Some of my all-time favorite episodes here on the podcast are ones like today's. These are episodes where we interview somebody who is not just a successful business owner, who tells us the stories, the ins and outs, the struggles of building a business, but somebody who's a member of the SPI community too.
Today's guest, Eevi Jones, is a member of SPI Pro, our premium entrepreneurial community here at SPI. And she helps people write children's books. How awesome is that?
I thought it would be exciting to unpack how Eevi built her business and how the writing process works for her. I asked her some questions you might ask if you wanted to write your own children's book, so if that's a field you want to get into, this episode is a must-listen. I have a new book of my own coming out soon, and although it's not a children's book, I might dive into that world in the future. And if and when I do, I know exactly who to go to!
Eevi is such a joy. She's so knowledgeable and has some amazing tips for anybody who's starting anything, really.
German-Vietnamese-born children’s author Eevi Jones is a USA Today & WSJ bestselling and award-winning writer, and the founder of Children’s Book University. Writing, cowriting, and ghostwriting under a number of pen names, Eevi has authored more than fifty children’s books. She’s been featured in media outlets such as Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, EOFire, Kindlepreneur, EP Magazine, SCBWI, and more. Eevi lives near DC with her husband and their two boys.
- What makes a great children's book
- Why research is so key when you're writing a children's book (and why a book is like a business)
- Why it's not about having kids (and how many beloved kids' books authors never did)
- What a book's business model looks like, and what kind of ROI you can expect
- How to find an illustrator and editor (and what it might cost)
- How to go about co-authoring a book with someone
- Eevi's process for helping authors turn grownup books into kids' books
- The keys to successfully marketing your new children's book
- The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman [Amazon affiliate link]
- The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier [Amazon affiliate link]
- How to Self-Publish a Children's Book by Eevi Jones
- SPI Pro
Pat Flynn: Some of my all-time, favorite episodes here on the podcast are ones like today's, where we interview somebody who is not just a successful business owner, who tells us the stories and the ins and outs, and the how they did it, the struggles, the challenges, et cetera, but somebody who's actually a member of the SPI community. And in fact, this member is also a member of SPI Pro, our premium sort of entrepreneurial community here at SPI. And her name is Eevi Jones, E-E-V-I Jones, and she helps people write and publish children's books. How awesome is that? You perhaps have heard me talk about wanting to do this in the past, and have seen so many other people who have wanted to do this. People who are listeners, people who are friends of mine.
Pat Flynn: And so, I thought this would be really exciting because we could number one, unpack how Eevi built her business, and how she started writing, and what that process is like. I ask her some questions as if I'm starting my own children's book. I have a book coming out. It's not a children's book, but I might dive into that world in the future, and I know exactly who to go to. But Eevi's just such a joy. She's so knowledgeable and shares some amazing tips for anybody who's starting anything really, because this isn't what she set out to do. So, I'm really excited because the inspiration behind her books as well is really, really important. So sit back, relax, let's play the intro and then we'll get into it.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now, so you who can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, give him one Taki and it's over. He's eating the whole bag: Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to session 351 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people, too. And like I said, we're speaking with Eevi Jones. You can find her at eevijones.com. And who knows? This might inspire you to write a children's book or with whatever project you're working on, tackle it in a way that brings your inspiration and execution through it. So here we go. Eevi Jones, here she is.
Pat Flynn: Eevi Jones, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Eevi Jones: Yes, thank you so much, Pat. I just wanted to thank you that I'm allowed to be here, and I'm really just looking forward to this. I'm really excited about this. And so is my son, he can't wait to listen to this interview.
Pat Flynn: I know about your son, because in SPI Pro one day, you had mentioned that he got inspired to actually start writing himself. Tell us about that a little bit.
Eevi Jones: It was actually really funny. I shared in a community that he sent me a newsletter.
Pat Flynn: And how old is he?
Eevi Jones: He's 11.
Pat Flynn: Eleven, and he's writing newsletters.
