AMA on Illustrated Books - how to publish one without an agent?

Sonja Bajic
Feb 7, 2018

I have two books coming out this year - What My Girlfriends Told Me ( is out in March in London and Kakva Zenska will be published in Serbia later this year! I am happy to help other people with great ideas and answer some questions on how did these books happen!

We can talk about online projects and offline ideas, we can talk about social media and publishers, about self-publishing and old-school publishing. 

See you on Wednesday!

Follow me on twitter and Instagram: @sonjabajic

Sonja Bajic says:

This AMA will end Feb 7, 2018, 11PM EST

Sonja Bajic says:

This AMA will end Feb 7, 2018 4:30PM EST


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What inspired you to write this book? And why did you decide to illustrate it in the fashion that you did? Were there particular exercises or a routine that you kept to maintain consistency throughout? 

Feb 6, 3:29AM EST0

Hey Jay!

It was a combination of a few things happening at the same time...I had a pile of drawings of different ladies and I am a life longer gather of the good words...words that inspire us, love us and stay in out minds forever. I combine those two and What My Girlfriends Told Me Happened!

When it comes to the style...This is done in watercolors - and I think watercolours are magical! I bought a tiny palette few years ago and I still use it often (I have a bigger one now as well :) ). There was no particular exercise - you sit down and paint paint paint...As with everything I guess :)

Last edited @ Feb 7, 11:01AM EST.
Feb 7, 10:58AM EST0

Is there a special reason you choose to have the books published in London and Serbia?

Feb 5, 2:07PM EST0

Hi Rebeca! I write mostly in English and in Serbian :) I sent my idea to a few publisher and the one that liked it the most was in London. 

Book in Serbian was an online project both in English and in Serbian and when we were pitching it we just proceeded with what we had. 

Feb 7, 11:01AM EST0

How to find an illustrator? Should a writer get someone to illustrate his/her picture book before publishing it?

Feb 4, 5:21PM EST0

Hi Dean!

You can two different approaches at least... First one would be to write a book and send it to the bunch of publishers and then they find the illustrator that they already like or collaborate with...The second approach is: you team up and go together to the publisher...I did the second one and I personally think it is easier in France at least, for you and the illustrator to go your separate ways.

Nevertheless - I am interested in hearing your ideas ;)

Feb 7, 11:05AM EST0

What's the best way of getting reviews on your book when you are just getting started and do not have an e-mail list?

Feb 4, 4:40AM EST0

Create a newsletter as soon as you can! :) Add your close friends and family and ask them to spread the word...It's a very slow process but things happen!

Is that what you meant?

Feb 7, 11:06AM EST0

What's the basic difference between a cover, a jacket, and a casewrap?

Feb 3, 9:44PM EST0

I found a really good article last summer, it's still in my bookmarks: book binding!

Feb 7, 11:10AM EST0

How much does it cost and when do you start earning income?

Jan 27, 11:44AM EST0

Sadly to make a good money you need to be semi known or famous author... Otherwise, it depends on what you sign with your publisher. You get the advance and then royalties every couple of months. Having more books means having more money. BUT quantity over quality forever ;)

Feb 7, 11:13AM EST0

How do I go about the sales and distribution of my books to parents, libraries, schools and bookstores?

Jan 25, 2:39PM EST0

That's what publisher do. You can help but that's part of their agenda. My self publishd book was sold online and it was signed and numbered.

Feb 7, 11:14AM EST0

Do digital sales work for picture books and middle grade books?

Jan 25, 9:52AM EST0

I can only talk about picture books...and I heard that every now and again one or two are sold digitally. I feel like illustrated books are something you wanna hold in your hands. 

Feb 7, 11:15AM EST0

As a writer, do you experience writer's block some of the time?

Jan 24, 9:21PM EST0

I do! But when it happens I change what I am doing. Inspiration dies - I go for a walk, make some food, watch a movie, stretch or read something and the block is killed. 

When it stays there for longer periods...I freak out and try to change the scenery. Sometimes you don't have money to travel but you can always go to a different part of town.

Finding beauty in everything helps a lot.

Feb 7, 11:18AM EST0

Are there ways to make sure I make money from my book?

Jan 22, 11:15PM EST0

I am sceptical about word "sure" but I do think you need to try hard and things happen. Promotion, sharing and caring helps with building th community so far :)

Feb 7, 11:19AM EST0

How do I make it look good in ebook format?

Jan 22, 10:05PM EST0

Find a good designer! I love using InDesign as a program.

Feb 7, 11:19AM EST0

Is the self-published route really a respectable way for a first-time author to go?

Jan 22, 7:04PM EST0

You need to start somewhere...I don't think traditional publishers pay much attention to the self published books you have, sadly. I may be wrong. 

Feb 7, 11:20AM EST0

How do you find a professional editor to review/edit your book before publication?

Jan 22, 2:48PM EST0

Hey Cyndi!

For my self-publsihed book I did! For the traditionally published one, my publisher has an editor who communicates with you and changes things :)

Feb 7, 11:21AM EST0

Can I publish my picture book only as an ebook?

Jan 22, 4:38AM EST0

You can but maybe make it interactive! Otherwise it's hard to sell.

Feb 7, 11:22AM EST0

How much work is involved and how much technical know-how do you need?

Jan 21, 7:45PM EST0

I guess you are asking me about self publishing... A lot! But everything takes a lot of time and a lot of work if you wanna make it polished :)

Feb 7, 11:23AM EST0

Do you usually feel energized or exhausted when writing a book?

Jan 20, 8:57AM EST0

Hi Iana, I have a lot of energy generally... But it depends on a day. I would say I feel energized I definitely don't feel exhausted :)

Feb 7, 11:36AM EST0

How do I get my work copyrighted?

Jan 19, 3:19PM EST0

Hi hi!

This helped me a lot!

Feb 7, 11:37AM EST0

What medium do you use to self-publish?

Jan 19, 9:52AM EST0

Hi Kelvin, I am not sure what you mean by medium?

Feb 7, 11:39AM EST0

How do you launch a book, get reviews, what is the timeline and what if you can’t do it ALL?

Jan 19, 7:00AM EST0

Do you have a marketing plan? How do you create awareness for your books?

Jan 18, 1:49PM EST0

I have a few marketing plans...People say it should start 3 years before the book is out. I haven't done that but I pressured the whole thing later more. 

I participate in different event, I am on social media and I talk about it all the time (borderline boring :))

Feb 7, 11:40AM EST0
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