Self publishing, is it worth it ? An illustrator´s point of view.

The most professional, best looking amateur ever ignored !

Self publishing, is it worth it ? Well, if you search the internet about this topic there´s a million different opinions out there. Most of them really negative on how self publishing ca be a waste of time or how self publishing keeps being a bad idea.
I have read a lot of things but I never read any article or opinion, from a professional illustrator point of view. This is where I think I can contribute to the discussion and bring a little beam of positive light into this so much trashed idea about self publishing your books.


One popular understanding out there is that self published authors spend more time just trying to do their own marketing and stressing about it, than actually being writers and enjoying what they do.
Self published authors end up spending 90% of their time doing marketing and sometimes even less than 10% actually creating something.
And this is when people still pursue their dream and don´t just simply quit after the first couple of months with zero sales and zero visibility. Mostly because  like me, they have zero talent for online self marketing, or many times, (also like me), have absolutely no time to do it properly…and that is where the 90% marketing argument comes in.
Very true.

Particularly true if you, as a self published author expect to get rich or instantly make a career in writing or think you´re going to become an overnight superstar sensation on the web.
For every success story you read online and some really are true, there´s about a billion self publish failures out there.
And I speak for myself too. Trust me, I´m guilty of everything I see mentioned as a negative thing about self publish you see on the web also. Like everyone I made a ton of mistakes on my first attempts.
Working full time in illustration I hardly have the time to illustrate for clients, let alone do something for me that requires hours a day. The fact this blog has been on halt for almost a year now is proof of that too.
In short, if you don´t do your marketing right, chances are you will not become a popular author.


If you think about it, that is true for everything.
And the first step to avoid that fate, if you want to have any chance of ever achieving something with your book, is to put yourself out there.

Handwriting Text Publish. Concept Meaning Make Information Avail

Don´t be afraid to put your work out in the world. Just do it as a hobby.
Do it for fun.
But do it really well !
In the specific world of children book authors , if you can invest some money in creating a really good looking , well produced book go for it as that is the way to arrive.
Rule number one, if you put yourself out there , if you´re looking to understand how to self publish your children´s book, your work needs to look as professional as possible.

Because in self publishing the risk number 1 is not investing a bunch of money on a project and then not recover your investment. Risk number 1 is arriving at the scene looking immediately like an amateur.
And don´t think because you´re self publishing,  therefore you´re not being that noticed, you won´t be immediately labeled as a stinky amateur. Sometimes by someone that matters and could really take your book to a different level.
Being labeled as an amateur should be your number 1 fear.
And why ?

Because self publish despite all the negative connotation that keeps having in many opinion circles, has a fantastic positive thing that in fact should be your number 1 goal right from the first go.
Self publishing can do for your book, with your name attached the same the initial free illustration web galleries did for illustrators like me when we started to arrive at the online illustration field many years ago, circa 1999.
Back then when I started to experiment with online job search on illustration it was the fact that sites like the classic Elfwood already existed that brought me my first commissions.
Online galleries that allowed us to post our illustration work for free ; sites like that which later evolved into stuff like the now popular Deviant art; which allowed us to spread our work around and get noticed.
That is why nowadays as an illustrator I also sell my own fantasy and science fiction illustrations on stores like Displate or as downloadable prints at my brand new Etsy store.
I´m not trying to get rich or even be a successful entrepreneur at we-commerce. I´m doing it for exposure because, many illustration commissions already came from clients that bought posters at my Displate shop.


So, keep this in your mind when it comes to self publishing and before you get too depressed with the standard negativism out there from many articles.
Without you ever noticing it , your work can be seen.
Not only by amateurs but also by “invisible eyes” connected either to illustration agencies, publishing companies or when it comes to children books , if yours is really good , get the attention of some major mainstream publisher.
We never know who´s looking at our work online.
And you don´t need 1000 visits.
You only need 1.
The right one.
The one person who´s actually connected to an established spot within the art/publishing or media industry.
The one person that notices your work and recognizes your value and potential.
The one person that contacts you based on your “simple” online presence and which can take your name and your work to the next level creating new opportunities for you.



I´m now an online full time illustrator because of this mindset.
I spent years “failing” and “self publishing” my artwork all over the place. And I failed so much and so many times that one day things started to work for me.
So it can happen to you , either if you´re an artist or an independent children´s book author you too can follow the same steps that many times contribute to establishment of indie companies like New Paige Press which is my favorite independent publisher to work with.
But that will never happen if your book looks totally amateur at first glance.
In just one second you can be totally forgotten.
So you should not go for 1000 visits or 1000 “LIKES”.
You should go for – that one second – of attention from someone , the 1 visit that really matters.

