Should You, Should I Self-Publish a Picture Book?

I got an email today from a reader of Could You, Should You Self-Publish a Picture Book? who thanked me for the ebook and said it’s been helpful as he tries to decide about self-publishing a picture book series.  He asked me if, since I was currently publishing chapter books, if I had decided against publishing a picture book.  Here is a portion of my response:

You ask an interesting question about whether I’ve decided against self-publishing picture books.  I decided that a chapter book would let me self-publish and have a book for sale at a competitive price, for a much more modest budget.  And at the point that I made that decision, my illustrator for Dripping Dan was too busy with other demands to finish the final illustrations.  Now she has finished them and I’ve kind of gone off in a different direction. 

I feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface with promoting Poster Girl and yet, I know I need to get other books out, to be taken seriously as a publisher.  And actually I’ve been thrashing around the last few weeks because I’ve got too many projects that are half-done, or in some cases 90% done and I need to decide where to focus.  My younger son is in his senior year of high school and I know next year, I will have much more time to focus on publishing and writing.  But this year I have too many ideas and am torn between trying to carry them out and wanting to treasure his final year at home and help with his college search (which has been extensive).

With picture books, I have wondered if, maybe we’re all a bit too in love with the BIG beautiful hardbound with jacket picture books and maybe it would be easier to at least get some kind of a reader following (or not) by simply printing 3000 - 5000 paperback versions.

I have to admit, a bit of fan mail, is a real boost, especially when you are still a little-known author.  But I was as glad for his questions, as his compliments.  The question of: Could you (or I) publish a picture book, is absolutely yes.  But should we??  And should we go into it where we are betting the farm on it?  and HAVE to make it work?  Or should we set up our business where we can sustain a modest lost and perhaps try a different publishing venture?

Today I’ve got more questions than answers.  Sorry about that.  Seems to be a recent trend.

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