Eevi Jones: Yes. Well, so he, it was completely unprompted. One day I just received this letter from him and he said it's his newsletter. And so for the past year or so, I have been reading my newsletter that I write to my own list. And so I shared with him, and then I ask him questions about the title. Is that something that you would open? And why, and why not? I ask about, what I was trying to achieve with this particular email, and what wording I used, and what my call to action was, and things like that. And so, he's really into aircraft and DOD-related things, Department of Defense, mainly because we are a retired military family.
Eevi Jones: And so, he made up his own company called CAEN. Caen is his name, and so he turned it into an acronym that stands for Collaborative Advanced Engineering Networks. So the content of his newsletter is, of course, just completely made up, and all just make believe. And so this newsletter was about his company, and I'm the only one on his list. And I didn't even opt in, but now he knows all about intriguing subject lines and CTAs. And so when I received that email, I was just so unbelievably proud because it was so unexpected.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. That is awesome. You can let him worry about canned spam rules and all those kind kinds of things later, I think. What's most important is that you are lighting him up about something that is definitely going to be useful for him as he probably, he sounds very entrepreneurial. And I think he gets that from you, of course, because you are an entrepreneur, and you write children's books. How long have you been writing children's books for?
Eevi Jones: I started writing my very first children's book in 2013, for my then two year old. And that's my son that is 11 now. And, he's always so embarrassed when I tell the story, because my first children's book was a potty transition story, because while he was already potty trained, he had a really hard time transitioning from a potty chair to a regular toilet. And, because I couldn't find any books on this topic, I decided to just write my own. And so, my first children's book was really born out of this need. And so yeah, to this day, my boys are such a huge inspiration to me in my writing. And so, the books I wrote throughout the years are definitely a reflection of the interests they had. And so yeah, all together I have written, and coauthored, and ghostwritten nearly 50 children's books.
Pat Flynn: Fifty? That's five-zero?
Eevi Jones: Yeah. Fifty, for children ranging from pre-K all the way to middle-grade, which of course, includes picture books all the way to middle-grade chapter books.
Pat Flynn: That's incredible. Well, first of all, congratulations that just from that book that you started now, fifty, that's incredible. And I know you help a lot of other authors and people who are interested in writing children's books. And, that's kind of what we're going to talk about today. If, for example, I wanted to write one or a listener wanted to write one, what is the process? So, why don't we just start from the beginning? If anybody's interested in writing a children's book, where do we even begin, Eevi? What would you recommend?
Eevi Jones: When I started in 2013, when I wrote my very first children's book, I just did it through trial and error, because there really wasn't much out there on how to go about it. And that's really also why I wrote one of my books that's called, How To Self-Publish a Children's Book, just because I really saw a need for it. And so, that actually takes you through it step-by-step. But yeah, what I would start doing, my biggest advice would be ... I have three biggest that I would always share with people, because that's what I see people, these are the mistakes people make most often. Okay?
Eevi Jones: And so, the first thing I would do is actually do some research and know your audience. And it may sound funny when it comes to writing children's books, that you should be doing research, and that you should know your audience, but it's really true, very much like with business people, right? Something most aspiring children authors don't know, or don't realize, that they need to be really clear on their audience. We need to know who we are writing our book for. And so, many aspiring authors tell me that their book is perfect for any child, right? From age zero to age 12. And that everyone really will enjoy it.
Eevi Jones: Well, looking at our own kids' path, we know that that's just not true, because a three year old won't enjoy what an eight year old loves reading. Right? And vice versa. And so that's simply because we develop cognitively the most during our childhood. And that's why they're such a vast different in the use of vocabulary, or the word count within children's books, and the number of pages, and the number of illustrations and things like that. And so, that's why we want to be very clear on what age range we want to be writing for, so we can choose the right length in words accordingly. And, another aspect very unique to children's books is the fact that while the book is for a child, it's usually purchased by a grownup. So our book will have to essentially appeal to two different audiences, the buyer, which is who's the grownup, and then of course the readers, which are the children. That's something a lot of people don't realize.
