children's book creation with april cox - writing editing illustrating publishing marketing kids books

Unlocking the Secrets of Children’s Book Creation: Expert Tips on Writing, Illustrating, Publishing, and Marketing Kids’ Books

LaptopLauraBook Writing, Make Money with Writing, Podcast [listen here!]

Have a children’s book in you? Ever read a kid’s book and thought, “I could do better than this!”? Then this episode is one you should listen to 3x! In this podcast, Laura interviews April Cox to reveal tips and advice for self-publishing a children’s book. Step by step children’s book creation!

Laura and April cover a range of topics, including the importance of having a clear concept, storyboard, and outline before starting to write, finding the right editor and illustrator, the benefits of joining a writing group, marketing strategies, and the role of graphic design and layout in producing a high-quality book.

Throughout the conversation, you will hear practical advice and personal anecdotes and experiences  in self-publishing to help with your goals of becoming a children’s book author.

Video of Our Talk on Childrens Book Creation:

A Few Children’s Book Creation Highlights:

  • April Cox was inspired to write her first children’s book when she had grandkids and spent time reading stories with them.
    • Soon, they made up stories of their own.
    • April’s passion for the project was driven by a desire to leave behind some values and virtues as a legacy for her future generations to read.
    • April’s first children’s book creation, written for kids 4-8, was about her little labradoodle puppy and his journey to self-confidence
  • Fiction books can lead to serendipitous events or opportunities that can touch, inspire or make a difference in someone’s life (her book resonated with a mother whose son is autistic and has a hard time with fine motor skills!)
  • Writing your children’s book is very doable, but make sure you are aware of what different ages of kids you are writing for
    • Laura wrote her first children’s book (called Duck Buddies) using a Google Sheet to keep track of the syllables on each line to ensure the rhyming was correct
    • Write using the tool that makes you the most comfortable
  • April Cox created a self-publishing program that includes checklists, budget spreadsheets, and templates
  • Pen names can be useful for authors who write in multiple genres, to keep their names and audiences separate.
    • Using a pen name is a personal preference and some authors prefer to keep their personal information out of the public eye
    • Authors can promote their work on social media, but it can be tricky when trying to promote a pen name
  • Editing a kid’s book is important to turn a good story into a great story, especially if it has rhyming
    • Bobby Hinman ( is recommended as a great editor for children’s books who specializes in rhyming
  • Illustrating a children’s book is a very important part of the creation process
    • Provide notes to the illustrator from the beginning to end of the book
    • Before selecting an illustrator, send sample requests to three different illustrators
    • Paying $50 for a full-color image is common
    • It’s important to assess the illustrator’s communication style and ability to take direction
    • Investing in quality illustrations for a 32-page children’s book can cost around $3,000, with $1,000 being the minimum for high-quality work
    • Make sure to have a clear agreement in place with any illustrator you hire to avoid future misunderstandings or issues.
    • There are resources available for authors to learn how to create illustrations themselves, but April recommends having a trusted coach or mentor provide honest feedback and help improve the quality of the work
    • A client of Laura’s wrote a chapter book with black and white illustrations for each chapter to keep the cost of children’s book creation low
  • Marketing is an important piece of the children’s book creation puzzle
    • Getting the community involved in the illustration selection process can be a great marketing opportunity
    • Building an email list and social media following is important for children’s book authors (social media platforms can change their algorithms or even ban authors, whereas an email list is under their control)
    • Including a free bonus or read in exchange for an email address is a good way for authors to build their mailing list, which is their number one asset
    • Teachers guides, children’s activity books, and coloring and activity books are great bonus items that can entice readers to join an author’s mailing list
  • Publishing your children’s book should start with Amazon
    • It is important to have the appropriate keywords and categories for your book on Amazon, including some less competitive categories to increase visibility
  • High-quality covers, book blurbs, and descriptions are important for selling books, regardless of how much money is spent on them.
  • Paid ads can help getting more sales and audience members for your kids’ book
    • Amazon ads are preferred for most books, but there are some books that are better suited for Facebook or TikTok ads depending on the audience
    • It’s important to go where the audience is, for example, if a book is perfect for crochet lovers, ads on Pinterest would be better than Amazon ads.
    • There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for advertising, and it’s a matter of trial and error to see what works.
    • Amazon brand ads are really good and perform well.
    • Video ads perform well, but you need an advantage account or a vendor account to run them.
    • It’s important to monitor and dial in your ads each week, stop keywords that are spending money but not converting and foster ones that are working well.
    • Searching through Amazon search terms will help to learn what is working and what needs to expand.
    • It can take two to three months to dial in ads and get them clicking.
  • Publishing on IngramSpark is recommended as a second step since Amazon ads can also drive sales for hardcover children’s books.

Additional Link Outs for Children’s Book Creation:

Guest Bio:

April Cox is an award-winning and best-selling author of The Little Labradoodle series of books and Founder / CEO of Little Labradoodle Publishing. She has helped over 1200 authors self-publish their books through courses, mentoring, and her signature program, Self-Publishing Made Simple.

Fun Facts
• She spent 35 years in IT prior to becoming a children’s book author
• Her team published 127 books in 2022 on behalf of clients

Check her books, author events, services, and set up a free consultation at

April’s Company:

Little Labradoodle Publishing started as a passion project for author, April M. Cox. ​

She fell in love with children’s picture books all over again when she had grandchildren.  “There’s nothing like the feeling of a child melting into your lap and snuggling together to read a favorite book.”  Her little Labradoodle, Brady, would jump up on her lap and soon became the subject of some of the stories they would make up together.

Wanting to leave behind a legacy of beautiful children’s books for her grandkids, she began to write down some of their stories as a legacy project and The Little Labradoodle series was born.  However, fate had another plan.

After 30 years in IT / Businesses in the corporate world, a layoff became an opportunity to follow her passion of publishing her own books and assisting others.

April has now published eight books and has helped over a thousand authors make their dreams come true through her Self-Publishing Made Simple program.

April’s Links:

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