Jillian Leslie 0:04
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. I’m super glad you’re here. Okay. First, have you tried MiloTree Sparkles? These are the sparkles that you can add to your MiloTree pop ups. I think they are so cool. People are really liking them.
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For today’s episode, I’m excited also to have Maggy Woodley back on the show. Maggy is the brains and creativity behind Red Ted Art. That’s her beautiful blog.
I interviewed her previously in Episode 18. So that was a long time ago. Maggy has just come out with her second published book on paper crafting.
We are talking about what it’s like to write a book as a blogger, what it’s like to get it published, what it’s like to write an Ebook, what your options are. What I love about Maggy is she’s so honest, and so willing to share what this whole process is like.
If you are thinking of writing a book, if you are scared to write a book, if you want to just learn about this whole area, I definitely think you will love this episode. And even if you’re not interested in books, I think you will really enjoy Maggy.
So without further ado, here is my interview with Maggy Woodley.
Maggy, welcome back to the show. Thank you for doing Part Two.
Maggy Woodley 2:12
Great! I’m so pleased to be here again. It was so much fun last time so it’s great to have another chat.
Jillian Leslie 2:17
Yes. And I love hearing your accent. It feels so proper. So, you just published or came out with your second book.
Maggy Woodley 2:29
Yes. Very exciting.
Jillian Leslie 2:30
What I want to be talking about with you today is what that process was like. So, if people in the audience are thinking about how do I get a book published, or is that the right path for me, but I feel like I’ve got a book inside of me. That’s really what I want to talk about.
What do I do? How did you go about this? What are your recommendations for people who feel that same way?
Maggy Woodley 2:58
Yeah. I mean I think publishing is something that a lot of people kind of dream of, especially bloggers because we write, don’t we? It sort of seems like a natural next step to then go and have something in print. I think it’s a really good ambition. I think people should totally go for it if that’s one of their dreams.
And so, there’s lots of different ways of doing it. You can sort of start off with things like Ebook. I know we talked about publishing and everyone thinks about print copy but I think it’s also really important for people to think about other options. It doesn’t have to be your traditional path.
I think what’s nice about something like Ebooks is it gives you a taste of what it’s like to write a book. You can give it a go, and you don’t have to write… For example, my new book is 60 projects, which is quite a lot.
Jillian Leslie 3:45
First of all, just briefly, what’s the title of it and what’s it about?
Maggy Woodley 3:49
Okay. Yes, rewind, rewind. It’s called Easy Paper Project for kids. The idea behind the book ~ there are sort of two key themes that are really important to me that I hope people get. One is that it’s literally… I mean it’s paper, right? You have paper. Maybe some card stationery, and you can make everything in the book.
Especially with my first book actually. My first book had lots of different crafts, and toilet paper rolls, some stones, some sewing, which is also really valuable obviously. But this book is designed for those kids who don’t have many craft supplies at home.
Because we live in small houses, or people have a few resources, or some parents just don’t like the mess. I totally get that. That’s totally fine. So this book is designed to be super simple in terms of the materials needed.
And so far, the feedbacks been super. It’s that the kids take the book, they look at it, and they go, “Oh my gosh, I want to make everything.” And they take the book, and they run off, and the parents don’t ever see it again, which I love.
And it also means that the kids can actually work at this on their own. I mean when I say kids I’m thinking like eight years plus. If the children are younger, they can still do all the projects, but obviously, with parent help.
The book has all sorts. It has some super easy stuff. I mean you almost think, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even think that was a craft.” To stuff where you kind of have to really think a little bit and concentrate and work through the process.
I’m hoping that it helps kids to actually learn stuff as well. So they’ve got the super easy stuff to build confidence. And then, they have the more challenging stuff that they go, “Oh, I want to try something a little bit harder now.”
So hopefully, it’s really doable, really easy, really fun. It’s like my blog. Lots of colors. It’s very bright. It’s very rainbowy, that sort of stuff. So hopefully people will get as excited about it as I am.
Jillian Leslie 5:35
That’s great. Talk to me then, did you start with Ebooks?
Maggy Woodley 5:45
As many bloggers, I’ve always wanted to get published. So yes, I did have some Ebooks many many moons ago. I think my very first one isn’t actually… If I look at it now I’m like, “It’s a bit awkward.” My photography wasn’t as good. I mean the craft is still really nice.
I did 10, I think. Ten toilet paper roll craft. Or maybe it was 12. I can’t remember. Yes, I did have some books. And I did a couple of collaborative Ebooks. So that was also quite interesting because then you see different people’s styles and different people’s layouts.
