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Matt started Platypus Publishing in 2014. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Platypus Publishing?
My only “real job” came right out of college, getting paid $20,000 per year to write for a sports blog. Since our office was in NYC, I lived with my parents in the suburbs. When my request for a raise to $35,000 was considered “too much,” I nearly died of laughter -- but managed to recover and move to Prague to teach English and figure out my life.
A $450/month apartment and passable, part-time English teaching salary gave me freedom. I couldn’t stop thinking about sports betting -- as that was the small niche I had carved out during my sportswriting days. Armed with ~20,000 weekly readers for my NFL gambling column (I freelanced from Prague for $12.50/article), I figured it was time to tell my story. In college, I had turned my grandmother’s $100 birthday gift into nearly $10,000 over two years, before losing it all in two months. Yikes.
I asked column readers if they’d be interested in a book, and 46 people emailed me. Nothing crazy, but enough to give it a shot. I studied everything about self-publishing and wrote the book in two weeks (seriously). I expected nothing, but then I received my first royalty check: $1,150.06. Five years later, I’ve made almost $15,000 total (all profit, minus my $5 cover). Clearly, this “self-publishing” thing was a thing, indeed.
I thought everyone should write a book. I thought traditional (corporate) publishing was a scam. I didn’t know how to help people, but I knew I had to try. Then I read a viral Medium article by some dude who snuck into the Super Bowl, and everything changed. At the end of the article, he mentioned he was “shopping a book around to publishers.” I emailed him offering my help to self-publish (editing, marketing, general coaching), and we got on the phone.
He was interested but said no. He chose a “professional” editor with 10+ years of experience. I had zero. But I refused to take no for an answer. I edited two chapters for free, as a sample, because the “professional” had done the same. I’ll never forget his response: “Quite frankly, your edits were just as helpful as hers.” And of course, it was cheaper. I offered the first round for $450, and unlimited subsequent rounds for $1,000.
It was a horrible financial deal (the book, Ticketless: How Sneaking Into the Super Bowl And Everything Else (Almost) Held My Life Together wound up taking three freaking years), but I got equity in the book and built a case study and relationships.
Despite the poor financial deal, I took the experience as validation. Everything Trevor (the author) needed help with, someone else could want. I cold emailed like crazy and pitched a variety of related offers. My next deal was turning an entrepreneur’s podcast into a book. Then I got hired by Book in a Box (now called Scribe) to interview entrepreneurs and turn the transcripts into books. I kept working with Trevor on the side, and when I got tired of being a freelancer, I decided to set off 100% on my own and offer similar services to Scribe (but more personalized), as well as focusing on the online course and coaching (for those who can’t afford many tens of thousands of dollars).
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater