Tuesday, August 4, 2015
As with many trends, the adult coloring book craze took a while to built momentum. In the 1970s, Dover Publications published their first adult coloring book (Antique Automobiles Coloring Book) and now sell hundreds of titles. But it was not until a couple of years ago that Dover and other publishers called attention to the therapeutic values of coloring. Consumers rediscovered the childhood joys and calming effects when coloring, the press published the popularity of adult coloring books and its therapeutic effects, and the sales of the books started escalating. And in fact, several adult coloring books are on the best sellers list for major publishers and e-stores like amazon.com.
In 2013, UK illustrator Johanna Basford published her first coloring book "Secret Garden" which was a HUGE success and so far has sold a whopping 1.4 million copies worldwide. When her second book "Enchanted Forest" was published in Feb 2015, the massive amount of publicity is attributed to have caused the recent surge in adult coloring book craze. But, in the United States it could also be due to the intensive marketing of Adult Coloring Books by Dover Publications.
Dover Publications applied to the U.S. Registrar at the National Day Calendar and received the permission that National Coloring Book Day will officially be observed on August 2 each year. Dover sponsors a National Coloring Book Day website. This year they did intensive marketing for National Coloring Book Day and on August 2 had events in bookstores all over the United States. Now that is a great example of marketing outside-the-box!
Note: Johanna Basford's success with adult coloring books continues. She signed with Penguin Random House to publish her next two adult coloring books. "Lost Ocean" will be published at the end of October 2015 and another will be published in fall 2016. For information about Johanna Basford's success in creating illustrations for other products, read "Illustrator Johanna Basford's Success in Marketing Art Outside-the-box"
About Adult Coloring Books
Most adult coloring books have 30 or more pages of illustrations. And, unlike children's coloring books many adult coloring books have more detailed and intricate line drawings. Popular themes are flowers, animals, mandalas, inspirational, spiritual, and geometric shaped designs although all kinds of themes appeal to adults.
Adult colorists tend to use colored pencils, gel pens, and fine tip markers more than crayons. Many of the books are printed on thick paper with the design on only one side of the page so that gel pens, and fine tip markers do not bleed through. Also the thicker paper is more suitable for framing the finished colored image. Some coloring books use vellum to mimic the look of stained glass. Coloring books come in all sizes and shapes including postcard sizes that can be mailed to family and friends. Some companies offer coloring book kits that can be used for parties.
And even though colorists claim that they welcome getting away from their computers and other electronics, there are apps that will allow a person to color designs on computers, tablets, and smart phones. Read "Adult coloring books: yes, there are apps for that" for information about the apps.
Publishing Coloring Books
The adult coloring book trend has spread worldwide and publishers are going crazy publishing coloring books that are marketed to adults for the benefit of reducing stress. Even Hallmark is producing coloring books with sketches created by their in-house artists. Freelance artists are creating and publishing coloring books and marketing them on social media and e-stores. Or, they license their work to literary publishers.
• Self Publishing and Marketing
Artists can publish and market coloring books they created by themselves or with the help of the many companies found on the Internet such as Create Space, Speedy Publishing, and WMC Publishing. Most sell their books on amazon.com, other e-stores, and social media sites.
According to the article "Color Me Happy" artist Jenean Morrison has self-published six intricate designed adult coloring books on Amazon.com since 2012. "In all of last year, she sold 15,414 books on Amazon. This year, in half the time, she has sold 43,420."
• Companies that Publish Adult Coloring Books
Numerous publishers are already selling adult coloring books or plan to. Many publishers only accept manuscripts (coloring books also) from literary agents so if an artist wants to submit art for a coloring book they need to hire a literary agent. However, not all require agents so look for submission guidelines on the publisher’s website or contact the publisher to find out how to submit. Note: Do not forget to ask about the licensing fee. I've heard that at least some publishers only pay a flat fee per project. The fee may not be cost effective when you need to produce many designs for one coloring book.
Below are some publishers that produce adult coloring books.
– Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC (introducing a line of coloring books in September 2015)
– Design Originals (A Fox Chapel Publishing company)
– Dover Publications (been publishing adult coloring books since the 1970s)
– Fox Chapel Publishing
– Global Doodle Gems (collaboration of artists around the world to produce coloring books)
– Harper Collins Publishers
– Little, Brown and Company
– Penguin Random House
– Quarto Publishing Group
– Running Press Book Publishers
– Sterling Publishing
– "Adult coloring books topping bestseller lists"
– "Coloring Books Grow Up" (what themes are popular, stats on books that are flying off the shelves, comments about publishers selling adult coloring books)
– "Health benefits of coloring books attracting adults to childhood pastime"
• Research by artist Peggy Toole
8/9/15 After reading this article, artist Peggy Toole did quite a bit research on adult coloring books and the following is what she found out. "The Johanna Basford books were originally published in England and they did a lovely job. I sell on Amazon so I was going to publish it myself and it ship directly to one of their west coast warehouses from China and let Amazon do all the distribution.
But to do a 'Johanna Basford' quality book would cost in excess of $6.25 per book at 1000 books and at even 10,000, the individual book price is about still close to $3.00 per book. Johanna's book cost about $4.79 in Amazon fulfillment fees for them to ship it. Plus you have storage on books that do not sell. Amazon is selling "Enchanted Forest" for $9.63, so there's little profit if I'm publishing something that large and complex.
Books that make the top 10 at Amazon are selling 4000-5000 copies daily. I learned somewhere- maybe from the book I purchased that "Enchanted Forest" in it's 4th printing for 2015. So there's real money there but finding a publisher is probably like winning the lottery. I'm having some 2nd thoughts about doing it. Maybe you could make a fortune, but then again maybe not."
Peggy contacted Ulysses Press (publisher of Wendy Piersall) and Fox Chapel Press) and was told that they are not taking submissions for coloring books. Read more on what Peggy Toole has to say about coloring books in the comment section to this article.
Note: I imagine all publishers are inundated with artists wanting to license their art for coloring books so some publishers have put a temporary stop to submissions. If the coloring book craze is not a fad and is indeed a trend, publishers will probably start looking at art again; especially if the art is what consumers want to color and is very unique to what is already published.
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