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Can I pick your brain on how to monetize my book blog?
My dream is to Willy-Wonka Books For Littles
I need a Charlie! This work is exhausting, and I’d love to hand it over to someone with free time and unique insight at the intersection of multiple targeted identities. If you can replicate this, PLEASE TAKE THE HELM OF BOOKS FOR LITTLES.
I want this work to outlive me.
- Identify where the world needs healing: Each month, review current events, ways to support the planet as it revolves through the seasons, upcoming advocacy initiatives, holidays, topic on oppression and justice that we need to teach our kids about, and feedback from our community members on what challenges they are facing while surviving and raising the next generation of leaders. Set aside 15-20 hours/week for this. More if you’re a slow reader. After the kids are in bed is best. Set aside 4-6 hours/week for this.
- Find kids books that might facilitate hard conversations: Request the maximum number of holds your library will let you borrow on your areas of interest this month. Make sure you donate to your library to compensate what you can afford for the sheer pounds of books librarians have to lug around for you. Even if you already pay taxes. Set aside 30 minutes/week for this.
- Dig into your ignorance: Read articles and books (for adults), watch documentaries and listen to self-advocate speakers, attend educational community events, and reach out to organizations and individuals working at the grassroots level. Listen carefully. Don’t make what you’re learning about you. Set aside 15-20 hours/week for this. More if you’re a slow reader or this topic is new to you. After the kids are in bed is best.
- Make a praxis plan: How will you incorporate transformative justice and personal responsibility in your daily life, so it’s not just something you talk about? Set aside 10-20 hours/month to do tedious things like building rainwater runoff drainage systems, facilitating racial justice workshops, and being an unpaid self-advocate guest speaker for local events. (Or paid, if you grew up with support the resources to invest in a phD or the social skills to make powerful connections.)
- Decompress: If you have the time and resources, I advise you do some self-care here, as the stuff you just learned is probably going to break you. I can’t afford the time for that, so I eat my overwhelm in the form of a half bag of onion rings every night after the kids are asleep. I do this during my quality parallel play time with my partner, while we binge Netflix, so I don’t count it as work hours. I also head to our Luminary Brain Trust for emotional support and to hold myself accountable for keeping it up.
- Pickup Books: Head to the library once a week with a large rolling luggage case to pick up your books. Browse the children’s shelves for new arrivals, if you can. Expect the library trip to take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on whether you have access to a transportation and a local library.
- Request more books: When you get home – request the maximum number of holds ASAP. You will pick them up next week. Repeat this every week, year-round. This will take about 30 minutes each week to narrow down your choices and make requests online.
- Screen out fluff: Screen the books you’ve picked up. Take notes on the obvious filler, the bland books not worth reading, and set them aside to return. Don’t waste your children’s precious few minutes of childhood on these. You’ll get a good sense of what your kids have patience for after a few years. If it’s on the fence, put it in the pile of books for them to test. For 100 books, this takes me about .5-1.5 hours. You may need longer if you’re slow reader. Seethe in fury at how enthusiastic publishers are to publish mediocre abled white folks who feel no shame churning out rubbish. (Add a chocolate bar to your nightly onion ring binge).
- Test & gather feedback from actual children:
- Most ‘children’s books’ are written by adults, for the adult gaze. This is childism in action. As adults, the only way to ethically recommend childrens books for children is to ask actual children if they recommend them. Using the books your kids will probably like, and the terrible-no-good ones, test these with your kids.
- Even though you have deadlines on specific topics to meet, space themes, and sprinkle in fun books that make your kids laugh. Do not read more than one gut-wrenching book about trauma, human trafficking, the refugee crisis, climate disasters, or other book that will send your family into a tailspin read only one truly horrifying book each night.
- When learning about the oppression of others: To counter stereotypes, victim-blaming, and reductionist bias: Balance each of these books with 8-12 books that depict people within these targeted groups as celebrating, normalized, silly, adventurous, sci-fi fantasy, and dealing with average kid problems. Good luck finding books like that not about abled white boys though..
- When learning about the oppression of your own family/group: Read these sparingly, alongside copious books about resilience, accomplices, and using the practices I outline in our wealth inequality series. If possible, have a non-family support network on hand to help kids manage first and secondary complex trauma. I hear those exist?
