Children’s Books: Illustration & Marketing

Children’s Books: Illustration & Marketing

  • Workshop Title:  Children’s Books: Illustration & Marketing
  • Instructor:  Mark Wayne Adams, CEO MWA, Inc., FAPA President
  • Date:  Saturday, April 11, 2015
  • Time:  1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Location:  110 West Railroad Avenue, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
  • Price:  $50.00

Award-winning author, illustrator, and publisher Mark Wayne Adams shares principles for producing successful children’s books. Learn personalized techniques to increase sales at festivals, schools, bookstores, and even lunch!

Receive valuable insight, marketing techniques, and a dynamic presentation about illustrations. Discussion covers the importance of cover art, how to work with an illustrator (including costs), rights needed for reproduction, and an overview of services professional illustrators provide.

Topics Covered:

  • How to find, contract, and work with illustrators
  • Value and importance of illustrations and cover art
  • Rights for reproduction of illustrations
  • How to incorporate educational illustration resources
  • How to extend the reading experience with illustrations
  • Incorporating marketing through illustrations

This class is for teachers, writers, authors, illustrators, and publishers interested in children’s book publishing. Laptops, iPads, and/or tablets are not required. Wifi access is provided. Participants receive an interactive course pdf with resource links to topics discussed.

Class size is LIMITED to 15 people. Register early to reserve a seat!

Register Here.


Meet Steve Riley

I recently interviewed William Steven Riley, illustrator and publisher. Most people know him as Steve or Steven. In his family it was common to go by your middle name. He works from the comfort of his California home. “I love it, but it does mean that sometimes I don’t get things done as fast as I probably would having an office.” His wife home-schools their two children, and Steve  loves having the family close-by.

Steve is currently working on Furnatche the House Dragon, written by author Honey Apotos. The story is about a family who discovers a baby dragon in the basement furnace. Steve is also finishing The Little Flame written by Denise Gary, his good friend and CEO of Kids Need To Read.  The Little Flame is a heartfelt adventure meant to inspire kids to pursue the important things in life while maintaing healthy relationships.

When asked how Steve chose this line of work, he admitted it chose him, almost by accident. He reached a point in his life when pursuing unimportant careers needed to change. “If I don’t give something else a try, then this will be my life.”  Life was not awful,  just not what he wanted. After some soul searching, writing and illustrating children’s books were his best chance to succeed.

Steve now has three titles the Little Ty Cooney National Wonders Series.  They are Little Ty Cooney and the Big Yosemite RaceLittle Ty Cooney and the Big Yellowstone Mystery, and Little Ty Cooney and the Grand Canyon Tour Company.  Other works include author Derek Sabori’s book Lu and the Earthbug Crew Zap the Energy Spikes. The illustrations were a collaborative effort between he and Mark Wayne Adams. Steve has three other books written. He is also collaborating with with World Class Climber, Dean Potter on a story about his life, which many people would say are just plain crazy.

Most all Steve’s character ideas are born in sketchbooks. “I will be drawing one day and some random sketch will just come to life in my imagination,” Steve says. His written stories generally evolve around characters, not a specific plot or theme. “All the story elements are there in the characters just waiting for me to discover them.” His Ty Cooney series began in Yosemite Valley with a little raccoon that lived under his family’s porch. “I sketched a little cartoon picture of him and that picture inspired the rest.”

The only career for Steve before publishing was managing restaurants in Yosemite Valley, California. It required very little of his creativity, and focused on managing people, resources, and providing customer service. His experiences inspired the entrepreneur within him. Publishing has been frightening and rewarding for Steve. “Frightening because if I fail there is no safety net. Rewarding because, when I succeed the rewards are mine.” said Steve. The combination of those two things keeps him highly motivated.

