Student Question: “Do Your Children Draw?

Yes, both my children are unique artists. When each was around six years old, I gave her and him a Best Sketchbook. I told each “I’ll only draw with you in your journal so our drawings won’t get lost.” They were only allowed to start a new journal upon completion of their last.

My daughter, Isabella, would ask me to draw things once. Then a few days later she’d ask me to draw something else. She learned to draw by copying and listening to my instructions. Since then she’s won numerous competitions for drawing. Her goal is to become a singer, not an artist.

My son, Carter, was completely opposite. He rarely asked me to draw. He observed me with my journal and while I drew with Isabella. I discovered his journal filled with Lego patterns. His talent was spacial and usually consisted of rooms or building plans. He is a talented artist in a completely different way.

No matter who you are, time in your Best Sketchbook is inspiring to people around you. One of my favorite pastimes is flipping through other artists’ sketchbooks and journals.

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Write Back! Fan Mail is Good Business.

I usually don’t respond to student telephone calls, texts, or Facebook posts. As a parent myself, I feel kids communicating with adults should happen with parent supervision. So, I avoided numerous calls from Isabella, until I received a letter from her parents.

She was working on a library book report about her favorite author. After purchasing King for a Day, the Story of Stories during the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, Kentucky, she’d chosen me for her report.

“My librarian says authors are better than movie stars, because they write the story.” Isabella said in her letter.

Being a fan of librarians, I replied “I think librarians are better than movie stars, because they choose the books that fill the library.” Isabella shared the letter with her class and school librarian. Within a week, I’d been asked to visit two schools in her district.

As an author and illustrator, answer fan mail—schools are a niche market.

10 Steps That Create Successful Events

10 Steps That Create Successful Events

You’ve scheduled a author/illustrator visit. The date is reserved. So, what’s next?

Next make others aware of who is visiting. Below is the AIM Kit (Author/Illustrator Media Kit). Events become more fun, memorable, and stress-free by using these forms created for educators. Not all forms apply. Use the forms that fit your event.

1.  AIM Kit:  Download the entire AIM Kit here. This includes: table of contents, letter of intent, bio, awards, order form, posters, activities, and more.

2.  Author Bio:  Use the Author Biography page to educate teachers about the author. Students will have questions and so will teachers.

3.  Contact the Media:  Use the Press Release page to share information through the students’ newspaper and TV show. Also share the information with local websites, newspapers, and TV stations.

4.  Author Photo:  Use the Author Photo to familiarize staff and students.

5.  Author Poster:  Use the Author Poster to familiarize staff and students about the books and author. Poster includes fields for Date, Time, and Location.

6.  Library Book Order Form:  Use the Library Book Order Form to order discounted books for your school. A tax exempt certificate is required for all school orders. (Note: Staff orders through the school are accepted. Please notify author.)

7.  Student Book Order Form:  Use the Student Book Order Form for all taxable orders. Enter the local tax rate on the form prior to distributing. Pre Orders and Post Orders are taken. No books are sold the day of the event. (Note: All book orders are personalized and are nonrefundable.)

8.  Activities:  Use these Activities to encourage writing and drawing creativity or:

  • host a school writing competition
  • author luncheon for academics
  • teacher and author breakout session
  • author interview by students

9.  Author Introduction:  Use the Author Introduction to give a unique introduction during each session.

10.  Write about the Author:  Take a class photo with the author at the event. Encourage students to write or draw about the Author’s visit. Discuss the topics that inspired them or mail the collection to the Author.

Thank educators for scheduling an author/illustrator visit. The goal is inspire students and teachers through a positive and stress-free event.

Forms and content are proprietary information. Available for use by event coordinators.

Reading resources: Schools: A Niche Market for Authors written by Jane R. Wood.

© 2008-2017 Mark Wayne Adams, Inc.

LinkedIn: Publishing Biz

LinkedIn is now a powerful tool in marketing and selling books. Use these four resources to boost your Author and Publisher presence with LinkedIn.

Build a Company Page:  Create a LinkedIn Company Page to raise brand awareness, promote career opportunities, and educate potential customers on your products and services.

  1. Brand Awareness: Post professional reviews, blogs, awards, customer testimonials, and new products.
  2. Career Opportunities: Internships, project referrals, and services your company provides others.
  3. Educating Customers: Reading levels, festivals/events, public speaking, and educational uses of the product.

Learn more about LinkedIn Company Pages…

Attract Followers:  Followers are your brand advocates. They are key to driving word of mouth, recommendations, and referrals. Develop a robust follower community—the more followers you have, the easier it becomes to create a viral reach and engagement.

  1. Connect with similar professionals.
  2. The more followers you have the easier it becomes for viral reach. Followers don’t equal connections.
  3. Use your Twitter followers to build your LinkedIn connections.
  4. Use your Facebook friends list to connect on LinkedIn. (Not all friends are professional connections.)
  5. Use LinkedIn post settings for posting to other social media sources.

