“Do you make money for public appearances?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You were drawing for visitors to your booth at the ALA. I believe you also do these types of drawings during your art presentations at schools. Do you do these public art projects because of your desire to perform your art before a live audience? Do you ever make money on these appearances? Do you use them for research or to market your illustrations to kids? At ALA, were you giving any of the resulting drawings away? You had tossed a few of them onto the carpet in front of you at ALA, and you toss them on the floor of auditoriums etc. in your school presentations. Do you toss them down for symbolic reasons or to illicit sympathy, or because you want to display them and you don’t have board to clip them onto? Were you drawing what visitors asked for, or whatever came to mind? Do you doodle and free-draw to come up with ideas for your illustrations? If not, what do you do to research ideas or to come up with initial character sketches?

AdamsDrawing Is My Super Power! That would be my t-shirt slogan. I find an audience, whether drawing on a pad, a napkin, or in a Best Sketchbook. I drew for free when I was younger. Some people appreciated the gesture, other discarded my effort. In the 3rd grade, I began to charge for my time and the appreciation level increase. This remains true today.

My first professional illustration contracts came from tossing drawings on the floor at Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California. I did this both for symbolic and sympathetic purposes, depending on the audience.

Publishing (writing, illustration, and marketing) is about inspiring an emotion. I can’t keep every drawing, so I give them to conference audiences who feel sympathy when they step on a “pretty picture.” I also joke, “This drawing is worthless until I sign it!” Publishing audiences find my personality a plus in the working relationship.

IMG_6356I’ve meet over 1 million students through paid elementary school visits. I walk on “pretty pictures” to show students and teachers sheets of paper have less value than the pages within a book. This reinforces the need to journal in hardbound books.

Do I give away drawings for free? Yes, I’ve given away over 45,000 drawings in eight years like the ones you mentioned at ALA. My gift makes others happy and in return makes me happy. I do have two rules. Children are the recipients of most drawings unless it’s for a teacher’s classroom or at a conference. Also, I only draw one picture per person, per day. This rule stemmed from my own children asking me to draw instead of doing it themselves. My children get one picture, just like anyone else’s child.

IMG_3952I have over 100 journals (23,000 pages of drawing and writing). These journals are 20 years of research and inspiration. Illustration clients are asked to provide me a list of 5 of their favorite children’s books, 5 new books they discovered at the library or bookstore, and 5 things they’d do for free. Their favorite children’s books tell me who they were. The new books tell me what they expect based on paper types, finishes, and dimensions. Lastly, incorporating something they love in the illustrations will boost discussion topics with readers.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

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Who is Misses Merrie?

Moment Six: Festival

Missus Merrie chimed in, “I could search the Hopkins County Public Library. May I?” Miss Merry searched the county library system. “There is one book on cursive, The Cursive Handwriting Workbook. It’s located at our sister branch, Warren County Public Library. I can have the book delivered in a few weeks. Can you wait?”

“We’ll wait!” said Gulia.

“Which of you has a library card? I can place the hold now if you like,” said Missus Merrie.

Gulia whipped out hers. “Here, use mine!”

“You won’t get far in this town without a library card, mister. I can issue you a number now, and come by the public library Tuesday for your card. There, the handwriting book is reserved on Gulia’s card. I will also add some picture books my son illustrated. You can read them while you wait, Gulia!” said Missus Merrie. If there was anything you could fault her for, it was pushing her son’s literature.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

Best Times to Schedule School Visits

“When is the best time to schedule a school visit?” A very popular question from authors planning who plan to speak in schools. I book school visits from one month to a year in advance. The reason for a wide range is that most schools have limited budgets and a variety of time frames for scheduling. The best time for me to schedule is six months ahead.  

When planning spring visits, send contact emails starting December 1st. The holidays are a rushed time. Many educators are planners and respond immediately. Follow up emails can start after January 15th. This gives the staff time to settle in after the new year. Non planners will find an urgent need to book an author visit.  

If planning fall visits, send contact emails before May 1st. Emails after this date educators are in holiday mode mindset and ignore the email.  I don’t start emailing educators until a week before school starts in the fall. 

Booking schools means planning life one year in advance. Middle and high schools may be different. No matter what age group, get your official fingerprint ID done. You can register at the county courthouse.

A great resource for scheduling is Jane R. Wood’s Schools: A Niche Market for Authors.

— Mark Wayne Adams, Illustrator of Jilli, That’s Silly!: A Story About Being a Girl

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.

Mark’s Published Books

Mark’s Book Awards

Mark’s Associations & Affiliations:

★ Official judge of the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Award 2013–2018.

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

★ 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.

★ Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts Alumni — 1988

 

Find and follow Mark on social media:

2 Ways to Earn $1,500 a Month Publishing

Recently, I was asked, “how do you create a steady $1,500.00 a month publishing books?” I laughed at first! Steady income and publishing haven’t always gone hand in hand. Book sales have been extremely unpredictable. I’ve had months where I earned $12,000.00, and months where I earned $1,200.00.

Book sales fluctuate like the weather. I find “steady income” by illustrating books and public speaking.

Illustration is one of my biggest income generators. I illustrate from January through March and June through September. I spend countless hours creating artwork. The dollar per hour isn’t the best, and finding good clients comes with challenges. 

Many of you are thinking, “I can’t draw!” So public speaking is my best suggestion as a “steady income” for authors. Here is a formula I use.

  • Charge a minimum of $500 per visit. Three speaking events per month yields $1,500.00. Schedule a total of 36 throughout the year. Seems daunting, right?
  • Sell books at the events. Some schools don’t collect book sales, however some do! On average 10% of students purchase a book. 1,000 students generally equals 100 books sold. Being conservative 5% would yield 50 book sales. If you make $5 a book, that’s $250 extra. Now only 2 speaking events are needed a month, or 24 per year.

School visits can be repeated monthly. Elementary schools generally bring authors in from February through late April and October through November. It’s a small window of time to schedule 24-36 events. Just remember this is about one month of “work.”

Illustrating and public speaking are two ways I create a “steady income” publishing books. By creating more products and being social, book sales will become more consistent.

 

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