Steve is an independent publisher and illustrates for other independent authors. I asked him to offer insight to other’s considering independent publishing. His first words of advice were to develop a business plan on how to sell books. “This is a business driven by money.  Money is derived from sales. If you have a great book and no way to sell it, you are in trouble. If you execute a good marketing plan, then your book is going to make you money.” Money isn’t the most important thing to Steve, but paying the bills is a publishing priority.

“I think the most significant moments for me were the first moments of the journey. The first time I held in my hand a real true-to-life published book, that I wrote and illustrated.” says Steve. “Upon the arrival of my first 5,000 books, I stood back and looked into my garage at the enormous pile of boxes. My wife and I took pictures with the pallets. It is comical to think of it. I still smile when I see those pictures.” Steve said. To him those moments cannot be taken away, because the first memories were the best.

Steve didn’t hesitate when asked if he would start his publishing career again. “I absolutely would, in a New York minute!” Steve replied. The one thing he would change would be to start before he graduated High School. “I always had silly ideas and funny pictures of crazy characters floating around in my head. I never believed they would ever amount to anything.” Steve replied. Starting younger would given him nearly twenty years longer to build upon his success. “I recommend not hesitating or making excuses. I would just do it.” He also recommended choosing the correct college institution. His education was a good, but felt an art school would have provided more opportunities.

To contact Steve Riley visit his website at:

“I keep thinking Mark is just using lines like everyone else – how is it his lines look so much better?” – Steve Riley

10 Best Resources for Aspiring Illustrators

I’m often asked to recommend books on becoming a professional illustrator. Below are my 10 best resources for aspiring illustrators. Knowledge is power, however applying the knowledge creates a professional. The list includes drawing books and business guides I consistently use as an illustrator.

  1. The Book of a Hundred Hands (Dover Anatomy for Artists), George B. Bridgeman
  2. Dynamic Figure Drawing, Bume Hogarth
  3. The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Action Analysis, Caricature (Dover Art Instruction), Ken Hultgren
  4. Animation (Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series), Walt Disney Company
  5. Cartoon Animation (Collector’s Series), Preston Blair
  6. Anatomy for the Artist, Jeno Barcsay
  7. Best Sketchbook, Use at least one sketchbook to practice the books listed above.
  8. How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published, Bicknell and Trotman
  9. Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, Graphic Artist Guild
  10. Your Perfect Home-Based Studio: A Guide for Designers and Other Creative Professionals, Poppy Evans

— Mark Wayne Adams, Publisher of Nicholas, that’s Ridiculous! A Story About Being a Boy

Meet Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Author/Illustrator/Publisher

Mark was inspired to chase his entrepreneurial dream in the 3rd grade, selling drawings to classmates. Creating books and inspiring others has always been his passion. Mark’s ability to produce quality illustrations at a fast pace and dedication to mentor others has made MWA, Inc. both successful and unique. In the past five years, his authors have won over 50 book awards and he continues to create new, successful products annually.

Mark contributes his talents and time to the community locally and nationally. He promotes reading and writing via public speaking engagements, book signings, and participation in book events from Florida to the Northeastern United States. He has been recognized through the Kentucky Governor’s School for the ArtsKACo (KY Assoc. of Counties)FAPA BoardSCBWIIBPA, and national book awards. He also volunteers his talents to the Kids Need to Read annual calendar and donates books to various organizations.

Book Awards & Associations:

★ OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters

FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist — 2016

★ Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series

FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist — 2016

FAPA President’s Book Awards Bronze Medalist — 2016

Readers’ Favorite Silver Medalist, Children’s Educational — 2016

★ A Hand Truck Named Dolly

Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Medalist — 2016

★ Little Miss Grubby Toes, Steps on a Bee!

