Author self publishes aromatherapy-scented children’s books
The idea for a childrenâ€™s aromatherapy-scented book about a rescue dog came to Margaret Hyde in a dream.
â€śI woke up with the idea for it in the middle of the night, four years ago,â€ť said Hyde, author of the Moâ€™s Nose book series. â€śI got up, wrote the idea and wrote the first version of the first story. I even saw it illustrated in Japanese ink brush in my dream.â€ť
The dog in Hyde’s dream belonged to her best friend Amanda Giacomini, whom she asked to illustrate the first book, “Mo Smells Red”. Giacomini didnâ€™t know how to use Japanese ink brush, but learned the skill for the books.
Most of the six books focus on the special dog using his nose to see a color. In the latest installment, “Mo Smells Pink”, Mo smells things such as pink grapefruit bubble bath and pink peppermint ice cream.
Hyde, 37,Â grew up loving scratch-and-sniff stickers and scented markers, so she always wanted the Moâ€™s Nose books to be scented. She also wanted to use scents that were safe and hypoallergenic for kids, so she decided on aromatherapy essential oils.
â€śAromatherapy has benefits that have been known many, many years,â€ť said Hyde. â€śWe tried to choose scents that are soothing.â€ť
She developed the “Press-2-Smell” technology for the books, which hold the scent until the reader presses and releases it. Hyde said it lasts for 150,000 presses.
â€śWe also found that we had a huge response from learning disabled and autistic kids,â€ť said Hyde. â€śIn that community theyâ€™ve known for a long time that the more senses they use, the better they respond to learning.â€ť
At least 25,000 copies of the books have been sold and have won multiple Moonbeam Childrenâ€™s Book Awards.
To publish the book, Hyde used $100,000 of her own money (the proceeds from the sale of a house)Â to create her own publishing company. Hyde had previously created a small press in 1995 and published other children’s book including, the “Great Art for Kids” series.
â€śWith the state of publishing I donâ€™t think anyone would have taken a chance on an unproven concept and spent the time and money developing the technology,â€ť Hyde said.
Self-publishing is now very popular and has become three times the size of the traditional book publishing industry said Allen Weiner, research vice-president at Gartner. He predicts the number of self-published books will continue to explode.
â€śIt is much more difficult than ever to find a traditional publisher to publish your book,â€ť said Weiner.