Guest post by author, Tracy Watland

 My first children’s book, The Kindness Can, was released in December of 2016.  It is the manifestation of something I’ve been thinking about and talking about since I was a little girl.  It was a long journey.  Once I did it, I wondered why I waited so long.  It’s been one of the best roads I’ve walked, and I’ve taken each lesson to heart. There are many options for putting your story into the world.  

I chose to go the self-publishing route. Here are the most important things I learned along the way.


  1. Write What You Want to Read.

Write from the heart and write for yourself.  If there’s a story or a message that you’ve been searching for, write it.  If it’s something you want to read, odds are there are like-minded people searching for the same info. Write it for your inner child who needed this book while growing up, and you’ll attract the audience who needs it now.


  1. Have a Vision and Don’t Compromise.

I believe the message in a children’s book is more straightforward and concise. Don’t get too complicated, just know where you’re starting and where you want to end up. The rest will flow when you allow your creativity to take over. With picture books, if you don’t draw, make sure you pick the best illustrator to partner with. Work with someone who takes time getting to know your characters, and loves them as much as you do.  Don’t settle until you see those characters come alive in the most positive light. It’s your vision!  Make sure it’s exactly what you want!


  1. Shop Around For The Right Publisher.

There are so many options out there for authors who want to self-publish.  Some will print in paperback, some will print on demand, which won’t cost as much, some will want you to buy upfront.  All options are great depending on your needs. Don’t jump blindly into a contract with the first company you come across.  Ask a lot of questions to ensure you’re getting exactly what you want.


For me, I knew it had to be a hardcover book, it had to be big, and the colors had to be vibrant! I wanted the kid in me to be super excited about holding this book in her hands. I found the right fit, and it made the joy of being published that much sweeter.


  1. Design a Sales and Marketing Plan.

Once you have your books in hand, you’ll want to get them in the hands of others.  Your publisher will likely give you a sheet of tips and suggestions.  Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to sell your baby.  An easy way to start is to make a list of places that would be a good fit for your book, stores you’d like to see carry it. Pound the pavement and ask people to stock it.  Do a presale for friends and family.  Approach schools and offer to read to their classes while allowing kids to purchase a copy.  Send press releases to local news and entertainment outlets.  Social media. Get creative! Blast it out everywhere!


  1. Believe In Yourself.

Too often we get caught up in self-doubt as to whether our story is good enough. Or whether anyone cares what we have to say.  The truth of the matter, Yes it is and Yes, they do!  Your story came to you and through you for a reason.  If you don’t share it, you’re cheating the world out of a great gift!  You are the perfect person to bring it forth, that’s why the idea came to you!  Believe it, stand in your power, and get it out there!