“Do you currently have a great studio?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: In the OUTBACK, one of your characters, Marq, seems to reflect some of your thoughts when he tells Driew, “‘I think I-4’s been under construction since they started. It’s like a house or this studio – a perpetual work in progress. Seventeen years of seeking a studio when what I wanted was out back all along.’” Then Driew proposes visiting a Kentucky State Park, and Marq agrees, and then he says he admires Marq’s drawings, and asks if they are for a new book, but Marq explains: “‘Actually, they’re not for new books. They’re from thoughts – past and present. I figured getting them on paper would free me to focus on the money makers…’” (148). Have you had any difficulties building an art studio in terms of constructing it, gathering funds for it and the like? Do you currently have a great studio? Is it open to the public? Do you think a modern artist needs a studio, and if so why?

AdamsI-4 (Interstate 4) is the highway that extends from the East Coast to West Coast of Central Florida. Informational text is included throughout OUTBACK and the series to educate both U.S. and international readers who may visit the places in the books. The continuous construction of I-4 and of a home is to show how environment shapes family life. The Family Tree Novel Series will have two editions: a novel and an illustrated novel version.

As an illustrator no one asks me, “Which character are you?” As an author, that’s the first question readers ask. My answer: I’m every character, action, and moment. In OUTBACK, Marq, Driew Qweepie’s father, is a freelance illustrator who never became a professional. I won’t cause a spoiler, but Marq’s back story is reveled throughout the series. His character is a compilation of numerous illustrator friends and the challenges we all face. Marq voices his concerns, like a parent, to help Driew and readers understand an illustrator’s career. Rarely do illustrators have a studio bigger than a table in a remote corner of their house. And when we get a studio, it’s years in the making.

Mark Wayne Adams and Elaine Goldberg.

I do think some artists need a studio, not a hideout. Every book I illustrate is created remotely: kitchen table, poolside, gymnastics practice, airport, or a Costa Rican rooftop deck. I’m an illustrator dad. While my children finish homework at the kitchen table, I work. During gymnastics practice, I work. Even while the family sleeps in on vacation, I work. Author/Illustrator is a family friendly career. Managing and committing to a work schedule is the greatest challenge.

I have three main “studios”: an outdoor patio table by my screened pool, the Kentucky book warehouse, and a Panera Bread. My best work is created in public. While illustrating Parts of Speech Parade: New York City, written by Irina Dolinskiy, I painted in various Orlando, Florida Panera Bread locations. Patrons compelled to comment would say, “I’ve been to New York City before!” Instant feedback and a new fan eager to purchase a prerelease copy of the book!

Ciao Rolling Carry On BagHonestly my art studio is a rolling bag, stocked with several pads of watercolor paper, Prismacolor pens, five favorite brush sizes, and a Grumbacher watercolor set (24 colors). One $40.00 watercolor set creates illustrations for approximately fifteen children’s books. The watercolor paper investment in each 32 page book is about 3 pads of 12 sheets (roughly $30.00). Gathering funds to start an illustration business is easy. For under $100, anyone can start an illustration business!

IMG_3796My business model is unique in that I license the digital illustrations to the publisher. All physical artwork remains property of MWA, Inc. The words “digital illustrations” in my contracts helped my business make choices. MWA, Inc. owns illustrations from over 40 children’s books (approximately 1,200 original illustrations). My CPA says the art is valued at the cost of the paper, $1,200.00. When sold as art, the value ranges from $500–$1,000 each. Most fine artists don’t consider illustration as art, but I beg to differ. This children’s book illustration collection could cover a football field; fill multiple art galleries at once; and continues to generate an annual income through reproductions. The reproductions generate more money than the original is worth. I’ve only sold a few originals to serious collectors.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

10 Steps That Create Successful Events

10 Steps That Create Successful Events

You’ve scheduled an 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. Not all forms apply for every event. 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 non-refundable.)

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:

Use these 5 Ways to Promote Literacy Week or take a class photo during the Author visit. Encourage students to write or draw about the Author’s visit. You may also encourage students to write book reviews of the Author’s books or have them write letters to the Author.

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.

© 2008-2018 Mark Wayne Adams, Inc.

Contacting Clients: Illustrator Follow Up

Be selective with projects and be selective with clients. The pitch has been made though a previous meeting. The potential client’s contact information was received. Now what? Continue the momentum through prompt follow up!

  • Send an email to the contact within two days. The email should include the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Use this example:

“Hello Ms. Jones,

    We meet (where?) at Book Expo America (when?) two days ago. I was (who?) the somewhat funny illustrator. Your (what?) book about fairies sounds exciting. (why?) We can create a profitable story using both our talents. (how?) My contact information is listed below. 