I think the great thing about Ebooks is that it is something you can do yourself. You can do it in things like illustrator. You can do it in PicMonkey. You can do it on PowerPoint. You can do it in Word. And you just turn it into PDF, and then you can sell it.
So the great thing about Ebooks is one, it gives you a feel for what it takes to do a book. And secondly, actually you can earn really well with Ebooks.
Jillian Leslie 6:38
Maggy Woodley 6:39
Yeah, because when you sell it, you earn all that money,
Jillian Leslie 6:42
Right. And it’s a download so it’s not even… Like it’s boom. So it’s like a great passive income stream.
Maggy Woodley 6:49
Yes, absolutely. And you can put it on different places. You can put on your blog with something like, one of those shopping carts. It escapes me right now which ones you can use but there’s a whole range out there.
But you can also put on things like Teachers Pay Teachers. You can put it on things like Gum Road. Send that out. So there’s loads of places. Especially something like Teachers Pay Teachers. They’ve got their own like internal search engine. So you know, they kind of sell it for you as well. So it doesn’t get disappeared on your potentially smaller blog. So Ebooks, I think a really good way to start off.
Jillian Leslie 7:19
Would you put it on Etsy?
Maggy Woodley 7:22
Yeah, yeah, Etsy. Anywhere like that. Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. And then, very similar to Ebooks is the self publishing route. I do know, bloggers who’ve written books, and then put it on Kindle, on Amazon.
Jillian Leslie 7:36
Now, can you explain what that is.
Maggy Woodley 7:40
Kindle is basically your electronic version of a book that people read on. On Kindles but not on iPad. It’s different. It is technically a published book. And Amazon will also print it for you, but it’d be usually quite expensive to have it printed because it’s basically you’re printing one out at a time.
It’s still an electronic copy. I mean you can get print offs as well. Obviously, people can choose to spend more on it if they want. But it’s more that people are going to read it as as an electronic book.
Now, the good thing about that is, again, you earn most of that money yourself. I mean a bigger chunk goes to Amazon than if you had a normal Ebook. Also I know of one blogger, if not two, I’m thinking of one specifically, she nailed it. She writes romance novels.
She wrote one. She put it on Kindle. She played the Amazon Kindle game. I don’t know how she did it, or how she worked it out but she basically sometimes put it on offer, and it was available for like 10 pence to download. Then she put it back up to £1.50. Then she put it back down to 10p. And she basically sold 100,000 copies.
Jillian Leslie 8:47
Oh my God.
Maggy Woodley 8:48
Yeah. That caught the attention of a publisher who then signed her up. And she wrote three more books through the publisher.
Jillian Leslie 8:55
Maggy Woodley 8:55
Right. So it can be a route into traditional publishing without an agent without contacting the publishers yourself. If you can attract or get them to notice you, it can actually end up in your traditional print copy because they see your work, they can read it, they can see it successful and their people like it.
So I think that’s quite an interesting way of doing it as well. And I know a few people who’ve done the self publishing route, which is very similar work to Ebooks. But the only difference is that when you’re uploading to Kindle, you need to understand the kind of their page layouts and technology. So it does take some effort. But then writing a book takes…
Jillian Leslie 9:32
Exactly. We’re going to get into that. Okay. Let’s say that I were to start with an Ebook, do you think that it wouldn’t be that difficult to format it for Kindle and then it will show up on Amazon? Right?
Maggy Woodley 9:46
Jillian Leslie 9:47
You want to take advantage of those sites where people can be searching for what you’re writing?
Maggy Woodley 9:54
Exactly. Yes. In other words, you don’t have to do… I mean you still need to do a little marketing but obviously, it helps to have it on platforms like that. And then, the next way to publish is obviously your publisher, so your traditional publisher.
And again, even there, there’s two or three different ways of doing it. The most common way that a lot of people do, especially here in the UK, I think in the US it’s mixed, is to find an agent. My route was to ask other bloggers who published who the agents were, and I talked to those agents and see if they want to take me on.
But you can also find registries of these agents and you can write to them. Another friend, I know she found her agent at a blogging conference where one of the sessions was talking to literary agents. So again, if you’re going to conferences, just look up and see if they’ve got one of those sessions going on.
Or you can go directly to the publisher yourself. My first book was through an agent that I got via another blogger. My second book is directly with a publisher called Page Street Publishing. They actually specialize in publishing bloggers. They love working with bloggers. So anyone here interested in publishing, email them and say, Maggy sent you.
Oh, they’ll be really happy. I don’t know. I’m assuming happy.
Jillian Leslie 11:19
No. No. Sorry. This publisher who likes publishing bloggers, is it predominantly craft bloggers, food bloggers, parenting bloggers? Like it doesn’t matter or they typically focus in desserts or something like that?
