Interview with Laura Schaefer – Author and Publisher, Planet Explorers Travel Guides for Kids

Laura Schaefer HeadshotTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

I’ve been a children’s writer and author for over ten years. I began as a curriculum writer out of college. In 2008, I switched to fiction and published The Teashop Girls with Simon & Schuster and its sequel, The Secret Ingredient, in 2011. I found I still had the impulse to write educational non-fiction materials for kids, but I wanted to do it my own way. I started Planet Explorers Travel Guides for kids to fulfill that wish. Fortunately, platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon made it easy to do so.

What did you do before launching your own business?

I learned as much as I could about other successful Kindle and ebook authors. I had a great conversation with fellow Wisconsin writer and Amazon bestseller Karen McQuestion, for example. I also had to learn new skills, such as blurb writing and cover design. I really enjoyed the new challenges.

How did you fund your business?

My business is all self-funded and has a very low overhead, thanks to the fact that I’m selling digital content.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent in your home office?

I work between 40 and 50 hours per week and spend about 30 of that at my home office. The rest is a mixture of working in cafes or traveling to do research.

How would your rate your success?

I’ve been blown away by the positive feedback I’ve received for my kids’ travel guides. Sales have steadily increased each month. I give myself a B – above average, but still room for lots of growth.

What has been your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur?

Marketing. Advertising can be very expensive and connecting on a personal level with consumers via social networking can be extremely time-consuming. Managing the balance between marketing my books and writing new titles is something I’m always fine-tuning.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Learn from the people who’ve gone before you. Ask a million questions. Keep your cost of living low, because the first few months or years of business will likely be lean.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I use the calendar on my iPhone and I’m glued to Gmail pretty much all waking hours of the day. I also meet with a business advisor at UW- Madison to make sure I’m keeping the big picture in mind on a month-by-month basis.

Connect with Laura Schaefer and Planet Explorers Travel Guides…Planet Explorers

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