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- Who: Miriam Laundry
- Website: miriamlaundry.com
- Course Topic: Children’s books
- Interesting Stats: Triple the size of our email list in just a few months.
Who are you and what course have you created?
My name is Miriam Laundry and I am the CEO of Miriam Laundry Publishing and the creator of the Children’s Book Masterclass — a 10-week online course that teaches aspiring children’s book authors the exact roadmap I used to write, publish and launch all of my bestselling and award-winning children’s books.
What market does your online course serve?
The Children’s Book Masterclass is for anyone who…
- Dreams of writing a children’s book
- Wants to make a greater difference in children’s lives
- Has no idea where or how to start publishing
Since technology has become so prevalent in our everyday lives, publishing has never been more accessible. It’s a growing industry but it’s also changing rapidly.
I’m so grateful for the internet and the wealth of information it provides. But for a new author, the sheer amount of information you’ll find if you Google “How to publish a children’s book” can be overwhelming. Right now, if you want to enter the publishing industry, it’s very easy to find a quick answer to your questions but it can be incredibly difficult to find the right answer for you.
This is part of the reason why I started the Children’s Book Masterclass — to provide absolutely everything you need to know to write, publish and launch your children’s book all in one place so you don’t have to dig through an endless stream of online articles just to end up feeling more confused than you were when you started.
The Children’s Book Masterclass was designed to bring clarity to a confusing industry and help aspiring authors publish their incredible children’s books.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
The biggest benefit of the Children’s Book Masterclass is that it gives you a community of support in addition to quality teaching. When I go LIVE to teach the modules, my goal is not to create a classroom — my goal is to facilitate a community.
Before every LIVE class, I host a 30-minute connection time where students can share their progress, receive support, and get to know their peers. I always make sure to learn more about my students’ written stories and their life stories. My students truly do inspire me and bring me joy, and I can see this course does the same for them, too.
How did you get into the market?
My experience with writing and publishing began in 2012 when I was inspired to write my first manuscript. I had just attended an empowering seminar about the connection between positive mindsets and achieving success in life. I was so deeply moved by what I’d learned that, on the plane ride home, I wrote a book so I could teach my children how to believe in themselves. Little did I know how different my life would become from that one decision.
After publishing a series of bestselling and award-winning children’s books, my email blew up. Other writers would ask me out for coffee so they could pick my brain and learn how they could do it, too. I was more than happy to share everything I knew.
Eventually, it got to a point where I was spending a significant portion of my time on these author dates. I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only author who had felt completely lost when it came to publishing my first children’s book.
As I brainstormed how I could respond to this need on a wider scale, I remembered one wish I had had as I published my first children’s book — a mentor. I soon realized it was my duty to be that mentor for today’s children’s book authors.
But the best part of it all has been seeing these authors’ readers become inspired by their books. As a solo act, I could only produce a maximum of one book per year. But as a publishing mentor, I can help countless authors get their empowering message into the hands of the children who need it.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I don’t share this often, but one of the biggest reasons I chose to create an online course was because I started the course in 2020 around the time COVID-19 took the world by storm.I didn’t want the pandemic to stop myself or others from making a difference in children’s lives. Actually, it became all the more important to prioritize young people & young people’s literature. - Miriam Laundry Click To Tweet
Going online seemed like the right thing to do. Little did I know it would allow me to connect with writers from all over the world.
The thing is, with so many amazing online courses available in the world, there are no excuses — if you want to learn a skill or reach a goal, you CAN do it. I have no doubt there’s an online course for it somewhere.
I also knew a comprehensive online course was the way to go because I participate in a variety of online courses myself. I have always loved learning and will forever be a goal-setting geek.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
To be completely transparent, I never doubted the content in my course (because I have been in each author’s shoes and knew exactly which questions they would want to be answered). However, I did doubt my ability to market and sell my online course.
I kept wondering whether I’d be able to find the people. Would people really be interested in my course?
Luckily, the success mindset I’d learned many years ago stuck with me and I pursued my goals anyways. The rest is history.
What’s your online course like?
The Children’s Book Masterclass is a 10-week online course taught through LIVE Zoom classes. Before teaching begins, I host an optional 30-minute connection time where the class splits into breakout rooms so they can journey together and get to know their peers. During the teaching portion, either myself or the writing instructor, Sharon Jennings, will teach through video and slides.
