Storytelling and Marketing Your Book


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Matthew-Oberdier good question. I think it's a combination of things. 1. Pay has not gone up that much in our industry. 2. Doing books and illustration jobs takes a long time and you are basically a one man show.

    We are one of the only industries where no matter how busy you get, only YOU can do the job. In other businesses they grow the staff as the company gets well known. But not ours. So if I am making like $15k for a book, but it takes me 8 months to do, then you can begin to see the problem. So you need to either A. make more money per job. B. Work faster so you can do more work. Ideally both of those things happen at the same time and you can begin to do better. For an author/illustrator, you make DOUBLE the advance and DOUBLE the royalty. And you get to control the content too! So it's sort of a win-win.

    I should also add that most illustrators have side hustles too that help make the ends meet. Teaching, Art Fairs/Cons, Etsy sales, and Kickstarters to name a few. This business is tough and to make it just taking illustration jobs that come your way is not very likely.



  • @Lee-White Thanks for the real talk. I guess I feel a little discouraged, because now I have to figure out how to get client work AND how to do a side hustle, all while trying to improve my drawing and painting skills.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Matthew-Oberdier my advise for early years is to always have the side hustle just be a regular part time job. It is very difficult to do all those things you listed at once. I love the idea of an uber job or something flexible mixed with client work.



  • @Lee-White I like the idea if an Uber job, but with a driverless car, so I can draw and work at the same time.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG



  • Really loved this episode!! And I laugh so much during some parts. šŸ™‚ Which normally happens and is making my work time much funnier.

    I didn't see the centaur thing coming, but loved the analogy. And I'm very happy to know that this is a great way to do it because I'm more interested in that path than illustrating for other authors.

    Regarding the "start with character or story", I have to say that I wrote an entire fantasy novel in a completely invented world at 24/25 because I found a very small text about a character that I wrote when I was a teenager. I have worlds that I imagine and now have to find a story to them, and sometimes I have just a scene, and then all the rest has to be constructed around that one scene. So I definitely agree that there's no right or wrong way, I can only say that I never started with a complete idea of the story. šŸ™‚



  • @Matthew-Oberdier @Lee-White I started doing part-time/casual work as a letter carrier last year, I just turn down work when too busy, and otherwise Iā€™m outside getting loads of fresh air and exercise šŸ˜€, a great contrast to sitting inside doing artwork šŸ™ƒ



  • An interesting topic of the author/illustrator career path! Although I found the reality is a bit more complicated than simply getting double advance and double royalty. Below were my impression from limited conversations with other author/illustrators, my agent, editors, and basically anyone I can ask questions about author/illustrator.

    1. It might be easier to sell a book I both write and illustrate, if I have already illustrated a couple of books, or have some kind of publishing experience points. It would be a bit easier to enter the industry aiming for getting an illustration gig first, and keep writing on the side in the beginning.

    2. Sometimes, you might be offered low advance for author/illustrator book, lower than an illustration only gig, especially when you doing your first one. Publishers are not willing to invest a lot to an unknown artist, even though they make an offer. So you are not always getting the double amount of money for the advance.

    3. Sometimes, you spend double amount of time, if not more, to do an author/illustrator book.

    I think author/illustrator path is indeed more sustainable for an artist long term, if you enjoy creating your own stories (which I do, very much). But in the beginning of the career, it can feel a lot harder, a lot more demanding, and even less income. You also need to pour in as much time learning the art of writing as well as learning illustrating. I started writing on the side over the last couple of months, and I found it overwhelming sometimes, but I also enjoy the process of learning writing, almost as much as learning how to illustrating.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @xin-li I am sure you are right about that, but in my experience I have never heard of someone being paid less for writing and illustrating their book. With the exception of possibly having to go to a smaller publisher in order to get the deal. But apples to apples with the same publisher, you should definitely receive more for writing and illustrating.

    It is correct that the more experience you have, the easier this transition will be. Writing is VERY difficult for me and takes me twice as long as the illustrating. But, like anything new it will take time I guess to get proficient in it.



  • @Lee-White yes. Writing is really hard. It takes time, but I guess a good writing instructor would help a lot as well - I am keeping an eye for an opportunity to take a creative writing class. I remember how illustration was so different for me after taking your live class back in 2019.


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