We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Crawford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I started Exposed Books Publishing, it started off as a means for me to own the rights to my book. I wanted to collect 100% of my royalties. Years, after starting my company, soon to be authors started asking me to help them write their book. What started out as a few questions, turned into a full publishing house. Exposed Books Publishing goal is to work with authors, teach them about the industry, and allow them to keep 100% of their royalties.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Exposed Books Publishing is a one-stop publishing company that work with new authors. I help them write and publish their book. My company offers editing, mentoring, publishing, and marketing services to each author that works with me. Since, I am a lover of reading and writing, Exposed Books Publishing has helped me birth two other businesses. In 2018, I created a writing program called, When Children Write. This program helps fight literacy through book writing and publishing. In 2020, I opened an online bookstore, called The Literacy Shop. The Literacy Shop offers a wide variety of diverse books for children of all ages, all the way to young adults. What sets The Literacy Shop apart from other bookstores? The diversity of our books and 95% of our books are written by self-published authors. When I started my business I was still working full-time. I quit my job in 2018 to run my business full-time. The first few months were great and then, the money wasn’t coming in as I thought. There were times when I had to get a part-time job to be sure my bills were paid. I didn’t allow this to cause me to quit. In my mind there was nothing wrong with picking up another job in order to make ends meet. That’s smart in my book. Running a business is not easy but when it’s your passion, you fight for it. I refused to give up. I have given up on a lot of things in life. This time around, I knew I couldn’t. With each business I run, I knew someone was counting on me. I saw what was and was not working in my business. I worked on everything daily. I knew what I needed to do in order to have an ongoing successful business. I switched up my marketing plan and everything started to fall in place.
I learned a lot of lessons throughout this process. One of the biggest lessons I learned was the power of prayer. I had to pray over my business daily. Before I made a decision or worked with a new client, I prayed about it. I didn’t want anything or anyone being a part of my business without God’s blessing.
I want the world to know I am not just another business owner. I am passionate about everything I do. I work hard to make sure my clients are satisfied. There may be a lot of other businesses out there, that’s similar to mine, but there’s only one me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being that I am from Baltimore, if the weather was nice, I would go to the Inner Harbor. The Inner Harbor has a lot of different activities to choose from. They have different types of restaurants that everyone can enjoy. I would start off by us enjoying the weather and walking around the harbor. Someone is always performing something at the harbor. Since Baltimore is known for their crabs, after we walked around, we would ride to Captain James to sit outside by the water and eat crabs. After eating crabs, we would visit Power Plant Live. Power Plant Live has a variety of different bars, mini clubs, and outside seating where you can enjoy the night.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many individuals that I can shoutout. I have a lot of people that continue to push me, encourage me, and pray for me throughout this journey. If I had to name one person, it would be my older sister, Masika McCoy. Since, I wrote my first book, she has always supported me. My sister has referred me to her friends and co-workers. She has purchased every book I have written and supported my other businesses. My sister deserves this shoutout because of her ongoing support.
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