Self publishing, is it worth it ? An illustrator´s point of view 2 – To print or not to print…on demand…

I take it that you already read part one of this rambling of mine on my other initial post… right ? 😉
So… self publishing your book, is it worth it or not ?
Well, the short answer is, not.
But there´s a positive catch here.

In my opinion, it´s not worth it if you go purely – Print on demand.
Let me rephrase that… it may not be worth if you go purely – Print on demand.

pod2

The big question that many people ask is does print and demand work ?
Yes and no.
Why ? Because although print on demand is really easy to set up and it´s mostly free to get your own online shop, not only you will have a ton of work uploading your material into several of your pod-online stores but you will be so frustrating by the lack of initial visits and zero sales for months ( sometimes years ) on end that you´ll simply quit on everything. Many times convinced that your own work is totally crap when it´s not.
So this type of more immediate – self publish – solution can really become the death of your dream because you may come out of the experience thinking your work is no good or nobody is interested on what  your dream project is.
You set up your store, you upload your book, everything looks awesome and then you spend the next six or ten months looking at it while you´re the only visitor there most of the time. And then you quit, without realizing you´re really quitting before you even begun.

I bet you´re already confused.
Once again, self publishing your book, is it worth it or not ?

It all depends on what your goal is.
More… it all depends on what your expectations are when you start your self publish project.
If you´re one of those authors that are absolutely convinced your book is naturally awesome and therefore it will be easy to earn a lot of money by sailing it all over the world through the internet because everyone will be interested in it (after all we´re talking about selling in the entire world), think again.
Think again if you think – print on demand – is going to do that for you when you choose this more popular method of self publish.

lulu-my-comics

Another popular question tends to be, is print on demand saturated ?
Well, how big is the internet online market ? Does anyone know ?
Because, the first catch of  print on demand is revenue. Income generated by your sales.

No matter what cover price you choose for your self published book, the company where you are selling it and where you have your online store set up, will always take the larger chunk of your hard earned money.
Therefore, to get… let´s say, -rich- by being a self published author; or even for you to quit your day job, your book really, really, REALLY needs to become an overnight sensation all over the web and sell thousands of copies monthly, even better…weekly.
Even then if you become that successful remember that the print on demand company will be seven, eight or nine times richer than you, despite you´re being the one spending money to market your book.
Because print on demand companies won´t publicize your book for free, unless you´re getting amazing sales. And in that case, they are the ones who will have all the advantage in making your work known and increase sales because in the end they are the ones who will really profit from your talent. Come to think…not that much difference from real established mainstream publishers…but that is another topic for another time…

Is print on demand profitable then ?
Right now with your work, no matter if you self publish your book on amazon KDP, at LULU or in any of all the options out there, if you charge $15 for your book, with luck you´ll get about $1 or $2 per sale…and this is when the companies don´t also deduct “expenses” or have some other “fee” on top of your earnings for the “free” self publishing service they are providing to you. It´s true they have their printing costs associated and they give you the online space, etc…but we cannot avoid to think something is not right when it comes to what an author gets in the end.
But in the end you have to deal with it. If you go the print on demand route you need to accept the rules of the system.

For example on my own -“self publish”- metallic print shop at Displate, each time I sell a $39 print with my work , I get about $2 out of that sale.

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

Which brings me to the second catch with the print on demand “free” option.
You have to spend money to make money.
Ok, this is true in every other business but it´s a lot more troublesome if you´re getting into self publishing for the first time, you have no budget for marketing but you managed to invest a few Dollar$ or €uros into web adds, either on Facebook, Add Words or whatever.
What usually happens with self publishing in print on demand, is that if you want to get some results out of it and generate sales, you actually spend more money on publicity than the money you make out of your sales.
This is particularly true if you´re one of those authors who cannot afford to spend a lot of money each month just on advertising your print on demand store.
So you´ll be spending your money to publicize the print on demand company more than you actually end up publicizing your own work at the end.

