Welcome to a very timely update with Ellie Levenson from Fisherton Press. I first became aware of her fantastic children’s publishing initiative a few years ago when they did a KickStarter campaign to publish the great book, “The Election“, which basically explains elections to small people and is hugely relevant and in the news right now, of course, with a general election within the month!
I first interviewed Ellie in November 2013, and checked in with her in January 2015 and March 2016. At that point, she said that where she wanted to be by now (not knowing there would be a general election around the corner!) was: “More of the same and hopefully with foreign editions of some of our books”. So if you have a toddler or slightly older child, do pop and have a look at The Election, I passed copies to small people I know and they enjoyed it, and it’s the only thing out there that explains it all for that age group as far as I can tell. And meanwhile, let’s see how Ellie’s getting on running her publishing company and combining that with busy family life.
Hello, Ellie, lovely to talk to you again and well done for all the great books! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
No – I thought we would have published our next few books (our last books came out in 2015) but I decided to give myself another year of maternity leave and just keep things ticking over – our third child is now 18 months and will be our last so I want to enjoy him as well as have time for our older two. But I am hoping to publish the next three next year. Also I didn’t really plan for there being an early General Election so have had to come up with a marketing plan on the hoof for our election book for kids, The Election. Still it’s getting lots of parliamentarian and celebrity endorsements so it’s going ok despite that, and became an Amazon bestseller the week the election was announced.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Don’t try to do too much.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Nothing really – even the mistakes have been fun and not too disastrous.
What are you glad you did?
The Election book – before I set up the company and decided to publish it myself it had been turned down by loads of agents and publishers but it has sold thousands and continues to do really well. And every time there is an election there should be a new generation of pre-schoolers ready for a copy.
What’s your top business tip?
Celebrity endorsements sell more than anything else!
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
Stayed the same – but that was the plan. I wanted a small business I could do alone. I am thinking about adding a few adult books to our list though which would be a diversification. And we are going to make some titles available abroad soon.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Nothing has changed yet!
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
It’s been a deliberately quiet year so nothing really this year – though perhaps I should have expected the unexpected when it came to elections.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Don;t put off the boring bits as they need to be done too.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Hopefully we’ll just have released our next three books and be getting excited about those…
You can buy the books direct from the Fisherton Press website as well as from bookshops and online sources (including Amazon and Hive – those are the links for The Election). Fisherton Press and all of the books can be found at www.fishertonpress.co.uk and they are on Twitter and Instagram, too.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.