After spending 28 years in illustration, with about 10 years working full time online and in which 5 of those ten were also dedicated to create illustration work for a lot of independent and self publishing authors, at least from my point of view and personal life experience I can guarantee you that 90% of those people that really fail in self publishing , may not being failing just on the marketing side. There´s more to failure than the corporate reasons stated on my anti-self publishing articles out there.
It won´t matter if your marketing skills are awesome, if you´re the king and queen of social media in your own neighborhood or if you spend thousands of $ or € on Facebook adds or Add Words.
If you have really ugly book, which totally screams amateur up front there´s no reason to blame anything else. You can even have the greatest children book story ever told. You have an ugly amateur book, you´re gone.


The main thing that negative articles about self publish usually don´t mention, or don´t give much attention to, is the fact that probably 99% of the self published children books out there fail because they are really amateur and really , really badly produced when it comes to illustration.
I see that happening all the time in children´s book Facebook groups, Instagram and all over the place.
Many people think their book is so awesome that they are convinced they don´t even need to invest on professional artwork, professional editing or professional design.

As an illustrator, I see that all the time.
As an illustrator I see people in forums asking themselves how come their book is not selling when many times the answer is right there visually ! And don´t even try to explain to them what is happening with their book.
I´ve made that mistake once trying to help an author and let´s just say it, from now on if a person don´t ask for my opinion as an illustrator I won´t be the one to comment.

If you´re a children book author and you are serious about it, although self publish is mostly free out there, that does not mean you should not have a good initial budget when it comes to producing your book.
I´ve seen people in forums with incredible amateur books ( the ones which are only loved by mum and friends ), but because they are loved by their mum and friends ( yes, that is an actual real argument for quality in more than one project that I knew ), the author is convinced he does not need to spend money on professional artwork.
In one example that I know, the author did not wanted to spend more than $25 per spread page because he found – an artist – on a known crowdsource site that did the entire book for less than $150.

Let´s just say, that you don´t want to arrive on the children book scene with a $25 spread page book. Not even on print on demand.
No matter how your mum and friends will say it´s great ( and you got it cheap too!! )
You really end up getting what you payed for. And this is not a compliment.

If you don´t know how to hire a children´s book illustrator for your project, do not make the mistake of thinking because , oh , you´re just self publishing , it´s your first try, you don´t have any money to invest on it and so it does not matter that much who you get.
It does matter.
Wait a bit, gather some cash and create your book well.
Don´t be one of those “self published” authors that contribute for the extremely negative numbers the self publishing scene presents from the mainstream side of things. It´s those self publish “authors” that totally justify the bad reputation self publish still has.

Don´t expect to get rich, but if you do it well, trust me; you will recover your art investment money and you can expect some surprises along the way. You never know who´s looking at your work online. You only need 1 person. 😉
Present yourself well, put a real quality book out there and make sure you´re the most professional best looking amateur that was ever ignored !

But beware of Vanity Press scams
Vanity press

More on this later. 😉




If you are searching for how to hire a children´s book illustrator or concept artist take a look at my illustration portfolio (Fantasy or Childrens Book art ) no matter what your budget is don´t hesitate to contact me and let´s see what we can do togheter.










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How to self publish a book. My two cents.

How to self publish a book. My two cents.

Hi everyone !
Of course all this stuff is really subjective and everybody has it´s own experience or opinion but I´m writing this post now because I think it can help a lot of people who´s just starting on this self publishing online thing.
I keep having a lot of people asking me about what to do to publish their own projects, either children books or other type of books and so I will try to give you some points to get you started. This is my opinion then.
Self publish projects are now about half of the work I get in each year. It used to be just stuff for established mainstream publishers for many years but since about three years or so, I have noticed a big change as many people started to approach me also with independent or self publishing content. Right now my amazon new listing features a mix between projects for established mainstream publishers like New Paige Press with the “Once Canvas” book series and also independent and/or self published books like The Mystery Puzzle for example. As an illustrator the market now has doubled for me because I do work for any type of client as long as the project fits me and I like the book that is presented to me. 😉


Therefore I think this post now might help to make things less confusing for people who are just arriving.
This about how to start self publishing online and not leave your written books on the shelve. Who knows, maybe you can start your little independent publishing business from home. Trust me, it happened more times than you may think. It´s all about persistence, exposure and good planning.


