Eevi Jones is a bestselling children’s book author who has made it her mission to help aspiring children’s book authors to write, illustrate, publish, and market their own high-quality story that celebrates children’s adorably unique traits and interests.
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KDP Rocket – Eevie’s small business resource
The Good Goodbye – Eevi’s Top Business Book
How to Self-Publish A Children’s Book – Eevi’s book
The Freedom Journal – Set & Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days!
3 Value Bombs
1) Defining your audience is key.
2) Sometimes you have to take a step back to be able to move forward.
3) Don’t wait for the perfect time, start now!
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[01:33] – As a military family, Eevi has moved 12 times over the past 19 years
[02:06] – With her bestselling book, Eevi helps aspiring children’s book authors to write their own book
[03:27] – Eevi’s expertise is in helping people turn ideas into a fully realized story
[03:43] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Before writing a children’s book, you should first validate the idea or your book’s topic
[08:12] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Eevi used to write book trailers for other authors. She soon realized that book trailers take a lot of time and effort, and they require an extensive interview with the author to be able to create a good one. The work became too much and she had no time for her family or her own books anymore
[10:52] – Take a step back to be able to move forward
[12:53] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Growing up in East Germany with a guest worker as a father and a German mother was not easy for Eevi. She was criticized and was watched with suspicion every time she went out. The only way she thought she could influence the lives of little ones was to write books – and so she did
[15:20] – Let your passion and experiences shape what you have to offer
[16:58] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I’m most excited about my upcoming course in my children’s book university!”
[19:50] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “My mindset and belief that an author can’t be an entrepreneur”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Writing children’s books is my bullet, but that the journey of where I am today is my gun”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I always create external accountability”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – KDP Rocket
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Good Goodbye – “it changed the way that I am letting go of my limiting beliefs”
[23:33] – “If you want to do something, don’t wait!”
Eevi: I am so ready, John.
John: Yes. Evie is a best-selling children’s book author, who has made it her mission to help aspiring children’s book authors write, illustrate, publish, and market their own high-quality story that celebrates children’s adorably unique traits, and interests. So, Eevi, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Eevi: Yes, thank you so much for this introduction, John. Wow, you know, if someone were to glimpse into my life right now, they’d probably see me building Lego castles with my two boys, or picking out Play-Doh crumbs from the floor so that the little one won’t eat it. And then, during nap time, you’d see me putting out my fancy three-panel room divider behind my desk – you know, to hide my living room, so I can go on video calls with aspiring children’s book authors I’m coaching, teaching them what I do myself, at night, when everyone else is sound asleep.
You know, my husband, included, which is writing my own children’s books, of which I have authored more than a dozen so far. And so, my husband, he always likes to joke that my German focus and discipline surpasses the military. You know, I’m mean, you’ve been in the military, John. So, you know that as a military family, you move quite often. You know? And, for us, that has been about 12 times these past 19 years. And so, it’s a bit tricky to create a career as a military spouse.
And I didn’t want to let myself be defined by my circumstances or by my husband’s work. And so, I realized I needed something that could adjust to our ever-changing lives, and that I could take with me wherever we went. And so, after I successfully published a number of children’s books, and after more and more people asked me to help them to do the same, I decided to help other aspiring children’s book authors write their own with the help of my best-selling book, and along with my one-on-one coaching programs, and my upcoming online program, as well.
John: I’m pretty fired up because, Fire Nation, Eevi is an incredible example of somebody who niched down. And you always hear me talking about niching down, and niching down until it hurts. You need to actually start in that area where you can like be the best. And I can tell you that Eevi has really done that for herself. She didn’t just say, “Hey, I want to help authors write books” like, this very broad, vague topic. She says, “You know what? I’m going to really niche down into children’s authors who are writing books. And that’s my area of expertise.”
And by “My” I mean Eevi’s of course, because she’s written out 12 books in this area. She understands the ropes, she knows how to get it done. And that’s what she’s focusing on. And guess what? Maybe a year, or two years from now, she’s broadened out into more things, and she’s doing other things than just children’s authors. But, right now, she is niching down into that. She’s going to build up that momentum, learn a ton, and then, she’s going to go from there, take that one step at a time. And so, on that note, Eevi, let’s hear about your area of expertise. And then, give us, Fire Nation, just one value bond that’s – you know, we probably should know in that area that we probably don’t.
