024: How I got my first book deal
Short answer: I don’t know.
☕️ Happy Monday, I got as good a night of sleep as you can with a toddler in tow. This did involve pretending to sleep when she cried for attention at some point, but I had already made a deal with my wife in advance to help me get a good night's sleep. I do two full days’ worth of work every Monday, So I needed it. One of the best pieces of advice in ‘s ‘Seal like an Artist’ book, is Marry Well! I got that one right :)
📝 How I got my first book deal.
There are two ways to get a book deal as an illustrator.
You think of something and you try to sell it to a publisher.
You be findable, and let them find you.
I’m currently working on the first option in my free time. But before I broke in I worked on option two. Because it is a system rather than a goal approach. I.e it is fully in my capacity to become findable, but it’s dependant on someone else to buy my idea.
Here’s a list of things I did to become findable, and I know that every one of them contributed to getting an email out of the blue one April evening (Morning in London) asking me if I wanted to illustrate a book.
What I did in chronological order.
I became convinced that the best thing I could do with my particular set of skills was to be an illustrator.
I wrote this affirmation 15 times a day; “I Adam Ming am a world-famous cartoonist and illustrator”.
I studied how illustrators spend their days and started adopting their practices immediately.
I took multiple professional courses in illustration, even though I graduated from art school a decade before.
I got Adamming.com and put up my best illustrations. I had 10 pieces
My social bios read: “Knocking on the door of the illustration industry, somebody let me in”
I put work out on social media almost daily and connected with the community of cartoonists and illustrators.
I ‘attended’, virtual comic con, and attended panels related to kids’ comics and illustration.
I sent work out to Agents and Art Directors.
I used the feedback to guide my next steps.
Taking this route took 18 months from intention to signing my first book deal. I cannot imagine a quicker path considering I did not have a portfolio at the time I decided to become an illustrator. I had decided to pursue this course for 10 years regardless of the outcome. I’m grateful that the outcome is now illustrating every day for top publishers.
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