Tag Archives: illustrations

Reblog: “18 Top Illustrators Tell Us Their Biggest Ideas on How to be Successful” by Philip Dennis

“18 Top Illustrators Tell Us Their Biggest Ideas on How to be Successful” – Phillip Dennis, Red Lemon Club


Looking to those who have successfully found their way to where we are currently trying to navigate can provide an invaluable guide to avoiding the steep drops and dead ends that often come up to blindside us.

There is never one singular route or clearly-etched map to carving out a fulfilling career as a successful creative professional. With every additional artist you approach, words of wisdom become more complex, nuanced, and unexpected.

By putting together a series of thoughts and ideas from a group of top illustrators, we can see a wide range of approaches in one place, and we hope it inspires you.

We asked 18 currently active illustrators: 
Note from Joan: Please click on the link below to find the rest of this great story with illustrations, too.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards



Spivey’s Web, a Christmas Story: Interview with Author, Sandra Warren

“Spivey’s Web, a Christmas Story: Interview with Author, Sandra Warren” by Joan Y. Edwards

Spivey's Web cover 300 dpi (1)
Spivey’s Web written by Sandra Warren; illustrated by Susan Fitzgerald. Available on Amazon.

Today, it is an honor to interview Sandra Warren, author of Spivey’s Web. Thanks for coming today, Sandra. I want to hear all about SPIVEY’S WEB, a picture book that’s out now that you had in your head for 15+ years! 

I’m so glad to be here. 

Sandra Warren

1.Tell us about Spivey’s Web.

I am very excited that Spivey’s Web is out now since it has a Christian twist at the end. It’s about a spider who wants to spin a web of her own design, not the expected web for a barn spider. After being ridiculed for her efforts, she moves to a window high in the loft and when the Star of David shines through, it sprinkles stars, like a disco ball, around a manger and calms a very special baby. Although the baby is not named, you can tell by the illustration that it’s the baby Jesus. I love the last line….My web didn’t catch flies. It caught the light!

Spivey’s web is more than a Christmas story, however. It’s also about having the courage to follow your heart and do what makes you happy even when everyone around says it can’t be done or it’s never been done like that. From Spivey we learn to never give up.

Writers take heed. When agents and editors say, no, no, sorry no, we have to keep at it and never give up because if we do, we’ll never know how close we came and we’ll never know what amazing things might come from our creative, imaginative minds. We all need Spivey’s courage to spin a web of our own design.

2. Did you submit Spivey’s Web to traditional publishers? Christian markets? 

Sandra: I tried for years to get Spivey’s Web traditionally published, but it was too secular for the Christian market and too Christian for the secular market. A major agent loved it until she got to the end and realized it was a holiday/Christian theme. She said she doesn’t do holiday books. Although I was still holding out for a traditional publisher, everything changed when I met an amazing artist.  


3. Marvelous illustrations. Who is the illustrator? 

Sandra: Susan Fitzgerald, one of our part-time neighbors at Hidden Lake is a FINE artist who approached me asking if I’d LET her illustrate a manuscript of mine. I was floored because she’s an amazing artist who exhibits full-time in a gallery in Jacksonville. Her concept of Spivey and all her illustrations are fabulous in my opinion.

4. Did you encounter any problems with the formatting of the book?

Sandra: Oh my, yes! One problem we had that took us almost a day to figure out was that we were trying to put a landscape/horizontal illustration into a square template. A landscape picture book template was not offered by the company we chose. We also had trouble balancing the required minimum 300 dpi of each illustration for printing. It’s tricky to send illustrations through email without losing dpi. Now we know how to do it. Our original vision was to have a horizontal format with illustrations that bled off the page–flowed to the very edges. But because of issues with the horizontal formatting of the original artwork, we had to compensate by reducing the size of each illustration allowing for a border or frame around each. 

Here are suggestions if you’re self-publishing a book:

  • Make sure you download the publisher’s PDF Specification Guide from CreateSpace or other publisher and read it before beginning to make sure they print books in the size and format you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact Support if you have any questions. The folks at CreateSpace are very helpful! 

Despite all the formatting issues, we’re thrilled with the end result that Spivey’s Web is now available online. https://www.amazon.com/Spiveys-Web-Sandra-Warren/dp/1981217673/

Thanks for being a guest on my blog, Sandra. Thank you for offering a giveaway, too.