Eevi: Right. Well, so, I help people turn a magical spark of an idea into a fully realized story that can inspire children’s imaginations and boost their confidence. And I do this for people who want to write books for two-year-olds, all the way to middle grade chapter books. And something most don’t know or realize is that before writing and illustrating a children’s book, you know, or before the product creation for entrepreneurs in general, you should first validate your idea or your book’s topic.
And also, know the target audience you’re writing the book for, or creating your product for. So, then, finding your audience is key, you know, because, in my case, a book written for a four-year-old, will differ from a book written for a seven-year-old. Right? And so, with children’s books, it’s also important to keep in mind that while the book is for a child, you know, it’s usually purchased by a grown-up. So, your book will have to essentially appeal to two different audiences: the buyer, and then, the user.
So, always ask yourself, who’s the buyer and who’s the user of your product or service. You know, is it one in the same person? And so, I always tell my clients to be sure not to create something hoping others will just find it and then buy it. You know, instead, always write and create with a reader already in mind. And so, this really applies to all types of entrepreneurial undertakings, you know, really know whom you’re planning to sell to, and take the time to understand what their needs are, even before you create your product or your service.
John: So, I have one specific question because, you live in this world. What would you say if you could just go with your gut instinct here, is the most successful children’s book at this moment? Like, what’s the most successful children’s book right now?
Eevi: For older ones, it would be Harry Potter, for sure.
John: What about for maybe like under six years old? Like, maybe even like five and under?
Eevi: Five and under, oh, I love the Llama Llama books are huge, still. And The Little Blue Truck is the book.
John: So, when I think about that, for me, for my childhood, there’s two books that really jump out. And that’s Where the Wild Things Are. That book, to me, was like part of my childhood. And then, the other one was The Giving Tree. Have you ever read the book, The Giving Tree?
Eevi: Yes. Yes.
John: Shell Silverstein, I believe is the author’s name. And I’m almost positive, don’t quote me on this, but I think she’s from Maine. Like, I think that was a big reason why it was such a big book in my house because, she was like a Maine author, which is pretty cool. Now, there’s a book I kind of want to maybe talk about real quick. Because, I just feel like I see it. My sister has a six-year-old and a three-year-old, and I’ve heard this on different Netflix shows that I’ve been listening.
They talk about this book, Hello, Moon. What is the reason why Hello, Moon became such a popular children’s book? Because, I open it up, and I look at it, and it’s so simple. I mean, it’s beautifully simplistic. I mean, that’s probably one of the reasons. But, like, why does a book like Hello, Moon, why did it crush it?
Eevi: No, yeah, it’s exactly that, because it’s simple. It’s simple, and it’s simple for the kids, and it also appeals to the parents because of its message. So, I think that’s why it’s crushing it because, when they wrote the book, they had both in mind. They had, again, the reader that is reading the book and purchases the book, and also, the child in mind. So, I think that’s definitely why.
John: See, that’s so true. I hadn’t thought about that. But, Fire Nation, that’s why you’ve got to talk with people like Eevi who are the best in their field on this, when you want to go down these different roads. Because, of course, the parent who’s buying it wants a) the child to love it because, otherwise, the child’s never going to want to read the book. But, b) if you can combine a great message, as well, how great is that?
And I think there’s another book that always makes me chuckle. But, it’s like, “Everybody Poops” or something like that. And it just kind of talks about that. I’m like, “That’s brilliant.” That’s such a good book because, it’s a great message that parents want to get through to their kids, and they want their kids to be comfortable with it. And the kids love it because, it’s kind of funny, and they giggle, and they laugh. And you have to have that – that one, two punch combo. So, I mean, is that kind of one of the things you really drill into some of your students?
Eevi: Yes. Yes, that’s definitely something I’m striving towards to teach them that.
John: So good. I love that. Well, we’re going to shift now, Eevi, into your entrepreneurial journey. I mean, like you said, you travel around so much, being a military wife. You know, and thank you for that, by the way. Myself, being in the military, I just know how important of a role that you play. It’s just so huge that we have the support system in place for families, and for wives, and for just that whole situation as you’re moving from base, to base, to base. But, what would you say to date is your worse entrepreneurial moment? That entrepreneurial moment that you just say, “Man, that was the lowest of the low, so far.
