Updated: Jul 1
You read that right - icky children's books are popping up everywhere. This is a real problem for a parent because you can't really tell if a book will suck until you've already bought it. These books are found in discount stores and in the major online bookstores just the same. This post is aimed at helping you make great choices when buying storybooks for your kids.
First, let's talk about how icky books get into the marketplace. It used to be that an author's book only got to be on the retail bookshelf if a publisher thought it was worthy. And, publishers were really careful about what books they backed because, well, they had to pay out of their own pockets and only the best books were going to make a profit. Then came self publishing... sigh.
Self publishing seems like a great idea on the surface, right? I mean, there are a lot of great stories that people want to tell. Publisher acceptance was a barrier that stopped some really great stories from becoming available to the public. Self publishing is not the enemy of children's book buyers. Self publishing was around for years before Amazon and other large companies decided to take the step that would flood the industry with poorly done books.
In order to be a self published author one had limited choices. All those choices involved investment. Investment is what stopped some of icky books from getting into the marketplace. Its just a fact that spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to publish a book and get copies printed would discourage people from taking the kinds of short cuts that cause the "ick" in the first place. In today's publishing world, one can publish their own book without any investment at all. No investment huh, what does that really mean? Well, it means that a person with no background in art or writing can make a book. That does not mean it will be a good book.
There's a combination of things that make a children's book great. We'll be talking key factors and how we pursue them in the titles we publish. Watch for our next post.