Author, Educator & Small Business Owner
Image Credit: Beritah Harian Sg
What’s your background?
I was an early childhood professional working in a preschool for almost a decade. As of now, I am a field practicum supervisor and a small business owner.
How did you get started publishing your very first book?
When my group of friends spoke about publishing books as one of our community outreach endeavours, I got on it and started writing.
What’s the title of your first book and why you wrote or had to write it?
The first book was called, Dollar, Dollar, One Dollar! (DDOD) and it is about counting coins effectively. During my teaching stint, I observed that books on money based on our local currency are non-existent. If there are, it is in the US or UK currency that is not suitable for our children. Ironically, I grew up not liking to read books, perhaps I have not read something that is fun and playful. So, I decided to create this book about money that emphasizes on fun and playfulness!
How many books have you written thus far? Are there any future books on the horizon?
There is a second book that I co-wrote, called Money Friends, Dollars & Cents (MFDC), which was the sequel to the first book where the character, Dollar introduced concepts on financial literacy.
Perhaps, a third book may come in a year or two and related to money as well?
Did you go through the self-publishing route or with a trade publisher? What were the challenges? What are some of the highs?
The books were self-published under Yaa Bunayya SG, a start-up that my friends and I co-founded! The challenges include publishing a book from scratch. This means we had to find our own illustrators (which for me happened to be my fiance turned husband so I saved in that area ;)), editors, printing company, etc. Learning from the team and those who had experienced publishing books was such a blessing.
The highs would also be that the books sold well and children, parents, and educators appreciate the existence of the book. The first title sold out and for the second title, we even reprinted it thrice, due to the great demand. To date, we have printed 4000 copies of Money Friends, Dollars and Cents! This would not be possible without The Almighty and the support from all of you. We are greatly humbled and thankful.
What do you think were the recipe for the success of your books?
I believe what may have led to the success of the books could be perhaps, the relevance of the topic of money where it is used in our daily lives, the math concepts introduced, the play elements embedded, the character that stood out, and the comic-style simple illustrations. The support from fellow educators and parents with young children whose students or children are transitioning to primary school find the titles useful as well.
What are some things you had to do to ensure your books get noticed, sold, and distributed?
We were fortunate that the books were carried by various online bookstores including Ungu Pen! We also reached out to organizations and schools to conduct financial literacy workshops for children.
What tips do you have to ensure some things work out better?
To all those aspiring authors, here are five tips from me!
1) Keep going and do not give up!
2) Learn from those who have experienced the route.
3) Do not be afraid to stay true to your voice.
4) Continuously seek feedback, edit, and revise (until you’re satisfied with it!)
5) Coming from my own experience, developing memorable characters that are relatable and endearing can be interesting to children!
Alhamdulillah, we would like to thank all those who had supported us in our journey from validating our ideas and editing the books, to buying and using our books. A big shoutout to bookstores including Ungu Pen who were willing to carry our titles and guide us along! This wouldn’t be possible without the Almighty, and ALL YOUR SUPPORT!
I wish all aspiring authors great success!
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