“If I can be the cause of a connection between parent and child or child and story, then that makes my day.”
Why did you become a book publisher? We owned a cupcake shop that ended up going on and winning the Food Network's hit show Cupcake Wars. We used the prize money to print the first story in a series of children's books based on the cupcakes in the bakery coming to life at night. Toy Story meets The Smurfs, but based on a real location that kids could come in and explore. We didn't have time to submit the story to traditional publishers and hope to have it ready to sell when the television show aired, so we quickly became self publishers. We have two books printed with the third coming out next month. There are three more being illustrated and are scheduled for release in 2015.
What do you like best about publishing? We publish children's books. If I can be the cause of a connection between parent and child or child and story, then that makes my day.
What do you publish? Children's storybooks around 750-1,000 words targeting K-2nd grade
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? Word of mouth, then creative events, not the expected ones.
How do you define a successful title? If the author, illustrator, and publisher all learned something positive in the process and the end result is a product that will make someone's life more fun or more interesting, then that is success.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. The third story in our series that is about to come out next month is a current source of pride because it is a slight departure in a handful of ways that demonstrated the flexibility of all those involved and further defined our common goals.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Distribution, getting in front of buyers.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Don't take it on unless you would be happy doing it without making a dime. Be in the business for the fun of it, not for the profit.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? We hope to print 2 titles per year after 2015 which is slated for 3 new releases. This will bring our total to 6 at the end of 2015 and 14 titles at the conclusion of the five year window mentioned.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? www.neal-swanson.squarespace.com This is my creative outlet. I sell these pieces online and show them in comic book shops.
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