Mother of 6 Shares Secret for Independent Publishing Success


When Ylleya Fields’ oldest daughter was about three years old, she was a “voracious reader” who devoured popular children’s books like Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious. There was just one problem: Fields, who was born in South America, didn’t see characters that looked like her daughter in those pages — and she wanted to change that. So, in 2012, Fields wrote the first book in her independently published Princess Cupcake Jones series.

“I wanted my children to be able to see themselves in the books,” Fields tells Entrepreneur.

Fields’ first book, titled The Missing Tutu, focuses on an issue she was facing with her two daughters at the time. “They were very messy,” Fields recalls, “so I wanted to make sure that they understood the importance of putting things away and keeping your space tidy so you could find something that you really loved again.”

Image Credit: Courtesy of Ylleya Fields

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Today, Fields is a mother of six and has written five more books in the Princess Cupcake Jones series, each with a message or lesson for its young readers to take away. Each page also has the word “love” hidden in an illustration, a nod to the importance of love and her oldest daughter, whose middle name is “Love,” Fields says.

Five years ago, Fields expanded the brand to include toys, clothes and accessories: plush and vinyl dolls, custom shoes, a book bag, a lunchbox and more. She describes it as a “full circle” moment for the brand and says the process of bringing the brand to life was “very organic.”

Image Credit: Courtesy of Ylleya Fields

Despite the brand’s success over the last decade-plus — even Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner own the books — Fields’ path to hit children’s book author wasn’t without its challenges. She didn’t have any professional writing experience when she put pen to paper, and, of course, she had to balance her creative pursuit with raising her young, growing family.

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“People don’t realize how much work you put in,” Fields says. “First, you write the book. Then you have to get this book published, then you have to get this book marketed. Once you publish a book, that’s just one part, then you have to sell the book, which is where the marketing comes in, and then to create these [products], that’s a whole other focus, and they all take a lot of effort and a lot of time and energy. But they’re all very worthwhile in the end.”

Fields says people often express their interest in writing a children’s book to her, and she has some advice for parents who want to give authorship a try — or check off just about any ambitious goal on their list. Above all, you have to “just start,” and the secret to that is prioritizing yourself sometimes, as difficult as that might be. “Put yourself first,” Fields stresses. “Find the time to do it, even if those are small times, even if it takes forever, just get it done. And you’ll feel more rewarded at the end of it all.”

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Fields’ young fans keep her motivated, too; she recalls picking her kids up from school one day and seeing a teacher run out to show her a photo of a little girl who’d dressed up as Princess Cupcake Jones. Fields currently has plans for a seventh book in the series that will grapple with bullying, “a topic that a lot of kids can relate to,” she says.

“A lot of people have referred to the book as an evergreen,” Fields adds. “It will continuously bloom for a new generation to experience, [and] I love that.”

This article is part of our ongoing Women Entrepreneur® series highlighting the stories, challenges and triumphs of running a business as a woman.

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