Eevi: Yes. Wow, you know, so the worst moment I’ve had in my business came after working my butt off, you know, creating a name for myself. Besides writing my children’s books, I used to also create book trailers for other authors. And for those that have never heard of book trailers before, they’re just like movie trailers, but for books. So, it’s a 60-second clip advertising new books, essentially. So, book trailers, they take a lot of work and a lot of time to make. And I have to convey the essence of the book within less than a minute.
So, that requires an extensive interview of the author. And then, I have to create a concept and find or create just the right footage before I can sit down and start the actual production process. And so, this piece, essentially represents months if not years of this author’s work. Right? So, this trailer has to represent just that. It has to represent it just right. And so, I was producing these trailers for best-selling authors, big names in their genres like, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, and Debra Webb, and James Hankins. And I also worked with publishing houses and created trailers for their authors.
And, in true German fashion, I would make sure those trailers were pristine. I poured over every little detail to make sure what I delivered was perfect. And so, over the years, I had really made a name for myself, within the author community. And I had – and had I wanted to keep going down this path, I very easily could have. You know, I was already consistently booked two to three months’ in advance. But, you know, to keep up with the demand, I would’ve had to clone myself, really.
You know, the trailer work just became too much, and I wouldn’t go to bed until 1:00 a.m., and then, I would wake up again at 5:00 a.m. My waiting list, would just grow longer and longer, and I had less and less time to spend with my two boys, and with my husband. And I had no time to write my own books anymore. And, you know, I loved seeing my business grow because, it was something I created out of nothing. But, I also realize that this wasn’t something that was scalable. And coming to this realization was horrible.
You know, I was heartbroken to realize that I wasn’t able to keep up with its growth. And all of the hard work I put in to creating an amazing name for myself felt like it suddenly halted to a huge stop, and now, I had to make a choice. And it was the worst moment ever to know that what I had created wasn’t going to work anymore, and I had to end my business. And I felt like such a failure, even though I had built something really incredible. But, getting over that sense of failure definitely took some time. And so, the No. 1 takeaway, for me, from that was, sometimes, we just have to take a step back to be able to move forward.
And, yes, it was hard to leave this thriving business behind, but in the end, it just wasn’t sustainable. And so, we just have to learn to let go sometimes, even though it’s hard.
John: Fire Nation, my biggest takeaway from this is balance. I mean, we all want success in this world, we do, but at what cost? Like, at what cost are you willing to give up for that success? And then, it doesn’t make it that success even worth it when you get to that point. Like, hearing Eevi’s story, and how much love she has for her kids, and playing Legos with them, just getting to spend time, and tuck them in at night, but then, having to trade that for what she wanted, which was to create something out of nothing, and have great success on the left-hand side here, you know, you’ve got to balance that. What do you really want?
And that’s why, continuously staying in touch with your wants, your needs, and desires. And I do that every day by meditation, by journaling, to check-in, put my finger on the pulse. Just make sure, as you’re moving forward, as you’re moving toward success, you’re doing it in a very balanced way. If you can just always have that word balance, and you’re balancing business, life, health, those that mean the most to you. I mean, at what cost are willing to give up for success? Think about that.
And I want to just echo Eevi’s point. Take a step back to move forward sometimes. It’s not a bad thing to take a step back to move forward. Now, Eevi, we’re going to take a step forward into an Aha moment. You’ve had a lot of great ideas. I mentioned how much I love your niching down into just focusing on children’s book authors. Somebody might’ve come along and said, “But, Eevi, what about all the other authors who aren’t children’s book authors, and now you can’t serve them because, you’re not marketing to them.”
And obviously, we’re going to give them a virtual backslap right now, because that’s how you lose in this world, Fire Nation, by not niching and focusing to becoming the best in your area. What is one of those great moments that you want to share with our audience, Fire Nation? Take us there.
Eevi: Yes. When I was younger, I didn’t really fit in, like so many of us. When I was growing up, former East Germany, where I’m originally from, was a very homogenous society. And back then, we had Vietnamese guest workers come in to our country. And it just so happened that my mom fell in love with one of them. You know? Now, contact between nationals and these guest workers was strongly discouraged. So, their relationship, and me as a result of it was something highly, highly frowned upon, and criticized.
And so, as the only non-White girl in my entire town, and my entire school, it wasn’t exactly easy. The parents of my friends, they wouldn’t let them play with me because, they were worried people would start talking. And I was watched with suspicion whenever I went into a store. People can be really mean without realizing it. That whole experience left me feeling inadequate and indifferent, and just alone, sometimes. And so, as a little girl, I created my own little world with books because, I was able to identify with the characters.
