Question: I think I have a rather good idea why I wouldn't self-publish children's books, but I'm curious as to your reasoning for suggesting she go with a traditional publisher.
Answer: The basic reason, especially for someone who is coming at the field from an amateur author viewpoint, is very simple: Publishing children's books is much more costly that publishing other books. It is almost impossible to sell children's books through bookstores unless they are printed in full color. The cost of artwork, design and preparation, separations, and color printing puts self-publishing out of the range of most children's authors.
I look at it at a very basic level: Can a children's book author who has no experience in art or printing get a return on his or her investment? The answer is almost always NO. Besides the education and investment of time/money in art, design, and printing, there are also the costs of promotion. Few children's book authors I know are ready to make that kind of investment in time or money.
There are certainly some people who I would recommend self-publish a children's book, but not many. It's a very tough market, especially given the high cost of the first print run.
There have been a number of self-publishers who have been very successful at publishing children's books, so I can't rule it out. But for most people, it's just not a practical way to go unless they have the time and money to burn. And I do mean burn. Like up in smoke in probably 8 out of 10 cases.
-- John Kremer, author, John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame. Check out the web site today: Self-Publishing Hall of Fame. Read the book at your leisure. Note: The book offers much more detailed and useful self-publishing and book marketing information while the web site primarily features a listing of most of the people in the hall of fame.
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