Maggy Woodley 11:37
To be honest, I had a look at their books recently and it’s everything. It’s all sorts. So there are a lot of food bloggers, and there’s a lot of craft bloggers. Also, not just kids crafts, but you know, sewing and quilting and knitting and whatever. But there’s also some mindfulness ones.
There’s definitely loads of food ones. They also have, I saw a range of novels coming out. I didn’t know if that’s something that do knew, because I hadn’t seen the novels before. But I’m like, “Oh, can I get on your mailing list for those novels?” Because I love reading so. So, there’s quite a broad range that they do.
It’s definitely worth checking them out and seeing what other titles they have. What I liked about them is… I contacted them, they like me because of my social media but that wasn’t a prerequisite. So I just want to say that so that nobody’s like, “Oh, I’m a bit smaller. They might not like me.” Because they do like smaller people as well, if that makes sense.
Jillian Leslie 12:31
Yeah. Wait. Do you think in your experience, that if there is a blogger who has been published, he or she would be willing to share their information about their publisher? Or is that kind of something people hold close to their vest?
Maggy Woodley 12:47
Personally, I think people are quite open about it.
Jillian Leslie 12:49
Okay. So if you’re a blogger, you could feel comfortable approaching another blogger who’s had a book done?
Maggy Woodley 12:55
Yeah, I think so. I don’t think it’s something that… Maybe they want to talk about the numbers or the finances but I don’t think they have a problem talking about their agent or their publishing company at all. I haven’t had that experience. I think people are quite happy to talk about that. So if you know another blogger who has published, I’m sure it’s fine to talk to them and ask them.
There’s also a third way of getting published with a publishing house. Some of the publishing houses kind of hire you to write for them, if that makes sense. So, the traditional publishing is you get a commission for each sale. But then there’s other publishers which will give you a flat fee up front. Your name will still be on the cover. Sometimes it isn’t, but usually it is. So, it’s still your book, but you just get a flat fee. And then that’s it.
Jillian Leslie 13:41
So you’re kind of like a gun for hire?
Maggy Woodley 13:43
Yeah, exactly. Again, I know a couple of bloggers who’ve done that. And I think they’ve been quite happy with that. But I think generally, most bloggers still prefer to get the percentage, or at least some sort of commission, because it kind of view then to have more of an invested interest in that book doing really really well.
I think you’ll earn a little bit more, not necessarily a lot more, but you tend to earn a bit more with a commission based approach, if that makes sense. Or royalties.
Jillian Leslie 14:11
Is writing books a way to make a good income? Because I’ve heard a variety of things. Should people go into writing books as a way to supplement their income in a good way? Or is it predominantly for other purposes like getting your name out there, and credibility, and working with brands and things like that?
Jillian Leslie 14:38
I think that credibility is really important. That’s actually my main driver. And also, it’s a little bit to do with giving back to my readers because I get a lot of people saying, “Oh, we’re going to get your book.” And I’m like, “Oh, that one’s out of print. I think I need a new one.”
Maggy Woodley 14:50
But in terms of earning an income, I would say the money isn’t terrible. Actually, no. Let’s say that again. The income has to do a little bit with the size of your blog and how much you’re earning already off your blog. My site, I’m lucky enough, is relatively big.
Jillian Leslie 15:10
Maggy Woodley 15:10
I think I have a good income from it. For me, the income from the book is relatively small, percentage wise, so it’s not as important to me. However, it’s still income. It’s still money. It’s still worth it.
I’m thinking about a couple of other bloggers. For example, Sarah D. from Frugal, Fun with Boys and Girls now because she’s got a little girl as well. She’s done four Lego books with the same publisher as myself. Might even be on her fifth one. The first one sold out in two weeks.
I mean it just went through the roof. And then they republished it, I think twice even right. So she would have made a lot of money on that first book because you could work out the royalties on that. So, if you sell the whole print run of one book, that’s a nice amount of royalties, but actually she earned three times that amount without any extra work because it was selling so well.
Most people I speak to say, “You don’t do it for the money.” I don’t feel you do it for the money. However, if for whatever reason it does really well, actually, the money is worth it, I think.
And I do know, a couple of bloggers who’ve done two or three books relatively quickly close together. I’m pretty sure that’s motivated by income because their blogs are slightly smaller, and they’re not making as much from the blog. So it’s still a really good salary. I think,
Jillian Leslie 16:29
Maggy Woodley 16:29
But it’s a lot of work.