I could imagine being with them and having fun with them. And I felt safe. And this is – this make-believe world, I felt, loved and accepted. And I want all children to feel this way. I want them all to feel accepted and loved, especially when people in their world might not be loving toward them. So, this is where I had my big Aha moment. This is why I started writing. I mean, what better way to reach and influence the lives of little ones? And so, this is also why I want to empower others to bring books to children that provide a world of acceptance and love, by helping them write their own stories.
I want to help others use their own experiences, and their own circumstances to influence children’s lives in an incredible and positive way. And what I’ve learned from aspiring authors is that they, too, want to write a book to help children develop into confident little souls. And many of them were also trying to heal parts of their own childhood that didn’t go well. So, my own personal approach changed. And it isn’t just about the technical parts of how to write a children’s book anymore.
You know, I encourage people to write books that celebrate children’s adorably unique traits and interests that, you know, in turn lets a child’s confidence soar. So, my biggest takeaway from this Aha moment is let your passion and your experiences drive and shape what you offer. And that’s what caused me to start writing my own children’s books. And that’s – when others asked me to help them with – you know, and while I thought people just wanted my help with the technical parts of writing a children’s book, my clients showed that they wanted to go deeper into that.
And I listened. Sometimes, our greatest ideas are the most obvious, and not necessarily the most profound. And I’m still so thankful I listened otherwise, I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.
John: I think you put that so beautifully. I just want to echo that for you, Fire Nation. Let your passions and experience shape and drive what you offer. I mean, just think about that. We all have passions. We all have experience. We all have curiosities. We all have these things that have shaped us as human beings. Let those passions, and let that experience shape and drive what you offer going forward. And offer could be, you know, what are you putting onto the world? Via content. Via podcast. Via blogs. Via social media. Video.
Whatever it might be, let your passions and experience shape and drive that going forward, and just see what the next step unfolds. And just to kind of end on a quote real quick, the Martin Luther King quote that I love, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the next step.” Just let your passions and experience shape that next step for you, and see what is uncovered from that point, going forward. So, Eevi, you, understandably are pretty excited about a number of things right now. I mean, you’ve niched out into an area that you love, that you know, that you’re great at. What has you most fired up today?
Eevi: Thanks so much for asking, John. I’m most excited about my upcoming course in my children’s book university, that will help aspiring children’s book authors with finding an incredible story idea, and with the illustration process, and the publishing, and the marketing. You know, all with step-by-step video instructions that will actually showcase me, how I’m creating an entire book so the student will see each step with an actual example, that in the end, will be published, so they’ll see the actual launching process, as well.
And so, in the meantime, folks can use my best-selling book, How to Self-Publish a Children’s Book that was just published, and that will guide you through the entire process, also. And it’s exciting because, it’s currently listed right next to books by Hal Elrod, and [inaudible] [00:17:19]. Whom, I know you know. And Joanna Penn. You know, people I’m a big fan of, and that are big names within the author community. So, I’ve helped aspiring authors from all walks of life in a one-on-one setting, from lawyers, neuroscientists, film-makers, all the way to moms and dads, and grandparents, even, at all stages of their writing careers.
And so, with my upcoming course in my children’s book university, and my book, I’m now able to help even more achieve their dream of becoming a children’s book author. And so, I’m really, really excited about that.
John: Where can we find out more about your children’s university?
Eevi: That would be eevijones.com. That’s E-E-V-I- Jones.com.
John: Eevijones.com, Fire Nation. And of course, her book, How to Self-Publish Your Children’s Book. And I love the title because, I say, Fire Nation, be clear and clever, but if you have to choose between the two, just be clear. And there’s nothing more clear than how to self-publish your children’s book. Nailed it. And Fire Nation, we’re about to crush the lightning round. So, don’t you go anywhere. We’ll be right back after we thank our sponsors. Eevi, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Eevi: I am so ready.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Eevi: What was holding me back was my mindset and belief that an author couldn’t be an entrepreneur. You know, that authors and entrepreneurs must remain two separate entities.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Eevi: Well, a wise man named John, once told me that writing children’s books is my bullet. But, that the journey of how I got to where I am today is my gun. And he’s taught me that I have a story to tell that can help others find their way to where they need to go.
