“Fat Fred and the case of the multiplying candy tickets” isn’t a book that’s been written yet, but Spencer Hanson thinks you can guess what it would be about.
“The kids at the playground realize that trading candy is far easier using a medium of exchange: candy tickets. Fred convinces the other kids at the playground that he’ll fairly enforce all the transactions to make sure there is no fraud, [but] mysteriously the price of candy inches upward, while Fred’s gut inches outward,” Hanson says, discussing what could one day become his first children’s book on alternative currency.
For now, Hanson says he’ll put the idea down. Too risky. Though, this seems like an odd statement from someone who quit his dream job at Hewlett Packard, sold his family’s house, moved to Costa Rica and eventually reinvented himself as a self-published author.
The father of two’s first children’s book, Stick’s Masterpiece, about a little girl who unlocks her imagination with help from a paint brush, was released on 19th September.
“It’s about overcoming the fear of failure,” Hanson told CoinDesk. “It’s about the power of baby steps when marching toward a specific goal. Stick’s Masterpiece is there to remind me, and hopefully my boys too, that all greatness happens one small stroke at a time.”
One of the small strokes in his marketing campaign for Stick’s Masterpiece was accepting bitcoin for payments. So far, the author has sold about eight books to buyers using bitcoin – three to Canada, two to Hawaii, two to Utah and one to Wisconsin. The figure that represents about 8% of his total sales.
But, while Hanson has generated exposure for himself and his new calling through the bitcoin community, with his second release Stick’s Adventure on the way, he has doubts about whether he can continue writing full-time: Hanson estimates that if his passion project doesn’t begin providing soon, he may have to re-enter the workforce, put down his own brush and get back to a less colorful life.
A blank page
Hanson traces his discovery of alternative currency back to 2009 when he picked up a copy of Ron Paul’s best-seller End the Fed. He read the first few pages and never finished. But, the book did direct Hanson to the economic resource mises.org, Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action and eventually the bitcoin movement.
“I immediately recognized it’s potential as a possible solution to our fiat woes,” Hanson told CoinDesk. “I learned everything I could about bitcoin for two weeks, then I bought $300 worth on Tradehill at $20 each and forgot about it.”
Bitcoin didn’t cross Hansen’s mind again until February 2013, when he was living in Costa Rica, 10 miles North of San Jose in San Luis de Santo Domingo de Heredia, and in the process of starting BrothersWhim.com, his storybook website.
By then, the bitcoin scene was thriving, and despite the loss of his investment to Tradehill’s demise the previous year, he once again became engrossed in the alternative currency movement.
With his thoughts “consumed by bitcoin,” Hanson set about entering the bitcoin community, even volunteering with noted bitcoin developer Mike Hearn at the press center for Bitcoin.org.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” Hansen recalled. “I’m sure I wasn’t much help, but I tried, and it was great rubbing shoulders with bitcoin leaders.”
Picking up the pen
Hanson may not have been destined for a career in PR, but he did continue to pursue writing and eventually found a way to merge his love of prose and alternative currency.
Today, he chooses to use bitcoin as a self-publisher to circumvent corrupt banking, capitalize on what he considers a great investment and because it is cheaper than mainstream options like PayPal. Hanson said:
“I love being a part of something greater than myself. By joining the bitcoin economy, I feel that I am joining a paradigm-crushing movement that will improve this world forever. Besides believing that bitcoin will grow tremendously in value, I believe it is the right moral investment for me to make as well.”
Hanson, in turn, uses the savings from bitcoin purchases to offer bitcoin customers a 5% discount. But, while he’s connected with buyers, Hanson laments that the number of children’s book authors accepting bitcoin is thin.
“Bitcoin, children’s books and open publishing are a strange trio,” Hanson said.
The next chapter
Hanson does admit that he was hoping bitcoin would give his second career extra exposure via word of mouth. However, he says he’s more enamored with the idea of moving the currency forward than the monetary benefits.
“I wanted to give bitcoiners one more thing to mention when explaining bitcoin to their friends,” Hanson said. “‘Oh, yeah, you like that awesome children’s book? I bought that with bitcoin. See, I told you it’s real.’”
As for the possibility of failure, that’s a reality Hanson has already come to terms with.
“I think this world would be a far better place if more people did what they believed mattered instead of what they believed might give them security,” he said. ”If I fail, I fail in glory.”
Image credits: Brothers Whim