Louis asks:

I recently learned about audio picture books. What is your opinion concerning this type of production? After receiving so many PB rejections, I was seriously considering the possibility of a self audio PB, even though I haven’t any idea how to begin. This method would save me a lot of money on illustrations. What do you think?

 

There’s a lot of things to consider here when self-publishing your work – whether you decide to do it via ebook, print or audio.

The first thing to know is that if you self-publish a picture book, an agent is not going to be able to turn around and shop that to publishers unless your sales are fantastic. Tens of thousands of copies are sold – not just downloaded. (You can find more in this post – Reader question: Will agents look at picture book projects that are already illustrated and self-published?)

But I also have to add that to produce a quality audio book, you’re still going to have to invest a decent amount of money. You’ll have to pay an illustrator and/or graphic designer for a decent cover, you’d want to pay a narrator because being able to read and being able to perform is not the same thing, you’d need to pay an audio engineer to make sure that the sound levels are right and that it’s actually an enjoyable listening experience for the audience (down to taking out extraneous breaths and pauses!), and you’d also need a marketing budget for all the reasons listed in the link above.

Honestly, with the money you would spend to create a decent production for a market that I think isn’t quite there (e.g. self-published audio picture books), I think it might be better invested in hiring a freelance editor to critique your work and/or attending writer’s conferences that give you the opportunity to get revision feedback. This way, you could get professional feedback to help figure out why your picture books aren’t attracting the attention from agents and editors that you’re looking for.

I understand the frustration and the desire to just get the work out there. But, if you want paying readers and/or a career as an author, then I think the best thing to do – whether you ultimately decide to self-publish or try the traditional route – is to invest in your craft first. (There are millions of self-published titles on Amazon – the competition for readers is no less fierce.)

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chicken Wants a Nap is available at Amazon, Barnes & NobleTarget and your favorite independent bookstore!

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