John: Maybe you can expand about that a little bit because that really was good advice. So, what do you mean by that? Because, I do love that analogy.
Eevi: I asked you, I had a hard time, I said, “How can I tie my story into all of this? How is that relevant?” And so, you said, “Well, you know, children’s books, writing, yes, it’s important, this is your bullet. But, you know, what really drives the thing home for people is your actual story, how you got to…” where I am today.
John: Fire Nation. So true. How can you utilize that in your life? What’s a personal habit, Eevi. That contributes to your success?
Eevi: Yes, I always create external accountability whenever I work on something. I’m so very driven by external influences. And that’s really best explained by Gretchen Rubin’s, Four Tendencies. I’m an obliger, which means I’m driven by outer expectations. So, what helps me achieve my goals and helps me create success is to create external accountability systems like, you know, be it in a Facebook, be it a Facebook post announcing that I will do this or that by a certain date, or just joining a mastermind that meets regularly online to discuss what I’ll be working on. These are all things that help me stay focused and reach my goals.
John: Recommend one internet resource.
Eevi: Yes, that’s easy. For me, that’s Dave Chessen’s KDP Rocket. Which, is essentially a Kindle keyboard software that besides its many other features, helps you find profitable keyboards you can use for your book on Amazon.
John: I want to recommend one book, or have you recommend one book, Eevi. And of course, Fire Nation, to join How to Self-Publish Your Children’s Book on your bookshelves, if it’s relevant for you, what is that book, Eevi?
Eevi: The book I would like to recommend is by Dr. Gladys Otto, and it’s called, The Good Goodbye. And it’s fantastic. You know, it’s changed the way I am letting go of my limiting beliefs that come through with the [inaudible] [00:20:57] syndrome, and all that is holding me back. And so, it’s essentially asking what if the secret to an amazing fulfilled life isn’t being able to get what you want? But, instead, being able to effectively say goodbye to what you’ve lost, or what you had to let go of.
And so, this book’s framework helps you successfully adapt to any life changes, and it turns disappointment into acceptance and gratitude. It enables you to embrace new experiences to create the amazing life we all deserve.
John: Well, Evie, it’s been so awesome to see you transform from when you started our Master Minds to where you’re at now. You’re just plain and simply an action taker, and I bet it is a lot of that German discipline you have in you. You just, you get stuff done. I mean, you have two young boys. So, Fire Nation, we all have all the excuses in the world. I mean, I have all the excuses in the world. Believe me, I use them every day, and I try to get them out of my own way, as well. But, just recognize that you can make this happen.
Eevi, I saw her at the beginning, I’ve seen her transition, I’ve seen her make it happen. It’s been so exciting to see it, now here she is on Entrepreneurs on Fire, Rocking the Mic. So, Eevi, why don’t you end with a parting piece of guidance. The best way that we can connect with you, and then, we’ll say goodbye.
Eevi: Yes. So, if you want to do something don’t wait. Don’t wait for the right moment. Don’t wait until your kids are older, or until your email list is bigger, or until your website is just right. Start now. And believe in yourself and start now. And one of my favorite quotes is by Goethe, where he says, “Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” And it’s so, so true, guys. You know, just remember that a dream is half a prophecy. Now, I challenge you to go out and make it a reality.
And, I have my free ultimate guide on how to write and illustrate a children’s book at eevijones.com/fire. That’s E-E-V-I, jones.com/fire. And for the first five that come over, they can schedule a free 30-minute call with me to talk about –.
Eevi: Yes. The children’s book they always wanted to write, where they can ask me any questions they may have about the book creation and publishing process.
John: That is such an amazing offer. Thank you for making that, Eevi. And Fire Nation, get over there, eevijones.com/fire. Be one of the first five to get that 30-minute chat with Eevi. Girl’s got some genius going on. And Eevi believes in you, Fire Nation, I believe in you. You, Fire Nation, are somebody’s hero. You are somebody’s hero, they just don’t know it yet because, you just haven’t started yet. So, start, become that person’s hero. And of course, head over to eofire.com.
If you type E-E-V-I, Eevi, in the search bar, her [inaudible] [00:23:45] page is going to pop up with everything we’ve talked about today. Links to her book, which of course, is How to Self-Publish Your Children’s Book. Go directly there, as well. Obviously, go directly to eeviejones.com/fire, be one of the first five. Be an action-taker, Fire Nation. And Eevi, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Eevi: Thank you, so much, John.
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