JAWS Entrepreneurial Fellow’s report from the field

Melissa LudtkeBy Melissa Ludtke, JAWS Entrepreneurial Fellow

Not surprisingly, as an entrepreneur, it’s not about my journalism acumen but as my creation’s chief marketer that I am writing to you from the field … so it was yesterday that at a home in Newton, Massachusetts, in the company of my daughter Maya, whose journey “home” is the impetus for “Touching Home in China: In Search of Missing Girlhoods,” that we launched our iBook into the world! Albeit, for now, it’s just our pilot chapter … since next up is the typical entrepreneurial adventure called “crowdfund.” One week from now, on Monday, Sept. 22, “Touching Home in China” launches its Indiegogo crowdfund — after a year of totally self-funding its development (not from lack of trying to get grant funds), with a product to show, not just a story to tell, it’s time to ask for help in the way entrepreneurial projects do. To crowd-fund.

Would I rather be writing our iBook’s content — drafting the remaining six chapters right now, editing the video to go with them, making the informational graphics, rather than doing what my entrepreneurial life demands of me. You bet I would. But, I’m doing my social media branding — and below are some words from the Facebook post I sent out on “Touching Home in China’s” Facebook page  (Of course you can join it! Don’t even ask). And yes, with the words are photos from the amazing launch party. And, even as we speak, I am tweeting away on @TouchingHomeChi, along with all sorts of other obligatory social media/marketing stops along the way.

Can’t tell you how differently I spend my days now that I need to wear all these different hats — iBook producer, social media brander, content writer, crowdfunding video co-producer, writer of the Indiegogo story and creator of its perks, motivational speaker, and long-distance traveler as I head to D.C. where a friend is hosting another launch party for us and I’ll see many of JAWS friends there! Oh, and guess I forgot to mention, meeting attender with museums and cultural institutions, schools and educators, as we think about how our interactive iBook will be transformed into an interactive museum exhibit and school curricula.

Here are my Facebook words …

Bursting at the seams to share our exciting news. We did it! We brought “Touching Home in China” into the world, and we did it in the embracing warmth of our fellow Families with Children from China in the Boston area and dear friends. This remarkable journey “home” in China, taken by Maya and her orphanage crib neighbor Jennie, along with Chinese girls their age who grew up in the towns where Maya and Jennie were abandoned as newborns, now comes alive in a transmedia iBook. This book will share this rare cross-cultural experience as the American girls discover what growing up as a rural Chinese daughter might have been like for them — and share their girlhood experiences with their new Chinese friends. It’s a first-of-its-kind experience presented on emerging an emerging media platform — perfect for the teen-aged digital natives (and us, too!)

A few more “launch” parties ahead in Cambridge and Washington, D.C. — and then one week from today, Monday, Sep. 22, we launch on Indiegogo with our crowdfunding campaign. Through love and sweat equity (and a dip into savings), I poured my heart and my skills as a journalist into taking a vision of what this story could be to producing an iBook pilot chapter. After Indiegogo, it’s on to completing the iBook, developing curricula for when we take it into classrooms and transform it into exhibits — all with the boost from those who will become our Indiegogo village.

The pilot chapter of our forthcoming iBook is a complimentary download on the iBooks Store. All you need is an easy to download free iBook app, and our multimedia book chapter can be yours to explore. Please do. Takes a while to download the first time, but plays instantly from then on.

From the road! Your entrepreneurial correspondent,