I am very lucky to have Sharon as a part of the team. She has written over 70 books for young people, is the current president of CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors and Illustrators) and has been nominated for the Silver Birch Award, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, and the Governor General’s Award. In other words, she’s a storytelling powerhouse.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I’m still a bit shocked that I did this, but the first time I ran the Children’s Book Masterclass I had an idea of what I wanted to teach but would hash out the details with my staff week-by-week (sounds stressful, right?)
To figure out all the nitty-gritty details, I traveled back in time to when I was an aspiring children’s book author and recalled all the questions I had. Then I used my recent experience in self and traditional publishing to come up with the answers. Those questions and answers created the course content.
Of course, we’ve adjusted our approach since the first time around. After collecting feedback from the students, we’ve developed a structured and easy-to-comprehend roadmap to guide our writers towards success.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
Very early on in the launching process, I discovered that it’s important to offer free content to help build an audience and develop connections with them. I love getting to teach people LIVE and directly interact with my students, so I hosted a free LIVE training to start.
This free training involved a teaching component about something my audience was interested in (e.g., “5 Golden Rules for Writing a Picture Book Children will Love”) and at the end, I would tell them about my online course, where they could continue to work with me.
I’ve connected with some incredible authors through this free training. The best part is when I get an email from an attendee saying, “Your free training helped me publish my children’s book!” or “That training you did gave me the motivation to GO FOR IT! Now I’m on route to achieving my dreams.” It wows me every time.
When I got my first sign-up for the Children’s Book Masterclass, I experienced a mix of emotions. I was happy, ecstatic, and thought, Oh jeez. Someone just paid me $2,000 — I better deliver!
Though the pressure to deliver top-quality content was on, I quickly realized that people will enroll for the content but they’ll stick around for the community. That’s why I always make sure to weave community & connection into my content. Besides, it’s so much more fun that way.
Do you have a lead magnet?
On my website, I currently offer a free Children’s Book Blueprint.
This blueprint is a writing resource for any aspiring author who wants to learn how to outline a quality children’s book. It offers free video training where I walk you through the 5 essential elements of many bestselling children’s books and a free PDF workbook so you can put what you learn into practice.
I use this outlining method for all of my bestselling and award-winning children’s books. It’s quick, easy, and filled with practical planning tips. With the Children’s Book Blueprint, authors can finish their outline in one sitting.
This blueprint has been instrumental in growing our email list. We often funnel traffic from Facebook Ads to the Children’s Book Blueprint and have it available on our website for organic traffic.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
The best traffic strategy for us has been launching with an affiliate. When I do an affiliate launch, I ask another entrepreneur if they’d be willing to share my course to their email list and teach alongside me in my free LIVE training. Then, if someone from their mailing list enrolls in the course, the affiliate gets a commission. It’s a win-win.For me, it’s important to find affiliates who have a significant & engaged audience and whose brand lines up with my own business values. - Miriam Laundry Click To Tweet
What online course platform are you using?
In the Children’s Book Masterclass I am using LearnWorlds for the course portal, Zoom for our weekly LIVE classes, and Drip to send emails to the students when needed.
Do you like it?
Yes, I love it! LearnWorlds has been great so far and I love how accessible it is. I’ve especially loved using Zoom for the LIVE classes since I can really get to know my students. My greatest joy is being an encourager for them and seeing their confidence grow over time.
I’m so grateful for platforms like LearnWorlds and Zoom.
Are there any features you wish it had?
I’m quite happy with LearnWorlds and Zoom. Though I do wish my course could have a face-to-face component so I could meet everyone in person. Of course, the classes would have to look much different to do that.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
At first, my team and I used Thrive Apprentice (as a part of Thrive Themes), but at the time it had limitations regarding login functions. We also found that the formatting was not intuitive for our course.
As a replacement, my staff picked LearnWorlds because it is organized well, is clean & crisp, and is easy to understand. It gives us more flexibility to provide a better experience for the students.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
In addition to LearnWorlds and Zoom, the MLP Team uses Drip, WordPress, Asana, and Slack (which is our latest addition. It has been an absolute game-changer in our team communication).
We also love to use private Facebook groups to connect our students with one another. Community is so important!