You wrote a story and don´t know how to publish a book ? There´s actually plenty of things you can do nowadays as the market for self publish books has really changed in the last three years or so, when it comes to different opportunities and ways for the common folks to put their work out there. For example, put your book in amazon.
Publish your book on kindle and/or as real printed book.
You don´t need to leave your books forever in your drawer anymore.
Publish your book for free.
You don´t know how to write but you can draw ?…
Well, publish a coloring book like mine then.

8x10_BW_60-COVER - book2_1250xSample

It´s now a lot easier (and many times even profitable) to become a self published author than it used to be. Self publish and be happy. 🙂
Don´t take it to seriously, just make it your hobby and then one morning you might find yourself with a new fulltime job.
Publish your book online. Self publish is actually a good door to reach more “professional markets” or maybe even to get your book noticed by established mainstream publishers.
For example a scifi book called “The Martian” which started as a self published project,  became the Ridley Scott movie “The Martian” with Matt Damon.

So don´t fear to dive into the self publish yourself. No matter what type of book you are writing although my focus here is on children books because those are what I am illustrating nowadays.

For example one of the best selling books I did recently, “The Masterpiece – One big canvas” , came out of a project which started as a self publishing effort for an independent author, Jay Miletsky and now he´s actually running his own established independent publishing company, New Paige Press out of the results in sales from his initial self published books, “Ricky the Rock”, “Beware of : The nose biting monster”, etc.


I´ve actually already illustrated the sequel for the Masterpiece. The second volume in the “One big canvas – series” called “The Molding of the Clay” is about to be officially released and I will be starting to illustrate book 3 in a couple months too.
So, if one can do it, two can do it, three can do it.
You can do it too.

Just be aware of one thing. If you plan to go into self publish, besides gathering a comfortable budget for illustration work you should set aside a bit of money for online publicity, like google add words for example ; (facebook adds don´t work very well in my experience but this is  only my opinion) .
Then you need to have your work or info about it, posted everywhere in blogs, social media, sites, etc.
Don´t know where to start ? Start a blog if you don´t have one yet and blog about the making of the book. Don´t worry about having just one or two visits or readers on the first months. The more you write , the more you blog is picked up by the google search engine and the more people will know about your book.

Nowadays there´s a bunch of ways to self publish your book. Let´s look at some self publish ideas on how to start publishing your own book.

1 – There´s the zero cost way of publishing it on KDP Amazon like I´m doing with my coloring books right now.

In that way , you get your book written, illustrated and edited; (I totally recommend the “Affinity Publisher software” (more on that one later)). Then you upload the content into your own author KDP account for free, choose your price and amazon prints your book each time someone orders it.


At the same time you can create an alternative e-book version there from the same material you´ve uploaded and sell that too.
Amazon only gets a percentage out of everything. Don´t expect to become rich with this method but if you end up selling a few thousand copies your revenue will not be that bad too.

2 – If you want to do the same with your book like you did on amazon but also include an hardcover edition (amazon only prints soft covers), you can also self publish the book at the same time in
It works mostly in the same way as amazon does. It´s actually much easier to upload your book pages and you can create your book in a bunch of different hardcover formats besides the traditional softcover one.


You can also create an e-book version … but this one I think its only on pdf if I´m not mistaken.
The point is that you can have your book spread all around the self publish platforms you can find. The fact you publish on amazon does not mean you cannot publish it again in another company so take advantage of that. You retain all your rights anywhere you go.

In all these options the revenue wont be amazing unless you sell hundreds of books per month because the companies take their substantial fee out of each sale too, but don´t discourage because like I said if you are a first time self publishing author what matters is putting your book out there.

On this note, one thing that is very important… if you´re going to start your online store , try to fill it up with more than one book. I know its hard to invest in illustrations and making the book, but the more books you have in your online store the more the site search engines will sell the book for you.
So do your best to start creating. After all if you want to become a children book author just don´t stick with a single book.

Also don´t be in the hurry to see results. It takes months for search engines to index new content on the web so while you are waiting to something to happen regarding sales on your first book, start working on a second one. This way when your first book starts to get noticed by people and most of all, by search engines a few months after you launch it, you then release a second one and send the message to potential buyers out there that you mean business and you´re not going anywhere. Get the idea ?

3. The more profitable way to make money in your books is also the most expensive for a new self publish author.
In this third method, you need to invest on illustrations and creating the book but you also need to have a budget to print real copies and stock your book at home to sell all over the place.