So, is print on demand a waste of time ?
If you have a ton of money for publicity and you are ok with the print on demand company getting most of your revenue out of all your efforts, you can at the same time end up selling a huge amount of books and actually in the end get a good income out of everything.
But I´m talking insane investments in publicity.
I know of a couple of self published authors who invest a minimum of 3K to 5K a month just on online adds. Yes, there are self publishing authors out there than can afford to invest $5000 a month just on that.
The good side of it is that they actually get results and those $5000 a month invested in publicity end up generating between more than $15.000 and sometimes a lot higher numbers in sales of their self published print on demand books.

pod1

Over the web many successful (?) self published authors claim that they don´t need to spend more than about $100 per month on adds to get really good sales and some even claim that spend zero on adds and just use social media to promote their books and even then manage to get around $3000 minimum in book sales each month.
I have no idea if this is really like this or not. Maybe if you have excellent contacts and your social media is really targeting people that are interested in your books. That I can see working.
On the other hand, in my experience I never came across a self published author that besides having a budget to pay for my artwork did not had another just for publicity.
This is actually an answer to the question… how much does print on demand cost … It costs what you are willing to spend on publicity and that´s about it.

Recently I´ve started to notice a trend for about two years or so.
Like I already said on another post, most of my illustration work used to be done for mainstream clients, but over the last couple of years, I´ve been approached by more and more self publish authors too ; ( along with indie-companies which are now -real- mainstream publishers when they initially started as self publish efforts that really worked )  so I guess all that negativism which we read all over the internet surrounding the self publish option may end up having two sides after all and the failure and success of each project in the end rests on the quality of each offer vs how each well each author can spread the word around.

Just go to the Kindle store for example. You have awesome success cases of people who started in self publishing there who actually right now only work on their e-books for a living.
As a good example of this let´s take the success of my favorite supernatural and horror author of recent years, AMY CROSS. If you never heard about her and you love scary novels, you need to check this lady´s work at the Kindle store.

amycross1

Amy Cross is everything naysayers argue that cannot happen at all if you are going the self publishing route. She´s one of the great success stories that started in Amazon´s KDP so like I said before, there´s more to this self publish your book or self publish your novel thing that many detractors out there argue there is not.

Check this bit of interview with Amy Cross from another site on the web.

“Amy’s foray into the writing arena wasn’t easy. But it wasn’t as challenging as she expected. Because Amy was always writing short stories, mostly for fun, she eventually decided to take a chance by sending a few chapters to traditional publishers for consideration.

Not one ever got back to her, and Amy Cross would have been happy to forget about publishing at that point in time, content in the fact that she had given it her all.
But then Amy discovered self-publishing and realized that she did not need the help of a traditional publisher to pursue her writing dreams.

And once she discovered Amazon KDP, there was no turning back. She knew that she could produce as many stories as wanted without the irritating oversight of a traditional publisher.

Amy Cross doesn’t hold a hostile view towards traditional publishers. She just doesn’t think she could thrive in such a world. Self-publishing allows her to control the technical and financial aspects of her work.

I´m a huge fan of Amy Cross stories and I have my Kindle filled up with her books which I cannot recommend enough if you´re into paranormal imaginative stuff.
This connects to the same trend I´ve been noticing when it comes to children books regarding my work experience of the last couple of years as a children´s book illustrator available for hire out there.
Not only I´m doing now more than 50% of my work in each year for indie clients or self publishing authors but it also has become more common for many of the books which I did for self published authors to actually start generating enough sales for people to come back for sequels; so I guess someone must be doing something right without going broke paying for online adds; although at this point I cannot comment further on this with an honest opinion.
And by the way, this is also starting to be true for independent board game companies or board game authors too as many of the recent popular hit games on the board game market also started as self published/financed products that then took of in popularity either on personal websites or at KickStarter; “Exploding Kittens” comes to mind.

So, yet once again…self publishing your book, is it worth it or not ?

If you don´t expect to get rich or quit your job overnight.
If you don´t simply give up trying ( it´s very important to never stop publishing books and fill your store up with a lot of titles ).
If you don´t mind not getting much money out of your book sales when the print on demand company gets most of your price cover ; (go Kindle if you want to increase your margin by a lot).
If you are here to stay and first and above all you want to make yourself and your work noticed out there.
If you take it as a hobby that can potentially become something a lot more interesting.
If you can spend a bit of money in self marketing ( helps a lot ).
If you don´t want to have your dreams forever stuck inside your drawer.

8x10_BW_60-COVER - book1

I don´t think there´s any harm in the world for you to get into self publishing.
Even starting with this not exactly -fair- print on demand option.
Once again get into it, knowing what you´re getting yourself into and I doubt you´ll be disappointed.
Who knows what can happen. Go out there and learn to self publish a children´s book if you have one in your imagination.
If you don´t do it you´ll never know. 😉

Just make sure you put a really professional looking book out there, like I mentioned on my last post. The way you present your book can be the best or the worst thing ever. Make sure you´re not arriving with a $25 spread page children´s book that actually screams $25 in production value.
But beware… make sure you´re not going broke in the process either.
Beware of the internet traps out there who tend to promise the world to brand new authors…And this brings me once again to – vanity press – companies which is a topic that will have to stay for another post later.

