This winter ,shortly after Hapenny Magick was released, I was interviewed in Rhode Island by artist Erin Whalen in her studio/store called The Story Emporium. Here is the interview for your watching pleasure!
It is always fun to see Jess and her work at Faerie shows. The two of us are close in age and grew up only about an hour
apart, she in Ohio and me just across the border, in Michigan. We are both midwestern girls at heart. I first met her at The Michigan Renaissance Festival, where my husband would take me every year for my birthday– or more like, I would drag him ! I recently had an email chat with Jess about her work, faeries, and of course marketing, since she is a marketing maven! Here’s what she had to say.What is it about Faeries that grabs your heart?Oh, EVERYTHING! I’ve been drawing faeries since I was just little. I have no idea where the interest came from, but it’s just always been a part of me.
It seems that your earlier work is more portrait-like and your newer work has more of a story to tell behind the portrait. What do you attribute this switch to?Lately I’ve been trying to go deeper with my work, and bring out more emotions with the characters in the paintings. I’ve also switched to a mixed media techinque, which has helped me get a little more realistic than some of my earlier watercolor works.
You’ve also included a lot of Celtic design in your more recent paintings. What is it that draws you to the Celtic knot work and symbols?Of all the world mythology, Celtic is my favorite. Their stories are so intricate with so many details and points of interest. I love incorporating the symbols into my paintings.
Not only do you paint, but you make jewelry as well,(gypsyrosejewels.etsy.com). With a major business, two young children, husband and home, how do you find the time?I’m lucky enough to have lots of help. I have an assistant who helps me fill my orders. Also, my husband Josh does much of the administrative work and production here at the studio. And last, but certainly not least, my lovely Mother-in-law watches my children during the work week days so I can actually get something done.
You have a book that showcases your artwork, Fantasy Art by Jessica Galbreth, but you also published a Jessica Galbreth Artist’s Manual last fall. Why did you decide to share all the information you have gathered in the last ten(?) years with budding artists?I was receiving so many e-mails from artists asking me how I made it out there with my art. I realized that this knowledge and wisdom had value, and that I had the desire to share that knowledge with others.
How did you get into licensing and how did you know it was the way you wanted to go with your art?Even early on, I had always had the desire to see my art turned into some of the beautiful gift products I’d seen on the market. I was pretty aggressive about it early on, and knocked on a lot of doors, so to speak. Once I had a few deals in place, I realized what a wonderful way licensing is to earn income as an artist. Not only does it amount to some good royalties, but it also is such a thrill to see your products in stores and catalogs all over the world.
What do you do to recharge your creativity?I just get back to nature. Whenever I feel my muse going quiet, it only takes a walk in the woods (complete with some tree hugging) to tap back into it
I first met you at the Michigan Renaissance festival when you were just getting started. What made you decide that the faire was a good place to begin your “selling” career?Before the Michigan faire, I had tried a few smaller shows. Doing a show is a lot of work and very tiring, but once I tried the Michigan faire and saw the amount of traffic and sales potential, I was hooked. It’s a great opportunity for me each year to get in front of my customers and talk with them about what they might want to see from me.
What is the top most marketing tip you’d give to other artists?Sticktoitiveness! It takes time, hard work, and constant improvement to stay afloat as an artist, but all that work is so worthwhile when it happens for you!
What’s next for Jessica Galbreth?I have a new project I’m really excited about. I’m making these gorgeous, ornate sun catchers that I’ve named Wishcatchers. I’m donating 10% of all sales on these to the Make-A-Wish foundation. You can see them at: www.Wishcatchers.etsy.com
See more of Jessica’s work on her website, enchanted-art.com! See you at Faeriecon, Jess!
Two of my fabulous writing friends and critique partners are giving away signed copies of To Find A Wonder along with other fabulous reads like The brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner at Laura Pauling’s blog and Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rules by Cynthia Lord on Kris Asseslin’s Blog. Check them out!
If you’ve come over from Laura’s blog welcome and here’s the marketing post I promised.
So, marketing has fallen into the hands of us authors. I don’t think anyone could refute that point. Unless your name is….well, you all know who they are. So, how do you put your own talents to work for you?
Thinking out of the box is scary sometimes. People might think you are crazy…or possibly brilliant. For my To Find A Wonder book launch party I could’ve chosen any of the marvelous independent bookstores in our area, but I went with Wingdoodle, a creativity store in Warner, NH instead. Why not a traditional bookstore? Because a big part of my marketing plan was to use my other talents to market my words.
