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The Working Life: Melissa Marsted Sees Sure Bet in Lucky Penny Press

Author's idea to pursue publishing for digital media is paying off, and submissions are always welcome

Melissa Marsted, who founded Lucky Penny Press in 2010, sees the lessons and value of the e-books she publishes as stories that can and should be offered to children around the world. “Many remote places don’t even have libraries, but with technology advances, they could conceivable have hundreds of titles at their fingertips for very little cost,” she says.
Melissa Marsted, who founded Lucky Penny Press in 2010, sees the lessons and value of the e-books she publishes as stories that can and should be offered to children around the world. “Many remote places don’t even have libraries, but with technology advances, they could conceivable have hundreds of titles at their fingertips for very little cost,” she says.  (Jenn Kennedy photo / www.kennedypix.com)

Petite and blond, Melissa Marsted is soft-spoken and smiles easily as she looks you directly in the eye. She has a warmth and sincerity combined with a quiet strength that tells you she fully intends to accomplish whatever she decides.

Raised in Canton, Conn., Marsted comes from a tradition of entrepreneurship: Her great-grandfather invented the Erector Set, her grandmother owned a children’s bookstore, and her grandfather was a landscape architect. She attended Harvard University and worked as a journalist and grant writer before self-publishing her first book.

Marsted said she experienced the arduous and expensive process of self-publishing firsthand. She printed books on demand at $45 a pop, and peddled them to friends and family. Through that venture, she said she also saw the limitations of reach without distribution to bookstores, as well as the prohibitive cost considerations facing self-published authors. She looked at the rise of the Internet and decided to try a new route: publishing designed for digital media.

Lucky Penny Press launched in 2010 and has been on a whirlwind of growth since. Marsted’s Lucky Penny app was approved by iTunes in November, giving the company the official green light to start acquiring content for online sale. With an army of consultants, Marsted faces the ambitious goal of adding one or two titles weekly to the company’s growing collection.

Most recently, Lucky Penny Press was accepted as a client of the new Entrepreneurial Program at SBCC, which helps grow businesses through strategic planning and oversight, over a 12-month period.

Marsted said she has tapped her local network to get Lucky Penny up and running. Through her writing group, she has found people to submit content, illustrate and narrate stories, as well as translate her titles into Spanish, French and Portuguese. She also plans to take some titles to Chinese and possibly other languages.

She said she sees the lessons and value of the e-books she publishes as stories that can and should be offered to children around the world.

“Many remote places don’t even have libraries, but with technology advances, they could conceivable have hundreds of titles at their fingertips for very little cost,” Marsted said.

A former grant writer for nonprofit organizations, Marsted said she believes in giving back to community, so every title she represents has a benefiting charity component. The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation has been Lucky Penny’s most recent recipient. She offers both poems and storybooks geared toward young readers. The price points range from 99 cents to $2.99 per download, which are viewable indefinitely.

Marsted said her content comes from a variety of sources. She has written several pieces, and her youngest son can now say he has three published books in his 13 years. She shepherds projects, arriving at various stages, to reach completion. For example, several of the books she’s publishing are already available in print, while others are new and need both illustration and narration.

Marsted said the Lucky Penny Press name stemmed from receiving a unique gift as a child from a friend of her mother. The woman made her a book that told the story, via photos, of her birth and first few years. Each page incorporated a penny into the story, which was pasted to the handmade book. Marsted said she has always had a playful association with the luck that pennies bring. She finds pennies constantly — she even brought one to the interview — and sees the magic in the simple.

“Our books nurture the creative spirit, promote positive reinforcement and help with character development,” she said.

Marsted welcomes submissions at LuckyPennyPress.com. Specifically, she seeks stories containing messages of positivity that promote evolved core values, and/or evoke deep thoughts that inspire growth.

Noozhawk contributor Jenn Kennedy can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to see more of her work. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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