Even though I’m mostly traditionally published, I’m fascinated by the evolution of self-publishing in the past decade. A couple of years ago, I did manage to stick with a manuscript long enough to write a nonfiction book for children’s writers about how to do author visits. In such a tiny niche, it only made sense to self-publish, so I did. I’ve never tried to self-publish a children’s book… yet. The road to self-publication can be bumpy, requiring many skills learned on the job, so I think it’s still fairly rare for a writer to make a success of it. One such success story is Stacy C. Bauer, who started out with one book about a kangaroo family, and now fills an entire shelf of books with her name on the spine.
After her Cami Kangaroo books, Stacy decided to dip into nonfiction with a series of “Young Change Makers” books about remarkable children from around the world who have made a difference. Stacy stopped by to tell me more about this impressive endeavor.
Hi, Stacy! Can you tell us about your road to publication? Maybe a few things you learned along the way?
I’m a teacher and knew nothing about being an author! I learned that it involved a LOT of marketing. In fact 90% of what I do is marketing! I wish I had known that going in, but I published first, then learned.
I run Kickstarter campaigns to raise funds to print my books. I’ve raised over $100K so far with seven successful campaigns. I then spend the majority of my time building up my launch plan to publish the books on Amazon and my website.
What led you away from your kangaroo books to this very different type of book? Was it a different process, bringing them to life? (Side question: How on earth did you find these amazing kids?!)
I wanted to write something that would bring hope into the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many people were isolated and feeling hopeless. I took a good look at my own bookshelves and noticed that I didn’t have any books about kids making a difference, and I knew kids were doing so. So yes – these are nonfiction books, so I had to find the kids. I went on social media and asked for them, interviewed them, got media releases signed by their parents, did a bunch of research to write their features, got photos to use, and used a book designer to put in all of the text features.
The breathless paragraph above is the part about self-publishing that continues to intimidate me. That’s a lotta hats to wear! Because I know there are so many dizzying tasks involved, I’m impressed at how many skills you’ve honed to self-publish even ONE successful book, let alone more than a dozen. What do you think were the most important things that lead to such impressive sales?
Step 1- professional looking, eye catching book covers
Step 2- a good solid launch plan
Step 3- a marketing plan for after launch
It’s all about finding and reaching your target audience.
If any of our readers are interested in publishing, whether traditional or self-publishing, what advice can you offer?
Join Facebook groups, make author friends and learn from them! Don’t be afraid to take risks and get out of your comfort zone.
Has your publishing journey led to other kidlit opportunities?
I do coach other authors and also have several courses to help teach those who’d like to give it a try. They’re all available on my website at http://www.stacycbauer.com.
You’re right about connections. I’ve just signed a contract to illustrate one of my own manuscripts for the first time (squeeee!) I met the publisher in a Facebook group and we hit it off. Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!
PBB readers, if you’d like to be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win one of Stacy’s Young Change Maker books, be sure to leave a comment below. (US residents only, please.)
And speaking of random winners, congratulations to Lynn Alpert, winner of Sara Kurpiel’s ELEPHANT’S BIG SOLO, featured in my September post. Sorry to make everyone wait so long. Computer issues led to my swapping my out my October posting date. Congratulations, Lynn!
Kim and Stacy, thank you for a great interview. It’s wonderful you’ve had so much success self-publishing! You clearly do all three essentials well–writing, publishing, marketing. I’ve learned the first two, but marketing is still difficult for me given my aversion to social media. I like dedicated sites like these.