1555
8 min 47 sec

Healthcare Worker Publishes Children’s Book on Epidemiology

As the global pandemic known as COVID-19 begins, a healthcare agency owner sets out to explain it to kids through the form of an entertaining story.
Author Children Books Writing

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What It's About

Not seeing the diversity representation in children books, a mother writes her own.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Writing & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Regardless of your side hustle, Valene has some advice about reflection and progress over time. She suggests to “Do a weekly brain flush of everything you want to try in your business, what worked, what didn't or what to tweak.”

Fun Fact

Racial diversity of main characters and diversity in authors are growing, but slowly. This means there's still a large gap (and opportunity) to increase representation. [source]

Notes from Chris

Episode 1555
When the first lockdown for COVID-19 hit, Valene [vah-leen] Campbell knew she needed a new plan to make money. Right around then, Valene went on a walk that would change her life.

She was taking her daughter out for a stroll when they noticed a young boy sitting on a porch facing a window and talking to someone. When she took a closer look, she saw that there was another little boy on the other side of the glass. They were playing cards—separated by the glass for the sake of social distancing, but still able to play!

Valene was impressed by how they were making the best out of a bad situation. It also made her wonder about how children were handling the pandemic.

That’s when she had her first big idea: to write a children’s book to explain epidemiology—and she wondered who her main character would be. At first she thought she’d choose an animal, a common technique of children’s books. Would it be a squirrel? A dog? Maybe an insect? Then, she looked down at her daughter and realized that there were no books on her shelf with a main character that looked like her.

I should mention that Valene is Black. As part of her research, she discovered that according to one study, only 23% of children’s books featured non-white characters.

With that insight, she opened her notes app on April 1st, 2020 and started writing The Amazing Zoe Defeats the Germie Gremlins.

The Amazing Zoe was published in May 2020, less than two months after Valene had the idea. She was able to reach her audience through social media, connecting with librarians and elementary school teachers, word of mouth and a newsletter. The best part? None of these options cost money.

At this point, Valene is basking in the story of her success (two stories, actually). She’s earning about $700 a month and is experimenting with Amazon ads to increase sales further. She has two more children’s books in the works and is planning to launch a media house to help other self-published authors. It’s a series of moves in the write direction.

 
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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work! Yours in the revolution, cg-sig-newsletter
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Quote of the Day
"Do a weekly brain flush of everything you want to try in your business, what worked, what didn't or what to tweak."
—Valene Campbell #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau