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Don’t Call it Self Publishing: How to Successfully Publish Your Own Children’s Novels with Andrea Fleck-Nisbet and Lee Wind

Creative Lab Syllabus


Publishing your own book can be every bit as impactful and potentially more lucrative than working with a traditional publisher—but you have to do it professionally. Learn how in this hands-on workshop that will cover everything from understanding a successful financial model, assembling your team, exploring your distribution options, pricing your book competitively, optimizing your metadata, getting reviews, developing your marketing plan, and much more! Whether you're doing picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, or YA, the framework of how you professionally publish is the same—though some of the financials and processes are different. 

Co-taught by leaders of the Independent Book Publishers Association, CEO Andrea Fleck-Nisbet and CCO Lee Wind, this interactive session will give you the tools—and the roadmap—to be a successful Author Publisher. 

Prerequisites and Advanced Preparation: 

You should have a project in mind that you want to explore publishing yourself; in addition you should choose two comp titles  – books in your category (same reader age and similar genre) that have been published in the last three years that you love. We ask that you review one of your comp titles so it’s fresh in your mind before our session. 


  • Introduction – 5 min 
  • Pitches/loglines - 5 min 
  • Share in small group – 10 min 
  • Industry Standards handout – 5 min 
  • Activity with sample book and handout – 10 min 
  • Define Success for you – 5 min 
  • Group Brainstorm – 10 min 
  • Process of Publishing – 10 min 
  • Worksheet Activity – 5 min 
  • Building Your Team - 5 minutes 
  • Planning Your Production – formats, files, workflow – 10 min 
  • Production schedule worksheet – 5 min   
  • Choosing Your Printing and Inventory Plan – POD, Offset – 10 min 
  • Market Research (know your audiences and pricing) - 10 min 
  • Audience Exercise – 5 min 
  • Financial Models and raising capital – 10 min 
  • Sample P&L worksheet Q&A - 10 min 
  • Metadata (the secret to discovery) - 10 min 
  • Getting Reviews (trade, consumer, blurbs) - 5 min 
  • Sales Channels: Online sales, Bookstores, Libraries, Schools, Direct to Consumers, Special Markets – 5 min 
  • Marketing and PR Possibilities – 5 min 
  • Your Marketing Plan – 5 min  
  • Events – 5 min 
  • Next Steps and Accountability Partners – 10 min 


Participants will:  

  • Identify a to-do list for their publishing journey 
  • Craft a succinct 30 second pitch for their project 
  • Explore all the elements that go into a professionally published book 
  • Define what success means for their book 
  • Understand the editorial, design, and production process of their book 
  • Identify the expert support required to publish their book 
  • Create a production schedule 
  • Review the options for printing and inventory 
  • Define their market and audiences 
  • Learn how to create a profit and loss statement (P&L) for their book 
  • Understand what metadata is and how it effects book sales 
  • Learn how to solicit reviews and the timing of vetting their book 
  • Identify the proper sales channels for their book 
  • Consider event options 
  • Define their next steps 
  • Match up with an accountability partner for follow up after the conference 

Your Instructors

Andrea Fleck-Nisbet
Lee Wind
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