We are all publishers now

Do you realize how easy it is to communicate now? It wasn’t that long ago, you would need the backing of the news media and a dozen production people to get your message out. Continue reading “We are all publishers now”

A New Year Means a New Focus

Photo of a camera shutter representing a new focus

A lot has happened for me in 2014. This year, I graduated with my MBA from Anderson University. That is something I would have never thought of doing five years ago. If you would have asked me in early 2010 what my career goals were, I would have said I just want to continue being a designer and illustrator.

I don’t regret my career choice, and I consider design and illustration two great career choices. They allowed me to have a long career in publishing. They helped me feed two kids and for a time, allowed my wife to stay home with them. It was a great ride.

But about five years ago, I realized the world had changed dramatically, and it would do no good to ignore it. Technology has fundamentally changed the world of publishing and graphic design. Continue reading “A New Year Means a New Focus”

Why did this graphic designer get his MBA?

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I just graduated with my MBA! I am thankful for all the help and encouragement I received from Anderson University the last two years. It’s been a great journey!

I know much more about business than I did when I began this journey over two years ago, yet there is so much more I need to know. I probably felt like the baby I drew in my illustration above. You hear it all the time: the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

So why did a designer and illustrator decide to go back to school?There were a few reasons that came to mind when I began this venture.
  1. I have seen my father and the fathers of my friends go through early retirements and lay-off’s in the middle of their career. I knew it was too risky to just stay put and hope it never happened to me.
  2. If I had to compete with younger designers half my age, I knew I would need a competitive advantage. There are many good designers and then there are good business people. Rarely do the two groups merge.
  3. The publishing industry continued to go through seismic changes.
    1. Few people know what to do with this new publishing revolution.
    2. I wanted to be part of the solution instead of waiting for someone else to figure it out.
I am glad I made this journey. When I graduated with my bachelors, I had wished I had another extra years to take in some business, theology and psychology classes. I have had the privilege to get the business know-how for the last two years. We’ll see when I can fit in the other subjects.
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Report From the Frankfurt Book Fair: Digital is Growing Up! | Digital Book World

Report From the Frankfurt Book Fair: Digital is Growing Up! | Digital Book World.

It appears from this article that the hype is over. E-books are here to stay, but they aren’t the be all, end all they were considered just a year ago.

I like being in a generation where I have got to be in both genres. Print is still the king when it comes to portability, durability and in some cases, economy.

But digital publishing is king when you want the best potential to reach the world, be searchable and flexible. It’s good to see signs digital publishing is maturing. I’m looking forward to see what the coming years will bring to print AND digital publishing.

2013 Children’s Product Trends

Cartoon of two men. One is disheveled and looks like a bum. The other says, “When your wife goes away on a business trip, you really let yourself go.”

One of my highlights las week was to hear Children’s Product Trends for 2013 by Dr. Mary Manz Simon. I took a few pages of sketch notes. You can see them here:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/066b3038-3e58-45f6-b9af-dba60afce353/6a780d060b4a2a636d8992223f2521e2

I was excited to see Warner Press‘ Fun Family Devotions highlighted as one of this year’s products.

Christian Elden has done a great job designing this and Wilson Williams Jr. did a fantastic job on illustrating the cover.

Here are some of the highlights from the seminar:

  • VeggieTales is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
  • Smart phones are continuing to affect children’s publishing as well as publishing in general
  •  Brick and mortar stores are still an important part of a shopper’s experience. Don’t assume everything is online!
  • Picture books were pronounced dead two years ago. Now they’re back (yes, it’s a cycle)
  • Books with pictures are receiving a resurgence.
    • Graphic novels are becoming mainstream in Christian publishing
    • Comic books for middle readers are also popular
    • Middle grade, illustrated books are trending up because we live in a visually oriented world.

I am excited that visually oriented books are seen as a trend once again. Let’s face it, nobody wants to read block after block of text, especially a fourth grader that is connected to the Internet. We like to see some pictures.

On the whole, I feel excited about children’s publishing. It is a good time for author/illustrators. Let’s get those products out there so the kids have something they want to read!