Jillian Leslie 16:31
I was just gonna say. But, I’m a blogger, let’s say. I am working hard on that, and working hard on social media, how hard is it to write a book?
Maggy Woodley 16:43
Well, personally, there’s no question that there is an element of stress involved. Most publishers want between 50 and 100 activities, or crafts, or recipes, or whatever it is. It takes some time pushing to get to the 60 figure. But then a lot of my published books are around the 60 marks, that’s fine.
And 60, at first you think, “Oh, it’s okay. I can write down quite a few quite quickly. I can do that. I can do that.” But then actually, when you get to about 35, that’s when you kind of hit sort of… you do have moments of burnout, if you want. So.
So the thing about writing a book, I think, is you have to be really passionate about the topic itself. I had my moments where I was like, “Oh, gosh. What to make now?” And then you get through it, and then you have like a second wind and then you have loads of ideas again.
But there’s always going to be a few bits in the middle where you’re a bit like stuck. And you’re like, “Oh, what next?” And if you don’t like what you’re writing about, you can really hate it.
Jillian Leslie 17:46
Right. Now, can you repurpose crafts you’ve done on your blog? Or does the publisher say, “No, way. It all has to be new content.”
Maggy Woodley 17:56
It totally depends on the publisher. It also totally depends on the publisher and how much they want to sign you specifically up. In my book, there is a good percentage of it. About 20-25% is old content, reused. But that’s unusual. Normally, they go for about 5%. If you’re lucky, 10.
So I think I was just lucky again, because we’re like, “Oh, she’s got it going a bit on her YouTube channel.” They’re really hoping I’m going to sell this for them. So I’m a bit nervous.
I’m always about being inexpensive. So my readers are not used to spending money when they craft my craft. On the one hand, they’re very loyal. They might buy the book. On the other hand, they’re like, “Oh, no. We like things that are free.”
Jillian Leslie 18:44
How much is your book selling? How much will it sell for?
Maggy Woodley 18:47
I think the book price itself is like $19.99. But because it’s on Amazon and stuff, it usually comes down to about $14 or $15. There’s sort of the standard craft book price. Pretty average. If you’re in the UK, and you’re listening, I have 500 books downstairs in my living room, and I’m happy to post them.
Because in the UK, you can only get it on Amazon. In America, you can get it in Barnes & Nobles. There’s lots of independent book shops that will have it. So just keep an eye out for it. Yeah, so all sorts.
So, back to the how many projects you can put into it. Therefore, it is a lot of work. So you have to think about how does it fit into your regular work. For some people, when they write a book, it means they stopped blogging for the same amount of time.
So, if you’re going to take three months to write it, you need to think about can you fit it into your regular work? Or can you afford not to spend that time on your blog? I think that’s really important consideration to make because it is stressful, and you don’t want to burn out. And you also want to enjoy the book when it’s done. You don’t want to hate it because you’ve put so much energy into it.
So for me, the deadlines or what we worked out. I mean I could have pushed the deadlines back but I wanted my book to publish now in September because I wanted it ready for Christmas sales. So in order for that to happen, I had to basically write it in September, October, November, which actually for most bloggers is the busiest blogging season. So timing, you could argue was really bad because…
Jillian Leslie 20:30
Wait. So, you wrote this last year in September, October, November?
Maggy Woodley 20:34
Right. A year ago. Yeah.
Jillian Leslie 20:36
Is that normal that the lead time is close to a year?
Maggy Woodley 20:40
Yes, easily. It can even be 18 months. In fact, I think my first book was 18 months. So this one was a shorter lead time in that sense. And that’s quite common. So again, I guess you have to factor that in as well. It is a long process.
And your part is almost quite a small process. The longer part is when they then bring it all together, and then they edit it and proofread it, and then they have to send it off for printing, and they get you know, proofs and all that kind of stuff.
So yeah, easily a year if not a little bit longer. So you have to think about how you can fit that in. I actually did the math. If I really want this done by the end of November, it ended up being six crafts a week I had to make.
So I looked at my working week and went, “Okay. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday is blog. Thursday, Friday is book only and nothing else.” I wouldn’t even go on Facebook. Well, I did go on Facebook, but I wouldn’t go on Facebook to do any scheduling or any Red Ted Art. More just to connect, you know, the normal stuff that you do when you’re talking to other bloggers on daily basis.
I had to be really disciplined about that. It was tough because it meant I had three days for my blog that I normally have five days in. And two days for the book where I had to force myself and go, “Today, you’re making four things. You will not get up until you’ve done four things.”
That means that sometimes, you know, there’s a couple of crafts in the book which are my favorite, but the majority of them obviously I do love but there’s one or two that you are like, “Oh.” And then I talked to a friend about it, and I’ve shown it to them, and I’m going, “What do you think of this one?” And she’s like, “No, it’s really nice.”
So you know, you can be quite tough on yourself as well, which also have to get over. You need to see it from a fresh pair of eyes. And so, I sent a lot of my work in progress to a couple of friends. Not bloggers, but friends who aren’t that crafty actually.
They were like, “No, no. I love that. I love that.” Now, I know. That’s okay. So that was really good to have somebody that I could bounce ideas and sort of sense check. “Is this nice? Is this good?”
Jillian Leslie 22:38
Maggy Woodley 22:40
That was really helpful.
Jillian Leslie 22:44
When you signed with the publisher? Do you guys set, “I will deliver this on this day?”
Maggy Woodley 22:51
Jillian Leslie 22:54
What if you blow the deadline? What happens? Do they get pissed at you?
Maggy Woodley 22:58
Well, I would say it depends. I’m a very deadline-driven person. Very. I mean that’s just who I am. And that genuinely would never happen to me because basically, I always try and deliver two weeks early because that’s who I am and it stresses me out too much otherwise.
I think if that happened to you, the most important thing is to just basically keep communicating with the publisher and just let them understand where you’re at or what your problems are. I would have thought most publishers, including mine, are very understanding and flexible. But it’s all about communication and being open.
And I guess, worst case is you just don’t earn anything because you get your first payments… Again, it depends on each publisher. But in my case, they paid in three installments. I think the first installment was when I handed the manuscript in.
The second payment I got was when we finished all the reviews and the proofs. And then the third installment, I didn’t actually get until the book publishes, which is on the 10th of September. So they’ve got safeguards in there to protect themselves as well.
Jillian Leslie 24:14
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One thing you were talking about is how much the publisher cares that you have a built in audience, a very large social media presence. So, for those who don’t know, Maggy, you are huge in social media. On YouTube, on Facebook, that kind of thing.
I’m sure a publisher looks at that and goes, “Oh, Maggy can do a lot of the selling herself, and therefore we can partner in this.” The publisher is thinking they don’t have to push the rock all the way up the hill themselves.
Maggy Woodley 26:58
Yeah. I think in this case, they definitely looked at my socials and went, “Yeah. We want her.” Don’t care what the topic is, we’ll work that out together.
Jillian Leslie 27:05
Oh, how interesting. Okay.
Maggy Woodley 27:06
But that was because I have the big Facebook page and the big YouTube channel. And they really were after that, which is ironic really, because these days algorithms are so crippling. I don’t even know if there is a value to those sites. They knew that there is an audience, and there’s support, and there’s people who like what I do.
I’ve been approached since for a couple of books, which I am not doing for various reasons, but it is not important why, where they’ve got kind of their publishing schedule, and they want to say, let’s be kids craft books and April, and they want two cookbooks in September, whatever. They didn’t find bloggers to fit in what they are working on.
I’m quite nervous about people feeling discouraged because I do have a 2 million facebook page. I don’t want them thinking, “Oh, I have to be that big in order to get published.” You don’t. And so for example, my publisher Page Street. Even though I know they’re mainly interested in me because of my socials, I’ve also sent them some other friends who they’ve signed on.
I don’t even know how many followers she’s got on Facebook, but it’ll be like 10,000 or something. So, you know, very modest but she’s very committed to what she’s done. She’s very specialized in what she does. She knows her audience really well. And that’s what they are interested in, I think. And that you have an idea that’s different.
I think that that’s the key. Actually, a lot of publishers, even though they want you to sell for them, they’ve still got their distribution channels. What they’re looking for actually is something that’s different about you or unique about what you’re offering.
Jillian Leslie 28:45
And what do you mean by that? Tell me different things that when you think about people, friends of yours who have written books, what would you say their special sauces are?
Maggy Woodley 29:00
The friend I’m thinking of has done a phonics book. So if you’re listening, sorry, I didn’t ask before if I was allowed to mention you. So phonics being about reading and how you learn to read, and activities to go with how to learn to read. And so, that for example, there aren’t that many books out there at the moment about that. So that’s quite unique or quite niche.
I’m just thinking about the publishers; What they are publishing and what topics they’ve been publishing. I’ve seen a lot in their books around warm pot meals, for example. That’s quite a trendy topic. They’re very good at picking up on trends. Warm pot meals is trendy so let’s bring out a series of warm pot meals as quickly as possible so that we can jump on that trend.
Again, it’ll be niche. I’ve seen them do a lot of niche cookbooks. Not just warm pot but warm pot Indian meals, or warm pot keto, or warm pot family meals. There’s themes there. For example, there’s lots of origami books out there. If I said to them, “I want to do origami.” They probably will say, “Yeah.” but there’s probably 10,000 origami books out there.