Usually nowadays printing in bulk in China is a good choice because their quality has become real good and they print 1000s of copies of your product at a lower cost than anywhere in the world like New Paige Press did with my books for example.


You need money to make money in this number 3 option but in the end you´ll make a lot more revenue than just self publishing in regular KDP print on demand routes like I mention on points 1 and 2.
This way you get your amazon store not just as a print on demand author on KDP but as an independent publisher. You are the one who´s stocking amazon with your books when their stock runs out, you´re the one printing the books and so you retain most of the cover price you ask for there.
In point 1 and 2 you just get a small fee out of your sales because the companies have to do all the printing and selling work for you.

So I hope this post of mine gives you a few ideas to be excited about also publishing your own book.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I´ll be posting a couple more things on this topic later.

Check my other post on my ETSY prints store too. If you are a creative person and you are looking to find another way of getting your work out there and still make a little money read that text. 😉




If you are looking for an affordable children book artist , concept illustrator or need a freelance artist to work on a pod project ( I do not descriminate print on demand material for sure; I love it ); do not forget to take a look at my illustration portfolio (Fantasy or Childrens Book art ) and I´m always available to discuss future work.
If you have a dream, no matter what your budget is don´t hesitate to contact me and let´s see what we can do.









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IcreateWorlds Art – My NEW ETSY STORE!

IcreateWorlds Art – My NEW ETSY STORE!

Are you an artist ? Have you ever thought of making some money with your drawings ? Have you tried selling your images online ?
If the answer is no, maybe you should look into what Etsy has to offer.
After years of looking at the site, I finally decided to open my own ETSY SHOP. I have so many illustrations scattered around that I thought now is the time to put them to use and so after some research I noticed that one of the most popular products there are, downloadable digital prints; which is something I never expected and which is something that is perfect for my type of images and artwork.


Another thing I noticed is that children room wall decoration or kids room poster artwork is something that seems to be in demand over there so to start with, I decided to give it a go at that.

From what I read and from the videos I´ve been watching online it seems that it can take a while for a brand new shop to be noticed and even make a first sale but I´m now following the drip-by-drip approach many established Etsy sellers recommend and I´m at the initial stage of just filling my shop with products to gather some traction within the internal Etsy search engine and maybe Google.


What you see above is actually my best selling image at Displate and so I´m curious to see if it catches on with the ETSY audience also.

One of the great thing with Etsy for my type of art and product is that we can actually create downloadable art prints and an artist like me does not have to sell an actual physical product. I don´t need to manufacture or print my own images. Instead we just sell the high resolution images for people to print as they wish.
In my case, plenty of my children book type illustrations are perfect to decorate children rooms for example and so my downloadable art prints end up being a really cool way of creating home decor products without much difficulty.


If you have some skills with image editing software like Photoshop , Krita or whatever maybe you should also start to think about what you can do with that.
I used to be a real disbeliever on these type of sites that sell our stuff because they take high commission fees and we are left with not much at the end for each sell. But… in reality, if you think about it… we the artists already have the images done, we don´t need to do any extra work and the only trouble we have to go to is upload the material into the sites. You don´t need to stick with only one of these Etsy type sites and you can monetize your digital paintings anywhere on the web.


Drip by drip sales eventually will start to happen. I used to not believe in that at all, but last year I uploaded a couple of my paintings and after a few months of nothing happening my metallic poster prints at Displate started to sell and I haven´t spent a dime in online publicity. Sales just happened.
Although the artists don´t make much money out of each sale, nevertheless it´s money that comes in based on paintings and material we already have around.
The fact that my Displate store seems to be getting some attention in the last couple of months made me want to try and get into ETSY now too.


So, if you´re an illustrator and you don´t have a clue about this online selling stuff, if you have some pics lying around wasted, I totally suggest you try places like Displate and Etsy for sure.

My ETSY SHOP is brand new so I have zero sales and almost no visitors yet but I´ll keep everyone posted on how I will be doing in the future if something happens with it and I´ll try to help everyone who´s in the same level as we go along.




If you are a potential illustration client, if you are looking for an affordable children book artist , concept illustrator or need a freelance artist to work on a pod project ( I do not descriminate print on demand material for sure; I love it ); do not forget to take a look at my illustration portfolio (Fantasy or Childrens Book art ) and I´m always available to discuss future work.
If you have a dream, no matter what your budget is don´t hesitate to contact me and let´s see what we can do.