The odds of becoming a famous, wealthy children’s book writer are very close to zero. According to my calculations, less than one in a thousand writers get a bona fide publishing deal, and only ten percent of all published books sell thousands of copies. The publishers I am currently talking to in Israel do not publish ANY new children’s books of first-time authors.
So, as writers we have three options. The first is to self-publish and print our own books. This is a lousy option, you only end up with a garage full of books, bookstores will not even stock them and you lose thousands of dollars in content editing, copy editing, illustration and cover design.
The second option of self-publishing on Amazon/Kindle is also fraught with difficulties. If you can master the difficulties in uploading an illustrated manuscript to Kindle (I cannot), and you expect to quickly recoup the thousands of dollars you have spent on content editing, copy editing, illustration and cover design, please think again. According to Guy Kawasaki in APE, 90% of books uploaded as e-books on Amazon sell less than 50 copies (a net income of 100 dollars or less). And because the books are DRM (digitally rights managed), no one is going to know about them, except the people you post to.
In order to help other writers and illustrators overcome these problems, we decided to develop a platform and community with the following goals in mind:
Simplest Platform for picture e-books.
Our platform for creating and sharing e-books allows you to make a beautiful picture book in a matter of minutes, adding text, jpeg, pnd, gif. You can also embed videos, maps, sound, games and much more. Alternatively you can upload a pdf document to the library in a matter of seconds.
The platform was created by Ran Shternin who is my wonderful co-founder and CTO.
Search Engine Friendly
The website is all HTML5, which means that search engines read every word of every book and categorize every picture. Thus every additional book (there are now almost 60,000) promote every other book. If you find this hard to believe, so do we, but check this out: many of our titles and authors are already on the first page of search.
My wife and I funded the project from royalties I received from the mouthwash. We don’t charge a penny for using the platform, and we do not have membership fees. It is free to create, share and promote as many books as you like.
The books are also free to read online. Authors can receive donations from their readers. We want to build as large a readership as possible. Our library has 57,000 new books and grows every day.
We are developing a loving community of writers and illustrators who are committed to helping one another make books come true. We share one another’s books, and help writers and illustrators find one another. We have over 4,000 followers on Twitter, over 3,000 members in our FB group “Making Books Come True”, and over 50,000 registered users. Soon we will be launching new services that will help authors make an international name for themselves.
On a personal level, Ourboox has changed my writing career. Because the website is HTML5, it is super easy to edit my books, even after their publication. I am buoyed by having a community of users who are ready to help and be helped. During the last year, ten of my stories have been illustrated by leading illustrators. Check out, for example, my book “The Early Bird”, illustrated by Yael Radushkevitz. Further, my stories have been translated into more than twenty languages.
We are sensitive to copyright issues. The books essentially belong to the contributors, who are free to remove them from the library at any time. We just have the rights to display and share them as long as the contributors wish (for details please read the terms and conditions).