Wednesday, December 28, 2011
As you all know I normally interview children’s authors, but today I am expanding my blog to include the fabulous illustrator Rosemarie Gillen. Thank you for joining us, Rosemarie.
How did you become interested in the world of illustrations?
I have always loved to paint and draw since I was very young. I remember I would go to a friend’s house and play and their mom would set up watercolor paint with very special paper, watercolor paper which made the whole experience feel like I was a real artist. This made an impression on me and starting me thinking about the possibility of one day becoming an artist.
In the 90’s I remember falling in love with a Van Gogh and I imagined myself painting it. So I went and brought supplies and started painting to satisfy my curiosity and much to my surprise I was able to copy the great masters. I continued to fill the walls of my home with reproductions of Great Masters and I enjoyed it as a hobby until one day I saw an ad on Craigslist adversting for artists for children books which led me to children’s illustrating.
Do you come from a background of artists or creative people?
My mom could draw very well. I think that the ability to draw can be inherited but also learned also.
What types of illustrations do you commonly work on?
I work mainly on picture book illustrations but have also created e-books, chapter books, covers, and promotional materials.
Did you find it difficult to break into the book illustrations business?
Yes, it was extremely difficult to get published. You are not considered published until you have been published with a traditional magazine or publisher.
What do you like to do in your spare time when not illustrating?
I play the piano and paint reproductions of Great Masters. And I relive my childhood through my son. I get my physical activity by playing outside with my son and his friends. We sled down our hill in our back yard in the winter, play basket ball, ride bikes, fly kites and have Nerf wars.
Do you have any advice for young artists?
It is all about hard work and attitude; it is not a get rich quick scheme. It is not something that is accomplished quickly. Be prepared for years of hard work and do everything you can to stay true to yourself. Be unique. Find other illustrators that are willing to mentor you to help you through the difficult job of learning this business and all that it entails. Never try to go it alone.
What do you think is the most rewarding thing about illustrating?
I love the freedom to make your own hours, the ability to make your own deadlines, being home with your child, and creating success for yourself.
Creating art is relaxing it the best part of who you are it gives you the freedom to express yourself. It gives you the ability to touch other people hearts through your work.
Do you have a web site with examples of your work that we might see?
Yes, I have a web site which is located at www.rosemariegillen.com where you can view samples of my color illustrations, black and whites, covers, educational material, and information on how to contact me.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
1. Write Stellar Material.
Lets face it, everyone has a story to tell but only those stories that are of the highest quality will sell well. This means you must pay careful attention to spelling, typos, grammar, punctuation, details, etc...
2. Get A Critique.
Having your family, neighbors, or friends proof reading your material is all well and good; but having a professional critiquing your work can make all the difference in the world. A professional will not shy away from telling you facts that might hurt your feelings. This is not because they don't care, but instead because they do care. A professional will tell you where your story is weak and what you need to do to polish up your material. And you can bet your bottom dollar that a publisher is going to be more attracted to a well written, well polished manuscript!
3. Be Determined and Persistent.
An author has to have a thick skin and the will to carry on because lets face it, with roughly 800,000 new books per year being released the competition is stiff. With competition like that, you are bound to hear no frequently. Don't think of "no" as a negative but instead think of it in the respect that you just haven't spoken to the correct person yet. This is your dream, don't let it die easily!
4. Market Before Your Book is Published.
It is never too early to let people know what you are working on. Think of it like Christmas advertising. New products are always advertised well before Christmas, whetting the appetite of the potential buyers. So start whetting the appetite of your potential fans.
5. Have a Website.
This ties in with marketing before your book is published. People are curious by nature and like to know all about other people. Use this to your advantage by having your own author website. Make it entertaining and engaging but not solely about you or your book. Offer your potential fans something of value. If you write westerns, perhaps you can show people how to find western products or dude ranches. If you write romance, have a section with a "romantic poem a day". And so forth and so on. On my website Fun For Kids I include recipes, crafts, poems, and much more.
6. Have Business Cards Printed.
Business cards are a great and inexpensive way to promote any type of business even the business of writing. Hand them out everywhere you go: restaurants, hair salons, grocery stores, libraries, and gas stations. I've even been know to include them in the envelope when I pay my bills.
7. Form Relationships With Other Authors and Bloggers.
Recently I read an article that stated being published was a community effort so to speak and I totally agree. No one person has all the ideas, all the contacts, all the reach, or all the tools needed to become a success. So join forces. Review books for other authors, blog about other authors, invite other authors to be interviewed, and you will see your efforts reciprocated.
8. Be Proactive.
Don't wait for fans and opportunities to come to you because this is not "A Field of Dreams". If you write it, they will not come, at least not without some good old fashioned leg work. People can't buy what they don't know about. Look for people to review your book, look for contests, book lists, book fairs, craft fairs, radio shows, and selling opportunities of every kind. They are out there, it just takes some ingenuity to find them. This takes us back to #7 where you get to know those other authors who will share opportunities they have come across with you because you do the same.
9. Don't be Afraid To Try New Things.
If you have never blogged, don't worry; everyone has to start somewhere and with time you will find your comfort zone. If you are nervous about public speaking, start out with a pre-recorded radio interview or podcast. If you have recording capabilities, record yourself reading a passage from your book. If you don't have a book trailer, make one. There are several easy to use sites out there that walk you through making a video or book trailer. I am especially fond of One True Media. The options are endless, so get out there try, try, try.
10. Have Fun.
Of all the possibilities a new author can and should be pursuing, this is the most important. If you aren't having fun, then what is the purpose of being an author? Neither writing nor getting published is an easy task and marketing a book is even more difficult; but it doesn't have to be a life draining death sentence. With a little bit of effort, you can begin to feel confident and you can even become an authority in your given genre. The world lies at your feet just waiting to be conquered; not just on the written page, but in reality as well!
Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!