LaDonna Smith - Author and Publisher
I recently had a chance to connect with author and publisher LaDonna Smith. With her platforms, she is giving hard working independent authors, screen-writers, song-writers, booksellers...all creative entrepreneurs, the opportunity to gain exposure with their work which they would be challenged to do otherwise on their own. She is an author, a mother, an educator and a true inspiration.
How did you get started in this business? How long have you been in business?
As the mother of four African-American children, I feel it is extremely important that children of color have access to quality reading material. The lack of diversity in children’s literature inspired me to start a publishing company that creates material featuring characters traditionally under-represented in American children’s literature. In 2013, I started FYD Publishing and self-published my first financial literacy children’s book, The Money Tree.
Along with running FYD Publishing, I recently launched a program called S.W.A.G. (Saving With A Goal), where I partner with both schools and banks in an effort to provide students in grades K-12 with high-energy and interactive financial literacy workshops. Through my publishing company I create and publish a plethora of items including: children’s books, financial literacy based games, and educational music for children
In 2016, I went on to launch “Writer’s Life Magazine.” Writer’s Life is a literary publication designed to acknowledge the hard work of independent authors, screen-writers, song-writers, and literary organizations.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
For Saving With A Goal
Growing up, my family never taught me about money management. Therefore, I wanted to introduce my children to financial literacy early so they wouldn't have to learn through mistakes like I did. If children are properly educated surrounding money, when they are out on their own, they don’t have to learn about money the hard way. However, no matter how enthusiastic parents are, trying to formally teach finance to young children can be extremely difficult. To help parents along the way, I created products that keep money lessons relevant, age-appropriate and a bit playful.
For Writer’s Life Magazine
“Sorry – no self-published books accepted.” After hearing those five little words from literary agents and bookstores over and over again, I decided to create an avenue for myself to promote my own books and products.
Once I realized how many other authors were experiencing the same issue and struggling with the “self-published” stigma, I decided I to create a publication to not only showcase my work, but to also showcase the work of amazing independent authors all across the country.
To what do you attribute your success?
Besides hard work and a dedication, I would have to say the talented authors that have graced the pages of Writer’s Life are the reason for the success of the publication. I’m so grateful for all of the authors who have joined the Writer’s Life community.
What were some of the biggest lessons that have impacted the way that you work? What was the lesson, and what was it like before and after?
Everyone looks at failure as a bad thing. There is such a negative connotation regarding failure. However, in business I quickly learned that failure is progress. I learned to take any failure not as a loss but rather a lesson.
How is social media marketing impacting how you are conducting your business?
Social media has a huge impact on how I conduct business. The use of the internet has allowed me to reach authors from all over the world. Within our first year of business Writer’s Life has already promoted books from authors from England, Germany, Africa, and Sri Lanka. If used correctly I believe social media marketing can be an absolute blessing for any business.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
For Writer’s Life to be a new publication, we have made tremendous progress already. The publication has already featured the stories of over 100 authors, as well as celebrity authors like NBA champion Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) and Fitness Olympian Laticia “Action” Jackson.
Writer’s Life Magazine has so many amazing things in the works. In the next 5-10 years I see Writer’s Life hosting networking events, book fairs, and so much more!!