Saturday, 22 March 2008

'Hold on lads, I've had an idea...'

written by B

Whats the only thing cheekier than pimping yourself on your blog?

Pimping yourself on someone elses.

So here's the thing. After the previous post of OMG everythings going

to hell in a handbasket, we've had a long chat. A good deal of which

revolved round how little fun either of us are having with me spending

vast amounts of time away from home. No point in having an idyllic life

in the country that you're never at. The kicker is, that what I do pays

well, so if I stop doing that, then what?

Well, I've had an idea, and thats where everyone else comes in, I need

your help for a bit of ad hoc market research. The idea is to set up a

story writing service. People will pay on a website, then send in /

email in some details of the person the story is about, we then write

it, get a couple of illustrations done and email a finished document to

the customer. Later we could expand this to printing them out ourselves

on nice paper and sending them by post.

Initially, I'm imagining our target audience to be under 6's. Stories

to be about 500-600 words (think 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' length). But

that could change depending on what people want. I know there are

automated 'stick your name in this story what we habe already written

sites'. This would be geniunely written one offs for presents,

birthdays, Christmas etc.

So what I'd like to know from the good readers of this blog are:

1) Broadly - is it an interesting product? Would you buy one for a
child/niece/nephew/grandchild?

2) Cost - what do you think is a fair price for it? What would your
most mad, loaded friend pay?

3) Info - would it bother you to enter details about the child in
question (simple stuff - first name, likes dislikes, pets - nothing
that could identify anyone and any info could be deleted after
delivery)

4) Art - do we know anyone out there who'd be prepared to a few simple
line drawing art work sketches on either a piece work or a percentage
basis?

5) Advertising - where would you go to find something unusual for 'the
child who has everything'? If this product already existed, where would
you expect to find ads for it?

Thanks very much for letting me bother you with this, and for any spare

brain power you could turn to it for us.

Cheers

B

14 comments:

  1. Hmm - there'd have to be some sample material displayed...

    Okay - children's fiction is really tricky to break into through the traditional publishing route because the market is so crowded. If you could genuinely come up with one-off non-formula stories then I think you'd have a market, but I see two main problems with this;
    1. My mind balks at how continuously creative you'd have to be, and
    2. Reaching your target audience, i.e. wealthy couples with young children.

    Cost would depend upon reputation. There'd be no point doing this for less than £200 a pop, i.m.h.o. - so to gain a reputation you'd have to get a couple of stories out to celebs or influential people by word of mouth. Then you'd have to get it to the attention of somebody like the Sunday Times mag, and hope for a feature. I doubt advertising would do so well.

    Might you consider doing derogatory stories about people's bosses etc? Again, no full names - otherwise might be actionable!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm - there'd have to be some sample material displayed...

    Okay - children's fiction is really tricky to break into through the traditional publishing route because the market is so crowded. If you could genuinely come up with one-off non-formula stories then I think you'd have a market, but I see two main problems with this;
    1. My mind balks at how continuously creative you'd have to be, and
    2. Reaching your target audience, i.e. wealthy couples with young children.

    Cost would depend upon reputation. There'd be no point doing this for less than £200 a pop, i.m.h.o. - so to gain a reputation you'd have to get a couple of stories out to celebs or influential people by word of mouth. Then you'd have to get it to the attention of somebody like the Sunday Times mag, and hope for a feature. I doubt advertising would do so well.

    Might you consider doing derogatory stories about people's bosses etc? Again, no full names - otherwise might be actionable!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Actually my husband's cousin, whm I do not know at all, has made a go of a similar venture.My MIL gave his info to my grandson's daycare and they were impreesed enough to make an order.

    For me, the product would have to be way more personal than the mass produced plug in the names books on the market now. Although I did get one of those for my grandson, and was very pleased with it.

    I would pay maybe up to $30 American.

    At first you would probably have to go with word of mouth and local advertising. Babygadget.com seems to showcase independant entrepeneurs.

    I wish you luck. I think it will be tough to make a living on just this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Actually my husband's cousin, whm I do not know at all, has made a go of a similar venture.My MIL gave his info to my grandson's daycare and they were impreesed enough to make an order.

    For me, the product would have to be way more personal than the mass produced plug in the names books on the market now. Although I did get one of those for my grandson, and was very pleased with it.

    I would pay maybe up to $30 American.

    At first you would probably have to go with word of mouth and local advertising. Babygadget.com seems to showcase independant entrepeneurs.

    I wish you luck. I think it will be tough to make a living on just this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ditto what Hedgewizard said, pretty much. What about doing it on a smaller but more accessible scale?

    I had stint at writing daft limericks that my arty friend illustrated though they weren't personalised. Just the sort of thing one would buy to frame and hang on a child's bedroom wall. I'll send her a link though - she's a great artist and may well be up for it.