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
Since I am a lifelong learner, I’ve been through a lot of online courses. Some of my favorites when it comes to business are:
- B-School with Marie Forleo
- Launch with Jeff Walker
- Digital Course Academy with Amy Porterfield
- Any mastermind with Chris & Lori Harder
- Any Jack Canfield training — the way you think directly impacts your business and personal life.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
I wish I would’ve offered this course sooner. There are so many authors-in-the-making out there who need this roadmap.
I also noticed that after the first time I ran the course, students felt slightly overwhelmed by what they were learning. I realized that sometimes teaching everything can hinder an author’s success rather than encourage it. Since then, my team and I have renovated the course content to include everything the authors need. Any additional content is optional.
My sales strategies also seemed confusing to my audience. Sometimes I would offer a few too many deals or bonuses and it would only disorient my potential students. When people are confused, they don’t buy.
Please share some idea of revenue.
The first two CBM launches brought in about 25-30 students. Our most recent launch was our most successful with over 50 students enrolled (making it our first-ever 6-figure launch!)
The difference was our willingness to invest in the launch process. For our most recent launch, we invested in Facebook Ads since our most engaged audience members are active on that platform. Those ads not only grew our email list to 3 times its original size, but they also contributed to the doubling of our enrollment rate.
Tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
When I first started my business, I told my husband that I would use the revenue to ditch the minivan and upgrade to a nice SUV. I’ve since reached that goal and am enjoying functional air conditioning during car rides.
In addition to making the summer months much more bearable, the income from my online course has allowed me to build a team of employees at Miriam Laundry Publishing. Now I feel supported in my business. Knowing that I don’t have to do all the grunt work in my business provides much peace and allows me to spend even more time caring for the authors I work with.
And for every student who enrolls in the Children’s Book Masterclass, I donate a portion of their enrollment fee to Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization focused on providing quality education to children in less fortunate countries.
Right now, we are raising funds to build a school in Guatemala.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?Providing free content through training and delivering our lead magnet through paid Facebook Ads has allowed us to triple the size of our email list in just a few months. - Miriam Laundry Click To Tweet
If you’re looking to grow your audience, figure out where they’re the most active and invest your resources there. For us, it was Facebook.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
Successfully launching my own online course has given me confidence. I’ve shown myself that I CAN do anything I set my mind to. I also now know that the information I’m teaching is valuable to people, and I can help authors publish their empowering children’s books.
In all honesty, I’m proud of myself for doing it.Integrity is very important to me, so being able to follow through on my commitment to launch an online course has been incredibly rewarding. - Miriam Laundry Click To Tweet
It has brought on a new understanding of how people run their businesses and gives me the chance to show my own children that they CAN do anything, too. My children are getting older now so I’m glad they get to see me going for what I want. That whole entrepreneurial world wasn’t available to me as a child, so it means a lot that I get to be that example for my own children.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
When I think of how the Children’s Book Masterclass has transformed people’s lives, I think immediately of Lori Parks. Lori is a CBM Alumna who had dreamed of publishing her own children’s book for 50 years. After learning everything she needed to learn in CBM and working alongside me for a year, she finally achieved that goal. Most importantly, I saw her confidence grow throughout the whole process.
And that’s something I see again and again in these authors. They enter CBM with a dream, but they leave as different people. They become more confident, more certain about what they want, and they begin to appreciate themselves.By achieving a lifelong dream, they start to think about all the other amazing things they can do. It’s a complete 180. - Miriam Laundry Click To Tweet
That’s a true joy for me. To see the students grow emotionally and mentally is so incredible.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
First, I would tell anyone thinking of building an online course to listen to their audience. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of what they actually need (not what you think they need). What kinds of questions are they asking? What answers are they looking for?
Second, I’d emphasize the importance of — you guessed it — community. Find other people who are doing what you want to do and journey with them. If you can find an experienced mentor as well, ask if they’re willing to help you out. Mastermind programs are an amazing way to achieve this.
Lastly, I’d repeat the words of my own mentor, Chris Harder: “A rising tide lifts all ships.” In other words, when you journey with others and help one another, you don’t only lift yourself — you lift everyone around you, too. Remember, course creation isn’t a competition. You aren’t competing with other creators — you’re supporting one another.
If you’re thinking about creating your own online course, know that you CAN do it!