Learn How to Get Started with LinkedIn…

Build Relationships:  Generate business leads and strengthen current customer relationships by sharing valuable and rich content via company updates. Connecting with your audience has never been easier.

  1. Determine your target audience. Examples:  book genre, regional writing groups, women’s organizations, medical fields, wellness groups, educational area, etc.
  2. Define your onlined purpose.  Examples:  book sales, sharing professional knowledge, building relationships with other published writers, parenting, being a professional resource to others, etc.
  3. Seek out like-minded groups.  Example:  religious groups, mom bloggers, animal breeds, support groups, environmental supporters, etc.

Best Practices:

In a business/customer relationship there are best practices. Visit some of LinkedIn’s Best Practices…

Consistency Counts: Picture Books

Consistency counts in performing well in life and work. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a professional illustrator, practice enhances performance. Studying anatomy, objects, and perspective make even the simplest cartoons believable. Cartoons created without an understanding of these skills appear flat and unprofessional.

Don’t be intimidated by the unknown. Practice skills until they’re no longer a weakness. If your abs are the weakest point, lay off the foods that cover them up. If your draw a hand that looks like a pancake with five sausages, time to study.

Use these five books to correct errors in your illustrations:

  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. Cartoon Animation (Collector’s Series), Preston Blair
  5. Anatomy for the Artist, Jeno Barcsay

When illustrating a picture book be consistent—will appreciate your hard work.

Inspiring Small Business: D. W. Harper

“Mark,

You did a wonderful job this past year as the FAPA President. To be honest, associations like this have been known to come across as “snooty.” This entire FAPA board has been helpful, informative and very welcoming when I attend the conferences. Your pictures show you having fun! I will continue my membership because of this.

I sincerely thank you, specifically, for all you’ve done for my author and publishing career.

I never anticipated my life taking the path of a writer/publisher which eventually turned into a small business for me. I will always be grateful to, Jane Wood and Frances Keiser, for all they’ve done and who eventually introduced me to you.

I’m a FAPA member and award winner per your suggestion to join. The inspiring recommendations and suggestions, (the networking) you’ve offered such as, school info for presenting my children’s books, award submissions, Bookbaby.com for eFormatting, and especially my wonderful editor, Jennifer Thomas, who did a great job editing, The Lost Twin have been spot on. You offer great advice through your own experiences, and I can’t thank you enough.”

—D. W.  Harper, Author of The Lost Twinn, Jace’s Adventures, and LOVE, GREED and LIE$

Become a Barnes & Noble Author

While attending the FAPA Annual Conference Library and Bookstore Panel, Angie Roix, Community Business Development Manager (CBDM) for Barnes & Noble Bookseller, provided authors a valuable list of requirements to succeed within B&N bookstores.

  1.  Books must have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number).

2.  Books must have a Bar Code. The bar code helps stores efficiently mange books. Remember bar codes must have the book’s US retail price embedded and printed on the book.

3.  Binding Matters:  Perfect and hard bound books offer longer self life and better sales due to printed names on the spine, especially since most products are placed on shelves spine out.

4.  Place books with a wholesaler to simplify billing—one invoice to one location. This allows B&N to purchase larger orders and puts the book on auto replenish.

5.  Price books competitively with other titles similar in content and format.

6.  Tell Barnes & Noble what makes your book unique by sending:  publicity/promotional plans, reviews, and articles written about the book.

This list should increase your ability in selling books through the Barnes & Noble Bookselling system both in-store and online. For more information about listing titles on Barnes&Noble.com, scroll to the Services and click on Publisher and Author Guidelines.

Outgoing FAPA President

How did volunteering make a difference?

For over five years I’ve served as a Board Member for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). From day one, I brought the same drive and vision used in my publishing business. My main concern was how much time would volunteering take.

During my terms as VP of Communications to President, I illustrated over 30 picture books. 15 of those were published for other authors. My marketing efforts included more than 90 school visits each year, encouraging nearly 100,000 students annually to write and illustrate books. Creating and marketing books while serving as a board member had challenging but manageable moments.

Rewards to volunteering began with the creation of annual conference sessions, and grew into implementation of new programs like the BookExpo Display Opportunity and the national FAPA President’s Book Awards growth. Writers’ conferences to book festivals invited me to share publishing knowledge I gained through the FAPA organization. My personal network of publishing professionals also grew through educational events, social media, and annual board retreats.

As my term as FAPA President comes to a close, I’ll remain active in the organization as Past President—mentoring future board members and members. My goal has always been to make a positive impact on FAPA through guidance and encouragement. Unexpectedly FAPA positively impacted my publishing success. Volunteering was the greatest reward!