Mr. Jay Miletsky: Self-publishing is a Business, and Writing is only part of it.
1. Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself? My name is Jay Miletsky, but I write under the name Mr. Jay. I graduated from Brandeis University in 1994, and have had a number of careers and businesses since graduating. I currently live in north New Jersey, with my wife, Amanda, my daughter Bria and my son Oakland.
2. When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author and when did you publish your first book? How many books you have published so far? I’ve always liked writing, but I didn’t initially set out to be an author. After I graduated college, I opened a marketing agency and became proficient at using Adobe Photoshop, which was pretty new at the time, Word got around about my command of the program, and someone from Pearson Education reached out to me about writing a book on how to use it. I went on to write 12 books for Pearson and later Cengage Learning, on topics ranging from graphic design to entrepreneurship and marketing. More recently, around 2017, as I was reading books to my daughter, I decided to get into writing children’s books. I had an offer from Scholastic for my first book, Ricky, the Rock that Couldn’t Roll, but decided to open my own publishing company, New Paige Press, instead. I’ve since written eight children’s books, with four more on the way.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me about your writing schedule? Like how many hours per day do you spend on your books? Initially, I got my inspiration from my daughter. Many of my early children’s books are indirectly about her. Ricky, the Rock, for example, is about 14 round rocks that play by rolling around their favorite hill - except for Ricky, who can’t roll because he’s flat on one side. While it’s a story about friendship and perseverance, Ricky is a metaphor for a child who can’t walk, like my daughter, Bria, who has cerebral palsy. The rocks who try to help Ricky represent all of the family, friends, doctors, nurses, teacher, aids and therapists who work tireless to help these kids progress. More recently, though, my books have been about other topics that are important to me, like developing a love of reading, staying positive and questioning claims. I don’t really have a writing schedule, so much. My early children’s books were more difficult to write, because I was still new to it, so it would take months and a lot of revisions. Today, though, it takes me only a few hours to write a book, and they often come to me while I’m driving (I pull off and jot down an early draft in whatever random parking lot I find). I spend more of my time marketing the books I write. 4.Can you tell me a little bit about your books? What do you intend to achieve through your books and where can people purchase them? I love when kids enjoy my books and when teachers reach out to share how their class respond to my stories. But ultimately, publishing is a business, and my intention is to grow New Paige Press into a large publishing company, and expand distribution as widely as possible. I try to only put out books that I think are as good or better than the traditionally published books you can find in major bookstores. If they’re not better than what is already out there, then why bother? People can buy some of my books in Barnes and Nobles and Target, and on Amazon, and at OakieBees.com 5. What do you like to do when you are not writing? I’ve got other companies that I run which take up a lot of my time, that are aimed at helping indie authors achieve success. But outside of work, I spend as much time with my family as possible. We enjoy skiing, playing tennis, hiking. I’m not one that can sit on the couch and just “veg” for long periods of time - I always need to be doing something.
6. What have you learnt in creating your books so far? This is a tough question. One thing I’ve learned is that for a book to be successful, readers have to be able to relate to it personally. If I write a story that is too clearly about me or my own experience, it doesn’t work. For example, I wrote a book called “Beware of the Nose-Biting Monster.” The book failed for a number of reasons, but the biggest problem was that it was too personal. The story was about how my daughter would bite my nose when began teething. It was well written and beautifully illustrated….but at the end of the day, who cares? If your own child never bit your nose, the story made no sense to you. Buyers of children’s books want stories that are fun, but don’t exclude them from the action. 7. What advice would you give to other authors? Remember that self-publishing is a business - writing is only one part of it. But you also have to know your numbers. You need to know your costs, potential revenue, cash flow, how you’ll market your book, and a lot more. Running a business is hard work, and you can’ t let your passion and excitement for your story get in the way of making sound business decision. 8.Do you provide other services to help other authors? I do. Because of the success I’ve had with my books, many authors have reached out to me to help them with their own publishing endeavors. So I started The IAPC (Independent Author’s Publishing Collective), which helps indie authors print in and ship from China, plus we also offer warehousing and distribution services. Then, to help indie authors have another sales outlet, I recently launched OakieBees.com, which is an online store for indie content creators. 9.How do you market your books? I do some marketing in Amazon, plus paid and unpaid marketing on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram. I also do a good amount of email marketing and some print ads.
10. What are your plans for the future? Do you have more publications on the way? My current plans are to continue publishing about 3 new books per year. In April of this year, I have Tyrannosaurus Hex and the Unluckiest Day Ever hitting stores, and this autumn I have Patrick Picklebottom and the Longest Wait debuting, along with my first board book, Prety Loved. I have 3 more books scheduled for 2022, including a new book featuring Ricky the Rock, and one that I’m really looking forward to called Have you Heard the News? which is meant to help kids question the media.
Wishing Mr. Jay Good Luck with his beautiful books, and We Thank him for all his support and services he offers to other self-publishing authors.