Have you ever thought of how to publish a coloring book? I recently did just that for my husband, Patrick. He’s always wanted to do this, and this summer we made it a priority. This version I’m sharing is from our experience, I’m sure there are lots of other ways to do it, but this is the route we took!
Here is Patrick’s finished book on Amazon: Dia de Los Muertos Coloring Book, Vol 1
OK, the first thing he did was work on the coloring pages. He sketched and then inked each one. Use a heavy black marker and make sure everything is PERFECT. Seriously, have someone else edit it for you. On the cover, I accidentally put 16 illustrations when it should have said 19! Grrrr!
Then, we chose one of Patrick’s painting for the cover and I used PicMonkey to add the text. I saved everything at 300 dpi.
Because I had no idea where to start – I took everything to my local Kinkos. The staff there was awesome – they sized all the images to fit 8.5×11″ and binded the first book with a black coil and clear plastic covers. We used cardstock for the pages.
This is what it looked like – we LOVED it! It felt heavy, the cardstock was nice – but it had its drawbacks. After all was said and done, each priced out at $13, and because they were heavy, shipping was at least $4. That’s $17. without any mark up! We sold the first copies for $22 in Patrick’s Etsy store and we couldn’t keep up with demand.
So we went to Plan B. I researched and found the site, Blurb.com. I looked up other self-published coloring books and many pointed to this site. We went with the 8×10 soft cover, and because I was nervous about it all, I hired my friend Steph from Hearts and Laserbeams to format it for me. I’m sure I could have done it myself, but with my crazy travel schedule, I didn’t want to postpone the project since it had already picked up steam. Steph handled it all for me. In case you do it on your own, Blurb has a lot of helpful tools!
We produced a 24-page trade book, 8×10, soft cover, uncoated standard white paper.
Things to keep in mind:
Front and back cover
24 pages total – make sure to fill all of them. Patrick’s book has a couple of blank pages at the back, next time we’ll use up each page!
I ordered a large volume of books for use to sell at events and also to take advantage of the bulk discount. Now, each copy came in at $10. That, we could handle.
Next lesson…we first sold them through Blurb. You enter all your payment and bank deposit info, you set your pricing for paperback, ebook and even downloads. Then customers can order directly there and have them shipped. But whoa, the shipping prices were awful – $6.99 for a week, and $21.99 for two day.
This was a win! We were able to set a mark up price and now the book has an ISBN number and can be sold in bookstores everywhere! Best thing, people can order on Amazon and even have it shipped free if they have Amazon Prime.
So, that’s how we did it, and we are still learning. I’ll share more as that happens. Patrick is already working on his next coloring book. And because we bought a lot of them at wholesale, we can sell them at local events and he can sign copies for people. Now we can have book signings together!!!
OK, here are a few other ways you can monetize your artwork/drawings/paintings:
1. Giclee Prints: This is our next venture! You can make affordable low-cost inkjet reproductions of your paintings. The above are giclee prints from my friend, Emily Costello. She saves her original paintings for galleries and makes these for vending at events. Two totally different markets that she can cater to!
2. Make watercolor paper earrings. I reproduce our illustrations to make these earrings, I also use them on picture jewelry and more!
3. Matted Prints. Again, using Kinkos, I upload my images to their site and they call and/or email when my copies are ready. We print on heavy semi-gloss paper and I buy these: Pack of 25 11×14 WHITE Picture Mats Mattes with White Core Bevel Cut for 8×10 Photo + Backing + Bags. I like these because they come with the mats, the backing boards and the cello bags.
4. Image transfer on wood plaques. When we were in Mexico last year, I saw these everywhere and made my own versions!
PHOTO TIP: I used to use a flatbed scanner to input my images for crafting. Well, last month I visited the HP headquarters and ask a round of questions for the product development team. Guess what I learned? Our smartphone cameras work 10 times BETTER than a flatbed scanner. I downloaded the HP AiO Remote app and use that to take my pictures for these projects, it saves them as high res PDFs that I then move to my desktop. Just thought I’d share because that really blew my mind!
I hope all this helps you! And don’t forget to check out Patrick’s new coloring book!
Here is the link!
NOTE: This post includes Amazon Associate affiliate links.Love & light,