You may have a wonderful child's story in your head, complete with illustration ideas, but no idea how to get it printed. Perhaps it is based on an event that occurred when you were a child, or is from a bedtime story shared with your children. Most personal computers come with simple publishing tools that can make sharing your story a reality. An original children's book that you have written and printed can be a wonderful gift for family and friends.
Write out your story until you have it exactly how you want it. Type it into a desktop publishing program on your computer to check for grammar and spelling errors.
Create a "dummy" book in a notebook or with loose sheets of paper. If you are creating an illustrated book, decide which parts of the text you want on each page. Draw boxes on the pages to determine artwork placement.
Determine whether your book will be printed with a front-to-back method and centre-bound, where each sheet of paper will have four pages printed on it. This works best if you plan to fold the paper in half and saddle staple it. If you plan to bind the pages with a plastic comb binder, it is easier to print one book page per sheet of paper, using one side of the paper.
Decide if you are going to use colour photographs and illustrations or black and white. Keep in mind that if you are printing several copies, colour illustrations will cost you a considerable amount more.
Scan your illustrations or photographs into your computer and edit them for size and clarity.
Count the number of pages you will have in your book, including the title, dedication page and table of contents if applicable. Divide this number by four. This is how many pages you will need to create your page placement dummy book.
Fold the number of sheets of paper you have determined you will need in half. Write the page numbers on the corners of the paper.
Open a blank document in your desktop publishing program. Go to "Page Layout" and select the "Landscape" option under page orientation. Then go to "Format" and choose "2 columns."
Follow your text and illustration dummy book and your page layout dummy book to create each page in its proper place. Carefully insert text and pictures, creating page breaks at the bottom of each page so the pages will remain as you have formatted them.
Print out your pages. Pay special attention to which pages are front and back to each other. It may take a few tries to get it right. Print out your cover on card stock.
Staple your pages with a saddle stapler, or take them to a professional printer or office supply store to have them stapled.
Open an 8-by-10-inch blank document in your computer's desktop publishing program. Consult your text and illustration dummy book for each page. Insert text and illustrations according to your plans.
Print out each page on one side of one sheet of paper. Print out the cover on card stock.
Stack the pages in their correct order with the printed sides facing up. Use a hole punch designed for plastic comb binders to punch holes through the stack of paper. Be sure the holes are even on the pages.
Insert a plastic comb through the holes. Your book is complete.
There are many online companies that offer services to children's book authors. For a fee, they can edit, proofread, publish and market your book for you.