Eevi Jones: And so, then the second advice I would share is, to plan ahead and really know already the size of your book before reaching out to an illustrator. And that's again, where the research also comes in because you want to go out and see similar books to your topic that you want to write about, and see what kind of layout they're using, and what kind of format. Is it square? Is it landscape? Is it a portfolio shape? So, and that's a big one with illustrations then, because most children's books, they are passion projects, right? Meaning, we just start writing and then we start envisioning the different illustrations. I mean, I understand those because I felt the same way. That's really the exciting part. And because we are so driven by this passion, and we are so passionate about it, we don't think about the more technical things like the illustration sizes or the book sizes, like the trim sizes and to actually make sure that they are also available. The orientation, whatever size you decide to go with, are they available with the printer that you're trying to use later on?
Eevi Jones: I remember wasting so much time with my first children's book because yeah, I just didn't think about any of these things. I illustrated my first children's book myself. And so, all illustrations ended up being the wrong size, and I essentially had to start all over again. I lost so much time. And so, if you are high hiring an illustrator, not only would you lose all this time, but you would also lose the investment that you've made in the illustrator. So yeah, before reaching out to an illustrator, I'd say, know the size you want your book to be in, and make sure that the place that you are using for the printing of your book actually offers that size. And then, already kind of know, or have an idea of what kind of illustrations you like, or want for your own children's book. Because, if you start looking for an illustrator without already having some sort of vision, we can get overwhelmed really quickly. And so, because there are just so many different styles out there. So first, get clear on what style you like and then yeah, go from there.
Eevi Jones: My last major tip that I always share is that yeah, not to be afraid to just give it a try. So, really 90% of people that hear that I write children's books, they tell me that they also want to write their own, and that that's something that they always thought about. And you said so yourself, right? So few actually end up doing so, and there are various reasons, but it really is never too late or never too early, really, to write your own children's book. Something people often are held back by as well, is the thought that they don't have any experience in writing or, oftentimes people share with me that they don't have kids, right? Or, that their kids already moved out, because they are older now. And so because of that, they don't feel like they are fit to write a children's book. But, there really is no reason to think not having kids disqualifies you to write a children's book, because I've worked with so many clients that either don't have a child, or like I said, they're already fully grown and have already moved out.
Eevi Jones: And it isn't necessarily about having kids or being around kids. It's having been a kid and remembering how that was like, right? And having had maybe similar experiences or, and having overcome similar struggles that kids go through, because that's what will connect with little ones, not whether or not the author is around children on a daily basis. Yeah, it's really common because so many don't know that some of our most beloved authors we remember from our childhood also didn't have children, like Dr. Seuss, for example, or Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, or even Shel Silverstein, or Maurice Sendak, or Margaret Wise Brown, for example, who wrote Goodnight Moon, all were without children. And yet, there are some of our most beloved children's book authors today.
Pat Flynn: I didn't know that. That's incredible. Well, thank you for those tips. So number one, research, know your audience. I would even suspect niching down, like I talk about in businesses is something that can be done in children's books, as well. I mean, even your first book, yes for a specific age range, but as a very specific sort of moment in life for a kid of that age. And, I see a lot of books that I can imagine. "Okay. Well, I can kind of understand who they're writing this for, but also why they're writing it." And then number two, planning ahead, figuring out what the size is. And would you recommend just going to, for example, like Barnes & Noble, and to the kids section, just kind of pick up books, feel them, look at them, and start to get inspired by them?
Eevi Jones: Yes, absolutely. That's something I do all the time. Sometimes I just sneak out of the house and that's where I go. I go to Barnes & Noble, into the children's book section. And, if you can't leave the house, you can also just use Amazon. I mean, Amazon is amazing for research, too. Also, for keywords, Amazon is amazing because again, just like with anything else, like the videos on YouTube, you want to make sure that your title, for example, has the keywords in it that will really help you later on with the marketing of your book. And that's, again, something that a lot of people don't think about just because, again, it's a passion project and oftentimes people already have a cute title in mind and it's really hard for them. I do one-on-one sessions with students, and so they always have this cute title in mind. And, it's really hard to just let go of this title, just because they have been having this all on their ... That's what they wanted to call their book all along.
Eevi Jones: And so, yeah, always suggest to, if not the title, then at least add a subtitle and then make sure that the keyword is in that subtitle. And that's also something that, a lot of traditionally published books actually don't have a subtitle. So, that's where we can kind of get ahead as self-published authors, to add a subtitle so that we can then add a keyword. Sneak one in there.
Pat Flynn: We'll talk about marketing for sure, because that's, I imagine, on a lot of people's minds right now. But, I want to ask you again with the creation of a book and considering what the topic might be and who it's for, how would you answer this question? What makes a great children's book?
Eevi Jones: We oftentimes as grownups want to share a certain value, and like being thankful or being persistent, things like that. And so, a great children's book is one that shares this value, but does it in such a way that it's not obvious, where it's neatly woven into a story because kids can really, they can tell if that's the main objective of your book. Yeah, so the most popular books are those that have these values, but weave it in beautifully. And the other thing, too, is it comes back to what I said about this, having this dual audience that we want to appeal to. So that's what's really interesting, is that the value is actually what will appeal to the parents that will purchase the book. And the characters that you choose for your story, and the colors you choose, and all that you have on your cover, that's what will appeal to the children.
Eevi Jones: And that's where the niching come into place, niching down, because I have, for example, one of my books is a garbage truck book. The selling point to grownups is teamwork. I talk about in the description that it's all about teamwork, and then for kids, those that love garbage trucks. So, that's my audience. It's very niched down, but it's doing really well because I paid attention to these two audiences and tying it all together.
Pat Flynn: That's so smart. I love that. I mean, that makes me think of one of my favorite children's books, What Do You Do With An Idea? And that that was written by Kobi Yamada, one of my favorites. Because as an entrepreneur, especially, I want to instill these entrepreneurial sort of values and principles into my kids, but then this book is very well illustrated. It's about this little bit of a struggle a person might have with an idea, and they're maybe a little bit scared of it, but then they're excited about it. And it's just like, "Oh wow, I want to instill those values into my children." But at the same time, it definitely appeals to the children as well. And you're right. I think those kinds of books are the ones that appeal to both the children and the adults. And I, that's a perfect answer. It makes it very clear. So, if you have an idea for a book and it doesn't really have a lesson or a value, it's just more of a cute story, if you will, it probably, won't appeal. Will it not?
Eevi Jones: There are some exceptions, and you can see this a lot with these comic books nowadays, where they are a little bit different from those traditional books that are growing like crazy. And that's really more geared toward what kids like. So I go, as a mom, I go out now and I wasn't too crazy about these types of books, like Captain Underpants, but my boys, they just love them so much, that as a grownup, I do say, "Okay, well I love that they read books." Right? So I purchased them. And so, yeah, there are exceptions of course, but it's always best if you can appeal to both audiences.
Pat Flynn: Right. It makes me think of when I was a kid and I was watching television. I definitely watched more TV than I read, unfortunately. But, there were some shows that were really good and taught like life lessons, like Doug. I really resonated with Doug on Nickelodeon because he was going through school and he was learning about things, and it did teach lessons, but I also just enjoyed the show. And then there were other shows like Ren & Stimpy, or even Rugrats in a way, where it wasn't really necessarily about the lessons or the values. It was just like craziness.
Eevi Jones: Yeah, just entertainment. Right?
Pat Flynn: Right, exactly. Exactly. Okay. This is really good. So, that was a fantastic answer. Let's talk about the business model here. Can you talk a little bit about how much it might cost, or what the investment might be up front? And what are the possibilities, in terms of ROI on this?
Eevi Jones: It's mostly a passion project. I always tell people, you won't be able to make a killing with the first book. Where it comes, where things really get rolling is when you keep writing. A lot like regular authors, also with other genres. It's not necessarily the first book, it's like a series or writing more books. Because once one has been discovered, it's much easier for people to then buy the second or third book, right? As for the investment, the beauty of children's books is that they are a lot shorter. So, an editor won't break the bank. So, that's good. Where it can get a little costly is for when you go and search for an illustrator. But here, I don't really like to give a price range because that really depends on what kind of illustrator you're using, what style, because there are different styles. For example, if you're using digital images, that's a lot more cost effective than for example, watercolor.
Eevi Jones: So then, you also have to look at the illustrator's experience. The more experience they have, the more they will also cost. And then the other thing too is, how many illustrations do you need for your book? So again, for little kids, it's important to have an illustration on every page. Whereas for older kids, when you write for middle-grade, for example, those chapter books, you only need an illustration for each chapter instead of every page. So these are all things that will determine the price.
Pat Flynn: Gotcha. Okay. That's, that's really helpful. And I love what you said about keeping a series going and not really doing this to get rich, right.? I mean, that's not what it's about. And, we hear about stories like that. Sometimes we hear about certain stories. I mean, Harry Potter, for example, taking off and blowing up and becoming a series of movies. And JK Rowling, just kind of becoming a celebrity now. And, I think that when we think about success in children's books, we often look at those kinds of people and go, "Wow, that's kind of what we're shooting for," but can you make this a full-time thing, and make a good living out of it? Is that possible?
Eevi Jones: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I know so many authors that do, but again, if you look at what, where they came from, it's they're all, every single one that now makes a living off their children's books is an author of multiple books and also multiple series even. So, that's definitely the way to go there. And yeah, I mean, I myself make a living from my own children's books. I have other in streams of income as well, but I could completely just rely on that. And in fact, I used to teach accounting and finance to a grad student, and I was able to last year, let go of my job and just completely rely on my income from my own books.
Pat Flynn: Wow. Congratulations. That's amazing. And, I think if I recall, your first book was 2013, so it took a little bit of time to get to the point at which you could walk away from the old position that you have. But, how's it feel to go full time with this?
Eevi Jones: It's amazing. I mean, I never knew that this is something I wanted to do. Like I said, it was just something that was a need, and that's why I started writing, but it has really become a passion of mine. And, I just love it so much. And, oftentimes people ask me, "Well, so what do you do to just relax and unwind?" And I can't think of anything else, but to tell people, "Well at night," and because that's when I write, when everybody's already in bed, including my husband, that's when I set it down and I start writing because it's quiet. I can just relax. That's when my creativity kicks in. And yeah, that's really what I do to relax is just to sit there and write. Yeah, I'm so happy that I found this passion of mine and really so grateful, too.
Pat Flynn: That is amazing. I know that you had mentioned earlier that you've authored, not just books on your own, but you've done it with other people. You've co-authored. I think that's a really interesting idea. I see that on a lot of books, but I can imagine that being very complicated or that the choreography behind that could be quite difficult. Can you give us some inspiration for, like there might be a husband and wife combo listening to this, or a person and their business partner might want to write a book together. How do we go about co-authoring a book, and navigate that properly? How do we co-author a book properly?
Eevi Jones: That's definitely, it can be tricky, but what really helps is to realize where your strengths lie, and where you think the other person might add to the whole project. For the ghost writing, co-writing, me, I personally, it's just something I fell into. So a couple of years ago, I read Todd Herman's Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The Alter Ego Effect. And so, I really loved it so much, that I wanted to share it with my own two boys. And so, I turned his book of nearly 250 pages into a children's book with about 250 words. And so my boys, they loved it. I just wanted to share it with them, but because they loved it so much, I actually ended up reaching out to Todd and I'm sharing it with him.
Eevi Jones: Yeah, so he loved it so much that we decided to co-author a children's book version for his book. And so, he was on planning on doing so anyway, so the timing was just, it was perfect. And so, that's how his children's book, My Super Me, was born. And so this collaboration, this project opened up a whole bunch of new doors and opportunities, that I'm really just so grateful for him. And so, that's what I wanted to mention also is that with the co-writing, that during your interviews, Pat, on the Family-preneur, and The Boss Dad Podcast, you shared that you want little ones to learn how to stand out, and how to problem solve, and how to get over their fears that often hold people back from living their life they want to live. And yeah, I loved hearing this so much, that it's really the driving force of my own mission in life, which is to bring inspiring books written for adults into kids' lives, by rewriting them in such a way that they can be understood by little ones.
Eevi Jones: And, because it is taking the wisdom we grownups have gained, and something that took us really many years, and it allows us to teach it to our children. And that's where it clicked for me. When I read Todd's book, The Alter Ego Effect, as soon as I finished reading it, I knew I wanted my two boys to understand its content and the main idea, so they too could apply it to their lives. Not when they were older and "ready to read grownup books," but now. Yeah, I was just so encouraged by Todd's amazing reaction when I approached him, that I created a new award winning series, called Braving The World. And it takes grownup concepts we find in entrepreneurial and self-development books, and retells them in a way that little readers could understand.
Eevi Jones: And as I was working on my own series, I then was approached by other entrepreneurs, and many whom Todd had actually sent my way, which I will always be so, so grateful for. And so then, I began writing children's book versions for their best-selling and well-known books. So some were co-authored, like I said, and some also ghost-written, meaning my name does not appear on the cover. Yeah, and I really think, honestly, that I would have never had the courage to just go for this, if I wouldn't have heard you talk about your entrepreneurial adventures with Keoni and your desire to share and instill these important principles, early on in our kids' lives.
Pat Flynn: Oh, thank you.
Eevi Jones: Yeah, because I mean, I have been within this entrepreneurial space for quite some time. And, I remember so clearly, when I first joined certain communities and certain courses that people always wondered what that children's author was doing there. And really, I, myself didn't even understand why I felt so drawn to other entrepreneurs instead of other authors. Right? I just knew I wanted to be among other entrepreneurs. I wanted to learn about funnels, and CTAs, and click through rate and all the typical entrepreneurial stuff, which is, of course, why I started listening to your podcast, Pat. And, but I always felt so out of place because all I did was write children's books, and I also later created my own courses on how to write children's books. But initially, it was just me writing my children's books.
Eevi Jones: But yeah, you really showed me that my passion for entrepreneurship and my wish to share entrepreneurs' values and principles can actually be combined and taught, to even the littlest of people in the form of children's books. When people want to write, like I said, I write with lots of other people now. It really depends on who it is that you want to write with. You want to sit together and you want to first get clear on what it is that you want to bring across with your book. What is it that you want to share with the reader? And also, what do you want the reader to get out of your book? And so, once you get clear on that, I think it won't be hard to work together. What I personally do, is I really try to understand my client when I write for them.
Eevi Jones: And I do this, because I work with entrepreneurs, I have this advantage where oftentimes they have given interviews. I can listen to their podcast interviews, or I can go to YouTube and just listen to them. And also, I can go and read their book because oftentimes they want me to turn their grownup book into a children's book. I can get so much information just by looking at these different interviews and reading their books. And I can really extract the value of what their mission, what is their mission? And then, how can I translate that into a children's book story? And so, yeah. Then after I do the research we need, where again, I then have the opportunity to ask even more questions. And, because I have already done all this research, I can now ask even deeper questions.
Eevi Jones: So, I just ask things like, what is it that you want to get out of this book? What I already mentioned, and what do you want the little readers to get out of it? I can also ask, something I love asking is, what are your favorite children's books from your own childhood? Or if they already have children now, what are some of the children's books you love now? And, the reason I ask this is because, it often gives me an idea of what kind of style they might enjoy for their own children's book. And so, yeah, deep diving and researching that person that the book is for, that I would say the number one thing to do here, if you are writing a book together.
Pat Flynn: Do you know who, he's actually a member of SPI Pro as well, Michael Bungay Stanier. He wrote The Coaching Habit. And then, he also has a book called The Advice Trap. And it's interesting, because in that book, The Advice Trap, he talks about something called The Advice Monster, the monster that we all have in us to just offer somebody advice without even really understanding the context. And, it's a book written for adults and about our behavior as we try to provide value, and sometimes our advice monster can get in the way. I'm just imagining a children's book version of that with the monster, and always interrupting with what they think is the best course of action before fully understanding the situation anyway. Maybe you guys can connect inside of the community, because that would be a pretty epic, at least the illustrations. I can imagine, just like this thing, anyway. Cool.
Pat Flynn: I wanted to ask you as we finish off here, the biggest question that's probably on a lot of people's minds, which comes after getting inspired to write a book, which is, well, how are people even going to know this thing exists? How do we market the book? And of course, people who have already authored books, they have the benefit of starting early and having a lot of their current customers become their next customers. But, if you're just starting fresh and you're just starting from scratch, how in the world are we going to have people even find out about our book?
Eevi Jones: So I always talk about marketing, and to start marketing before your book is even completed. And, I say this to my readers and I say in Children's Book University, that's something I really try to emphasize a lot. And so, because if you have marketing already in mind, you can already make so many decisions early on. Like for example, having keywords in your title, right? Adding a subtitle where you can add another keyword, looking at doing research, and looking at books that are already out there, so you can see what books are doing well already. And so, something I like to do is actually go on to Amazon and find these books that are similar to my own, and then look at, how are they being perceived? Are they selling well? What are the reviews like?
Eevi Jones: I love looking at the five star reviews and also at the one star reviews, but where the juicy parts are, is actually in the three star reviews. And the reason is that, people that leave three star review, they usually have something they loved about the book, but they also have something that they didn't like about the book, or that they thought was missing. And so, I can take this and run with this, and it means I can improve my own book based on, "Okay, this person wrote this and people like this, but they wish they would've had this also included." And so I can work on that then and include that in my own book. So, that's one thing.
Eevi Jones: I also may talk a lot about the cover. People really do judge a book by its cover, and that's true for grown-up books, but for children's books even more so. So, we want to really make sure again, to emulate what's working. Not to copy what other people are doing, but to kind of get a sense of, "Okay, where should the title be? How big should the title be? What should the illustration be? Is it congruent with what the topic of the book is?" Things like that. For example, if you talk about the happy child, let's say that's the title, The Happy Child. And then on the cover, it's a dog crying. It's not congruent. So it will really confuse people. Just like always, confused people won't buy. So, that's one thing.
Eevi Jones: The other thing, too is, I always do my research in terms of categories. I'm sure you heard Steve Chessen talk about this. And it's the same with children's books. It's really important to find the right categories. The other thing, too, is to make sure that the description has the keywords in it because Amazon is an algorithm. It is a computer, not a person. So, you want to make sure that your keywords appear all over, including title, subtitle and description also.
Eevi Jones: And so the other thing too, again, is really important to remember your audience. So, we know that kids usually, unless they are a little bit older and have their allowance, they usually don't buy the books. So, you have to go to places where the grownups are, right? So you have to figure out, well, where are they? For example, if your children's book is about dogs, maybe you can find a Facebook group that is about dogs. You can even niche down further. Maybe your children's book is about a pug. So you can find groups, Instagram pages, or also LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups, and just go in there and just see. I mean, don't be spammy of course, don't go in there and say, "Hey, I have written this children's book," but just always participate in the of conversations. And then, that's how you meet those people and then you can share it with them.
Eevi Jones: It's very similar to just business in general, where you, how you find your audience. But again, a lot of children's book authors, they don't realize this because again, it is a passion project and they don't look at the marketing at all. But if you can find your target audience and if you have your keywords, you will find your audience. You will reach your audience.
Pat Flynn: That's epic advice. Thank you, Eevi. This has been absolutely fascinating. And I'm just, the gears in my head are going and I'm sure it is the same for people out there listening. And maybe you're listening to this and you didn't even expect that you might be one day interested in writing a children's book, and now you are. So, Eevi, where can people go to find out more from you about how to do this?
Eevi Jones: Well, thanks so much for asking, Pat. Yeah, if you're interested in my own books, you can find them at bravingtheworldbooks.com. And if you're looking to write your own children's book, you can find all kinds of resources at eevijones.com. That's E-E-V-I jones.com, and I have lots and lots of free resources over there to help you get started.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much. Can I ask you one more question before you go?
Eevi Jones: Yes, of course.
Pat Flynn: What is one piece of advice that you would offer yourself if, when you started writing books in 2013, now, knowing what you know now, if you could take the DeLorean and go back into time and tell yourself one thing that would help you the most. What would you tell yourself as you were starting your journey?
Eevi Jones: Okay. The number one advice would just be to just do it, just really do it, because there are so many people that come and write to me, that it breaks my heart because they write to me and tell me that they want to write a children's book, but they are so afraid for many reasons. Like that they might sell, or that people might not be interested, or the feedback, that people that they, their family members, that they might be laughing. Just do it, just get out there and try it. And, it's really just for yourself. Like I said, it's a passion project. Just believe in yourself. I think that will be my number one advice.
Pat Flynn: Thank you, Eevi. We appreciate you. This was super fun, and I look forward to chatting with you again inside of SPI Pro. Thank you by the way, for joining SPI Pro and getting involved, and really helping SPI Pro early on become what it's become. Your feedback has been in invaluable. In case anybody's interested in SPI Pro, do you want to describe a little bit about the value you get out of there?
Eevi Jones: Yes, of course. I mean, it's so funny because when I learned about your SPI Pro community, I knew I wanted to be part of it. And I joined before I even read the sales page. And so the reason why SPI Pro seemed so appealing to me, and really like the next natural step, was because I didn't just want another course. I didn't just want to be another member someplace, but I wanted to be a member of an actual active and real-life community of like-minded and driven people. And, because it's your community path, I knew there'd be a lot of emphasis on giving and not just receiving within this group of people. And so, yeah, I mean, the members within this community, they're all growth-minded and highly motivated entrepreneurs. And I mean, really everyone shares their knowledge, so graciously and shows their support.
Eevi Jones: And so, we all have, of course, different backgrounds and areas of expertise, which is actually what I think makes this group so unique. Right? And so powerful. And yeah, I mean, ever since I joined, I've learned all about all kinds of new tools and new ways of doing things, and that's on top of all the connecting. So yeah, I mean, all that I have been missing and looking for these past years of entrepreneurship, like collaborating, accountability, networking, and connecting with like-minded people, I've been able to find that in SPI Pro. Everyone here understands the joy as well as the challenges of being an entrepreneur. Yeah. That's really what I needed. I needed this kind of environment of like-minded people around me.
Pat Flynn: That means so much to me, Eevi, thank you. I'm going to pass it on to the team right after this. And if you are listening to this and you're interested in learning more and you want to apply, we let people in once per quarter, and you can come in with a group of students. It's really fun, smartpassiveincome.com/pro. You can find Eevi and so many of our other guests on the show are also members, too, which is super cool. So, Eevi, thank you so much for that. And thank you for coming on and sharing your wisdom about writing children's books, and what the process is like. I think now even more excited to one day soon, start going down this direction.
Eevi Jones: Yes, no, thank you so much. It was so much fun and yes, I was so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Eevi. And if like me, maybe you now even more inspired to write a children's book, you know exactly where to go, eevijones.com. And of course, you can check out SPI Pro as well. You can join myself, Eevi, my team and so many other members, hundreds of other members, in fact, at SPI Pro. So you can go to smartpassiveincome.com/pro to check it out, and apply to get in, in the next wave if you do qualify. It's just an amazing community. And it is going to be a huge thing that we focus on next year for the members who are in there. Again, smartpassiveincome.com/pro. A big thank you to Eevi, a big thank you to you for listening all the way through, and all the amazing feedback that has come in this year.
Pat Flynn: We are right about to hit 2022, and it's going to be an exciting year for all of us. We have a lot of things planned here at SPI to better serve you. No matter how you choose to interact with us, we're going to have some things for you. No matter where you're at in your business, it's going to be so much fun. Can't wait for more. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. If you haven't already and feel free to share this episode, if you feel like you know somebody in your life, who's also interested in writing children's books. This might be a good one for you. So anyway, thank you so much to Eevi. Thank you, and I appreciate you. I'll see you the next episode. Peace out, cheers, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at smartpassiveincome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sarah Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.