When I think of or come across a new business idea, I open up a note in my phone and immediately start writing all details about the idea that I can. Things like:
- What is the problem?
- What are the ways I can think of to solve it?
- Who needs this solution?
- Where is the best place to bring the solution to market?
- What elements or details are important to include?
Then I usually have to get back to whatever task I was supposed to be doing and can let my brain relax, knowing that all my thoughts have been recorded for another day.
The idea that wouldn't go away
Most times, that is the end of it and I don’t think about it again unless another reminder comes up or I have the same idea again, only to realize I had already recorded it. If that happens it is usually a good sign that the idea might be worth thinking more about! In the case of my children’s book, M is for Money, I kept thinking about it and couldn’t get it out of my head. I started brainstorming words that I could use for an ABCs of money book. I started imagining characters and mini stories that would depict money words in use.
I couldn’t stop coming back to this idea and that’s what drove me to make the decision to turn it into a reality.
How hard could it be, right?
How do you publish a book?
I had written and published The Simple StartUp through ChooseFI Publishing, but this time they weren’t interested in the book idea at the time (they wanted to wait until 2022 to start), so I teamed up with self-publishing coach, MK Williams, from Author Your Ambition to embark on a journey of learning how to self-publish a book. The difference for anyone who is not familiar with the terms is that when you have a traditional publisher taking on your book, they are often taking on all of the costs associated with illustrating, editing, publishing, printing, and promoting the book. In exchange, you are given a percentage of all profits after the publishing house has recouped their costs in many cases.
As authors become more established in their field, publishing houses may approach them to write books on certain topics and pay them an advance fee or even a fixed fee for the book. This means that the publishing house takes on all the risk, but also all the reward if the book becomes a bestseller. There’s a spectrum for what a book deal with a traditional publisher might look like so please don’t take any of this as the only type of book deal.
Self-publishing is all by yourself. You write the book, you find someone to illustrate it and negotiate the deal for the work. You then have to find someone (sometimes the illustrator too) to design and format the book for publishing. Don’t forget the editor and then the legal requirement of getting an ISBN number and registering with the Library of Congress. Oh and then you also need to promote it and sell it. All on your own dime up to this point!
Being an entrepreneur and author
All this to say that self-publishing is not cheap, even when approaching it with an entrepreneur and Simple StartUp mindset! I have looked for deals where I could but I am also fortunate to have The Simple StartUp as an existing company to fund this new experiment. It means that I can shoot for more than just an MVP, and can instead really try to focus on delivering a high quality book that meets my customers’ wants and needs from the beginning. I didn’t have any friend illustrators that could draw in the style that I wanted and I didn’t want to hire a friend to do it and then not be happy with the final product. I did hire MK to help save me time and money by relying on her coaching to know what step to do next and use her network for reliable people to hire.
I settled on Kickstarter after reading a book called Kickstarter Launch Formula by Salvadore Briggman. There wasn’t much between the platforms as far as I could tell, but Kickstarter seemed the more popular among authors. I’ll do a follow up post on building and running a Kickstarter campaign. Tomorrow marks the launch of the campaign for M is for Money! I have 30 days to get people to back the project and reach a goal of $6000. If we don’t reach the goal, no one gets charged for their pledges and the project is unsuccessful. It’s all or nothing!
How can I find out more?
If you would like to follow the campaign, check out how I set it up, or even go through the process of backing (I recommend backing several campaigns before attempting your own), go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robphelan/m-is-for-money-teach-financial-literacy-to-3-8-year-olds
If you have gotten value from this article or past articles, I would love your support through backing or sharing the link to the campaign with your friends, family, and social network. Thank you in advance for your support.