Our meeting was brief.  Did you have any additional questions?

Kindly,

The Professional Illustrator

  • Follow up one week later with an email that reminds the contact of your first email and ends with, “please kindly respond upon receipt.” They will feel obligated to respond or end the discussion.
  • FAQ’s Section Reduce email time by creating daft emails with answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Give correct information. If the information isn’t readily available, don’t make something up. Kindly respond, “Great question! I will research this topic and get back with you shortly.” This builds credibility and doesn’t cause frustration.
  • Be a good listener. Observation is key. Ask personal questions using this simple F-O-R-MF: What is your Family like? O: What is your current Occupation? R: What do you do for Recreation? M: What do you do for Money.? Here are examples:
  1. Mr. Smith do you come from a large family? I bet the Smith children love to read your stories!
  2. I bet you use your talent in your occupation. What does your employer think of your writing?
  3. I run for fun. What would Mr. Smith do for recreation?  I noticed you like sports Mr. Smith, do you play?
  4. I bet working for your company is financially rewarding. If money were not an issue, what are 5 things you’d do for free Mr. Smith?
  • Determine a deadline on the third email. Determine when a client wants to release their book. If the project is six months from starting, kindly email the client once every other month. Keep the enthusiasm you’ve created in the first email. Offer your windows of illustration opportunities. If a project is not of interest, give clients a referral to a trusted illustrator.
  • Be in control of time. Don’t chase a contact! If there has been no communication, file the contact as tentative. There are hundreds of other authors willing to make illustrating easy.

Resources:

Blog Post: Contacting Clients: Illustrator Elevator Spiel

Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, Graphic Artist Guild

Contacting Clients: Illustrator Elevator Spiel

Keep it simple. If asked, “Do you illustrate books for other people?” or “How much do you charge?” follow up with this simple elevator spiel.

“Yes, I illustrate professionally. Many clients choose cost effective Royalty Contracts for full use of the illustrations from books to licensed products. Do you have a card Mr. Smith? I can explain more in an email.”

Spiels quickly qualify clients. The mention of pricing, professionalism, and a contract deters non-paying clients and attracts serious clients. A concise spiel is a must at book events, conferences, or on elevators.

Resources:

Blog Post: Contacting Clients: Illustrator Follow Up

Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, Graphic Artist Guild

Illustrators Draw a Crowd!

“The only person who can sell a book better than the author is the illustrator.” —Mark Wayne Adams

Authors aren’t the illustrations a key selling point of picture books? So why is getting the illustrator to make public appearances so difficult? Money may be the main factor. Illustrators not making royalties usually don’t promote. Consider offering royalties when hiring and negotiating contracts with illustrators.

Having not only a talented illustrator, but also an entertaining illustrator can boost sales too! An entertaining illustrator’s presence literally “draws a crowd” at events. Why should the illustrator make appearances? They are like magicians transforming words into pictures worth a thousand words.

Illustrators participate in events if royalties are earned. The percentage may be small, however for every book sold around a $1.00 could be earned.  Helping authors and publishers sell 5,000 copies a year, is a $5,000 royalty check that year.  The longer it takes to sell the books, the longer a substantial royalty check takes to arrive. This fact is true for inactive authors too.

Authors and Illustrators can set the selling pace by becoming sales people. Focusing individual and combined energy in selling is rewarding in several areas.

  • Awards:  The benefits are recognition in local and national media, retail sales, speaking engagements, award money, and new contracts.
  • Book Festivals:  The benefits are quick retail sales and new contracts.
  • Book Signings:  The benefits are distributor sales and new contracts.

Most importantly the time spent selling together and individually will Draw a Crowd of readers faster with teamwork. Double one another’s following through association. Working together may also inspire additional books in the series. Making a win win for everyone involved!

Are Editors an Illustrator’s Friend?

Professional editors are much like professional illustrators. Each wants a book to reflect his/her personal style and attention to detail. Working as a team from start to finish, creates a cohesive project. Illustrators must acknowledge editors input as the reader’s perspective.
 
A professional editor has his/her own pricing structure and should commit from first edit to press proofing. Editors assist with: page count, layout recommendations, proofing, and of course text edits. Professional editing services are well worth the investment!
 
As an illustrator, demand the final edit before beginning illustrations. Have authors write a brief description of how they envision each page. Illustrators write a description of how you envision each page. From these written ideas a storyboard is created through words, rather than hours of drawing time. Thus minimizing sketch time and optimizing illustration time.
 
One of my favorite professional editors to date is Jennifer Thomas, Beyond Words Editing. We have worked on numerous award-winning books together. Other professional editors I’ve worked with are: Beth Mansbridge, Candace M. Ruffin—The Writing Cane, Jill Ronsley—Sun Edit Write, and more.

Finding Inexpensive Illustrators

You’ve found me!

All joking aside. My illustrator friends and I do offer quality and affordability. Most authors and/or publishers ask: “What’s the ball park price to illustrate a 32 page children’s book?” A typical response is: “One thousand dollars per page.”

The author and/or publisher stumbles backwards, stutters, then mumbles, “I could never afford you!”

This quote is worst case scenario before I review a project. As a professional, I request to read the story, require a basic marketing plan, and the budget. Then I quote an illustration project accurately using the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Project price depends on the number of illustrations required not page count.

If a book has a spread, one illustration spanning 2 pages, it’s considered one illustration. Therefore a 32 page book may only require 16 illustrations. The book may be 32 pages, however the illustrations don’t equal the page count.

This is why my friends and I may be the inexpensive illustrators you’re seeking. Illustrators I would refer are: Mike Woodcock, Christopher Epling, and Steve Riley. I know other illustrators, however the illustrators I listed work within similar pricing.

Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Illustrator of The Belly Button Fairy

Basic Royalty Calculations: Where Authors Profit Most

Authors and illustrators should understand royalty percentages before signing a publishing agreement. I’m asked the money question most frequently during publishing events, by new authors, and from publishing pessimists.

Some people believe disclosing salaries is uncouth. Pessimists and non-believers aren’t afraid to ask, “How much do you really make selling books?” People in the publishing industry don’t receive salaries but fluctuating incomes based on book sales. My response to the salary question is, “Tell me how much you made this week and I’ll tell you how much I made.” Don’t expect that person to ask their question twice.

I feel it’s not uncouth to understand how basic royalties are calculated. This Basic Net Sales Calculation Example shows how the Net Sale of books is distributed among authors, illustrators, and publishers. This guide shows seven areas books are sold and the profit per book sold.

  1. Non-discounted Sale:  These are direct sales through a publisher’s website or store. Publishers might sell non-discounted books at speaking engagements, events, or schools.
  2. Retail Store:  Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, or consignment books fall in this category.
  3. Book Festival:  An event that charges a flat vendor fee and doesn’t require a percentage of sales.
  4. Amazon:  Currently the largest online book retailer.
  5. Special Sale:  Discount promotions like holiday sales, event specific sales, or flash sales.
  6. Wholesale/Vendors:  Books pricing generally based on per case pricing in bulk. Gift shops, national parks, or companies like Premium Book Company, LLC are examples.
  7. Costco/Warehouse:  Large stores have individual pricing to entice customers.

Most royalties are calculated on the Net Sales, not the Retail Sales. This Basic Net Sales Calculation Example is based on author and illustrator receiving 20% royalties. Replace the 20% royalty and retail price of your book in this example to get a general idea. Not only is this sheet good for understanding royalties but also for determining where to sell books profitably.

Example:  An author who sells one book at a school visit makes around 16 times the royalty as the author selling the same book in a retail store. Authors and illustrators wanting to increase their royalties should focus their time at high profiting events. Bookstore signings are exciting, but not for $0.16 a book—even less, if royalties are below 20%.

Before signing the next publishing agreement, run the numbers. Determine the monetary rewards to publishing. This information is important for anyone considering traditional or independently publishing.

Mark Wayne Adams, Award-winning Author, Illustrator & Publisher

MWA, Inc Basic Net Sales Calculation

Meet Mike Woodcock, Award-winning Illustrator

Mike Woodcock (Professional Illustrator, Orlando, FL) Since graduating from the Ringling School of Art & Design with a degree in Illustration, Mike has lived in sunny, warm, Orlando, Florida with his beautiful wife, daughter, and two English bulldogs. During the day he’s a mild-mannered graphic designer, but outside of that, he plays ultimate Frisbee, paints, and draws as much as he can. Mike is also an award-winning children’s book illustrator and one of MWA, Inc. affiliated illustrators.

Mike currently serves on the FAPA Board of Directors helping to expand the organization as well as share his knowledge. His professional knowledge makes him a valuable resource as an illustrator and publisher.

Mike Woodcock can be reached at his website:  www.cockadoodles.com.

Mike Woodcock's KNTR Illustration

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.