I published my first coloring book. Adult coloring was trending at the time, and I saw a need from people in my circle for some kind of soul-searching mental health. It just seemed like a lot of mothers among my friends of writers were suffering from some kind of depression or anxiety, something that just seemed like a result of getting lost in motherhood. And in the hospital, coloring was a big deal among mental health patients as a form of therapy.
The book has 3 main concepts to it:
- Adult coloring pages inspired by zen doodles and tattoos.
- Activity sheets based on spirituality and psychology
- Journal prompts to reinforce the activity concepts
The first step of the coloring book was to do some research on spirituality concepts and psychology and find it’s Venn.
I actually did not leave much uncovered in the spiritual realm as I researched many faiths including Taosim, Buddhism, Mindfulness, and Christianity that I mention frequently in the descriptions, but the truth is, I also researched Islam, Wicca, Witchcraft, Luciferianism, Satanism, Ancient Egypt… In some cases, I was looking for things that make you healthy, and in others, the things that make you unhealthy and find it’s opposite.
Then I did some research on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Erik Erikson’s Theory of Cognitive Development (I feel like if you missed something in that, you’ll feel it in your adult years), the psychology behind religion and morality, psychology worksheets, and specific terms such as depression, anxiety, anger management, etc.
I made a bunch of note cards of ideas based on research, and then I narrowed down the ideas based on popularity of need, fun and excitement of doing the activities, and mainstream concepts.
The second step of the coloring book was to draw some pictures. First I dabbled in taking stock illustrations and putting them together, but I ended up drawing most of the pictures by hand. I used Adobe Photoshop to scan in the art, then I Live Traced the work in Illustrator, and then pasted it back into Photoshop. Some things I drew piece by piece and put together in the computer. I thought about making new paths for everything like many comic book creators do, but I wanted the coloring sheets to look like authentic art, and I felt the jagged edges made it look more real. The idea is nobody would want to hang up a picture from a coloring book on their wall, but these won’t look bad framed because they appear more authentic.
The drawings were inspired by tattoos, henna, and zen doodles, and I actually have a secret Pinterest Board devoted to these inspirations.
For some of the drawings, I drew half of the image, and then scanned it into the computer, then copied, pasted, and flipped horizontal, and aligned and tweaked to give things symmetry I couldn’t provide by hand.
Then I needed a book cover. My obsession with watercolor was at its peak, and it made a perfect backdrop for a black and transparent drawing. The fonts I used were from the Intro collection: Rust, Head and Script. Wendy’s often uses Rust on their menu.
Finally, I needed marketing, and I didn’t really follow through on the marketing because I started getting pretty sick around the time I needed to do things. But because this was a first edition, I was focusing on free marketing. Indie Book Publishing is one of those places where your best marketing strategy is to start free and see how well your product does. With social media, do some A/B Testing of a small ad budget, and from there, tweak the marketing concept, the product description, etc. If you show your product to X amount of people, you want to aim for a 10% interest before moving into a larger marketing investment. Until you hit that 10% conversion rate, you will probably lose money by investing it. The reason being, it’s truly an art to find the right keywords, the right price, the right concept, the right amount of traffic, and the timing when it comes to the internet. Just about every viral thing spent quite a bit of time not being viral at all, and virality doesn’t go far without investments, so you want to invest as you are gaining organic attention, not to get the attention. This is why Facebook tells you to invest in posts that are already doing well.
The website at the time, michellegrewe.com, had a pink watercolor theme, so I created a button for that site.
But other websites had a button that matched the cover of the book for branding purposes.
I also needed some social media posts.
Then of course a post for a Facebook ad because they don’t allow much text in their images, though I have learned the way around that is to do a video of the image or a link.
I do plan on revising this book, and my first revision will be to do a Christian version because …
- According to Google Keyword Planner, terms like Christianity, Christian, God, Holy Spirit, Prayers, etc., are searched one to ten million times a month, and it’s been consistently that way for the last 2 years that I’ve kept track.
- Facebook pages such as Jesus Daily have enough page likes to reinforce Google’s search numbers despite that overall statistics show a decline in religion and religious growth.
- There are many Christian presses and bookstores
- There are not too many products like this in the Christian bookstores
- I think God wants me to as part of my personal, spiritual journey thing.
So in progress is…
And a new coloring page…