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Self-Publishing Bilingual Children’s Books (Part 2!)

My debut children’s book Mi prima islena y yo / My Island Cousin and I will be released on Saturday June 12th

Countdown to launch!

It’s been a very hectic few months as I work to prepare all the final details for the launch of my debut books!

Self-publishing books hasn’t been easy. It’s been a journey full of as many ups as downs, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone truly interested in sharing a great story with the world to not take the risk and set out on this path.

In the first part of my self-publishing post, I talked about the first phase of my process, highlighting some of the major action steps that I took to get the ball rolling.

In this post, I want to highlight the steps I took after the illustration and proofreading process:

  1. Book Formatting: I’m sure everyone has a different experience, but for me, one of the most daunting and stressful process was the formatting process. Up to this point, my self-publishing journey had been relatively easy. I was fortunate enough to find fantastic illustrators for each of my books. However, before a book can be published, it needs to be properly formatted. Formatting entails that all of your spreads are laid out as they should be and that the illustrations and the text come out clearly.

Anticipate having to format your book multiple times! For one of my books, the spreads were off, so I needed to get it reformatted and reprinted. You have to pay each time you need to upload a new file and pay for the printing and shipping.

You should also establish a budget if you plan self-publishing your children’s book — something I quickly learned! With the illustrations, proofreading, formatting, etc. the expenses can quickly add up.

2. Choosing the right self-publishing platform: There are a few self-publishing platforms you can use to publish your book. Some of the most common ones are Amazon KDP, Ingram Spark and Lulu. Ultimately, I decided to publish the paperback and hardcover copies of my books on Ingram Spark. I decided to publish my e-books on Amazon KDP.

I found Ingram Spark to be very easy to use. Printing multiple proofs of my books and having them shipped out multiple times was a bit expensive, however. I ordered rush shipping for my proofs various times because I wanted to speed up the process. Expect to pay 15 dollars or more on shipping each time!

3. ISBN & Copyright: You cannot publish a book without an ISBN number, so you must apply for copyright protection under the U.S. Copyright Office to ensure that your work is protected. I purchased a package of 10 ISBN numbers along with two copyright registrations from Bowker. If you plan on publishing multiple versions of your book (hardcover, paperback, eBook), keep in mind that each version will require its own ISBN number.

Once you’ve purchased the copyright protection, you must complete an application from the U.S. Copyright Office website. You must pay a fee for each copyright registration.

4. Marketing: Once you are satisfied with your proofs and all paperwork has been completed, you are ready to enable your book for distribution. However, I wouldn’t recommend publishing your book without having done some serious marketing first. I spent about a month and a half launching my marketing plan and these are some of the things that I did to increase visibility for my book launch:

Organized an in person book launch: I am pairing up with another local author to organize a book promotion event on Saturday June 12th & Sunday June 13th. At this event, we will be doing a book talk and reading of our books. We will also have printed books available to sign and sell.

Interviews: A great way to bring visibility for your books is by doing interviews prior to your launch. I participated in an interview for a podcast called Wachame: Testimonios de Resilencia, which is set to air on Saturday June 12th (the day of the launch of my first book). Here is the link:

I also participated in a radio interview by Vocalo Radio in Chicago. There is a segment called Domingos en Vocalo and I had the opportunity to talk about my books, as well as the event I’ve been planning.

Social Media Promotion: Posting consistently on social media is also very important. I make it a point to post an update on my publishing journey, digital flyers advertising my book and promotion event, pictures of my books, etc. at least once a week. The two social media sites I use the most are Facebook and Instagram, but other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can also be helpful in raising visibility.

-Develop a launch team: Recruit people who would be willing to read and help you promote your book. Since I am a bilingual educator and I am publishing two bilingual children’s books, I am part of various social media groups for bilingual/multicultural parents, bilingual educators and bilingual education scholars. I announced my launch to various special interest groups that I am a part of, and I was able to gather a team of people who would provide me with feedback on my books and would help me promote the launch of each book.

Overall, I have learned SO much from this experience. I felt overwhelmed before I started and I experienced moments when I felt unsure about being able to pull this off. I didn’t give up, was able to push through and I learned a lot from the process.

I am beyond excited to announce the launch of my two children’s book, inspired by my four daughters and my experience raising bilingual / multicultural children.

My first book, Mi prima islena y yo / My Island Cousin and I will be released on Saturday June 12th. It will be available on paperback, hardcover and eBook.

My second book, Somos gemelas pero no identicas / We Are Twins But We Are Not Identical! will be released on Thursday July 1st. It is also available in paperback, hardcover and eBook.

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