So I’ve finally, finally got the Cats & Co colouring book published. This one has taken me so long to finish, what with Dad’s illness and being especially busy at work, but I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out. The drawings are based on photos from Warren Photographic, who have some amazing pictures on their website.
Wow. It really has been too long since I’ve posted. There sits the post for my last book, and here I am with another one. This time I’ve filled a book with drawings of dogs, and having hit the publish button last Tuesday I’m suffering from the usual crisis of confidence as I wait for it to sell. I know these are my best drawings yet, I feel I’m improving with each book, but that doesn’t mean that it will compete with the many other doggy colouring books. So I’ll just leave you with my favourite drawing this time around. The bulldog.
My latest colouring book went live on Amazon on Saturday evening and the anticipation is killing me. With every book I feel that my work is improving, and I’m so pleased with this one that I’m expecting big things from it. Doodle Artist Pets has pictures of twenty different pets, two copies of each picture, and I’m aiming to make a big splash with it by setting the price as low as I can for the first week. The trick really seems to be to bump the books right up the chart to make them visible in their sub categories, because once they are there they tend to stay there for a good long while.
I feel so fortunate that this opportunity to earn through self publishing and print on demand is possible these days. My other half is looking at redundancy at the age of 58 and I have the feeling we’re going to need every penny we can find. Amazon is by no means perfect, but it’s allowed me to find an income stream that would not have been available a few years ago. Check out Createspace if you don’t know what I’m on about.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Doodle Artist – Peaceful Patterns, it’s currently on a Goodreads Giveaway offer until the end of January, with five chances to win a copy. Drawing those patterns really did help to soothe away the tension during December, so I’m hoping they will work just as well for my customers too.
It’s been a good while now since I posted, partly because life suddenly became very busy at the end of last year. My dad was taken into hospital on his 85th birthday in November and spend the whole of Christmas there. For the first few weeks he was in a hospital some miles away, and as my mum was determined to visit him every evening and my brother had a broken arm, this gave me the happy task of driving her over there. Thankfully we’re now looking to get him back home again, albeit with a heavy package of carers.
Luckily for me the stress relieving properties seem to extend to the drawing of colouring books as well as the colouring side, and I managed to publish my Rabbits and Hares colouring book just in time for the Christmas rush. The Peaceful Patterns book followed and was published on Christmas day. Not a traditional day to bring out a new book, but the day afforded a break from both my day job and hospital visiting as other family members were eager to have their chance to visit. Self publishing does cut out the delays in publishing a book – once it’s ready to go, it can.
So now I hope it’s not quite too late to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope 2016 turns out to be a good one for you.
That’s what it feels like. Just slightly out of phase, like one of those parallel universes in the science fiction stories where there’s just one small detail that is different to my own world. That one difference being that my butterflies colouring book is selling amazingly well in the UK, with an Amazon bestseller ranking of 605 earlier today and 31 sales yesterday. I can’t help expecting to slip back into the real world, where my books sell a couple of copies a week.
While I was drawing the butterflies my husband sat at his PC expressing his disbelief in the current adult colouring boom. ‘They’re probably just buying them for their children in the school holidays’. I could have pointed out that it’s equally unlikely that grown men would spend hours in their workshops laboriously scraping surface plates flat. When it comes down to it, it’s a hobby, like knitting or embroidery, or metalwork. His scraping probably generates the same calm alpha waves that people are claiming for colouring-in.
I’m getting on fairly steadily with drawing the rats colouring book. It’s a little like the butterflies in that focusing on a single topic allows you to experiment more with the style. I’ve also started on a third book with a more wintry theme, which is giving me a break from the rats when inspiration is lacking.
It looks as if the theme of the next colouring book will be…
Wait for it…
It’s probably not going to be the most profitable of subjects, as the market will presumably the subset of people who both like rats and enjoy colouring. But the rat community have been so supportive of the butterflies book that I’ve put the intended next topic on hold and switched to ratties. I have a good collection of rat drawings to start things off, and it’s beginning to looks as if it’s not as hard to decorate ratties as I thought it would be.
That’s the title of my new book. The phrase is something of a family joke, because many years ago, whilst running a ratabilia stall at a local rat show, there was a small girl with an enormous pet rat who repeatedly came up to us to say ‘I love rats, I do’. Ever since then, whenever the rats have done something particularly cute, silly or gross, we’ve come out with the phrase.
I knew that this book should be a children’s book, but it’s taken me a very long time to put it together. First of all, it needed pictures, so I bought some graphics software and a graphics tablet to plug into my pc, and set about learning to draw. Well as I’ve said on here before, it turns out that the best way around my colour-blindness is to draw directly onto the photographs. Smudge painting. Even cheating like that, it’s taken me several months to gather the right photos and turn them into images that work with the book and that feel good enough to inflict on the public. Then there was the text. It took a couple of false starts to begin moulding it into something I felt right about. Somehow I hit upon a look and a style that suited the topic, and off I went. It felt as if the images were taking forever to produce, and then suddenly they were all finished and it was just the text that needed a final polish. The typeface was a particularly happy find. It’s opendyslexic alta, which is very easy to read and suited the style of the book beautifully.
So now I’m watching the first few purchases and waiting to see how the reviews go, if any come along.
Time to start work on the next book, I guess.
Last summer, when we had the two litters that went to create my book The Rat’s Whiskers, I had planned to mate up Xandy rather than Xara. Then shortly before I did the matings Xandy fell from the top of the cage during free-range. She immediately had a seizure, which I put down to the fall, so I didn’t have a litter from her in case there were any lasting effects.
I’ve been regretting not breeding from her ever since as she’s been completely fit and healthy, so in mid December I mated her to Zachary and five days ago she had a beautiful litter of seven.
I’m really enjoying having a fairly small litter that no-one has any expectations about, as this is the first time I’ve posted about them. I’m planning to keep all of them, so I don’t need to think about homes for them. No-one is expecting regular updates on them and I’m not committed to taking daily photos to make a book about them, so they’re just lovely and stress free. It’s a perfect start to the new year.