Anna Todaro's books are "Everyone Hoops but me..." and "Silly Face". You can get both of her books in her shop: http://msannaart.com/shop. Anna is a Self-Published Author/Illustrator.
Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for a prize!
Dani: How does face painting relate to your work in picture books?
Anna: I have been doing art fairs and independent art shows since 2004 and I love the work of creating an art booth with a world of my own making with books from that world and face painting for folks to get into costume. To answer your question, I must make sure that you know that I am an art fair artist. There are a lot of authors out there trying to promote their stories. While I would love to find the right manager or agent or publisher, not having one makes things much more difficult. Because I am a facepainter and because I do fairs, it helps me get my self published books out there where most other venues seem out of reach.
Dani: What are some of the surprises or hurdles you have to go through in self publishing?
Anna: Self publishing means you do not have a team. You are making the book yourself, words, editing, layout, cost of printing, promoting, researching. It's extremely hard. You also will find it much harder for anyone to take you seriously. Most contests are for published authors. A lot of the events for SCBWI are only for published authors (PALS). It is also hard to find a reviewer unless you want to pay hundreds of dollars for a vanity one. You need your book reviewed if you want it to end up at the library. It also needs to be hard cover for the library. The biggest hurdle for me is distribution. I sold out all three shops carrying SillyFace last month and am still in the process of trying to get over to restock them. I have thought about Amazon print on demand, researching and setting that up will also be all on me.
Dani: Tell us the best thing about self publishing your books.
Anna: You have complete control over your baby. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I suppose you also keep 100% of the profits if there are any...
Dani: What would you like other Authors and Illustrators to know if they are thinking about self publishing?
Anna: It is extremely hard to be self published. You are completely on your own.
Dani: How do you go through the process of making a book?
Anna: Me personally? Or in general? For me, it's about staying focused and organized. I write the story first. That part is easy. Next, I come up with character drawings. This process could take years. The hardest part is taking that step where I say, "ok, this is what this character is going to look like." I then photograph all of the paintings and edit them in photoshop. Sometimes I write my own lettering and scan it in, sometimes I just use a computer font like Courier New. Then I send it in to the printer and I wait and hope.
Websites and Blog
One lucky winner of Smart Dummies will win a big prize pack from Renee Kurilla! Renee has kindly donated "Be Aware!: My Tips for Personal Safety", "Move Your Body!: My Exercise Tips" and "Keep Calm!: My Stress-busting Tips". Please comment on this post so I know you want these books! These books can only be shipped to a US address.
Rene is a wonderful Illustrator with a massive list of books she's Illustrated. Her wonderful illustration work can be seen in Orangutanka: A Story in Poems written by Margarita Engle. Coming soon is Burkley the Terrible Sleeper written by Mitchell Sharamat available for pre-order now!
Visit Renee's Website: http://kurillastration.com/