When I started out getting my coloring book all made in my head…you know, before I even started to draw anything? I figured I can draw pretty well and folks kept telling me to make my art into coloring pages that this would be a cakewalk! I’d draw up a couple of dozen images on my iPad and then upload them to Amazon and it would take no time at all.
Sadly, I was VERY mistaken. There’s way more to the process of creating a finished coloring book than just drawing up some nice artwork.
Here’s a list of things I wish I had known before starting My Coloring Book project on Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)) in no particular order and I have more detail in my Youtube Video if you are interested.
10 Things I wish I knew –
(This list may not be in the same order as the video – LOL!
Know Your Audience– Are you making art for Grandmas or for Tweens? Experienced coloring book aficionados or beginner colorists? You don’t want to end up making a book that is too hard to color and make it a frustrating time rather than the relaxing one you intended.
Marketing? You will have to do it all! Amazon will host your book and print it for you but they won’t push it out in front of potential buyers until having passed some magical threshold that on the Amazon Algorithm knows. You will be selling your book to Friends, Family and at every event, you go to!
I totally didn’t understand that when I started this project. Sigh…Time to stretch your sales skills!
What is the Purpose of your coloring book? Personal Enjoyment and the thrill of seeing your name as the author/artist on a published book? (Awesome Reason!) To make a book to use for fundraising for a charity close to your heart? (Another Awesome Reason) To learn the whole process of making a book from start to finish? (Yup, another great reason!) To become the next Johanna Basford – Best Selling Coloring Book Artist – and start counting the $$? You may be the next one to do it but oh by you need a following to get that moving at this point. The self-published coloring book market is flooded with good art and not so good art. It’s hard to get seen on Amazon at this time. UNLESS YOU ARE INCREDIBLY LUCKY – then hey, dreams can come true!
You need to Draw WAY BIGGER than you think. Your art will be doomed to pixelated misery if you draw too small for the size book you want to print. You can always shrink your art NEVER Stretch it bigger to fill a bigger page.
Choose the Trim Size of your book wisely! If you want to sell it everywhere Using the Amazon KDP Standard book sizes will give your book the best chance to be distributed worldwide. If you choose a custom non-standard size you will limit what countries it can even be sold in. Amazon has printshops around the world but not all of them are as fitted out with equipment or capable of printing odd-sized custom books.
The Learning Curve is HIGH! I had to learn the Page Layout Software (Like Adobe InDesign ($$) or Scribus (Free! Open Source) I used the Scribus program. It does everything that InDesign does and it is Free but the documentation and information is all run through Wiki. It took me time and effort to figure it all out. But it CAN BE DONE! Then You have to Layout your Cover Art and Typography – (Adobe Photoshop $$ or GIMP (Free Open Source) Then the actual Amazon KDP process for to get the book actually published has its own set of hurdles to jump over.
Paper Quality of the actual Printed Books? My best suggestion is for you to purchase 2 books printed by Amazon KDP and see if it will work for you. Get one book with a Glossy Cover and White paper and one with a Matte Cover and Cream paper. See what will work for you! The coloring book I went with the Glossy Cover and White paper. You can get different covers with either of the paper colors. I just liked white paper for my coloring book.
Finished Upload File Size is not Unlimited. I spent hours trying to upload my high quality, print-ready, PDF of my finished book. HOURS! Only to find out that there is maximum file size. It id 650 megabytes. That’s it! When you are sure your art is all ready to go you will need to make sure the file size is 650 megs or less. (placing JPGs of your final images helps to reduce the size but you just have to play around with your settings. (remember I have only done this one time so far! -though I’m working on a new book too)
You will need more art than you anticipate! I thought I was doing a book with 25 images so I thought drawing up 30 was a good pad. Then when I was almost done I decided to go for 50 pieces of art. (What was I thinking?) Some of your art that you create will not be up to your standard by the time you are done with 20 other pieces. Plan to do a few extras at the end. Just saying.
It will probably take longer than you think. I thought it would take a month – it took me 6 months from first drawing to finished book in my hands. I wasn’t working specifically on the book all that time but that was my reality. You may be better organized and have all your artwork done (and not double your intended number of drawings at the end) Just remember to breathe and enjoy the process.
Was it worth it? For me Yes, I learned so much, I have a book with 50 pieces of my art in one place like a little printed portfolio and I have lots of author’s copies that I bought at Cost to give away as gifts or sell in person. I love figuring things out and I’m like a terrier I get something between my teeth and lock my jaw down and will keep at it until I am done. At this moment, I have sold about 50 copies of the book and that is 50 more people in the world who have now in their possession 50 pieces of my art all in one place. 🙂 It is kind of mind-boggling!
Remember to go out and do something creative! Take care of yourself so you can take care of those around you.