For now, go create your book and I´ll see you on my next post. 🙂

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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 together.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

—————————————————————————————————— 

 

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

ETSY-Icreateworldsbanner

amazon author banner - luis peres

 

 

New look for my children´s book illustration / Fantasy & Science Fiction art website. Or… how to try to organize 20 years of paintings and going crazy once again.

Well… short post this one. Just to mention that as you might have guessed this website has now a new look. I´ve been trying for ages to organize my illustration content and you´re looking at another miserable attempt at that. If you have an idea and you think you need a children´s book illustrator, or fantasy / scif concept artist then have fun exploring my page.

New-Childrens-Books-Illustration-Site-LuisPeres

So if you´re browsing the internet looking to find a children´s book illustrator, trying to understand how to hire a children´s book illustrator or you are wondering how much does it cost to hire a children´s book illustrator take a look at my work and send me an email with details for your project. 😉

Click here to see some of my children´s book illustrations.

Click here to see some of my concept art or fantasy / scifi illustrations

Click here to see an example of one of my recent books “The Masterpiece (One big canvas – Book 1)

Click here to download and read my free Martian Fantasy Comics adventure too.


http://www.icreateworlds.net

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

——————————————————————————————————

 

 

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

ETSY-Icreateworldsbanner

amazon author banner - luis peres

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.

Etsy-Icreateworlds-ScreenCapture

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.

2d

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.

Picture-Framed-1D

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.

6-Office

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.

2a

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.

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

 

Canyon Riders

Just another of my “test pics” to play around with the new Surface Pro 6 I got some days ago. See my other post below for more details on this device.

Illustration4b - 1250x

This one is also part of my new DISPLATE poster collection available to purchase on their store. 😉

https://displate.com/displate/1236266

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

 

On a hot summer night

Although I thought I was never going to own a Windows device ever again as I trully love the way Mac fits all my illustration needs, recently I got a new SURFACE PRO 6 and so I installed my faithful Clip Studio Paint EX and started to test it out.
These were my first two sort of speed painting examples I created with the help also of that amazing digital pen that you can buy with the Surface hardware.

summer night - 1250X

Actually I found illustrating with the Surface Pro 6 a lot more difficult or less intuitive than if I´m working with IPad Pro for a simple reason. I totally forgot that despite looking like a tablet the Surface are not tablets, but mainly are PCs that look like tablets. This means that for example a software like Clip Studio Paint just works as it does on a regular desktop. If you have a keyboard attached you can use shortcuts while painting but it you want to try to emulate a painting tablet with it, it takes some time and a lot of frustration before you discover that the touch shortcuts like “undo” or “copy” , etc that are so easy and intuitive to work with your fingers on PROCREATE on an IPad , these don´t exist on a Surface Pro running any illustration software. This means that what we can only do is use our digital pencil as a mouse and work through each of the available pulldown menu options on each software to do everything we need to do. Exactly as if we were working on a pc without a keyboard.

summer night FINAL-RUST-1250X

This does not mean the Surface is not a cool hardware. When we find the balance between not being able to use it as a painting touch tool and we adapt to that frustrating thing of having to use our pencil as a mouse to turn on each and every option of a painting software, if you want portability and also want a PC , the Surface is a good buy.
But if you´re an artist looking for portability and a more touch and go feel to the way you paint, then I would advise buying the IPad PRO instead.

Anyway, this was my first atempt at painting with Surface Pro and was inspired by a Jim Steinman /  Meat Loaf song ” On a Hot Summer Night” actually.

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

 

“DESERT RUN”

 

Another one from my “speed painting” current trend. Although “speed” is not even the right description for this process because although it didn´t took me 12 hours or so to complete it also didn´t took me 30 minutes either.
But I´m enjoying creating my world in this style where details are more about shapes and visual sugestions than on me actually having to draw them.
It has more of a traditional painting feel too and that is something that I always try to achieve.

Desert Run color 3 - 1250x

Someone told me the creature style resemples something like “Dr Seuss”, but it was totally accidental if it does as that author was never part of my imaginary world or was ever a reference from any of my thing.