Winners of the Giveaway:

Between December 10th and midnight yesterday, December 21, 2017, the following six people left a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a free autographed copy of “Spivey’s Web:”
1. Sarah Maury Swan
2. Gretchen Griffith
3. Dr. Bob Rich
4. Linda Andersen Gutheil
5. Lisa Anne Cullen
6. Barbara Bockman

Thank you to all those who left a comment! You make my blog sparkle with excitement.
Random.org chose number 4 and number 1 for the two winners:
Therefore, Sarah Maury Swan and Linda Andersen are the winners. I will send you Sandra Warren’s email address so you can email her your snail mail address so she can send your prize – an autographed copy of the beautiful picture book, “Spivey’s Web.” Congratulations! Yippee!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sandra Warren’s website: http://www.sandrawarren.com

Sandra’s blog: http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.com

Other books by Sandra Warren:

Bomber Book Cover

Arlie alligator bookcover

Hidden-Casualties book cover

When-Duty-Called book cover


To leave a comment, click below and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers find ways to meet their needs and those of their elders to help them survive.


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Submit Your Manuscript – Pub Sub Goals for 2012

“Submit Your Manuscript – Pub Sub Goals for 2012” by Joan Y. Edwards

PubSub3rdFri ParticipantPub Sub 3rd Fri Participant

Today I’d like to invite you to become a Pub Subber. I’d like to see if you would join me and other writers and illustrators in PubSub3rdFri (Publisher Submission on the Third Friday of the Month).

I heard about Chris Baty’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in November each year. In 2009, I thought why not have a system to encourage people to submit their work on a regular basis. Dun da Dunn! PubSub3rFri was born.

To become a Pub Subber, focus during 2012 on submitting one or more of your quality creative works to a critique group or professional editor, book or magazine publisher, editor, agent, or contest on the third Friday of each month.

If there are twelve of your works out there in the submission world, you’ll have a better chance of getting work published. Each time you submit your work, you increase your chances for getting published. If you submit one month out of the year, you have an 8% chance of being published. If you submit 6 months, you have increased your chances 50% for that year. If you submit all 12 months, you improve your chances 100%.

You want it to be as natural for you to submit to a publisher as it is to submit your work to a critique group. A friend reminded me that I shouldn’t submit something if it’s not ready. That’s true. You don’t want to send work that has not been proofed, revised, and proofed again. However, you may have stories that have been revised and critiqued more than twenty times. Yet, you haven’t submitted them anywhere. With PubSub3rdFri, I hope to encourage you to submit your manuscripts.

Each time you submit, print out a PubSub certificate. If you don’t have one ready to send off on the Third Friday, give yourself a rain check and submit it soon. You can download certificates and rain checks from my website: http://www.joanyedwards.com/pubsub3rdfri.htm.

The Old Way: Send quality manuscript out, wait for the answer, receive the answer, submit again.

Pub Sub Way: Send one (or more) manuscripts out on the third Friday of each month to one (or more) publishers, editors, or agents.

  • Submit your quality work (article, poem, puzzle, devotion, illustration, short story, picture book, chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel, adult novel, play, song, or movie)to publisher, editor, agent, or contest on the third Friday of the month. You can submit on any day of the month and as many times as you like.
  • Submit your manuscript today. It automatically increases your chance of getting it published from 0-100% from not submitting it.
  • Get your work critiqued by a critique group or professional writer or editor of your genre before you submit it to an editor or agent. Getting your work in quality condition is part of the Pub Sub 3rd Fri philosophy. Quality does not mean perfect. When you submit it, you’re saying: “This is the best I can do with the knowledge and skills that I have at the present time. This truly is my best effort.” When editors and agents see quality work, they are willing to work with you to get it ready for publication.
  • To be published, you must take action. Accept yourself as you are. Accept the editors and agents as they are. Go for it. Send a query or manuscript now! This is the only way that an agent or editor will be able to discover how great your story is.
  • Once you get started, you’ll be submitting as a habit. Your belief in yourself will grow. It says to your inner self that you believe in your story. That you have faith in it. Faith in your story takes it to publication.
  • Celebrate each time you submit. Celebrate each time you revise. Celebrate each time you write, draw, sing, create. Celebrate yourself every day!

Besides the certificates and the rainchecks, I also have a Pub Subbers Page to advertise your belief in Pub Subbing, your creative works, and you.

It contains the names and personal blogs/websites of people who believe in the Pub Sub 3rd Fri philosophy and as a result, they submit their quality work more frequently to critique groups, editors, agents, or contests.

As a result of their more frequent submissions, many members of PubSub3rdFri have been published in newspaper articles, magazine articles, won contests, and/or received a book contract(s). When members let me know their publication successes, I list them beside their names.

May I count you as a Pub Subber? If so, let me know.

If PubSub3rdFri sounds like a good idea to you and during 2012, submit your work to a critique group, editor, agent, or contest and leave a comment on the Pub Subbers Page: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/pub-subbers/.