    I do think it's a good idea and, of course, you wouldn't have high overheads to start up.

    Hope you can make it work - I certainly know lots of people who would buy such a 'product'. It's a great idea. I actually feel quite excited for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ditto what Hedgewizard said, pretty much. What about doing it on a smaller but more accessible scale?

    I had stint at writing daft limericks that my arty friend illustrated though they weren't personalised. Just the sort of thing one would buy to frame and hang on a child's bedroom wall. I'll send her a link though - she's a great artist and may well be up for it.

    I do think it's a good idea and, of course, you wouldn't have high overheads to start up.

    Hope you can make it work - I certainly know lots of people who would buy such a 'product'. It's a great idea. I actually feel quite excited for you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well it's worth a try! As noted elsewhere your set up costs and initial overheads would be very low so you've no financial investment to lose if it doesn't work.

    Without wanting to rain on your parade, I do wonder whether there's enough of a market for this to become your sole source of income. It might provide a secondary income for a bit if you had sufficient orders, though.

    Again, the point has been made about how hard this kind of market is to break into. It's also very a luxury item you're talking about which narrows your prospective customer base down even more. With next to no set up costs however, nothing ventured.....

    If mine weren't past the age where this sort of thing would appeal I'd be asking for a quote but I'm afraid the best I can do is good wishes and the offer of a little creative input should you try it and "the juices dry up"!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well it's worth a try! As noted elsewhere your set up costs and initial overheads would be very low so you've no financial investment to lose if it doesn't work.

    Without wanting to rain on your parade, I do wonder whether there's enough of a market for this to become your sole source of income. It might provide a secondary income for a bit if you had sufficient orders, though.

    Again, the point has been made about how hard this kind of market is to break into. It's also very a luxury item you're talking about which narrows your prospective customer base down even more. With next to no set up costs however, nothing ventured.....

    If mine weren't past the age where this sort of thing would appeal I'd be asking for a quote but I'm afraid the best I can do is good wishes and the offer of a little creative input should you try it and "the juices dry up"!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Will give that some thought B! Cool idea... I love it!

    My poor old dad when I was that age, had to make up a new story every night for me. He could have used your services!!
    You being at home more would be good.

    Hedgewizard is right, you should charge some good $'s for it. I'd also suggest the American market, there are a lot of anglophiles that would LOVE a story made in the UK..
    ~Not that the dollar is worth sh*t right now, but people would still pay. Etsy is apparently the place to sell things arts and craft-related.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Will give that some thought B! Cool idea... I love it!

    My poor old dad when I was that age, had to make up a new story every night for me. He could have used your services!!
    You being at home more would be good.

    Hedgewizard is right, you should charge some good $'s for it. I'd also suggest the American market, there are a lot of anglophiles that would LOVE a story made in the UK..
    ~Not that the dollar is worth sh*t right now, but people would still pay. Etsy is apparently the place to sell things arts and craft-related.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey - I'm SpiralSkies Friend that she mentioned. I think this is a great idea!!

    My gut instinct says that you would need to make it exclusive but not so exclusive that you price yourself out the market. In terms of advertising you could do worse than going to FireBox.com as they specialise in things that you can't buy everywhere.

    I've not seen books but I've seen pictures using old photographs and personalised words and I know (having bought one) that htey go down very very well - have a look under the commissions section - www.temporarymeasure.co.uk.

    I would be up for having a go at this so give me a shout if you want to discuss it further.

    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey - I'm SpiralSkies Friend that she mentioned. I think this is a great idea!!

    My gut instinct says that you would need to make it exclusive but not so exclusive that you price yourself out the market. In terms of advertising you could do worse than going to FireBox.com as they specialise in things that you can't buy everywhere.

    I've not seen books but I've seen pictures using old photographs and personalised words and I know (having bought one) that htey go down very very well - have a look under the commissions section - www.temporarymeasure.co.uk.

    I would be up for having a go at this so give me a shout if you want to discuss it further.

    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmmm. In view of the market research angle of this post (and not yet read the subsequent posts!) .... I wouldn't actually pay that much (anything over £10!) for a child's book, or less than £20 for a computer personalised one.

    However I would pay for a special book for an adult! For example, many years ago I had a cartoon made for a boyfriend. It might have cost £25 back in 1980 and I felt that was a bargain. I only wish I had kept the cartoon when the boyfriend went as it was such a great picture!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hmmm. In view of the market research angle of this post (and not yet read the subsequent posts!) .... I wouldn't actually pay that much (anything over £10!) for a child's book, or less than £20 for a computer personalised one.

    However I would pay for a special book for an adult! For example, many years ago I had a cartoon made for a boyfriend. It might have cost £25 back in 1980 and I felt that was a bargain. I only wish I had kept the cartoon when the boyfriend went as it was such a great picture!

    ReplyDelete