FAPA President’s Book Awards Gold Medalist — 2016

Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Medalist — 2015

Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medalist — 2015

★ Eli’s Balloon

FAPA President’s Book Awards Gold Medalist — 2015

★ Frozen Floppies

National Indie Excellence Award Winner — 2015

Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist — 2015

★ Parts of Speech Parade, New York City

FAPA President’s Book Awards Gold Medalist — 2015

National Indie Excellence Award Finalist — 2015

★ Polly and Her Pigtails

Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Medalist — 2014

FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist — 2014

National Parenting Publications Awards Silver Medalist — 2014

Purple Dragonfly Award 1st Place (Picture Book 6+) — 2014

Purple Dragonfly Award Honorable Mention (School Issues) — 2014

National Indie Excellence Award Finalist — 2014

Readers’ Favorite Award Silver Medalist — 2014

 Johari’s Joy

Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Medalist — 2014

Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention — 2014

National Indie Excellence Award Finalist — 2014

★ Franny’s Rescue

FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist — 2014

Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention — 2014

★ Jilli, That’s Silly! A Story About Being a Girl

Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award — 2014

Ben Franklin Award Silver Medalist — 2013

FAPA President’s Awards Silver Medalist — 2013 

Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medalist — 2013

National Indie Excellence Award Finalist — 2013

Finalist – Eric Hoffer Award — 2013

Finalist – International Book Awards (Parenting & Family) — 2013

Finalist – International Book Awards (Picture Book) — 2013

★ Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous! A Story About Being a Boy

Florida Publishers Association President’s Award Silver Medalist — 2010

Independent Publisher Award Silver Medalist — 2011

Finalist – Eric Hoffer Award — 2010

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medalist — 2009

★ Teddy Tales: The Adventures of a Rescue Puppy and His Friends

Florida Publishers Association President’s Award Silver Medalist — 2012

★ King for a Day, the Story of Stories

Florida Publishers Association President’s Award Silver Medalist — 2011

★ The Little Skunk Who Was Afraid to Stink

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Bronze Medalist — 2009

 Jadyn and the Magic Bubble, Kenya! Kenya!

Finalist – Indie Excellence Award — 2011

 Jadyn and the Magic Bubble, I Met Gandhi!

Finalist – Indie Excellence Awards — 2009

★ Florida Authors and Publishers Association Founders Award recipient 2017.

★ Official judge of the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Award 2013–2015.

★ Florida Authors and Publishers Association Board Member to President 2009–2017.

★ Marlene M. Helm Alumni Achievement Award for contributions to the arts in the Kentucky community and service to the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. — 2011

★ Independent Book Publishers Association  Since 2008.

★ SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) since 2009.

★ Storytellers of Central Florida members range from novice to professionals.

★ 2008 Best of Show, Life in Altamonte City Magazine – Winner in the landscape photo division.

Illustrated Books:

  1. “DOWN UNDER: Kussins”—M. W. Adams
  2. “OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters”—M. W. Adams
  3. “Nicolás, ¡eso es ridículo!”—Christa Carpenter
  4. “Juliana, ¡eso son tonterías!”—Christa Carpenter
  5. “Dolly Becomes a Scout”—Kay Whitehouse
  6. “Thanksgiving: Fly on the Wall Series”—Linda Smigaj
  7. “A Hand Truck Named Dolly”—Kay Whitehouse
  8. “Floppanopolis”—John Hope
  9. “Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series”—Linda Smigaj
  10. “Theo and the Penny Candy Store”—Debra Latiolais
  11. “Little Miss Grubby Toes, Steps on a Bee!”—Eddie Price
  12. “Mighty Madeline”—Julie Watling
  13. “Kilpatrick McMurray McFrown”—Sarah Sproles
  14. “Eli’s Balloon”—Candace Ruffin
  15. “Franny Finds a Home”—Crystal White
  16. “Frozen Floppies”—John Hope
  17. “Parts of Speech Parade, New York City”—Irina Dolinskiy
  18. “Johari’s Joy”—Carol Hensel
  19. “Franny’s Rescue”—Crystal White
  20. “Polly and Her Pigtails”—Debra Latiolais
  21. “County Government Activity Book”—Kentucky Association of Counties
  22. “Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous! A Story About Being a Boy”—Christa Carpenter
  23. “Jilli, That’s Silly! A Story About Being a Girl”—Christa Carpenter
  24. “Pop the Bubbles, 1-2-3”—Jen Goble
  25. “My Friendly Giant”—Lauri Rubinstein
  26. “My Friendly Giant, Playing Along the Cliff Walk”—Lauri Rubinstein
  27. “The Little Skunk Who Was Afraid to Stink”—Brielle Kelley
  28. “The Border Patrol is Born”—Toni Zufelt
  29. “Scribble Dee Sophie: A Story for Young Artists and Their Parents”—Karen Spruill
  30. “Teddy Tales: The Adventures of a Rescue Puppy and His Friends”—Karen Spruill
  31. “King for a Day, the Story of Stories”—Mark Wayne Adams
  32. “Best Sketchbook”—Mark Wayne Adams
  33. “Good NightMare”—Mark Wayne Adams
  34. “Miss Mary’s Missing Book Bag”—Mark Wayne Adams
  35. “Field of Dreams”—Mark Hoog
  36. “Treasure Island”—Mark Hoog
  37. “The Belly Button Fairy”—Bobbie Hinman
  38. “The Fart Fairy”—Bobbie Hinman
  39. “The Freckle Fairy”—Bobbie Hinman
  40. “G.B. Duck’s Autobiography”—Chip Tullar
  41. “Lu and the Earth Bug Crew, Zap the Energy Spikes”—Derek Sabori
  42. “Jadyn and the Magic Bubble, I Met Gandhi!”—Brigitte Benchimol
  43. “Jadyn and the Magic Bubble, Kenya Kenya!”—Brigitte Benchimol
  44. “Guinea in My Cap?”—Wanda Hughes
  45. “Shanti the Yogi”—Spirit Voyage Music
  46. “The McGregor’s and Me”—David Garrett
  47. “The Little Orange Salamander”—Dolores J. Mazzeo
  48. “The Nerds”—Beverly Webel
  49. “Dogs of the Caribou and Other Stories”—Mary Gentry
  50. “Frank an’ Me”—Robert Wolley
  51. “Rainbow Bridge & Other Stories”—Doris Church
  52. “Cultural Cancer, Restoring Social Health”—Dale J. Hyland
  53. “The Gift of the Animals”—Doris Church
  54. “The Magical Forest”—Kristen Mason

Authorpreneurs Profit from Fewer Sales

Ever wonder how authorpreneurs profit from fewer book sales? They capture the income traditional publishers receive. As an author, ask yourself:

1.  Is it better to sell 500 traditionally published books receiving a $.20 royalty per book ($100 earned)? If within a year 10,000 books sell, a traditionally published author earns $2,000.00 in royalties. Or

2.  Is it better to sell 10 books as an authorpreneur receiving $10 profit per book ($100 earned)? If within a year 200 books are sold, an authorprenuer earns $2,000.00 in profit.

Publishers use authors’ fan base for repeat success with each new book. Traditionally published authors with a huge fan following make minimal profit on their writing. Authors planning to indie publish should address their need for fans’ contact information with their publisher before breaking away. Authors who capture fans’ contact information have better success as authorprenuers. 

— Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Publisher of Jilli, That’s Silly!: A Story About Being a Girl

Meet Debra Latiolais

Debra is an award-winning author and passionate storyteller of Polly and Her Pigtails. She believes everyone has a significant life story to share. Debra is dedicated to reviving the art of generational storytelling as a way to preserve family history, while teaching core value lessons that will build a strong foundation for children.

Spending decades working in the corporate arena, Debra tapped into her creative side by writing a series of children’s books inspired by life’s rich tapestries. She created The Age of Storytelling Book Series to deliver colorfully illustrated and enriching stories for young and old alike. Her books are designed to create an atmosphere for “Sharing stories ~~ shaping lives”!

Debra has worked with charitable organizations and women’s groups in the Virginia and Washington DC area for over 20 years. She remains committed to using her voice and talent in support of civic community efforts.

