Author Mónica Vidalón takes us through the process of writing and publishing her Children’s Book
Even though my background is in business and advertising, I have always been passionate about writing and illustrating books for children. When my girls were little, I made a point to read to them very often not only to raise readers but also as a way to connect with them. We enjoyed the creative stories, beautiful illustrations and the time we spent together. That’s when I realized how much our kids are paying attention and what we read to them really matters. This gave me the extra motivation I needed to finally start writing my first children’s book “Penelope’s Big Dream”.
What inspired me
Penelope’s Big Dream is a story about a girl who dares to dream BIG, so BIG that she starts to feel embarrassed by it. Eventually, she finds herself with an important decision to make.
My inspiration to write this book came from what I have felt many times, not only as a young girl but also as a grown woman, and the example I would like to set for my girls. I want them to have the courage to dream big and the self-awareness and determination to pursue it.
Organization is key
In my experience, organization is a must to be able to achieve your goals. I knew I had to be persistent and show up to write every day so I set up a schedule to help me continue on task.
Every day after I dropped off the girls at school, I would write for a few hours in the morning and work on illustrations in the early afternoon. I aimed to write a heartfelt story that readers could relate to and I wanted to draw simple but expressive illustrations to help tell the story.
Revising & editing
Once my draft was ready to share with others, I sent it to family and friends to gather their feedback. In addition, I read it to my children, nephews and nieces, and any other kids I could find to test the book out. Fortunately, around that time I took a children’s writing class with Mr. Stephen Alcorn which I strongly recommend. It gave me the tools to tweak and improve my manuscript.
The book was written in Spanish since it is my first language, and then I translated it into English. There are a lot of nuances when translating a text into a different language. You need to make sure that the tone and delivery stay consistent as well as the text. I hired a bilingual editor to make sure both versions of the book were ready to be published. On a side note, I think it is worth investing in an editor because you can only make a first impression once.
When the manuscript was finally ready, I spent a lot of time researching book sizes, formatting the layout, and weighing the pros and cons of traditional versus self-publishing options.
Finishing the book felt like an accomplishment in itself. All the hard work paid off and I couldn’t believe that I had a finished book on my hands; a dream come true indeed!
After doing some research, I decided to self-publish my book. First time authors usually find it challenging to get published by a traditional publishing company. I had worked very hard on my book, didn’t want to waste my efforts, and I was determined to see it through. Luckily, there is a vast amount of information and platforms to help you navigate the self-publishing world. A book that I found particularly helpful is “How To Self-Publish A Children’s Book: Everything You Need To Know to Write, Illustrate, Publish, And Market Your Paperback And Ebook” by Yvonne Jones.
I chose to self-publish through Amazon KDP since I found it to be a very user-friendly, straightforward platform. They offer many resources to help you navigate their website in order to upload, promote, and manage the sales of your book. The only downside I found so far is that your book needs to be at least 72 pages long to be able to be published as a hardcover. Thankfully, there are other platforms, such as IngramSpark, that don’t have a minimum page requirement that allow you to do so.
Right now, I’m in the process of marketing my book and it is definitely a learning curve. My goal is to spread the word about the book through different channels, including social media, emails, word of mouth, my author’s website, professional reviews, and buyer reviews.
Writing a book can be a daunting process but if you set your mind to it, you can get it done. In my experience organization, persistence, and lots of research have been keys to writing and self-publishing my book. Showing up to work every day and navigating the ups and downs are all part of the job. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to pursue writing and I look forward to continue learning and growing as a writer, illustrator, and publisher.
Thank you for reading and best of luck on your upcoming projects!
You can get your own copy of Penelope’s Big Dream here:
Mónica is a children’s author and illustrator. Her goal is to connect with young readers by writing about everyday concepts they can easily relate to. Simple illustrations are designed to bring her stories to life.
Mónica was born and raised in Perú and moved to California at age 24 to continue her studies. She lives with her husband, three daughters, and adorable dog “Wolfie” in sunny Texas.
Follow her for updates and new releases: