My book Romy's Garden Adventures: Christmas City was the No. 1 selling children's book over Christmas on Amazon. Since then I have made several school visits and have had a blast just making kids smile.

me - http://imgur.com/pkYSkMM

my books - http://robt.info/books/

If you're feeling cool, grab yourself a WHERE'S MR SNAIL jumper X

thanks for having me guys - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz_M7BG_L54

Comments: 521 • Responses: 119  • Date: 

TheExtremistModerate92 karma

How much have you made off writing children's books so far? And how long have you been making them?

And on a more fun note: What's your favorite part of being a children's book author?

aMANescape178 karma

In total, a bouts $1,500... minus web hosting, time, promotional stuff... I'm about $3,000 or so in the hole... worth it

Ashleighnikiann3 karma

Everyone interested in this thread should probably also take a look at this other IAmA thread, created in response to aMANescape's thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1f784i/i_am_a_published_author_and_i_dont_think_you/

aMANescape3 karma

I love that this has happened :)

karlel64 karma

Where would one start if they wanted to self publish is it expensive?

aMANescape133 karma

My good friend, it is completely free. I use a company called CREATE SPACE... It's an off-shoot company of Amazon. You sign up and they walk you through the whole process from uploading your story to how much money you want to make per book sold. They take care of sales channels online (eg. Amazon), printing and delivery of your book. So it's free AND you donts gotsa do jack every time someone buys one :)

karlel27 karma

Wow thanks i'm gonna check it out.

aMANescape55 karma

I want a link to a book by you asap! 10/10 will buy!

T91614 karma

So is time and effort the only thing I need to pay? Like, am I charged before or after someone buys a book of mine? Thanks for the AMA btw!

aMANescape16 karma

no charges... the only reason you may need to give bank details is to accept a deposit... I just get cheques... becauuuuuuse you are making them money...

ArcherofArchet17 karma

Does this service only do print books, or do they take care of Kindle/Nook/other e-reader editions as well?

I've been long planning to write an actually useful, "teach yourself" style textbook for adults to learn Hungarian... This summer I may just take the big step!

aMANescape14 karma

I think so yeh... There's links in there to Amazon Author Central and KDP select which do ebooks for kindle n such though...

ArcherofArchet6 karma

Thank you!

aMANescape14 karma

You are quite welcome :) so... what are you up to later... wana go ice skating or get a slurpee or somethin?

revjeremyduncan7 karma

Thanks for this. I have always wanted to publish a (some) children's book(s), but never knew where to get started.

aMANescape7 karma

happy to help. My contact deets are on my website if you ever get stuck with stuff in the future and need a hand. Peace

revjeremyduncan6 karma

Really, thanks. I especially appreciate the offer to help.

aMANescape23 karma

When this whole thing blows over, you and I should get an apartment together!

pretty_dirty6 karma

[deleted]

aMANescape11 karma

I don't think so... I reckon give it a go yourself! Maybe even ask http://www.reddit.com/user/Shitty_Watercolour for help...

Catness_NeverClean2 karma

What do they do for illustrations?

aMANescape3 karma

You gota do your own there I'm afraid... if you want any that is

Catness_NeverClean3 karma

Yikes.

aMANescape3 karma

Hehe... Catness Neverclean... just got it :)

fuzzycuffs2 karma

So if the work part is done for you, what sets apart a book that will make you money from one that won't?

aMANescape6 karma

A bit of luck, a weirder story than most maybe, the fact that I will talk to strangers on the internet and answer ALL questions that get thrown at me... i dunno

kickrox1 karma

Congrats on your success my friend!

Question on create space: they take money from the sales right? It's obvious that it's an incredible resource and a good idea for anyone trying to self publish. I'm just curious on how they could exist otherwise, and if so how much? Sorry to ask so many questions.

aMANescape2 karma

thank you kind sir... yeh... they have a minimum selling price for each product (depending on the dimensions of the book, how many pages etc.) which I imagine covers things for them on their end... and then yeh... it's fairly straight forward, you just add how much you want to make per sale and they combine that with their fixed prices to make the total cost of the book. I usually say like $3 per book... but you can say $1000 or something weird if you like :)

kickrox7 karma

I'm looking to be the louis vuitton on childrens books.

Thank you for the info.

aMANescape3 karma

haha... $1,000,000,000 children's books for celebrities!

dearbluey59 karma

This page from one of your books, http://image.slidesharecdn.com/hanukahhkidsbook-130305070848-phpapp02/95/slide-41-638.jpg?1362489180 I am not sure whether to be amused or horrified. Perhaps both. :P

aMANescape27 karma

:) My story has managed to tap in to a new undiscovered human emotion that is a mix between amusement and horror.. success! :) I shall name this new emotion... rob towner

dearbluey10 karma

Somehow, I'm okay with this. :)

aMANescape7 karma

Are you asking me out?

dearbluey12 karma

That escalated quickly. My cat would be jealous anyhow.

gravityfail16 karma

"Colonel Mustard then did a poo..."

That phrase is not even grammatically correct. How will this help budding readers?

adamup2713 karma

If me not know, then he not know, then who don't not know not care

aMANescape14 karma

exerptly!

turtlespace23 karma

I have a completed book that I wrote and illustrated for my senior project. But it's very dark and depressing - it's about a kid who goes to hell to find his dead dad. Do you think that kind of thing could possibly do well, or do i need to make something more happy and colorful?

aMANescape24 karma

NO! you need to tell YOUR story REGARDLESS! I love the idea and think it can work... You might only sell one copy (I would buy it), but who cares! Tell your story!

seeker13511 karma

How difficult, on a 1-10 scale is setting up the Amazon account, c/c billing, etc?

aMANescape19 karma

I would maybe put it one notch above creating a facebook account... I can't remember exactly how long... :/ But yeh... fairly easy

seeker1354 karma

Ok, I'll go with "fairly easy". I don't do facebook. Thanks.

aMANescape17 karma

But??? How do you poke people??! Or like when your friends share something they found on the front page of reddit???

seeker1354 karma

My social circle is pitifully small by design. I use email. I set up a twitter account with one of my reddit account names. Used it once. I also use the telephone.

Also, if the Feds want any info on me, they're gonna have to work a bit harder.

aMANescape8 karma

Damn dirty feds

Dronepolice21 karma

I always wanted to make my book titled: orange omlets and bologna. In this story a man named "Frank-I-Is" pesters another man to try his orange omlets and bologna.

lithodora20 karma

I am a graphic designer and I have an autistic child. I've been pretty appalled at the quality of the books aimed at teaching him social skills. Guess I know what I'll be doing in my 'off' time now.

aMANescape10 karma

I can NOT encourage you enough friend!! :)

Penis_Owner15 karma

I don't think I should.

aMANescape22 karma

Alrighty then

IAmLyingRightNow10 karma

My dad always wanted to make a series of children's books where the kids have an adventure in the kitchen making food with imagination transforming the ingredients and the food coming alive, taking the kids through the fridge and pantry to find all the lost components of a meal and at the end of the children's book is a easy recipe the kids can help with to make the food that was featured in that book. He used to be a chef and loved getting kids to try new foods but most are reluctant so he thought it would be a cool way to get kids comfortable trying new things. He wrote out some drafts and tried getting in touch with publishers but he just doesn't have the time or know how to get it done.

aMANescape3 karma

You should self-publish the shit outa that thing before someone steals your idea!... I won't... promise

69_comments_share9 karma

your eyes are freakin me out man

Jabrono8 karma

[9]?

aMANescape14 karma

I uh...

IAmTheOneWhoMocks7 karma

So that's how you write your stories!

aMANescape11 karma

I have been mocked and I love it

t_l_m9 karma

I can't draw for shit. Would this still be feasible?

I know ShittyWatercolour wouldn't illustrate my book for me.