And there are paper crafts book out there as well, to be fair, but some of them will still use lots of different materials. For example, I avoided any of the crafts that parents are scared of because they take ages. Like paper mosaic. Even though I love paper mosaic. But I knew that if I put that in there, nobody would bother making.
Jillian Leslie 30:30
Yes! It’s too messy. As a mother I’d be like, “Ah, I don’t want to clean that up.”
Maggy Woodley 30:35
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Messy is actually a good one because I’ve just seen in the UK, a friend published a book, which is basically the craft book for parents who hate crafts or for parents who hate mess. It’s true because actually, parents do still like crafts. They just don’t like the mess that goes with it.
I think that applies to cooking, that applies to gardening. It’s all about making things accessible, easier, doable. How can you guarantee that your reader is successful? And I think that’s what they’re looking for. I’m pretty certain they’re looking just for that passion about your reader, and that you want to create something that is really good for them.
And not, you’re just writing a book because that’s been your ambition your whole life but you’re writing a book because you really have something that you desperately want to share, and that if people read your book they will really enjoy.
Jillian Leslie 31:29
I just want to pause on that. Doing the show week after week, I think that there are certain themes that continue to emerge. One of them is exactly that, which is in anything, it’s not about you. I mean it is about you because it’s your point of view but it’s really the experience you can give to the reader or to the person who buys your product or whatever. That it’s really about serving them, making their life better, making them happier, making their relationships with their kids stronger. And you’re kind of there almost as this invisible hand making their life richer.
Maggy Woodley 32:13
I’d be mortified if somebody bought any of my books and then felt that they couldn’t make anything in it, if that makes sense, because it was either too difficult for them or they tried it and it turned out really not how they expected.
Obviously, I don’t expect people to make the crafts exactly the way mine are because my book is all about make it your own, create your own, how can you put your own spin on it, how can you make it special? So it’s not about make it the way I’ve made it. This is just showing you how to make it and then you can make it special for yourself.
For me, the worst feedback would be if they said it’s too difficult or I tried it and it didn’t work. That would make me really sad. Because as I say it’s about – I want them to have a really good experience. I want them to really enjoy the process. I want them to then go away and make more, not stuff that is in my book necessarily.
Jillian Leslie 33:07
Right. And the thing too that I think is at the core of this, especially when you are providing something for families, at the core, it’s love, its connection, it’s creativity. It’s about feeling… I don’t know. I don’t want to put words in your mouth but it’s almost like not about the craft as much as what the craft brings.
Maggy Woodley 33:34
Yeah, totally. Confidence and joy.
Jillian Leslie 33:38
Yeah. And beauty, and sharing, and togetherness.
Maggy Woodley 33:43
A lot of the stuff in my book, specifically, is driven by comments I had on my YouTube channel from children. My YouTube channel has been invaluable for me in terms of getting insight into kids these days, so to speak.
And kids go, “Oh, this one’s really hard.” And you know, get really frustrated. So, I have a few videos that are too difficult, but that taught me something about what kids can and can’t do. And then other videos where they go, “Am I going to be looking for this everywhere?” And, “Yours is the only video I understand.” Or, “You always make it really easy.”
Or sometimes they come to me and say, “I really want to make this. Can you make it? Because if you do, I know I can make it.” Sometimes I have to say I can’t because that’s a really hard craft. Even if I made it, it would still be hard. Or I say, “Oh, let me have a look. Maybe I can come up with something.”
So I’ve learned so much from these kids on YouTube who’ve been leaving me comments about, “Oh, I didn’t have any of that.” or “I don’t have that. I don’t have that. I don’t have that.” The one thing they all have is paper, right? And that made me go, “Okay. This would be really special to have something.”
I didn’t want to make it an origami because some people go, “Oh, I hate origami.” even though if they gave it a go, they’d see that they wouldn’t hate it. There is some origami my book but not tons. Because obviously it’s still a really great craft. But I didn’t want to put anyone off. I didn’t want them going, “Oh, I can’t do origami. It’s too hard.”
Actually, you can. That’s the point about the book is that you know, it’s a bit of snipping, and a bit of cutting, and a bit of sticking, and a bit of designing, and a bit of this, and a bit of that. I’ve learned so much from my YouTube kids. I’m really grateful to them.
I really hope that a lot of them are able to get a copy because I really think that they’d love it and they’d get the confidence. And then, there’s so much stuff out there today, especially on YouTube, fake news, fake craft, fake recipe.
