Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Adult Coloring Books by Foovay

Ah, adult coloring books and me - Summer Foovay.  This is a long story.  You best get nice and comfortable, put on some soft jazz for background, and make us a cup of tea.

After all, I am 56 years old now - and I never actually stopped coloring.  I also rather quickly advanced past the cartoony coloring books for children - you have to remember I personally could already draw better than that.  In my humble opinion (we are rather sure of our talents before some adult comes along and kicks it out of us).  I was lucky to find a few Dover coloring books here and there in gift shops and tourist traps.  My favorites were the historical ones, or the ones about Native Americans, their clothes, art, and so on.  Things were so primitive then!

I remember how exciting it was when Dover started taking mail orders.

Now we skip forward to about 1995 or so and my bright wonderful younger husband drags me kicking and screaming onto the internet.  In time I began playing various role playing games, especially those designed for horse lovers.  Some games allowed you to upload art or photos of your horses.  I happily drew my (cyber)horses and uploaded my art - which led to other players asking me to do the same for their (cyber)horses.  Eventually I was asked if I would do line art that players could color in for themselves, and I posted scans of my drawings onto my nascent website I was building for fun.  Next thing I know, they are actually even making money on ad click throughs.  I set up a section for line drawings and added more.  Eventually I bought a domain - and had 400 original artworks available.  In the process many people besides gamers started using them, and emailing me about it, for coloring pages, home schooling projects, embroidery patterns.  They made requests and I was happy to create for them.  For a long time it was fun.

In 2005 Squidoo was created - and they wrote me suggesting I create a lens to promote my "business".  So I wrote a lens about Line Art on and it really took off.  Sometime later I took their suggestions to write about what you love to heart and I created a lens about Adult Coloring Books that really wasn't much more than a list of the Dover coloring books I liked most - linked to Amazon, of course.  I admit, I expected to get laughed at.  Instead, I heard from many adults who loved to color.  The lens became one of the top lenses on Squidoo and, of course, spawned imitators.

And this is where at least some of the trouble began.  For starters I had been fending off copyright infringement for years at  I stated on the home page that the art was created and copyrighted by Summer Fey Foovay (me), and that it was available for personal use and other uses only with permission.  Over the years, this turned into a total nightmare.  People used it for commercial purposes, claimed it as their own work, credited it to other people, and in general treated me with the dirt disrespect most artists are used to by now.  If I did protest, I was treated as though I was the person who was in the wrong - how dare I claim to have control over my work.  One of my favorite incidents was when a fellow Squidoo lensmaster used my art on her - competing - lens and told me my art was in the public domain because I posted it on the Internet, so I couldn't complain about it.

Yeah, it was another time.  Probably the last straw was being accused of stealing work that was my own.  (By the way, I can prove I drew every drawing up there by dated files saved in process).  I even contacted lawyers, several, none of whom had any notion of copyright law for the Internet and all of whom advised me that it would cost me a lot more in lawyer fees than I would ever recover in damages.

I was stressed, unhappy, and frustrated over a site earning me $10 or $20 a month.  I put up for sale, art and all - and was overjoyed when someone took it off my hands in 2012 or so.  It's still out there, still all my artwork, only change is the new owner now owns the copyrights (so I can't even use it now - legally) and has put up some different ads and stuff.

The Squidoo implosion is a whole different story of how to get screwed by an Internet company, and there is much more than the coloring book lenses (which came, eventually, to have their own category) involved.  Suffice it to say that we parted ways with much bitterness on my part shortly before they sold us off to Hubpages.  (And you thought slavery was dead)

Somewhere in all that, at the suggestion of many happy coloring page users, I created six or so coloring books that could be downloaded and printed PDF files.  The set up and the store to sell them in, no to mention the hours and hours of time, cost me more than I earned from the 3 or 4 I sold at $3.00 each (a few cents above the break even point) and that was it for me and coloring books.

Oh, I looked at creating Print on Demand coloring books - before Amazon and CreateSpace were a thing.  Lulu had a nice set up where you could put them on a spiral binder so the pages would lay flat.  But in order to make a few cents per coloring book, the pricing had to be around the $10 mark.  No one, no one would ever pay $10 for a coloring book - I thought.

I forget that most of you don't live on below poverty level income with two people, one of whom has serious medical needs.  I consider it a BIG SPLURGE if I spend $3 on a coloring book.

And that is no ones mistake but my own.

A wiser artist than I, is now a millionaire, thanks to publishing her adult coloring books - which sell for over $10 each.  I remember seeing the first adult coloring books in the last year or two by various artists, and thinking - egads almost $20 for a coloring book - good luck with that!  And now adult coloring books are the newest fad.  They're everywhere.  Freaking Walmart had them for Christmas by the cash registers.

Boy, do I feel like a fucking idiot. I mean, I'd like to be a millionaire, too.  I could get all the repairs, maintenences, and upgrades done for the car (now in the shop with an estimate pending - expected to be $500 or more), the Firefly (our home on wheels).  I could eat something other than Ramen noodles and eggs, and never worry about buying the high protein diet my husband needs - or the drug that costs $600 a month that his insurance has decided he doesn't need any more - that he needs.  I could easily take him to the Grand Canyon, the Gila National Monument, Mount Rushmore, up the Ventura Highway and to all the adventures he wants to have while he is still healthy enough to enjoy them.  We could buy our little piece of New Mexico and when we are ready, settle down and have animals and a garden.

Truthfully, I had to sit down and be bitter and mad and really furious with myself for a few days.

Okay, the pity party is over.  I am now going to publish my own adult coloring books.  Adult Coloring Books by Foovay.  Print that inside your eyelids, you're going to hear me say it over and over and over.

Better yet - I think I have my own niche.

Most adult coloring books are patterns - mandalas, zentangles, doodles and such.  I, personally, find these very boring to color.  Very.  Boring.  Look at the coloring books currently tucked into the cubby in my home - Art Deco Animals, Animal Mandalas, the Field Guide to Wildflowers Coloring Book, etc.  I like to color animals, landscapes, flowers and - yes - those historical scenes of log cabins, farms, old Currier and Ives type horse racing and picnic scenes.  Given my experience, I am quite sure I am not the only one.  In fact, one nursing home art teacher wrote about how her clients loved the Currier and Ives type pages, and how they stimulated memories and sharing of stories about their childhoods.  Can't say that for the mandalas and zentangles, now can you?

Let me also add that those of us with arthritis in our hands (like me) find those tiny spaces and details literally painful to color.

So I am going to draw what I love, publish them through Lulu so you can have the nice spiral bound, lays flat pages, and sell them for over $10.  I'm going to say Adult Coloring Books by Foovay until it makes your eyes whirl counterclockwise.  And you'll buy lots of them and make me a hundred-aire.  That will do, really, for my modest wants and needs.  Soon enough there will be imitators, and because I suck at self promotion, they'll mash me right out of business as they become multi-millionaires hailed on TV talk shows and Internet new sites as visionaries.

That's okay.  I just want to get the hubby to the Grand Canyon this year, and to his mom's family get-together for her 70th birthday.  Maybe next year, the Ventura Highway and Mount Rushmore.  We can do that.  And it looks like we might need $600 cash a month for his pth hormone medicine.

So - I spent yesterday setting up all the social media stuff so you can follow along in my process.  I included a blog where I will share some of the coloring pages for adults.  There is also a special email - adultcoloringbooksbyfoovay AT, where you can send me anything you want - tell me if you like the coloring books for adults, tell me what you want me to draw next, tell me how you used your coloring books, whatever.  I love suggestions, by the way.  

There is still a lot to do, modification of my website, my author pages on Amazon, the Adult Coloring Books group I have at Facebook (I'm trying to change it to Adult Coloring Books by Foovay - Facebook has decided to fight me about it for some reason), but ya know - I need to go start drawing some coloring pages.  It will be - they have to be - all new coloring pages.  Besides, I like to think I've improved since the old days.

Here's the list so far - like, follow, send me your suggestions, etc.

Adult Coloring Books by Foovay - on Twitter
Adult Coloring Books by Foovay - on Facebook
Adult Coloring Books by Foovay on Pinterest
Adult Coloring Books by Foovay - the blog

and don't forget that email.  Again - love suggestions.

The first Adult Coloring Book by Foovay is going to be Arabian horses.  Because I like them, and they are gorgeous, and I have a bunch of research and photos for reference and ideas all gathered up for the children's book I'm not writing now.  LOL.  Tentative publishing date of March 3, 2016 through

Depends on if the husband goes in the hospital, I get an opportunity to load and  unload trucks or swab toilets, or anything else major breaks down between now and then - like my computer that Microsoft and Chrome both say they aren't supporting anymore or the graphics program I love that also is not supported anymore.

I am eyeballing Feed The Muse for some fundraising - for the new electronic device to replace my desktop if nothing else.  I've had terrible luck with crowd funding sites though.  Don't know if I'm up to any more bullshit on the financial front.  After all, I no longer have access to my Paypal or Amazon Payments accounts due to the fact that I "moved to Mexico".  All of which makes me leery of hitching anything to the new bank account.  I have already tried twice to get it attached to the Amazon Payments account and they cannot "verify" it for some reason (they don't mind using it when I'm paying them for something though).

It's gonna get better - really.  I've got a roof over my head, food to eat, and the hubby's last test results at the clinic were great.  (That medicine they are getting ready to take away from us is really doing him some good)


Summer Foovay
Creator of Adult Coloring Books!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Children's Books

I have written a few books for children; The Fox and the RabbitBlue Dragonfly, and The Weaver.  The Fox and the Rabbit was my first attempt at an illustrated book for children.  Blue Dragonfly and The Weaver were the first two parts of what was meant to be a lengthy series blending folklore, mysticism, fantasy and perfectly correct factual information.

There are several more in that series sitting around waiting to be finished on my harddrive, as well as several books meant to be illustrated fact books like the million others you see for the Fire - you know - 12 Most Beautiful Horses, 12 Interesting Facts About (fill in the blank).  Most of those use public domain or licensed photos, I was going to illustrate mine with my own artwork, which takes quite a bit longer.

Looking back I notice that 2015 is the first year in five years I have not published one single book.  Not even a short story, or a children's book.  There are a lot of reasons for that - it was a pretty tough year for us one way and another.  Even the good things, like Firefly, took some adjusting to.

But one reason I thought it would be so much fun to do the children's books is that they are expected to be around 5 to 10,000 words.  I can crank out 1000 words or more in an hour.  True, illustrations take about a day a piece depending on subject matter - and because of the change in lifestyle doing artwork for ebooks has become a big stumbling block.

And speaking of illustrations for childrens books - while the simple physical effort involved right now in setting up my desktop, setting up the drawing tablet, and then taking both down and putting them away at the end of every work session every day is a considerable stumbling block - there is another one.  Amazon is trying to make the Kindle books accessible across all devices - a laudable goal.  However, they have not provided any sort of guidelines for someone attempting to create illustrations for those books as far as dpi or size (by pixels or inches).  No matter what size or dpi you use, on many devices your illustrations will look like crap.

I don't like for my artwork to look like crap.

My artwork on The Fox and the Rabbit - done by guess and by gosh long before Amazon began pushing for illustrated kids books - looks like crap.

Not the real digital arts - but the display on a Kindle - yeah.  Awful.

So that is one, very frustrating, issue.

But even with that driving me further insane than usual, why is it not one single children's book got put out all year long?  I had time to write and to draw - and I did so.  I finished a Nano novel.  But not one single children's book.  You know, the ones I ought to be able to crank out one a day, or at least a month.  Heaven knows, there are other authors who do - and their work is perfectly acceptable.

So what is the deal?  Why am I procrastinating myself into paralyzation?  There has to be a deeper, stronger, underlying reason.  And after a good deal of thought, I think I have figured it out.

I'm afraid of offending - and afraid of being sued or punished in some way for it.  Parents now are so terribly sensitive about what their children see or read or are told - and of course they are well within their rights to be so.  I am Pagan, and I also believe in science as well as mysticism.  There are plenty of parents out there who would disagree with what I tell kids in my books.  I think kids are pretty tough and pretty smart, and I think they can deal with the idea in the Blue Dragonfly series that not all parents are perfect, or even really wanted to be parents.  But how many parents want their kids to know that?  I am also totally open about the fact that I write p0rn under a pen name.  Some parents would find that so horrible, even though believe me there is no sex in the children's books.  Really.  PUHleeze.  (I would like to point out that if you have kids - you must have had sex so don't get all holier than thou on me)

Silly as those reasons may seem to you - they are what is holding me back.  I'm afraid.  Afraid of something vicious and retaliatory, from nasty reviews to lawsuits.

So, after some more thought, I've decided that Goddess knows I do not need any additional stresses in my life.  I am bipolar with PTSD and I am perfectly capable of obsessing over an imaginary maybe it could happen episode until I have  given myself serious physical symptoms.  (That's another thing - someone might decide I shouldn't be writing for kids because I am mentally ill).  And, of course, there is the procrastination.

If the three little books I have out had taken off and made me a millionaire in a week or two, that might make a difference.  But given that combined they earned me less than ten bucks last YEAR, the personal costs outweigh the potential profits by a considerable margin.

I mean - in the time I spent writing this blog post I could have made that much swabbing toilets or loading a truck (and have in the last month or so).

So - children's books - not for me.

But there are so many other possibilities...


Summer Foovay

Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I l...