- Re-read the same books again tomorrow, and repeat, until your kids ask you to stop. Take note of how many times they wanted to read each book, and how enthusiastically they asked to read each book again.
- DO NOT FORCE your kids to finish books that they find bland, boring, or traumatic. Even if it has a good lesson. You can discuss this lesson without forcing them to read an ineffective book. Forcing a shitty book will just make your kids resent the subject matter.
- I read and discuss these books with my kids for 1-2 hours/night, 7 nights/week. Our kids are 2 years apart, and distract each other, so I usually do a separate story-time for each kid while my partner plays video games with the other kid. I don’t even know how to do this as a solo caregiver. As a kid raised by a single parent, I learned now to read from a kid at daycare and read to my mom as she fell asleep. Try that maybe?
- Manage the timing of returns: Check in weekly with your library to make sure you screen, test, and analyze books before they are due. And that you pick up holds off the hold shelf before they expire. Spend 15 minutes/week on this.
- Prepare your books for return: Take copious notes on the actively problematic violent garbage books. These will be your most useful weapons in unpacking the kyriarchy with the kids. This will take 4-6 hours each week.
- Update existing book collections: Revisit old book collections you’ve already published, and add good new finds. Now that I’m doing 24/7 pandemic parenting/homeschooling, I no longer have time to do this, but maybe you do?
- Write up a collection, book analysis article, or whatever: Now you still have to share what you’ve learned. Everything hinges on your ability to convince people to read what you’ve written, take a step to end injustice, and maybe read the book you’re talking about. Obsess over headlines. Accept ‘good enough’ with embarrassingly sloppy copy-editing. Expect each post to take 15-20 hours to write, edit, format, code, and publish.
- Pass the mic: Make sure to boost an organization or advocate who could use some visibility in each post. Expect 1-2 hours of research for new finds to make sure the org you’re supporting isn’t secretly evil. We have google, there’s no excuse to crowdfund for hate groups like Autism $peaks.
- Debase yourself: Ask for the thousands of people who use your content to please, pretty please, pay for the content they consume. Thank with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the 0.75% of people who actually do. Obsess over the right way to convince readers that your life is worth sustaining (.5-2 hours/month).
- Deal with the fallout of being a non-silent disabled person of color on the internet: Spend an hour or four each week fielding detailed personal requests from people who can’t be bothered to contribute to your patreon community, so they don’t say nasty things about you on the internet that could destroy everything you’ve worked hard to build or call child services on your family. De-escalate doxxers, trolls, and pearl-clutchers. Respond with grace to white commenters who claim you don’t know what the word ‘racism’ or ‘decolonizing‘ means. Breathe through defensiveness when you do actually get something wrong or misuse a word. Breathe through despair when folks tell you you’re not doing enough. Micro-mediate to mitigate feelings of despair and desperation when a white woman gets payment and accolades for republishing what she learned from your free labor.
- Take good care of the people who make your work possible:
- Interrupt working anytime your kid runs in howling with stubbed toe or hurt feelings, reminding yourself that this matters more than what people think of you on the internet. Plan meals, wash dishes, mend clothing, run errands, find lost stuffies, clean up legos, facilitate playdates (pre-pandemic), brainstorm ways to get kids to socialize on zoom post-pandemic. And cook dinner (2-6 hours/day).
- Support the braintrust community who contribute funds that keep your kids fed, maintain a healthy support community, and inspire you to keep going. (2-4 hours/week)
- Miscellaneous: Fix broken links, website bugs, search for the overdue library book your kid wedged into Narnia. Call your parents. Prepare dinner for neighbors in need. Donate outgrown clothing. Prepare birthday celebrations for the kids. Remove all the dust from your house to prevent your kid’s asthma attack. Do the bare minimum in personal grooming and maintain a moderate level of anxiety over the health of your marriage, cause your partner is the one who pays all the bills and you’re keenly aware of how screwed you’d be if he gets tired of your nagging him to flush the toilet. (All the other hours).
You will need to set aside a minimum of 91 hours/week for this job. This is not an exaggeration. Do not expect a living wage. BUT – if you succeed, you can help thousands of people raise the next generation of kind & brilliant kids!
Or, just let me do my thing. Benefit from the distilled products of my labor, and maybe support my efforts in making this free for all families raising compassionate & generous kids.
Whichever is easiest for you.