Creating a Coloring Book is easy and super fun whether you are an illustrator, artist, or neither of the two!
For me, I created my coloring books from scratch. That includes original, one of a kind, hand drawn images in a sketch book that were transformed to make coloring pages. Here was my process for all of my books:
INSPIRATION BEHIND COLORING BOOKS
The inspiration for my coloring books simply came from my inner child dreaming. I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I was a child which led to the children's books (Color Your Way) and of pure abundance in all facets of life which led to the adult women's coloring book (Abundance in Color). For about a year before publishing all books I sat with my sketchbook experimenting on my style and browsing through coloring books in local book stores, my personally style finally it came to me for each book. I was finally motivated to get started. Going into this, I wanted to see what we could truly do on my own, challenging myself to create something driven by our own motivation. We were inspired by so many fantastic artists and wanted to contribute our own voice.
Let it be known that imposter syndrome is real and completing and publishing them all took longer than necessary. I only realized this once I was at the organizing the final product and publishing stage. Immediately, while sketching I began with educating myself on book formatting, economics, quality, market placement, customer experience, etc.
COLORING BOOK RESEARCH
Through my research (via internet and book stores) I observed a lot of coloring books on the mark. I tried to think about how the customer would experience each coloring book which meant thinking about how children enjoy coloring books and how adults enjoy coloring. Key areas I considered were the following:
- Originality of illustrations versus use of existing illustrations (Canva, clip art)
- Illustrations printed single-sided with activities that pulled the customer in to do more with creativity
- Thick enough paper to handle all kinds of coloring mediums (markers, color pencils, crayons, water color)
- Affordability for the customer
- Fair royalty compensation (through use of distribution companies like Amazon and Lulu)
- Marketing and customer reach (adults, young adults, parents of children)
- Consistent and timely distribution of orders and packaging
Initially, because I travel a great deal, I was fearful that I'd have to purchase thousands of copies of my coloring books, warehouse them, and take care of all the shipping and customer service. However, after several use/test cases with various distribution companies, I settled on three key methods:
- Packaging and shipping myself for the first 100 orders (signed) and/or during special promotion periods.
- Packaging and shipping through Amazon KDP (royalty fees for each order apply) less profit however this method is great because everyone loves and shops on Amazon. It is listed on their marketplace and they print, package, and ship orders.
- Packaging and shipping handled through Acutrack (distribution company). This is my #1 method outside of #1. This company only charges printing and shipping fees, warehouses the books (for a small fee), keeps up with inventory, integrates with my website (housed via Shopify), and allows for consistent and timely distribution to customers while I am traveling. Basically, business keeps going!
I spent quite some time comparing and contrasting every print-on-demand company I could find (Lulu, IngramSpark, 48hourbooks, etc.) . Ultimately, I felt Amazon KDP and Acutrack had the best balance between quality, budget, and market exposure—and the most control overall.
VISUAL DESIGN OF COLOR BOOKS
I truly wanted to offer something unique and original when it came to the design of my coloring books. I naturally found my designs exciting but I did elicit the opinion of 2-4 close family/friends to take a look and let me know their thoughts. I had to remind myself that ultimately, it's about what the customers are looking for and want.
Early on I decided that I needed (probably more so wanted) at least 20 designs within each coloring book to provide customers with enough variety and content to color without repetition. I also found through my research that anywhere from 16-50 designs/pages were good average number of designs compared to other coloring books. Once all designs were sketched out, I transitioned into a design & quality refinement process of my own.
COLORING PAGE FINAL DESIGN AND QUALITY PROCESS (For Printing)
The longest process of them all. I am self-taught via YouTube and online classes. I wanted a truly defined quality of my designs as such I learned how to use Procreate and Adobe Illustrator for my pages. I simply followed different tutorials to refine my sketched lines and pages digitally to ensure they were print ready but also still very much organic. I would print each image out myself at home on the quality paper I desired to see how it looked, felt, and colored on it with different mediums.
**For those who are not interested in doing this part themselves and/or are not illustrators but want original designs, I also considered using a contractor via Upwork which is a platform full of individuals all around the world who can help you with just about anything. I use Upwork for virtual assistant tasks. I chose not to go this route because I wanted to learn however it’s really a great resources. You simply describe your project, set parameters, and work with the contractor of your choice to complete your final desired result.
Once I was done with refining all of my pages, I organized the pages and put the entire internal manuscript (coloring pages) and external cover in PDF format and ordered proofs from my final desired distribution companies.
I ultimately went with 60 or 70 lb. standard black and white paper.
For the cover, I came up with a mock design using adobe illustrator based on what I learned and then utilized a contractor on Upwork to smooth out and finalize resolution of my cover for print. I haven't quite got the hang of the right fonts and colors that are best for print books. GETTING THERE! I used the same contractor to ensure the color style and smoothing of images was consistent. NOTE, all designs and copyright of the covers are mine because no extreme edits were made just a fine tuning and adjustments to resolution.
PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK
Self publishing was fun and quite easy. I conducted research on obtaining an ISBN for each book. I learned that for Global Distribution online and in stores, many companies preferred purchased ISBN. There are options like Amazon KDP that will offer a free ISBN however utilizing that will limit Amazon to being the owner of the ISBN. As such, I recommend going to Bowker Identifier Services to purchase ISBNs for your books as well as barcodes for your books. This ISBN's remain in your identifier queue indefinitely and are recommended by global distributors.
I hope this helps and I am open to answering any questions/providing further details not included in this post. Reach out to email@example.com.