. Save often.
When your book has reached your satisfaction your going to choose "save as" and save it as a .pdf file. This is much easier file to upload on Createspace.
Using Amazon's Createspace
Login to your account. Follow the prompts to start a new title, it will walk you through this process step by step. You will choose whether you want your book to print in color or black and white and if you want a glossy or matted cover. Upload your .pdf file when it prompts you and while you are waiting for the upload you can create a cover using one of their free templates. It takes almost no time to do this and by the time you are finished your book will be uploaded and you will be able to preview it for any possible formatting issues.
If you see formatting issues, it is in your best interest to fix them on your Adobe Illustrator project file, and then resave your .pdf and upload it again. The less issues you see the more likely it will pass their review process.
Createspace has a 24 hour review process while they check to see if they can print your book based on its current formatting. If you are impatient like me and want it done right the first time, this is why it is crucial you pay attention to your formatting throughout the entire books creation.
When your book is finally submitted for review, you can go ahead with choosing your distribution paths. In other words, where you'd like to see it sold, and how much you want to sell it for. Createspace gives you a minimum amount that you must sell your book for based on the size and color choices you made earlier.
Once this is done, all you have to do is have a little patience and wait the 24 hours for the review to finish and your book will be published. At this time you will be able to order copies for yourself and promote your book.