“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

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Virtual School Visits

Visiting elementary schools doesn’t require leaving the comfort of home. How can professionals get paid to present in schools while working a 9 to 5 schedule? Below are three suggestions for working professionals.
1.  Virtual presentations.
Virtual presentations allow authors to inspire students without physically visiting schools.  Authors can arrange Skype school visits that fit within their work schedule. This can also be achieved using time zones.  An author on the east coast can Skype with schools on the west coast.  Those authors wanting a longer time delay should consider United States military and private schools in foreign countries.  
2.  Pre recorded videos.

Authors can use a pre recorded presentation video followed by answers to student questions.  The questions can be provided in advance by the school.  This technique provides a personal feel to a generic video.  These author must record a video in a professional setting and allow schools time to review the video.  YouTube is also an option for providing a generic video.

Note:  Authors can generate additional income through links to archived video downloads, books, eBooks, and other merchandise!

3.  Leveraging employers’ benefits.

Authors can use sick days, vacation days, and half days through their employer.  Authors should keep their employment status anonymous while utilizing these company benefits.  Loosing a day job playing hooky isn’t rewarding.

By scheduling school visits within reasonable driving distance, a day visit is possible.  Pairing school visits with Book Festivals is even more beneficial to building an audience in a specific area.  A good example is:  Friday school visit near a Book Festival.  Attend the weekend festival.  Follow with a Monday school visit.

The key is selling while working the 9 to 5.  Authors should overcome obstacles of a day job to create successful second income.

Must Read List: Schools: A Niche Market for Authors

This month’s MWA, Inc. Must Read List selection is also a repeat favorite. I stumbled into public speaking through a teacher invitation. Elementary school visits are so much fun! I visit between 45 and 90 schools each year.

Jane R. Wood author of Schools: A Niche Market for Authors, finds that schools are a unique market for authors. Whether an author writes children’s picture books, young adult books, or even adult fiction or nonfiction books, the goal for most authors is the same – to sell books!

As the author of four juvenile fiction books, Jane Wood has been selling her books to schools since 2004. More than 50 percent of her annual revenue comes from book sales to schools, speaking fees to schools, and book sales to students at those schools. For Jane this is a win-win.

Jane’s visits are a valuable benefit to the schools she visits. As a former teacher, her goal is to inspire reading in students. By creating characters that children can relate to, and scenes that engage their interests and imaginations, she promotes literacy. When she participates in an author visit at a school, she makes a connection with her readers, which is beneficial to both of parties. And when she talks about the writing process, she reinforces what their teachers teach them in language arts lessons.

There are many things to consider when targeting schools as a market for book sales. In her book she shares many strategies: how to make books attractive to educators; how to promote books to schools; how to develop presentations; and ways to generate revenue from this niche market.

Jane R. Wood can be reached at her website:  www.janewoodbooks.com