Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Interview with author, J.D. Holiday on her books, Janoose the Goose and The Great Snowball Escapade
On your blog, for The Book Garden Publishing, it says “Our mission is to promote reading in children that will last a lifetime!” Can you explain what you mean by that?
First let me say thank you for having me on your blog. I believe in order to keep children interested in most stories the story must move along quickly and flow well to keep their interest. I structure my stories to do just that. Once children find reading fun they will keep at it.
What inspired you to create Book Garden Publishing?
After years of submitting manuscripts to the traditional publishers and waiting for the rejection letter, I had enough. I’ve had editors interested in my stories. I’ve had some short stories published, including some in a Chapbook. I even had an agent, but in the end, no books published. Then, finally, along came publishing services so at first I tried one of them. That did not work out well, so after much thought I knew I had to be my own publisher. I started Book Garden Publishing and hired a printer to print my books.
Print services, like AuthorHouse, CreateSpace, etc., are middemen that authors use to publish (or really) to PRINT their books. Print services hire printers (the book makers) to print the books and charge the authors more money than it actually costs to print the books. This is why books done by these service are priced out of the market. Books done this way can't compete with books traditional publisher sell because print service made books do cost more since the middlemen take their cut!
Printers, themselves will not, for the more part, work with authors. They work with Publisher/publishing houses that know the publishing business. This is why I had to start my own publishing business and learn about it so I could hire a printer.
What were some of the pitfalls you ran into?
As I mentioned, I tried a print service company. I thought at the time this was it. I would be published, finally. I had been told the book would be ready in eight months. We got everything in motion. Flyers to be mailed to newspapers, bookstores, libraries, and letters to accompany the review copies of the book were all ready to go.
Then the galleys arrived. I thought they would look great and be ready to sell. But they weren’t. They were a MESS. Among the things wrong were that the pages where the pictures should be covering the entire page, with the text embedded in the pictures, were on half the page with lots of white space around them. The text ran through the picture all right, but also out of the pictures into the trim off area. There was no way this was a finished book. I knew enough about PhotoShop to show this company how each page should look. I sent the galley back with my examples.
Weeks later, coming to my book release date, the galley came back. They failed to correct almost everything. A release form accompanied the galley. It said, according to this company, the book was ready to be published! Somebody recommended I call the Better Business Bureau. I decided to contact them by email. I thought this would be wise in my emotional state of mind. I was put half out of my misery in 150 words or less, and I got my money back in full.
Who gave you help and guidance?
I got help and guidance from Small Publishers of North America and their online discussion group of self-publishing professionals. What I have learned from this discussion group, the resources SPAN has for its members, and the books I’ve read put my publishing future into focus.
You’ve now done two books that you both illustrate and author. I’ve always read it’s hard to sell both your text and illustrations. You say you’ve worked with an agent. Did the agent try to get you to submit your stories without illustrations?
Back when I had an agent, almost twenty years ago, they would not take authors who illustrated their own work for the most part, unless the author/illustrator had a selling track record already. They are still telling authors that today. My agent was only submitting my stories.
What suggestions do you have for author/illustrators who want to get their combined work published?
I would tell them to try submitting their stories with their own illustrations to traditional publishers first. They might just be lucky. But I would also tell them to stick to it. If they are turned down because the publishers do not want their illustrations, and they feel their work is as good as any other illustrators out there, then they should do their own homework and look into self-publishing. I have found that self-publishing is not for everyone.
Tell me about going from illustration to the printed page. What type of medium do you use?
For my first book, JANOOSE THE GOOSE, I painted the pictures in watercolor. For my second book, a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds, The Great Snowball Escapade, I did the sketches by hand and inked them in art program, Painter Essentials 4. I designed the book by using a book software program called, Indesign CS 3.
What other things do you have to consider when that medium is being changed to the printed page?
Once you have a printer to print your books, you can get from them the templates and all the measurements and specifications, usually in a manual, they will need to print your books. They will need you to follow all instructions carefully.
What doesn’t translate well from an original work of art to print?
I have found that my paintings and drawings translate very well. As long as you read and understand the printer’s needs and adhere to their templates and specifications there should not be a problem.
Do you consider yourself more of an artist or an illustrator?
All illustrators are artists. So it doesn’t really matter to me but there are artists who prefer to be called illustrators.
An illustrator's job is to do the pictures for book, magazines, cartoons. This can include a series of drawings and paintings for animated TV shows and movies as well. Most people believe that artists are people who draw, paint or play music. I have seen where actors and dancers also feel they are artists as well. There are probably other professions that feel that way too.
Which do you do first? Does a picture inspire words or vice versa?
I always come up with a story first. I don’t do the pictures until I’m going to make the book.
There are lots of blogs for writers. What about for illustrators?
Just like writers, illustrators blog and have networks. Illustrators use their sites and blogs to showcase their work, works of other artists and do works in process where they show how they do their pictures and paintings and other mediums.
Who encourages or critiques your art?
My family loves my artwork. They encourage me.
Your site shows note cards and your books for sale. What other art work items do you have?
I sell my artwork at Zazzle.com http://www.zazzle.com/jdholiday as paintings, cards, caps, shirts, and a mouse pad using a painting that my grandson painted when he was three years old. My grandson is five now and loves to draw and paint.
Looking through your blog, you’ve got a lot of ways to promote yourself and what you do. You also show a link to “submit your site to dozens of top search engines.” For those new to blogging, can you explain why that is important?
Listing yourself, your site and/or blogs and your books on search engines (SEO or Search Engine Optimization) is a must. This can be done for FREE, so don’t list on search engines where they want you to pay.
There are plenty of SE’s that have a free listing, though it is not always easy to find the SUBMIT A LINK tabs! When you do find it make sure you add smart keywords when listing your site, book, yourself, etc. That’s how the internet works; searches look at the keywords to find you. That link on my site and blogs that you referenced is Search Engine Submission Biz: http://www.searchenginesubmission.biz/
Some other search engines are: Dogpile.com, Google, Alta Vista, Yahoo, SearchSight.com, META CRAWLER, Bing, Ask.com and WebCrawler
What are some of the best suggestions you’ve learned for promoting and growing your blog and your writing?
Write articles about what you know about writing and publishing. Do reviews of books you read and interviews with authors and others. Post them on your blog as well as join free article sites, (if you are posting articles) and post your articles on them. Places your articles, review, etc. on sites like Facebook, Myspace, as well as other sites you are networking and Twitter about your latest ones. Don’t forget to add those keywords or tags so that search engines can find your postings and you. Network on sites for authors and sites where you might find your audience. But watch out for sites that have restrictions on promoting yourself. Some sites/companies frown upon that.
Bauu Institute has lists of sites to place your books, articles, press releases, social networking, marketing and more. Though not all the places will be free or in use any longer but it is well worth the picking.
We always see ads for "monetizing your blog." What have you learned in working with Google Adwords?
If you want ads on you blog you need to sign up for them. Google Adwords places ads on blogs at blogger. You click on Settings then the tab Monetize. That is where you will find out about "monetizing your blog." You have you choice of ads with text and images or just text. You can choose what type of products you would like to have as well. If your visitors click on the ads you can make a small percentage of money. There are drawbacks which you will have to read about but one drawback is that you only get paid after the amount reaches $100.
That's all the time we have for today's interview. To learn more about J.D. Holiday you can visit her website at: http://www.thebookgarden.net
JD blogs: JD’s writers Blog http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com
And Independent Publishing News http://ipubnews.blogspot.com/