Jillian Leslie 35:39
Maggy Woodley 35:40
Right? Oh my God. Very bad, right. No need for fake crafts. There’s no need for it.
Jillian Leslie 35:47
Yes. My daughter will show me something on Instagram – a craft. And I will say, “I promise you if you made that it would not turn out like that. Don’t think it’s as easy as this 32-second video.”
Maggy Woodley 35:59
Exactly. And I have heard stories from blogger friends actually, where the dad and the daughter got together to make this really cute, not vanity unit but like stationary unit and looked amazing. That they thought you know, if the dad helps them, maybe it’ll work.
You know what? It didn’t work. And it was frustrating. And they all got really upset. These are crafty bloggers with crafty dads with crafty kids. And if they can’t make it, and they spend all this time and money on it, and then it doesn’t turn out right, I think that’s really sad.
And so, I just don’t understand why these YouTube channels exists because I think they’re doing a real disservice to our readers because you’re making them feel like failures when they’re not.
Jillian Leslie 36:40
Yes. I have one last question about working with a publisher. How much autonomy do you have? How much of it is pleasing the publisher? For example, do you get to name your book? Or does your publisher name your book? Do you get to pick the 60 crafts? Or does your publisher go, “Well, we only like these 40. We want you to make 20 more?”
Because I’m thinking about an Ebook. And guess what? You’re God in your Ebook. You want to put that craft in, boom, it’s in. So there’s something empowering about when you get to do it yourself versus now you’ve got this publisher that you’re trying to please. Can you kind of walk through what that relationship is like?
Maggy Woodley 37:26
Yeah, I think that’s a really really good question because I know that I behave very differently with my second publisher compared to my first publisher. With my first publisher, I was very much, “Oh my gosh, you’re God. I’m so relieved I’m allowed to write a book. I will do everything you say.”
And the publisher was really nice. They were really lovely. And I would happily publish with them again, but you know, various reasons we didn’t. And really really really nice people. And they did pick all the Six D to go into my first book.
But what I didn’t appreciate in my first book, what I didn’t appreciate was I could have just said, “Actually, no. I don’t like that one.” At the time, I just went, “Yes. Yes. Okay, yes.” There’s a couple of things in there, which I wish I hadn’t put in. But again, there’s over 60 crafts and there are only two that aren’t brilliant, so be it.
I like in a way that they helped me pick the 60 because I like the fresh pair of eyes. But at the same time, now in retrospect, I like the the input that they give, but I would now push back and go, “Actually, can we drop that one?” And as bonus, I did do that a little bit with the first book. And they were like, “Yeah, that’s fine.” They’re actually quite happy for you to choose.
With the second publisher, for example, I had to send sample projects. They did check it and had a look but ultimately, I could make what I want. So that was really nice. And in terms of the title, to be honest, they came up with it. I liked it. And I went, “Yeah, okay.” And they also came up with the cover. And again, I think if I hadn’t liked it, they would have changed it.
Again, with the first book, they made a cover that I really didn’t like. And then on the photoshoot, we basically took some extra photos and we came up with a new cover, and I love the new cover. The reason I love your question is because, especially if you’re a first time author, it’s fine to push back if there’s something you don’t like.
Obviously, you do it politely and kindly, and you come up with suggestions. You don’t make a problem and you offer solutions. It’s obviously how you do it. But most publishers are happy for that input because you know your content, you know your readers, you understand them. As long as you’re not being completely unreasonable, I think they like it. I don’t think they dislike it. I think it is okay to… I think pushback sounds aggressive.
Jillian Leslie 39:44
Think of it as a collaboration.
Maggy Woodley 39:46
Jillian Leslie 39:47
You’re not working for them.
Maggy Woodley 39:49
No. And they also want the book to succeed, right? They are sort of hiring you because they know that you know your stuff. That’s fine. So that’s why you go for it.
Jillian Leslie 40:01
Right. You’re the authority.
Maggy Woodley 40:03
Exactly. And then, that’s fine. And again, it all varies on the publisher. I’ve got experience of two now. I’m sure others are different again. But with my one, the one who likes to work bloggers, one of the reasons they like to work with bloggers is because they know that the bloggers can take the photographs themselves.
So you know, we did have some debates around that because they wanted very lifestyle photos but I don’t do lifestyles photos. So there was a bit of chewing and throwing. And then in the end, we went with my style of photo because I said that’s my skill.
Jillian Leslie 40:32
And that’s what your readers respond to.
Maggy Woodley 40:35
Well, I mean I think lifestyle photos would have been really nice but we would have had to get someone in. I was open for that. I think they were open for that as well. But it was about looking at all the options and deciding which option was the best in this instance.