Say “I will submit a query or manuscript to an editor, agent, publisher, or critique group at least once a month during 2012. Count me in for Pub Sub 3rd Fri 2012.” Tell me the name of the manuscript, where you sent it and when, along with your name and website/blog. Let me know when you get published. I visualize you as published. Visualize yourself as published. I’ll add the name of the article, book, or illustration beside your name when you are published. Leave a comment on the Pub Subbers Page: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/pub-subbers/.

Your goal: “I will submit a query or manuscript to an editor, agent, publisher, or critique group at least once a month during 2012. I believe I will be published. In my mind, I am a published author or illustrator on or before December 31, 2012.”

Even with complications and obstacles, the vision of success in your mind, the excitement of getting it, your thankfulness, and your action toward it will create the reality for you. Good luck! I know that many of you are participating in Pub Sub without letting me know. That’s okay. As long as I’m helping you, it’s okay. I’d like to give you recognition of your belief in yourself to build your confidence and expand your beliefs. Please let me know you are joining me and the 16 other people. My goal this year is:

Over 100 people join me in Pub Sub 3rd Fri during 2012. I hope you will be one of them. I wish you success.

The following links give you ideas of what to focus on each week of the month to be ready to submit your manuscript on the third Friday.

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four.

More PubSub3rdFri posts:

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope I’ve inspired you to believe in yourself. Join 64 other people who have subscribed to my blog.  Click the Sign Me Up in the left hand column, or click on Follow if it is visible at the top of the page. When I reach 100 email subscribers, I’ll choose ten at random subscribers to win a free first page critique.  The 100th subscriber will win a free critique of the first 1000 words of a manuscript, along with its pitch.  That sounds like fun to me. I hope it sounds like fun to you, too.

I’d be honored if you share this blog post with your friends..

Celebrate you. You’re the only human being exactly like you.
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

Five Good Things to Do after a Writing Conference

Dear Honored Readers,

What are five good things to do after a writing conference? Here are things I believe would be helpful to you as a serious professional writer. My goal is to keep you enjoying living and writing, too.

1. Sleep if you are tired. Accept yourself as you are and where you are. Accept others as they are.  Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have and where you are.  Put the fun back into your writing.

2. Read and organize your notes from each workshop.  Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. Make a top ten list of things that you learned at the overall conference.

4. After all this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three goals for your writing to use what you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

a. Writing Skill/Genre

1) Read 10 books in your chosen genre and 3 books on the craft of writing.

2) Revise your favorite manuscript and submit it to an editor or agent.

3) Learn a new technology.

b. Marketing

1) Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors on a regular basis.  (See my Pub Sub 3rd Fri blog posts)

2) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

3) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

4) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words.  The ultimate goal would be to have a pitch that is 140 characters long  to fit in Twitter. If you have all these, then if you need one for your cover letter, you’ll have it. If you want a blurb to put on your book, you’ll have it.  If a teacher asks you about your book, you’ll have a pitch to get them to want to buy your book.

5) Prepare a post card, business card, bookmark, signature for email to promote you and your writing.  Use your book titles and pitch blurbs.

c. Networking

1) Website, Blog, Critique Group

2) Book Presentations for schools and organizations

3) Facebook Author/Illustrator Page; Twitter; Linked-In, others

5. Contact at least three of the people who gave you a business card.  If you remember your conversation with them, remind them of how you enjoyed talking about “their love of horses” or  “their sadness at being rejected.”  Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript. Compliment them for being brave and reading their story at open mike.  Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem you were having.  Visit their websites or Facebook pages, they might refresh your memory and/or give you new information to mention to them.

I hope these ideas help you.

Please share your comments, questions, and/or resources below. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please sign up for an email subscription from the “Sign me up” block from the top of the left hand column. Nineteen sweet people have subscribed so far. The 50th person to subscribe from the left will receive a free paperback copy of Flip Flap Floodle or a 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.

Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator
Flip Flap Floodle on Amazon.com

Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

Do the Pub Sub Submission Wave (PubSub3rdFri)

“Do the Pub Sub Submission Wave (PubSub3rdFri)” by Joan Y. Edwards

This is the day. I sent Mack and Mazie, Loggerheads Forever to Peachtree Publishers, Ltd in Atlanta. The mailman picked them up and they are on their way.  I have heard from one other Pub Subber. So that makes two of us doing the submission wave today.

I printed out my certificate. I printed a copy of the manuscript, song, 4 draft illustrations, and a resume to save in a notebook with all my submitted works. I thought I might make a sticker for it with the Sub Pub 3rd Fri logo on it. I’m putting my certificate on my file cabinet  and hold it there with a magnet.

Please write and tell me if you did submitted today if you wouldn’t mind sharing. You don’t have to tell what or where, just that you did it. Hurray for you! Hurray for us! Hurray Hurray Hurray.

     Celebrate your accomplishment today. It can be big or small, just do it for you.

Submit your work.

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.