“Were you faced with challenges running your company?”: Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You have done a lot of illustration, but the OUTBACK seems to be your first self-written children’s book. Why didn’t you attempt to publish one of your authored books with your own publishing company or with other previously? Did you try to sell this book to other publishers before releasing it with your own press? I am writing a book on author-publishers (Dickens, Twain, Woolf, Scott, Poe, etc.) and as part of this research I am curious why authors, artists and others are frequently driven to found their own publishing companies when they encounter problems with other publishers as they attempt to create traditional careers. It seems that you have had great success finding well-paying employment as an illustrator, animator, and the like, so I am curious where you faced challenges that made you realize that the independence that comes with running your own company was necessary. I believe you also wrote some of your picture books, including: King for a Day, the Story of StoriesBest Sketchbook, and Good Night Mare.

Adams: Well-paying employment is called a JOB. “Don’t work hard—work smart,” my dad once said. I’d been working hard since I was about thirteen. This phrase inspired me to graduate college and work for several major companies, where I managed or lead others. I never felt fulfilled. So, I began illustrating books again in 2007, while working as an Art Director.

steven_rileySteve Riley, fellow illustrator of the Little Ty Cooney National Wonder Series and college friend, gave me great advice! “Two incomes are better than one. Don’t quit your day job until your employer asks you to leave.” I paid attention while building my illustration business 2 hours a night, 5 days a week. Every four weeks I finished another children’s book in only 40 hours. When I finally left my day job, I was an award-winning illustrator of children’s books and a national public speaker.

I sold thousands of books annually for my publishers making about a 10–20% royalty. Authors who were illustrators made double royalties. I had a college degree, so I decided, I’ll write a children’s book and illustrate it too! My publishers said my books would never sell; there was no audience for my writing. I visited 45 plus schools a year, selling thousands of books to my audience.

Jilli thats Silly-3D-bookPeople say, “No!” for control. I had illustrated and created layouts for numerous published books. I had been an Art Director and Printing Manager in control of large production budgets. Taking control of my publishing journey wasn’t a difficult decision. Adams Illustration & Design, my illustration and graphic design business, became Mark Wayne Adams, Inc., mine and my wife Angela’s publishing company. MWA, Inc. purchased a block of 1,000 ISBNs and published award-winning books like: King for a Day, the Story of StoriesNicholas, That’s Ridiculous!Jilli, That’s Silly!and Teddy TalesThese four books combined won 14 children’s book awards.

If you’re passionate about writing and drawing make them a second JOB until they become the bread winner. Once the second job makes a small income, the day JOB becomes more bearable. Treat writing and illustration like a business and you’ll be in business.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

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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.

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!