Debra is available for special events, parties, book signing and speaking engagements. She approaches her presentations with tremendous honesty, warmth and humor. She is a thought-leader with the rare ability to inspire audiences, while leaving them with actionable life-changing strategies.

Read more about her books…

You are truly masterful!  Not only are you a gifted artist, but you offer great insight and guidance for a first-time author/publisher.  Thank you for bringing Polly to life and helping me share my story! – Debra Latiolais

The Midwest Book Review: Frozen Floppies

Frozen Floppies
John Hope, author
Mark Wayne Adams, illustrator

Winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award, Frozen Floppies is a rhyming children’s picturebook with an underlying moral. In Floppyland, the Floppies (who appear to be anthropomorphic burros with floppy ears) have been separated by borders for as long as they can remember. But then a terrible winter cold freezes floppies into flopsicles. Can the floppies learn to cooperate and work together before they’re all frozen stiff? Gentle color illustrations add a delightful touch to this heartwarming tale, enthusiastically recommended for storytime. The inside of the dust jacket also has cut-out patterns for a simple “make your own floppy” sewing project!

Read more at The Midwest Book Review…

FAPA President’s Letter: January

I’m the illustrator of forty children’s books, author of three, and publisher of twelve in six years. Today’s readers require immediate entertainment both socially and through new books. Writers and illustrators are morphing into publishers to meet the demand. I’m one of them.

The publishing education is morphing too. Facebook groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, and publishing blogs are real-time learning. Social media following isn’t enough for a modern publisher. Conferences and social events are necessary too. The best information is shared through interpersonal relationships.

I participate in both regional and national book events like Book Expo America, Decatur Book Festival, Readers’ Favorite Awards, and FAPA Conferences. I also travel four months each year as a public speaker in schools and professional organizations throughout the southeast. I learn a great deal through these professional social experiences. Until I’m asked a question, the knowledge is mine.

The same is true for the FAPA Board Members. They bring the professional experiences that benefit members no matter the social platform. Be sure to connect online and in person.

Mark Wayne Adams,  2015 FAPA President

Meet John Hope

Forever seeking new adventures, John Hope lives a life of energizing enterprises. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida , John earned his BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and since 1999 has developed and designed software for simulators, websites, traveler information systems, and numerous other technical widgets. All the while, he has quenched his creative hunger with writing a few novels, hundreds of poems and short stories, several short plays many of which he’s acted and/or directed, puppeteered in countless skits, and built a number of toy train layouts. To keep a steady rhythm in his life, John has run almost 30,000 miles in hundreds of road and trail races through the years, including captaining the UCF Men’s Cross Country team, achieving TAAC all conference, managing 5k races, and at times traversing entire states in relay teams and triathlons.

Currently at home in Central Florida, John loves spending time with this family and friends. Whether he’s traveling thousands of miles in a car or playing board games on the living room floor, he loves the company and conversations and laughs with the ones he loves. He often pulls from these times with his family and loved ones to create wonderfully tender moments and hilariously vivid characters in his writing.

Frozen Floppies, John Hope’s latest release, shows how factions of Floppies band together to fight the frost and free the frozen Floppies. This book is a Royal Palm Literary Award-winning story of friendship.

Learn more about his other books…

“You did a wonderful job. So good, in fact, I can’t thing of a single thing to say other than, wow! You’ve really interpreted the story expertly and created a new world.” – John Hope

MWA, Inc. Must Read List: The 4-Hour Workweek

I read a new business book each month. Good books are read multiple times. This month’s selection is a repeat favorite. So much that I also have the audio book for traveling. Be prepared to take notes. The 4-Hour Workweek is an inspiring read.

Time management is important not only to entrepreneurs, but also the average person. Streamlining processes is my focus for 2015. The MWA, Inc Must Read List kickstarts 2015 with The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich written by Timothy Ferriss.

Book:  The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Audio Book:  The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich