Board books are a great way to introduce young children to the joys of reading. Best of all, thanks to advances in self-publishing technology, it’s now easier than ever to produce a high-quality board book of your own.
Here’s how to self-publish a board book:
Self-publishing a board book means choosing an experienced printer that specialized in short-run printing, designing illustrations, writing the book text, and formatting the files correctly. After receiving the files, a professional printer will typically return a finished book in 4-6 weeks.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn how to self-publish a board book step-by-step.
What Is A Board Book?
A board book is a children’s book that is made out of thick paperboard pages.
Board books are usually intended for babies or young children who are still learning to handle delicate objects.
Parents with small children know that it can be difficult to keep them entertained. At a certain age, they become interested in books, but their hands are not yet dexterous enough to turn paper pages without tearing them.
Board books are the perfect solution, as they are made of durable materials that can withstand even the most enthusiastic toddler.
Many board books have lift-the-flap or pop-up features to help engage a child’s senses and promote interactive reading. Board books are also typically smaller in size than traditional picture books, making them easy for little hands to hold.
While board books can be more expensive than their paperback counterparts, they are often more durable and longer lasting.
And because they are designed specifically for toddlers, board books often feature bright colors and simple illustrations that are sure to capture a young child’s attention.
Whether used for bedtime stories or quiet play, board books are an essential part of any parent’s arsenal.
6 Steps For Self-Publishing A Board Book
There are six main steps to learn when you want to know how to self-publish a board book.
Each step is crucial to the success of your self-publishing journey, so we’ll go through each one to make sure you can execute it without hesitation.
Here are the six steps for self-publishing a board book:
- To self-publish a board book, you will need to find a printer who specializes in this type of book.
- Once you have found a printer, you will need to design the book yourself or hire a designer to do it for you.
- Write the board book.
- Once the book is designed, you will send it to the printer, who will print a physical proof for you to approve.
- Next, you review the proof copies.
- Once the proof is approved, the printer will print and bind the final copies of your book.
1) Find the Perfect Printer
When it comes to printing board books, there are a few things you need to take into account. First, you need to find a printer that is able to print board books.
Look for a printer with:
- 3 or more years of experience with board books
- Specialization in board books
- Reasonable prices
- Timelines that match your publishing schedule
Once you have found a suitable printer, you will then need to have the book produced.
There are manufacturing elements in board books that you don’t really have with your basic paperback.
After the book has been produced, you will likely have to pay for a minimum of 50-100 board books. However, this number could be more depending on the printer you use.
2) Design the Board Book
Designing your board book involves creating the illustrations that go along with your story and building the external look of the book itself.
When you’re designing illustrations for a board book, you want them to be big, bold, and beautiful – just like your story.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Use a color palate that matches the mood of your story. Bright and cheerful for a happy story, calming and soothing for a bedtime story, etc.
- Sketch out your illustrations first. This will help you map out the composition and get a feel for the overall look of the page.
- Once you’re happy with your sketch, it’s time to fill in the details and color. Again, go big and bold – remember, these illustrations need to be eye-catching and engaging for little ones.
Creating a board book requires the use of specialized materials and a unique printing process, which is why it is important to hire a professional book designer.
You can also make a DIY board book.
Check out this good video about making board books:
Board books are typically made from thick cardboard, which is why they are often referred to as “cardstock books.”
This type of paper is not only durable, but it also ensures that the pages will lay flat when opened, making it easy for small children to turn the page.
In addition, board books are usually printed using a four-color printing process, which allows for vibrant illustrations.
While it is possible to create a board book on your own, it is best to leave this task to a professional book designer who has experience with this type of book.
The cost of design can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the complexity of the book.
3) Write the Text of the Board Book
When you sit down to write your board book, keep in mind that young children have short attention spans and are still learning to read.
As a result, your story should be simple and easy to follow.
Try to use short, kid-friendly words with few syllables. You should also avoid using complex sentence structures. In terms of length, most board books have between 16 and 24 pages.
Each page should include only a few sentences at most.
And don’t worry if some of your pages don’t include any words at all. Often, the illustrations are enough to tell the story on their own. Just remember to keep your young audience in mind as you write and you’ll be sure to create a board book that they’ll love.
If you need help writing the story, you can use an AI story-writing tool like Jasper to help you.
4) Submit Your Files to the Printer
Submitting files to professional printers is an easy process.
Most printers provide a user-friendly online portal where you can click a button to upload or drag and drop your files. The printer should also inform you of the exact type of files they need to manufacture your board book.
The amount of time submission takes depends on the size of your files.
5) Review the Proof Copy
When you’re getting ready to print your board book, it’s important to review the proof copy carefully before approving it for printing.
This will help ensure that the final product is exactly what you want.
Here are a few things to look for when proofing a board book:
- Make sure all the text is correct and matches the text in your manuscript.
- Check for typos, misspellings, and incorrect page numbers.
- Check that all the illustrations are in the correct order and that they match the text on the corresponding pages.
- Make sure the cover design looks how you want it to.
- Check that all the text is correct and that the image is centered on the front cover.
- If your book includes flaps or pop-ups, make sure they are all in place and working correctly.
Taking the time to review your proof copy carefully will help ensure that your board book turns out exactly as you wanted it to.
6) Print the Books
After you give the printer a greenlight to print your books, the printer will go into board book production.
The process is actually quite different than other books that are stitched together.
First, the pages of a board book get printed and cut. Then, they’re glued by hand to blank paperboard. Next, the two-page sets are glued to each other.
Finally, the printer wraps the cover paper around the entire book.
You’ll usually see laminated pages, which make the book tougher for rough handling by babies, toddlers, and young children.
Board books typically have short runs (1,000 copies or less), so they are not usually printed by large commercial printers.
That’s why you will need to find a small printing company that specializes in this type of book.
What Is A Board Book Made Of?
When you pick up a board book, the first thing you notice is the cover.
The cover sets the tone for the book and can give you some clues about what to expect inside. Board books have a sturdier cover than paperbacks (or other books), but they are also more expensive to produce. The pages inside a board book are also made of heavier paperboard, which makes them less likely to rip or tear.
Board books are similar to hardcovers in terms of durability, but they are usually smaller in size and have thicker pages. This makes them ideal for young children, who often mishandle or drop their books.
While the type of paper can give you some indication of a book’s durability, it’s important to remember that all books are delicate and should be handled with care.
What Size Are Board Books?
Board books are designed for young children to easily hold and turn the pages without difficulty.
They measure 5.5 x 7.9 inches, are rectangular in shape, and have pages that are big enough so that large text and patterns can fit easily.
Page layout is an important aspect of creating a board book.
The standard layout for a board book is to have pages that are two-page spreads. This means that the first page of the book will be the left-hand page, which is on the reverse of the front cover.
The second page will be the right-hand page, which faces the first page.
The last page of the book will be the right-hand page, which is on the reverse of the back cover.
When setting up your board book design, make sure to choose facing pages in your layout software. This will ensure that your pages are printed correctly when you generate the PDF for printing.
Keep in mind that most kids’ board books are between 8 and 12 spreads, which equals 16 to 24 pages.
They typically contain color pictures and either no text or text that is up to 300 words in length.
Thanks to their small size and durability, board books are a great option for toddlers who are just learning how to read.
Finding A Board Book Distributor
When you self-publish a book, there are a few different ways to get it into the hands of readers.
- One option is to work with a distributor, like Amazon. With this arrangement, you would send a pallet of books to Amazon and they would handle fulfillment and distribution to their buyers.
- Another option is to open an Amazon storefront and fulfill orders yourself. This option allows you to keep your net profit, as you would with any other small business.
- Keep in mind that if you choose to fulfill orders yourself, you must ship the book within 24 hours of receiving the order.
- You can also use a print-on-demand service where you pay your printer to print books only when they are sold and then ship them out to your customers.
Self-publishing can be a great way to get your work out there, and working with a distributor can help to make the process smoother and more successful.
How To Publish A Board Book On Amazon
If you’re looking to self-publish your book, Amazon is a great option.
I’ve self-published several books on Amazon and have always had an overall good experience.
With Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform, you can publish your book for free. Plus, once you’ve enrolled your book in Kindle Unlimited (KU), you can also make it available on other publication platforms.
So whether you’re looking to reach the widest possible audience or just want the flexibility to publish on multiple platforms, Amazon’s self-publishing options are definitely worth considering.
So, yes, you can publish a board book on Amazon.
If you have a board book that you would like to self-publish, Amazon offers a few different options.
- First, you can choose to publish your book through their CreateSpace platform. This option offers professional printing and distribution services and allows you to set your own price.
- Alternatively, you can opt to use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. This option gives you more control over the pricing and distribution of your book but does not include professional printing services.
Either way, publishing your board book on Amazon is a great way to reach a wide audience of potential readers.
Best Print On Demand Board Book Companies
Since there are so many print-on-demand companies vying for your dollar, I thought I’d mention a few companies with good reputations.
It’s important to do your research on boar book printing companies so you don’t unintentionally go with a subpar printer.
Or worse, get scammed.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, offset-printed board book, PrintNinja is the company for you.
They have been in business since 2009 and have a commitment to great customer service. With low minimum order quantities and an easy-to-understand self-publishing experience, they have delighted thousands of people with their quality board books.
In addition, they offer a wide range of customization options to make your book truly unique.
Whether you’re a self-publisher, first-time author, or independent creator, PrintNinja might be the perfect partner for your board book project.
BookBaby is a print-on-demand board book company that was founded in 2006. The company prints, binds, and ships personalized board books for children.
BookBaby has a team of experts who design custom artwork and illustrations for each book.
The company offers a wide range of customization options, including the ability to add photos and text.
BookBaby’s board books are printed on high-quality paper and bound with durable covers. The books are available in a variety of sizes, including standard, large, and extra-large.
In addition, the company offers rush shipping for customers who need their books in a hurry.
BookBaby’s print-on-demand board books are an excellent way to create a one-of-a-kind gift for a special child in your life.
Final Thoughts: How To Self-Publish a Board Book
You might want to check out my recommended tools for writers page, which lists lots of tools and resources for building books.
Tools like AI-writers, graphic design platforms, and automatic book formatting can save you lots of time and sanity.