On a recent Kids Roundtable discussion hosted by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing at the Bryant Park Hotel in Manhattan, several bestselling indie children’s authors—Carole P. Roman, E.G. Foley (husband-and-wife team Eric and Gael Foley), and Ally Nathaniel—talked about getting started writing children’s and young-adult lit.

Roman’s son Michael Phillip Cash, a bestselling self-help author, dared her to write her own book. She did, but it didn’t sell. “I saw all other children’s books that were selling well had series,” she said. So she built her own brand—Carole P. Roman—and created two series that have earned top marks from Kirkus Reviews: If You Were Me and Lived in… and Captain No Beard. Since her son’s dare, she’s written 25 books; most are ranked in the top 100 in their area on Amazon.com. 

Ally Nathaniel has reached No. 1 in sales on Amazon for children ages 0-6 and has published 10 titles, including Sparkly Me and My Snow Day. Her own childhood informs hSparkly Meer work. “I try to heal myself from something that happened, usually when I was very young,” she said. “When I write for kids, I want them to feel good about who they are. That was something that I missed when I was a kid.” Her advice to authors: “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

Eric and Gael Foley, authors of the two series The Gryphon Chronicles and 50 States of Fear, both talked about approaching self-publishing as a process of manageable steps. “It’s not a quick get-rich scheme,” said Eric, a former middle school teacher. “It’s more of a long haul.”

Gael Foley, a New York Times bestselling author of 20 novels for adults from Random House and HarperCollins, suggests starting small: “Just try a short story.”

Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor.