Find the Cutes: A Modern 'Where's Waldo' on Kickstarter
by Vincent Noot
(Cedar City, UT)
Find the Cutes cover
A whole family of "Waldos"
Anyone who wants to stand out between the millions of competitors in the children's book market needs to have something desirable that people see and say, "I want it. I want it now! I want it yesterday!"
That impulse to buy a book is what we aimed for in Find the Cutes - Playtime.
We hope that this book will have great reviews all over the internet. We put hundreds of hours into it, since it's better to do it right than to slack off.
The reasons why this could work are that the book is beautiful, funny, and educational. Children's imagination is exactly what you hope to reach when you write or illustrate a children's book. Kids give life to a family. They have that enthusiasm and cuteness that keeps parents interested in loving them.
So a book that can inspire people to think of the home, the family, and the whole environment kids are experiencing, has to be recognizable.
In Find the Cutes - Playtime we named all the kids with a "C" to make it funny. The story is that the oldest daughter has to babysit her younger siblings but is too busy texting her friends (typical for today's technology in society), and loses sight of them.
A simple storyline. But with hundreds of characters on each search page, who looks at the story anyway?
We've tested the book on children. The first thing they do is look at their goal: Find the Cute kids. Then they start searching. It's an activity book, and that interactive element is precisely what children's books need these days.
As a child, I spent a lot of time looking into those search books. I Spy and Where's Waldo? are the best-known ones. But to sell, you have to be unique. So with my illustration style and our own ideas, we gave a very different twist to the concept of a search book, something the children can relate more to: Kids, cute children their age who go to the swimming pool, the petting zoo, or the playground.
The process of a children's book takes a lot of time, as many of you illustrators and writers can confirm. Every little detail needs to be covered and thought through. One has to get into the mind of a child. For example, what can you do with a water gun? I thought of
• squirting it against another kid
• pretending it's real
• acting like a Rambo lookalike, or
• trying to hit the seagulls in the air.
That's what I would do as a kid, and that's thinking outside the box. Children don't have those limits of what not to do, so they try out almost anything. And THAT can create funny situations.
Writing a children's book, or illustrating one, takes time, but marketing it is the biggest challenge.
Self-publishing can get you lots of more profit than the 3-5% that actual publishers promise you on royalties, and that is IF they accept your manuscript. But self-publishing means making decisions.
Which channels are worth investing into, to advertise and get exposure? How much time are you going to put into contacting, posting, and sending things through social media? And what about local? Are you going to organize events, approach elementary schools, libraries, go do to door?
We are still in the process of figuring that out. Our book is all over Facebook, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr, but the Kickstarter campaign needs all the help we can get. We aren't a recognizable name yet, and it takes a lot of work to become one.
How many people went bankrupt before they achieved success? Tons! I have an aunt that failed 10 businesses before she got rich with the one she has now. So maybe if your book is not selling and you don't doubt the quality of the product, or the potential, you need to try a different strategy.
Sales can generate fans, who should be triggered to buy more of the same product. Once they have the book, you need to figure out something else you can sell them. That's why we created a series. We planned 10 books in the "Find the Cutes" series, each with a different theme.
The next one will be Festival Fun, focused on holidays and celebrations nationwide, but also a few in other countries.
The book is completed, so we now have a Kickstarter campaign from March 4th until April 14th, 2014. This is the link. You can sponsor/back our project during that span and receive discounts.
We are getting the website ready for ordering, so we are in the process of getting the book printed and attaching a payment system to the website. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or personally to my account.