I opened my first bank account with Credit Union Australia (CUA) when I was eight years old.
Almost thirty years later, CUA continues to help me achieve my life goals, with the release of my third picture book Ready, Steady, Hatch!
Ready, Steady, Hatch! is a rhyming book about a clutch of newborn chickens who are curious to explore everything their new world has to offer. I guess somewhat like the excitement an eight year old has when opening a bank account for the first time! (I still remember practicing my signature over and over to get it right on my laminated membership card.)
I first started writing quirky rhymes to entertain myself on the lengthy train rides to the office where I worked as a research scientist, and when I discovered that my stories were enjoyed by listeners of all ages, I decided to pursue a career as a picture book author.
I’d heard it could take a long time to get a contract with a publisher, but I simply couldn’t wait for my rhymes to get into the hands and hearts of the little ones. So, out of impatience, I decided to set myself up as an indie publisher. But, in addition to spending time on learning the publishing and distribution process, I was going to have to spend money on upfront printing costs.
I have a mortgage, but the money I saved on interest due to having offset account, gave me extra confidence to invest in my passion, and I published my first picture book, Tickle Me Zoo, in 2012.
With the success of Tickle Me Zoo, and then Higgledee Giggledee (2014), I landed my first contract with a publisher for Ready, Steady, Hatch! which was released this year.
CUA continues to support me in many ways, and it’s the little things that make a big difference. Recently, I was able to sell my books outside the Brisbane city branch in the lead up to Christmas. Stephen and the rest of the staff are all so supportive. CUA says their members are at the heart of everything they do, and I’ve experienced that firsthand. You really are part of a community.
I’ll be signing my books outside the Queen Street branch again this coming Monday, 18 December. Pop by and say hi!
Read more about Ben’s books.