Insights on the business of children's books |

Jennie Wong, Ph.D., is a nationally syndicated columnist and the creator of the product quiz website
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Insights on the business of children's books

07/23/13 00:53
Charlotte Blogs

This week's "Ask the Mompreneur" features an interview with Chintu Parikh and Aarti Parikh, the husband and wife founders of KiteReaders, a publishing platform for digital children’s books.


Ask the Mompreneur:


How did you two decide to start your company?


Aarti Parikh:


After our time working at Yahoo, we decided to start our own business and began by initially doing mobile apps, and even won an Appy Award for one we built with our partner Little Pickle Press called “Being Global.”  But we quickly realized that building the app was only half the story.  The whole process was like producing and promoting a small movie – there were a lot of expenses involved.


And that happened to be the moment when the first full-color tablets were coming out so the time was ripe for children’s picture books to go digital.  After our successful collaboration on “Being Global,” we approached Little Pickle Press to turn their catalog of titles into ebooks, and this turned out to be even more profitable than the app, so we decided to refocus our company on this new business model.


Incidentally, our name, KiteReaders, was inspired by the story of Benjamin Franklin discovering electricity while flying a kite.  For us, it symbolizes innovation and learning.


Ask the Mompreneur:


What is it like being a husband and wife team?


Chintu Parikh:


Every startup is crazy and intense when you’re working around the clock to get something off the ground.  So I don’t think our experience has been different than anyone else’s in that sense.  It’s just the nature of the beast.


Where I think being a husband and wife team really helps us is when it comes to those hard conversations about the direction of the business.  When you’re not that close to your co-founder, brutally honest discussions are not easy, and yet you have to be candid to evolve.


Our commitment to each other also makes it easier to turn on a dime, because we’re both aligned to the same goal of making a successful company.  Non-married founders often connect through their business idea, but then what happens with you pivot to a different idea?


Ask the Mompreneur:


You've experienced more than one business incubator/ startup accelerator program.  What advice do you have to other entrepreneurs considering such programs?


Chintu Parikh:


If you’re considering any kind of program to help grow your business, the first thing to realize is that each one is different and that every program will have a specialty or a strength.  For example, some programs are very strong in helping B2Bs, or women owned businesses, or startups in the family tech space.  Make sure that your business is aligned to the strengths of a particular program.


Aarti Parikh:


I would also advise people to look at and research the specific mentors that a program is offering and think about who you would connect with.  It’s almost like applying to college or grad school, you’re checking for fit.


Whatever program you get into or decided to go with, you’ll be able to have a community around you, instead of feeling like you’re going it alone, which is a tremendous relief.


Ask the Mompreneur:


Your company helps both new and established children’s book authors to produce, distribute, and market their work to ebook buyers.  What advice do you have for people with a concept for a children’s picture book?


Chintu Parikh:


The most important thing is to begin with a really good manuscript.  Most authors benefit from working with an experienced editor to fine tune their work.  Then you need to get a good set of illustrations, and we can help to match authors to illustrators.


When we take on a new author on a royalty share basis, we also look at the author’s personal story and the marketing potential of their personal brand.


Aarti Parikh:


After you have your manuscript and illustrations, there’s a whole world of options for additional content.  You can do add-ons like activities or games that are relevant to the story.  And since it’s all digital, the sky is the limit!



Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is an executive coach, author of “Ask the Mompreneur,” and founder of the social shopping startup Follow her on Twitter @DrJennieWong.

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