And what are those other talents? I create sewing pattern for fantasy creatures and characters (see my Dragon Charmer page) and I had created sewing patterns for the main characters in my book. I hoped to hook those sewing pattern fans into wanting the story to go along with their creations and readers into wanting to create their own characters with the patterns. I think I’ve been fairly successful in this endeavor and the kids (and their parents!) love to see the characters in 3-D when I visit schools and libraries. I’ve had many moms and grandma’s buy the book and patterns together with the intent of making the characters for their grandchildren.
So, that is one way in which I used my other talents to market my words.
Even more exciting is the fact that I used my writing ability to script my book into a play. It was pretty easy, the worst part was the formatting! But if your story is already written it’s very easy to script it. Here’s what it looks like:
–The beginning of the Book–
Whooping a victory cry, Mortimer dashed around the muddy contest field. He jumped onto the split rail fence and addressed Sir Emberly, his liege knight. “These men are but pups, Sir Emberly!”
Mortimer twirled off the fence to meet Will, his next challenger. A powerful stroke sent a jolt through Mortimer’s arm but he followed through with another thrust, and then threw his elbow into his opponent’s stomach.
Will crumpled to the ground gasping for air. Mortimer turned in a circle, his wooden practice sword raised and ready, heart thumping in his throat, but not a single competitor was left standing.
Sir Emberly nudged his palfrey, steering her from the vantage point on the hill. The knight’s mouth set in a grim line, his knuckles white-gripped the reign.
…tub of lard…always bossin’ me about…if only I could carry a knight who didn’t weigh as much as his armor…
Mortimer grinned despite the sour look on Emberly’s face. If only the other squires could hear what Emberly’s horse thought of his rider the way Mortimer could.
“Shall I be dubbed a knight now, Emberly?” Mortimer asked eagerly, shaking his bobbed red hair. Being a knight was the only thing he ever wanted. The only dream he ever had. “No squire compares to me, with sword or lance, I dare say.”
Sir Emberly’s lip curled as he shifted in the saddle. “You dare too much, Mortimer.”
–And here is the beginning of the play–
Act one, Scene one
Opening Song—To be a Knight (Mortimer and other Squires)
The castle squires are practicing sword play during the opening song. During the course of the song squires fall out, nursing injuries. The defeated squires throw dark looks and scowls at the three squires remaining in the fight at the end of the song.
Mortimer: These men are but pups, Sir Emberly! (Twirls to meet Will, the only remaining squire to beat)
Will: I’ll show you who’s a pup! (Sir Emberly approaches the field while the two boys spar. Mortimer beats Will easily.)
Mortimer: (turning to Emberly) Shall I be dubbed a knight now, Emberly? No squire compares to me, with sword or lance I daresay.
Emberly: You dare too much, Mortimer.
Mortimer: I am the best fighter you have. Why do you not present me to the king for knighthood?
Emberly: You may be good with a sword and a horse, but are you a leader of men? Would they follow you into battle? Give their lives to protect yours? Believe in you above all others.
Mortimer looks at the other squires, they all shake their heads
Emberly: There’s your answer. (he turns to go, the other squires snicker and follow)
okay– as you can see everything is pared down to bare bones. Most of the dialogue has stayed the same, but there has been an addition. Because Will doesn’t show up much in the book he doesn’t have any dialogue, but for the play (actually it is a musical), he needed some. There will be small changes like that. It’s kind of like the show don’t tell rule in writing. What an actor can show you through action or movement on stage, he doesn’t need to talk about. But at other times there needs to be dialogue to point the audience to look in the correct direction or to smooth an action sequence back into dialogue.
The third way I’m marketing my book–thanks to the Fabulous Kirsten Cappy at Curious City was to make up an event kit. This event kit uses the knowledge I gained while writing my book. In every story, even fantasy, there are things in which we writers have to learn about in order to make the story ring true. For me, it was learning how boys became knights and the code of chivalry. I used this insight to create A Knight’s Event kit that stores, libraries, Renaissance faires, etc. can use to promote books about knights and chivalry. Any book, not just mine–but in the hopes that they would buy some copies of To Find A Wonder to use at this Event. I already have three libraries and two stores that will be using the kit this summer and I put it up two weeks ago.
Something else I did for teachers was to create some classroom activities they can use. This helps promote the book for classroom use.
So, what are you going to do to market your words? What other talents do you have that you can use to help promote your book? I’d love to hear your ideas!