The "You're doing it wrong" choir
When I graduated from The School of Visual Arts in New York I had one passion. I wanted to create children's books. I had just completed an independent study semester with my mentor, Jane Zalben, and had a solo show of a book I created for my senior portfolio called "Night of the Armadillos".
Surprisingly, it attracted a lot of attention, and art from my book was included in the senior portfolio that was sent out to thousands of art directors in New York City. Jane arranged an interview for me with her former student at Harper Collins and I thought I was on my way (22 yr olds can be SO deluded).
The interview went well and all things indicated I was a shoo-in for the internship, until, nothing happened. I graduated and was living off gifted money from that event when I ran into her on the seventh avenue local. She apologized for not hiring me and said she had to hire her boss's niece because she really needed a job. Then she asked how I was. I babbled that I was fine and had some money from graduation and suddenly she needed to get off at the next stop.
After that, I spent seven years going to interviews, putting together book dummies, and subbing them around. My goal was 100 rejections a month (if you make the rejections a goal then you're accomplishing something! Yeah, it was awful.). I was published in a lot of children's magazines, including Highlights For Children, but my books would go almost to publication and then... nothing. I even had an agent for a while but he didn't seem to do anything and I dropped him after a year.
I created this one, The Giant's Playground" on coquille board in black and white to reduce printing costs. Coquille board creates a special pattern for a copier to print it cleanly (it was 2003).
So I switched to comics. Comics has a long history of self-publishing so I started with what I could afford to do at the time and drew it in black and white for cheaper printing but then I realized webcomics were free to publish online and I could have made it color (which I'm working on now). I had expanded a children's book I wrote to become my series "The Horribles".
Then I began working as an illustrator for a company called "Selfpublishing.com". My portfolio was on their site and authors could choose me. Over the years I illustrated 5 children's books through the company so I never really stopped having books come out, but I took a while to be a sculptor and painter and not worry about books.
Since traveling around to chalk festivals was out, mural jobs out, sculpting art for shows was out I needed to focus on in-studio work. I launched another webcomic, published the first issue using POD (print on demand) through Amazon and Lulu.com. Then I quickly put together a book I had been slowly illustrating on and off for 8 years- "Andy and The Pharaoh's Cat".
I joined new children's book groups on Facebook, promoted my portfolio and new books, and discovered a huge community of self-publishers. Encouraged, I produced 5 more books this year! Unfortunately, I was still doing it wrong. Self-publishing has been divided into the ones who publish online through print-on-demand services (like I do, because it costs me nothing) and people who get fancy offset print runs and have mountains of books to sell (like I used to before POD was available). At first, I ignored the loud cries of how I was doing this the wrong way and will not make any money (no kidding- I never seem to). But it's wearing on me so I started working on a second YA comic book series to launch "After The Robots Died".