Jabrono17 karma

/u/Shitty_Watercolour should publish a children's story like this, he would honestly probably make a pretty penny from redditors alone. I'm also assuming he has reddit gold and will be notified of this, and then hoping it inspires him to create one.

Edit: /u/AWildSketchAppeared should also do so!

aMANescape3 karma

this needs to happen

aMANescape3 karma

Either can I my friend... Just make it happen anyways

bellale8 karma

You said in an above that you use Create Space.

How has your experience with them been?

What goes on as far as ownership goes, for instance, if scholastic wanted to pick you and your titles up could you just start selling your titles under scholastic or does create space own your titles/name or something like that? Do you have to stay with create space forever?

Whats the best thing about working with Create Space? The worst?

How do you personally choose your trim sizes?

aMANescape8 karma

Good question. To be honest I'm sure how that would work... I very much doubt Scholastic would want to pick up anything that I have done previously... (My stories are pretty out there)... But I am aiming to hopefully get published through traditional means one day... I am happy to just create new stuff when that time comes... (currently working on a few new projects which I am hoping to do something like that with...

So far Create Space have been excellent to deal with... They respond to queries fairly quickly and haven't stuffed anything up... yet.... They have been a great starting point for me I think because they have made the whole process so simple... Which I know can be daunting for some...

One thing that sucks about them though, overseas delivery charges are COMPLETELY FUCKED! like $170 to send a dozen books to Australia (they're based in the US)... Delivery in America is cool and cheap, but yeh... If I could say anything negative about them... it would be that.

X

cooked238 karma

How many hours a week does it take to write one of these books?

What is the typical income like from one of these books, say, over a 2 week or a 1 month period?

Thanks!

aMANescape17 karma

I work the regular old 9-5 gig. I just write a story whenever it takes my fancy. It usually takes around 4-5 hours to go from having just an idea to having that idea available in book form on Amazon X

EDIT: Oh, also... income... not so great. But who gives a shit right? You're telling fuckin timeless tales here that will live on long after you die!

Jabrono4 karma

So this is more of a hobby? How much of your income in the last year was from your stories (percentage or number if you're comfortable)? Do you think you're going to make more and more as you write? And lastly, sorry for all the questions, I just find this interesting, do you see a future in the 'children's stories' career?

Thanks for doing the AMA!

aMANescape9 karma

No worries... Roughly made around $1500 total last year which pales in comparison to all my expenses... But I love it to death! My dream is to be doing this for a living, we'll see how we go...

dirtymoney7 karma

My children's book ..."who pooed in the tub" .... never sold well.

aMANescape7 karma

Who pooed in the tub?

Hipster13376 karma

you should hire a real illustrator

aMANescape5 karma

one day when I have real money, I will

gravityfail6 karma

& I think you should too.

I would hardly say that just anyone should self-publish children's books. There are plenty of books out there have little educational purpose. These books should focus on thematic content, phonological awareness, vocabulary, etc.

How would you suggest someone go about to learn how to create quality children's books?

aMANescape18 karma

*yawn. People should tell the weirdest, most non-educational, fun, interesting stories as possible! we can figure out what's to be learnt from the stories after they're made :)

gravityfail7 karma

Children between the toddler years through grade school need explicit instruction when it comes to content and vocabulary. Good children's books emphasize the various elements of print, vocabulary, phonological awareness (which includes both phonics and phonemic awareness, or letter sounds). How do you emphasize those elements in your writing, and how did you "establish" yourself as a writer?

aMANescape32 karma

lets never hang out

gravityfail5 karma

I think we should. I could tutor you in English writing and the wonderful world of reading instruction. I can even teach you how to teach print concepts and dialogic reading prompts. I could even read out-loud to you...I love to read in various voices! ;)

aMANescape18 karma

My contact deets are on my website if you actually do wana hang. Are you naturally a condescending person?

gravityfail2 karma

I am a critical thinker, and a children's advocate. A personality test also revealed that I am equally interpersonal and intrapersonal...I am good at assessing myself and others. :)

aMANescape19 karma

well alright then... lets flip this rivalry into a friendship :)

dafuufi6 karma

Will do! Reading you're comments in the ama and then reading the Antarctica story gives me an impression that you're a cool dude with a light hearted vibe. Thx for inspiration and much success to you.

aMANescape5 karma

That is lovely of you to say. thanks :)

frinh5 karma

I've also published a children's book on Amazon with CreateSpace, but it's only sold one copy and that was to a friend of mine. I offered it free on Amazon for 5 days, 300 people got it free but that didn't help sales at all.

I've published other books and they sell, but the children's book isn't selling. I'm thinking I should do a series of 10+ that children's books do better in a series. Do you have any suggestions for increasing sales on children's books?

aMANescape5 karma

A big thing you might be missing out on is SEO... google 'Kids Author' for example and you'll see what I mean...

SocksForAllOfUs4 karma

What kinds of socks do you wear?

aMANescape9 karma

brown... same colour as my poo. heehee

SocksForAllOfUs4 karma

Brand? Length? Proof?

aMANescape3 karma

I lied! They're black. Can you ever forgive me SocksForAllOfUs? - http://i.imgur.com/4Grmpz0.jpg

_mosh3 karma

Have you ever read The Puppy Who Lost His Way?

aMANescape2 karma

No... But I want to... now... Whatsit about?

Randomacts4 karma

A puppy.

aMANescape3 karma

who didn't lose his way?

jonnyrotten78 karma

what you've just said ... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul...

aMANescape6 karma

People are telling me this all the time :)

chainfire953 karma

What do you think of this quote? “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

aMANescape4 karma

I agree whole fartedly! :)

Sprinklie3 karma

So.. how do taxes work with this Amazon Create Space?

aMANescape2 karma

No taxes if you are outside of America... If you are American you need to provide all your tax deets so they can make tax adjustments... I have no clue how the American tax system works

flantaclause3 karma

Can you go into a little more depth about the SEO techniques you use?

aMANescape2 karma

I will go into depth on this issue in a blog post in the not too distant future.

IguanaBob263 karma

How much self promotion do you have to do for your books, like social media/advertising do you have to do to make a successful selling book?

aMANescape5 karma

I have had a fair amount of fun trying new ways to talk to people about my stories. I've been on dating websites, tweeted celebrities, done reddit AMA's (*wink) I have little-to-no shame when it comes to self promotion, which helps to some extent with sales... Best thing by far has been learning a little bit of SEO... EG. If you google 'Kids Author' my site is first worldwide...

glaneuse3 karma

I've always wondered about doing this, too. Could you elaborate a little on your process? After the idea, then what?

aMANescape8 karma

steps

  • Story book the idea, layout it out roughly on paper
  • Outline the idea with felt-tip pen
  • Scan pages
  • Use photoshop to get your dimensions n colours in there
  • Add text with InDesign
  • Spit out PDF of your story from there
  • Upload PDF to create space and follow the walk-through process

BINGO

Then go on reddit and do an AMA & send me a link so I can buy it :)

You can read my latest story for free here - http://www.slideshare.net/robtowner/romys-garden-adventures-hanukkah-antarctica-16946132

Kewl?? :)

Loliser4 karma

fell better man

aMANescape3 karma

yes I uh... And how did... Will the... What?

wojar1 karma

you make it sound so easy!!!!

aMANescape1 karma

It's like Sunday morning... ah ah ah ah :)

ianb2 karma

Also "icey" on the next page. Question: will you fix these? ;) (And an apostrophe on 37.)

aMANescape1 karma

I love spelling mistakes... Always makes me think of my old boss... He was an asshole... massive grammer guy... Anyways... I hope he reads my stories and thinks to himself... 'fuck'

aMANescape1 karma

live n learn :)

Adiwik2 karma

Maybe i could do some art for ya :D, i also write, never thought to much on children's books... but hey, why not!

aMANescape2 karma

that would properly be cool!! lets do something!!!!

m84m2 karma

Do you consider most childrens books to be absolutely mediocre, full of repetition and little substance? Do you actively try to avoid that?

I ask because of the title of the book "Where's Mr Snail?" which sounds at surface level like every other dull childrens book where they wander around, ask 10 animals the same question, eventually find him and thats the end of the book, 100 words written total, 70 of them repetition. I hate books like that, it seems the writing is an absolute afterthought and the only talented one is the illustrator.

You know the ones I mean, the "mister mittens losses his shoe" type rubbish.

I guess I don't really have a question, just don't be that guy if you can avoid it, many children are already bored enough by reading.

aMANescape2 karma

I hear ya on that one. fucknnn... I come across a lot of that shit... It has its place... but yeh...

signorapaesior2 karma

You, good sir, are freaking awesome. And inspiring me to do something vaguely interesting with my life.

I have always wanted to write children's books and erotic fiction, but I might need a pseudonym for one of them... or not.

aMANescape3 karma

Fuck yeh! you should! I can help where need be...

YOu should do both genres... no one is doing that... total untapped market just waiting for you!!!

CorduroyMagic2 karma

Do you have kids, either your own, or in your life (like a niece/nephew)? what makes you think kids like it? (This isn't meant to sound as mean as it does). What usually inspires you? Would you say most books you sit down to write work out or no?

P.s. you have very pretty eyes.

aMANescape4 karma

I have a liddle nephew named Romy. Fucking adorable... I wrote Romy's Garden Adventures after her...

If she doesn't like the story... It goes in the bin...

I'm a fairly weird dude and am usually inspired to create something weird anytime my life feels like its getting too shitty...

PS. Thankyou. What do your eyes look like? I'm staring really hard at your username but I can't see...

slipperystan8 karma

Your nephew is a her?

aMANescape8 karma

I fucked up... niece

hawkeye8072 karma

While we are at it, who are the children's authors if any that you draw inspiration from?

aMANescape3 karma

  • Roald Dahl... number one
  • Susanne Gervay (awesome Australian children's writer)
  • JK Rowling (not sure if she counts or not, but yeh... I have a massive crush on her)
  • the guy who wrote the Noah story in the bible, classic
  • Tolkien... has done some MAD kids stories
  • I'm sure there are others...
  • Oh, the guy who made Grug... Do you guys know Grug?

This list is a work-in-progress

al_prazolam2 karma

I bought a copy of Romy’s Garden Adventures: Burglar Brothers. I read it to my 3 year old who loved it. I laughed a lot. Good on you sir for having a go.

aMANescape3 karma

wow! thank you very very much!!!! that is very kind of you :) what is your kids name? I will have to write a story for her :)

williethakid2 karma

commenting so I can find this in the morning!

aMANescape12 karma

replying because I have no friends or family to talk to

SiriusSummer2 karma

Thank you. I'm a ways off from my book being completed, but this will be a definite help in the future!

aMANescape2 karma

excellent, glad to be of some help... my contact deets are on my website if you need help in the future... cheers

j_slytherin2 karma

What made you want to start writing/publishing children's books?

aMANescape10 karma

I think I have always wanted to. I loved reading Roald Dahl books when I was little and yeh... Here' the first story I ever wrote if you are interested (spoiler alert: I know you aren't)... I was 5 btw - http://www.extremelyshortstories.com/2011/12/pongo-pirate.html

stripteasebitch1 karma

No questions, congrats on your success! You're super cute. :) I've always thought about writing children's books so a little boost of encouragement is always nice!

aMANescape1 karma

wow. that is extremely nice of you to say... browsed your submitted posts (ur username suggested there may be r/gonewild posts) and whilst I didn't find any, I can confrim... u are the one who is super cute... shwing

stripteasebitch2 karma

Haha, my damn username has caused me much grief! But thank you very much, that's sweet of you!

aMANescape1 karma

mmm username remorse... I have that