Desert Run color 2 - 1250x

Desert Run 1A - 1250x

All my pics are more inspired by 70s european comics, like Meziére´s – VALERIAN or by novels / movie like DUNE. Although when it comes to fantasy type scenery my main inspiration source will always be The Neverending Story, book and movie.

——————————————————————————————————

 

 

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

 

“THE RIDE”

More of a book cover than anything else but I just did this for a video tutorial so I decided to post it here anyway.
rock world V3 1250X
This is a good example of what I mean when I say everyone can learn to paint pics like this simply because it does not contain any elements that need you to know how to “draw” them in the classic sense. If you take a look everything in here is just based on simple shapes and not on details that have been drawn. It´s all about the composition , the lighting and the color.
And no, it was not inspired by the movie “ARRIVAL” although I love it… so … well perhaps it was…somehow…
This is also a good example of the type of images I love to create without any planning whatsoever. I hate sketches and planning my illustrations. I just take a blank camvas and go with the flow.
rock world sketch - 1250x
rock world V2 - 1250x
Not even I, know what I am going to paint next because if I did any planning for my art , I would already be imagining the next pic once the planning was done for the current one and i would never complete anything. I like the mystery of just letting my imagination go.

——————————————————————————————————

 

——————————————————————————————————

 

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

“THE HIDDEN SPACESHIP” by Serena Ferrari ; Illustrated by Luis Peres. :)

I´ll post the link once the book gets to be available but in the meantime here are some of the pages I´ve illustrated for the project sometime ago.

S00C - TITLE SINGLE PAGE
COVER - THSpaceshipSPREAD 00A - BackCoverPattern+BelongsPage - V01SPREAD 01 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 02 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 03 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 04 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 05 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 06 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 07- GBLUR 1500XSPREAD 08 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 09 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 10 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 11 -GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 12 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 13 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 14 - GBLUR - 1500xSPREAD 15 - GBLUR - 1500XSPREAD 16 - GBLUR - 1500X

——————————————————————————————————

Here´s some making of videos:

 

——————————————————————————————————

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

——————————————————————————————————

 

 

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

ETSY-Icreateworldsbanner

amazon author banner - luis peres

 

 

“THE HIDDEN SPACESHIP” : MAKING OF “ALIEN PLANET”

This is another making of video from “THE HIDDEN SPACESHIP” book. Actually this is not exactly complete because my computer crashed the screen recording process when I was about at 80% of the image and I was not able to recover the final making of details but nevertheless this gives you a good idea of how this particularly image was done.

Once again all done in Clip Studio Paint, alson known as the old Manga Studio. I´ve stopped illustrating children books in Photoshop, mostly because that software has become so heavy that my computer can hardly handle the necessary memory it takes it for me to create a 10.000 pixel wide image like this in it.
In Clip Studio Paint it´s the oposite, the whole software is so light that it´s amazing how we can paint with it as smoothly as if I was back into my traditional stuff of earlier days.
Nowadays I only use Photoshop when I do composite texture work or for some concept art stuff. Other thant that Clip Studio Paint is the software to go.

SPREAD 07- GBLUR 1500X

——————————————————————————————————

AVAILABLE FOR ILLUSTRATION WORK

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.

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

——————————————————————————————————

 

 

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

ETSY-Icreateworldsbanner

amazon author banner - luis peres

 

“THE HIDDEN SPACESHIP” – STORYBOARD

Many people ask me how to start illustrating for a children book, so this is an example of how I start to illustrate a book. I´m not actually one of those illustrators who do a lot of pre-planning and extensive sketches but I like to go through each text at this early stage and just translate it into a storyboard as if I was doing it for a movie as all my artwork is very cinematic anyway. At this stage is not about details but about the visual compositions and about the overall mood for each scene.

Story and text copyright by Serena Ferrari – 2019

1500xThe Hidden Spaceship STORYBOARD 1 - Spreads 01-10 TEXT1500xThe Hidden Spaceship STORYBOARD 2 - Spreads 11-20 TEXT1500xThe Hidden Spaceship STORYBOARD 3 - Spreads 21-25 TEXT

Once I get this right the rest is actually easy because it´s all about rendering and fine tuning each detail until a page is finished. But that´s another topic for later. For now this is how i start.

Check out the making of video below:

***

luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

***

CONTACT

——————————————————————————————————

 

 

DISPLATE FANTASY POSTERS

ETSY-Icreateworldsbanner

amazon author banner - luis peres