Interviews, and my book cover’s out!

I’ve just been interviewed for the Gourmet Food Garden blog, to describe my most memorable meal. Sir James Galway has also been interviewed here, so I’m in good company!

Speaking of interviews, last week I was also interviewed by Katie Schwartz, blogger, essayist, and author of the wonderful and funny book Emotionally Pantsed. Read it and get the dish on what Chris Sarandon thought of my drawing of him from “The Princess Bride”!

I’m also happy to announce that Honey Cake, by Joan Betty Stuchner, published by Random House, is finally out in stores. I did the cover illustration, and the book designer, Gloria Cheng, did an amazing job. It looks even more beautiful in real life!

Back To School!

I am a member of a children’s illustrators’ group called the Picture Book Junkies (we’re the “PBJ’s” – yes, just like peanut butter and jelly)! About once a year, we do a promotional postcard as a group, and this year we have decided on a “Back To School” theme.
We also share a group blog. We have a weekly theme, and then each of us posts once a week on the theme. This week, our theme is our “Back To School” postcard art.  (I designed the postcard this year, too: front and back)

Please check it out, and enjoy!

I’m ready for school visits!

Today, I mailed out more than 100 flyers (front, back) to Austin area librarians, advertising my school/library program. Beyond my website, this is the first time I’ve marketed directly to librarians.

I began by downloading promotional materials of other authors and illustrators. Once I had a taste of the competition, I wrote, designed, and then had the flyers printed and folded at Kinkos.

An author friend of mine gave me a list he’d already compiled of local librarians. Only thing I had to do was to confirm his list with the AISD website, just in case some librarians had moved. I also sent flyers to private school, some of my best and most reliable customers.

The most exciting thing about this flyer was making a last minute revision. Normally, I’m not thrilled about stopping the presses to make a change. But in this case, my newest book, Ron’s Big Mission, has been selected by the Junior Library Guild. I think that’s good enough news to throw away a few flyers to make that addition.

This year, I adjusted my pricing down a bit. I’m charging $600 for a full day (three presentations). Four hundred for a half day (two presentations). And all that is negotiable. Some of my colleagues have said I should charge more, that the going rate for an author/illustrator visit is at least $1,000.00, and that’s low. But I’ve been doing school visits for about 10 years now, and at that price, I’d have not visited many school, if any at all — com’mon.

Typically, I visit about 6 to 7 schools per year, and I also speak at maybe one or two conferences. But with a slowdown in educational work, and two trade books that won’t provide any income for well over a year, I could use a boost from school visits.

Wish me luck!