I was going to talk about how I'm revising my 3-day workshops into 2-day workshops to better fit into the average (is there such a thing?) artist's pocketbook and available time frames. I worked on that for several hours yesterday, getting the first two workbooks finished and starting on the third of four. But before I do that I want to explain a little about what's been keeping me away from blogging about the workshops.
Just last week I sent The Southern Swamp Explorer (my nemesis and joy for the last seven years) to Fidlar Doubleday to print up 25 Advance Review Copies. Also known as ARCs, and sometimes called Advance Reading Copies, they are sent out to places like Foreword, Rebecca's Reads, Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, and Library Journal to see if they can solicit reviews (good ones, of course) to use in promoting and to quote on the back book cover.
Also, a few of these ARCs will go out to people who are prominent in the field to which the book refers, in this case, swamps, ecology, biology, nature centers, etc., to elicit more nice blurbs for the back cover.
The ARC is typically not quite ready to print, perhaps having not yet gone through the final proof, and specifically NOT having a finished, ready-to-sell cover. This last is important because the reviewers want to be sure they are reviewing a book that is not yet being sold. In fact, they want to receive their review copy 3-4 months before its proposed publication date. So the images on this blog are what the covers look like for The Southern Swamp Explorer ARC cover: not in color, not the finished art, and with information aimed specifically at the reviewers.
In case you're wondering, I paid $4.60 apiece for the 25 books (plus shipping). The Southern Swamp Explorer has black-and-white illustrations on almost all of its 128 pages. I have approved the proof ~ that's what the images on today's blog were scanned from ~ and the printed books should be arriving any day.
On the back of the ARC are the details of its publication date, distributors, a very nice quote from the foreword (which was written by a professor in Environmental Communications at Loyola), and since I don't yet have any reviews or blurbs yet, I included blurbs from The Redrock Canyon Explorer, which is the first book of this series and which say nice things about that book's beauty and usefulness as a guide to the Redrock Country, and from Illustrating Nature ~ Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World which say nice things about my art capabilities.
And I list all the swamps that have preordered copies of the swamp book. That really looks impressive!
When I get some reviews back (fingers crossed ~ sometimes you send out review copies and get very little in return for all your time, trouble and money spent) I will put excerpts from the best ones on the back cover, prepare a scan of my finished full-color cover for the front, and send the book off to the printer for 1000 copies. I'd like to print more in order to get a better price break, but with times the way they are just now I'm going to be conservative and see how well they sell before I put in a big order (2000 copies is a big order for my little Nature Works Press).
So that's the story of some of the final stages of launching a book. Now, I'd better get back over to my desk and work on that cover. The inking is about 3/4 done now, and I can hardly wait to get to the watercolor pencil painting part! Maybe I'll post a progress report on the cover tomorrow.
To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here. I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.
My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!