Making a children's book: the self-publishing journey

Lea McKnoulty, author & illustrator of Making Mindful Magic.

Lea McKnoulty, author & illustrator of Making Mindful Magic.

Making a children's book is not easy! It's a long journey, but a rewarding one. The idea for Making Mindful Magic started as a brainstorm with all the ideas that were running through my head – children living authentically, child-rearing in other cultures, children being grounded, ways of teaching a slower view of life and many more ideas. It was a continual bombardment of little ideas, I didn’t know at the time how I would bring them all together. Read more about how I came to write and illustrate Making Mindful Magic here.

One of my early pastel works that didn't make it into this book, maybe the next one!

One of my early pastel works that didn't make it into this book, maybe the next one!

My next challenge after writing and illustrating the book was to decide to self-publish or submit my work to publishers. At that point my vision for the book was very complete and I was reluctant to give up control of the details so I chose self-publishing.

Self-publishing has proven to be a huge journey – if I thought writing and illustrating a book was challenging, this next leg of the journey was about to be littered with pitfalls! I looked into subsidy press options with little joy, finding the final product not to my liking. My number one criteria has always been that Making Mindful Magic had to look like a publishing house had produced it!

Funnily enough, I had seen a beautiful book that had been printed by Tien Wah Press in Singapore so with my marketing consultant daughter Katie at the helm we explored the options with them. We loved what we found and were further pushed in their direction when we discovered they did a lot of printing for large publishing companies. I could literally walk into a bookstore and intuitively pick up a book they had printed so it felt very right to go with them.

Next issue book design! I was also very fortunate that my other daughter Louise, a designer, is amazing with graphics and art and she brought those skills to designing the book, giving it the special touches that come with loving attention.

That’s how I feel about my book – it’s been a long journey of almost two years in the making but it’s been one of self-discovery and following what felt right and all the while a family collaboration was joyfully taking place.

The realisation of what you’ve created when that physical copy is in your hands is an amazing feeling common to all authors but with a self-publisher it’s coupled with the challenge of selling your ‘baby’! 

So embracing the digital era, I’m busy learning from my super-skilled daughter and with her help creating my public-facing platform through this website, blog, Facebook  and Instagram.

Writers these days clearly need to do more than write books if they want their book to succeed in the marketplace! Book number two in the Making Mindful Children series is well underway and will be our next challenge, which I’ll welcome with open arms!

Making Mindful Magic is now available for purchase through our shop for Australian and international orders. Purchase the book


We have two special offers to celebrate our book launch this week!

10% off: Receive 10% off until Wednesday 4 November at midnight AEST, you'll be one of the first to receive the book!
Use code: mindfulness111

5 books offer: Buy 5 books, get 1 free. Perfect if you’d like to buy a few copies to give to children as presents (Christmas is less than two months away!), or just to share around to your parent or teacher friends.
Use code: mindfulness555