Family living e-book fairytale
Bevan Findlay gifted his wife a tablet computer but had no idea it would solve their financial difficulties.
He and Joy were struggling to make ends meet while he studied engineering at the University of Auckland.
Mr Findlay’s student allowance was barely enough to cover the family’s rent and they lived off accommodation supplements and family tax credits.
They were unable to afford to live in Auckland so Mrs Findlay stayed in Hamilton and looked after their two children, Kiara, 4, and Zach, 5, while Mr Findlay studied.
Mr Findlay gave his wife a tablet to keep her company in February last year.
Mrs Findlay began downloading children’s books online and it wasn’t long before the former video producer had her lightbulb moment.
‘‘The children’s books weren’t of a great quality and I realised I could probably do better,’’ she says.
They began producing children’s books in April last year with Mr Findlay as the technological brains and Mrs Findlay as the writer.
‘‘It was scary and exciting,’’ she says.
‘‘We didn’t even have the money to pay for a domain name.
‘‘We knew it was an investment, we just didn’t know if it was going to pay off.’’
Mrs Findlay fell in love with self-publishing regardless.
‘‘It gave me something to be creative with and look forward to each day and even if we weren’t making any money I felt like I was contributing to society,’’ Mrs Findlay says.
They earned US$126 within their first month.
They were delighted with the ‘‘pocket money’’ but within six weeks they’d earned more than $7000 in royalties alone.
Petal’s First Winter was ranked No 1 in the Amazon children’s books category on Christmas Day 2012 and Mrs Findlay was ranked 165 out of 80,000 authors.
By the end of the summer they’d made $10,000.
The Findlays moved to Avondale in March and their family is much happier.
Mr Findlay’s grades are high and the kids are better behaved.
They have 66 books under their belt and another three due out later this year and are now focusing their efforts on teaching others to be successful self-publishers – and how it doesn’t need to be expensive.
They’re hosting their second full-day workshop in November.
‘‘We only spent $35 but now we can live in Auckland and our kids can go to a private school,’’ Mrs Findlay says.