Make Passive Income In 6 Months or Less with Personalized Children’s Books (Create a Strong Stream of Income While Still Maintaining Your Day Job)

check out the book at www.queststories.com

check out the book at www.queststories.com

 

A personalized children book was what gave me the final push to leave my regular job behind.

Before diving into my  process of creating it and how I now sell and market it, I thought it would be good to first tell you the story of how I came to the decision to do so. 
 

Learning what works

After selling prints for 6 months I decided it was time to try something new, I was selling landscape paintings but noticed that the ones that sold the best had good stories, reminded people of something, made people feel good about themselves in one way or another, I was still learning and felt unsure about my future as an artist entrepreneur , but I decided it was worth it to make a change, regardless of the warnings I had read about changing course in the middle of a business venture and how it was entrepreneurial suicide. But I felt I had to do it if I was going to make a decision on what business to commit to. I needed to dive deeper into researching what people want, what they value, and most importantly what they would purchase.
italy sketch - marketing with sketch art

Pontevechio Bridge

Learning what doesn’t work

I had a trip to Italy coming up that I had been planning for a long time, I asked my wife if she would be alright with me creating a sketch a day for the 3 week trip. Luckily she agreed and I had an amazing time turning a sketch a day around during the trip.each day I posted it to Instagram vineyard , ruins, cathedrals and landscapes, it was some of my best work as a sketch artist, I received a lot of great comments and picked up many more followers but again, I never gave people the opportunity to buy anything mainly because they never asked. 
 
sketch from plane

Goofy character sketched on the way back from Italy

Learning What people really want

On the flight home after creating a book of reality based sketches I was tired of it and needed a break, I drew a goofy character and relaxed for the first time all trip. When I got back I posted it on Facebook and received more comments than the entire Italy trip combined, so what does that do yo my entire print efforts up to that point? Well I’m not saying that there’s not potential in the landscape and location prints but I decided to see where this new style would take me. I started getting people involved started asking people what their favorite animals were and creating characters based on them. I was able to get much more interaction with people and ended up getting a lot more purchases a lot faster than the landscapes. I kept going and received a few customer request for new moms and people started to tell me I should make a children’s books .
 

Brainstorming the book

 I thought it through and began researching the industry trying to find out the best possible way to approach the business. Personalized books have been growing steadily since 2012 and were at their all time peak in 2014. I figured it would work well with my current strategy of creating valuable and personal products for people. I knew that the power of interaction and getting people to feel like the product was made for them was a powerful technique.  
 

Validating and conceptualizing the book idea

I Researched ideas of how to find something that everyone had in common but also had something unique. Most of the market was full of personalized books that would change the name. I decided to do birthdays. Besides they say that the riches are in the niches. I also looked at what customers of some of the leading companies were complaining about. The number one thing seemed to be the lack of diversity. All the books had white kids.
 

Creating customers before the book is made.

How I got my customers involved before they became customers.
Based on what I had learned with the prints I knew the attraction of the product came with how connected someone felt to it. I decided to test this theory out even more by asking the audience to be involved in the entire process of making the book, or at least the fun part,

Coming up with the style

Since school I had learned many styles and love many styles, I needed help. So I looked to my audience. Besides they were the ones whose opinion really mattered the most. 
 
Custom-Characters.

Character options for “The Birthday Quest” a children’s book by my company Quest Stories

 

 

Designing the characters

I started with characters, i researched everything from Pixar to Dr. Seuss and I created 8 different versions of one little girl. I numbered them and sent them out on social media. Asking the audience which they preferred. The overwhelming decision was a Pixar style which I knew was also going to be the most time-consuming. But the audience had spoken and I was forded up to get started. 
 

 

Getting a second opinion

As an artist working on such a large project on my own it gets lonely and on top of that I start to become indecisive as everyday another decision comes up. So it helps to have an audience that gives me almost immediate feedback and also feel included in the creation.
 

Validation

So at this time I had my style figured out my story boards made, and a consumer base asking for a product which gave me the motivation I needed not to mention the research of competitors that I knew were succeeding in this industry.
 So the only thing I was missing was a. Deadline
I set a pretty rigorous schedule for my self of creating a page a day and wasn’t able to stick to it but was pretty close. 
 

 Printers

By the time I finished all the illustrations we had  built up a pretty decent following. We established a company name and a book name and found printers that were willing to ship based on a per order basis, not easy but we found them with persistence and asking people who said no to refer us to someone else. Finally we got a yes. Next was figuring out how people were going to order this monster of a project. There were 8 versions of the book and in each book the customer would need to pick a character enter their name and their child’s birthday. We needed a way to receive this information eve time a book order came through. This is where we made a big mistake. 
 

quest stories The Birthday Quest

The Website and Store front

We spent months trying to Find a web designer/coder who could do this for us. We spent close to 5,000 on the website and over 3 months of development time. We wanted everything to be perfect rather than starting with a M.V.P ( minimum viable product) we even have a preview your book page, which I’m still not sure was necessary. We later learned that Shopify had a method of adding similar customization methods to what we had built but no one told us that at the time. Even after asking probably close to 100 developers. This is the problem with being on the front lines of a new technology . The point is you don’t need a fancy website to sell books. You can even just use amazon and direct your clients there for free! This gets a little trickier when creating personalized or custom books. here’s our site if you want to check it out. www.QuestStories.com
 
 
 

Preparing for launch

Once we finally got all our ducks in a row we had an online e-commerce shop, a decent following, a print house, a company and a name, so we were ready to launch. 
Several day before our launch we received a not so friendly note from one of our competitors telling us that our book name would have to change or they would sue us. Apparently we had two out of 3 words that matched theirs and that was enough to make them feel threatened. We panicked for a day or two before getting our strength back and thinking straight again. We had to rebrand our entire launch campaign, website, book trailer, and product to a different name. Luckily our audience did not get overly confused and Facebook seamlessly switched the name over without losing our audience. Everything fell into place and we launched our preorder campaign without a problem.
 
I forgot to mention that in the middle of the books creation I had been laid off from work and my wife and I moved from Vancouver to La. If we were able to do so much in a such a chaotic and short period of time I know you guys can do even better.
 

After the launch

Here we are now, we haven’t quite covered the costs of creating the business but we haven’t even launched the product yet officially . Preorder phase ends in November and that is when the real work begins to fully automate the business. To all of you reading this, I hope this inspires you to create a product of your own. Maybe not as ambition as the one I chose, just because physical products sales are 2 times as hard and as expensive as digital ones, but none the less, you will learn a lot through the process about business. The great thing about creating books are that once their made they live forever. Factor that in when looking at expenses vs benefits.
 

Conclusion

Please ask questions in the comments section below and help me get you the best information possible. So comment below and ask question help me fill in any holes. 
 
Interested in creating your own Children’s book? I would love to hear from you and help in any way I can.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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