So for example, Emma Vanstone from Science Sparks. She’s got two books with my publisher. She had a photographer come in and she did some great lifestyle shot. And then, Tiffany Dale of Peanut Blossom, who’s also got two books with them. She did all her own photos.
All our books actually quite different. And yet, because it’s the same publisher, there’s still a coherence to them, which I think is something quite amazing that they’ve managed to do. That consistency within the different books by different authors. And yet we all had a different approach to them and they still really work really well.
Jillian Leslie 41:20
Okay. Before we wrap up, here is my final question. Doing this now twice, do you have another book in you?
Maggy Woodley 41:32
Yes, but not now.
Jillian Leslie 41:33
Okay. How long do you think you will wait to start your third book?
Maggy Woodley 41:37
So it took me six years to recover from my first book. Gosh! And yet, my first book was so much easier to do than this one for some reason. But I think if I were to do another one, I would probably want a two year gap. The reason being that I would also want to give my readers that break.
I don’t know how easy it is sell to the same audience twice. Right? I’m sure if they’re mega fans, they buy all your books. I do know people who have bought both my books already. But there was a six year gap. So it was quite easy.
So I think if I wrote a second one, because I have thought about it already if I want to do another one or not. I definitely would need at least another year or two off. I know other people have written two within like a year. And I’m like, “Wow! You’re amazing.”
In fact, Sarah D, I think she wrote all her five within 18 months or something. It feels that way. It feels like she’s written them literally one after the other but I don’t know if that’s quite right, just maybe it looks like that. I would need a break, personally.
I would also be wondering what the topic of that second book would be. I don’t think 60 more paper crafts would do it. Well, for some people it would but I’d like something similar where I’m going to be teaching something else like sewing or maybe teaching something…
What I like about my book is that I tried to introduce lots of techniques. If you have this technique, you can then apply it to other seasons or other, you know, like birthdays, or instead of Christmas, or whatever. I’d like to think of a topic where I feel like I’m giving someone a toolkit and craft ideas.
Jillian Leslie 43:21
That’s terrific. That makes perfect sense.
Maggy Woodley 43:24
So I’d have to think about what that new toolkit would be, and if I feel confident enough to write 60 crafts around it. I could imagine sewing being a good one. Especially because sewing is a lost skill. You do often as a child need a parent there to help you thread the needle and not off and stuff. But if it could be done in a way that you can teach all that from a book, that’d be quite cool. I don’t know. I don’t know. But yes, a couple of years at least I’m sure.
Jillian Leslie 43:53
Oh, well. Okay. So Maggy, how can people find you, reach out to you if they have questions? That kind of thing. What is the best way?
Maggy Woodley 44:04
If you’ve got specific questions about publishing like we’re having a chat here today, you can take a pick. I’m happy to answer an email. Or Instagram people sometimes give me questions. So I guess just your normal social media channels. On YouTube, I get a lot of questions that I was always trying to answer.
Jillian Leslie 44:19
What’s your handle and everything so everybody can find you?
Maggy Woodley 44:21
Yeah. So, all my social media is literally @RedTedArt. Like the teddy, and art. It’s all Red Ted Art. So, it doesn’t vary in any way. Just print that at the end of facebook.com and twitter.com and instagram.com. It’s all forward slash Red Ted Art.
Jillian Leslie 44:38
Okay, and the name of your book again?
Maggy Woodley 44:40
It’s Easy Paper Project.
Jillian Leslie 44:42
And people can find it in stores or on Amazon on?
Maggy Woodley 44:47
Tenth of September.
Jillian Leslie 44:49
Tenth of September.
Maggy Woodley 44:50
Jillian Leslie 44:51
Well Maggy, thank you so much for being back on the show. And I will link to your first episode, which we did about a year ago, where you talked about how you grew your blog.
Maggy Woodley 45:02
Yeah. Yeah, it was amazing. I love doing that with you. So that was a really fun podcast. Thank you so much for having me again. I’m really enjoying your whole series.
Jillian Leslie 45:10
Terrific. Well, hopefully you’ll be back in before two years when your next book is out so we can have another chat.
Maggy Woodley 45:17
I wish so. Thank you for having me.
Jillian Leslie 45:19
Isn’t Maggy delightful? I was so happy to talk to her again on the show. Now, if you’re enjoying The Blogger Genius Podcast, there are a couple ways to support us.
One is to head to iTunes, and to rate us and leave a review. And the other is to share the podcast with a friend. Tell somebody. Tell a blogger friend or an online entrepreneur friend. I would be so appreciative. I will see you here again next week.
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