Interviewer: Today I’m interviewing coloring book publisher Richard G Lowe Jr. He has produced several coloring books, including four featuring sketches made from photographs of belly dancers. Welcome Mr Lowe.
Richard: Thank you, and thanks for the interview.
Interviewer: What sparked the idea for this book?
I’ve been a belly dancer photographer for over a decade, beginning in 2005. During that time, I photographed over 1,200 belly dance performance events plus did over a hundred private photoshoots. This resulted in over 400,000 photographs, all of which are available on my photography website.
I saw several people were creating adult coloring books and it just made sense to turn some of the best of those photos into drawings suitable for coloring.
My concept was to honor my dancer friends by including their images in this coloring book. These are all talented and beautiful women, and they’ve been great friends for years. Also, I think the value of adult coloring books is high; they help people relax and relieve stress and tension.
Once I decided to create the book, I had to figure out how to change my photos into drawings. I tried a lot of software, and none of it produced the results that I desired. I tried several different artists, and finally settled on one who was able to capture the look I wanted.
Interviewer: What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The most difficult part was determining how to create drawings from my photos which would suitable for coloring. At first, I thought there might be automated tools and I tried a number of them available online. When those turned out to be unacceptable, I tried using Photoshop filters and effects. That didn’t create images of the quality I desired. Finally, I decided to find a real artist, and after several attempts, found one at a good price. She hand-traced the sketches directly from my photographs.
Interviewer: How do you hope this book affects its readers?
First, I hope they have fun coloring the pages. Second, I hope this shows people the beauty of this dance form and its aesthetic nature. And, as I said earlier, there are many benefits of coloring for adults as it serves as an artistic and creative outlet.
Interviewer: For what age group do you recommend your book?
Well, my coloring books are for grown ups, so to speak, but children will also enjoy them.
Interviewer: How difficult is publishing an adult coloring book?
It’s not difficult to self publish adult coloring books. Createspace, Lulu and IngramSpark are all great alternatives, and the process is relatively straightforward.
Interviewer: How long did it take you to create these books?
All four books took about 6 weeks. I’ve got a dozen more in production, and these are going faster because now I understand what to do and how to do it.
Interviewer: What is your writing routine?
In the evening, before going to bed, I create a calendar and to-do list for the next day. In that, I block out at least 4 to 8 hours for writing (I’m a full time writer) and at least 4 hours for promoting my books and other works. A self-published author MUST promote heavily. Books that are not promoted don’t sell.
The next day, I stick to that schedule as closely as possible.
Another thing that I do is seclude myself into my office when I write. All interruptions are put on hold. This includes silencing the phone (including texts), shutting down Facebook, and getting rid of any other distractions. My writing time is for writing, not playing on Facebook, answering the phone or dealing with others.
It’s important to treat your writing as the most important thing of all during the times you’ve set out to write. Treat it as if your life depended on it.
Interviewer: How did you get your book published?
I’ve published over 60 books, and by now I have the self-publishing process wired.. You can see most of my books at my book page.
Interviewer: What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
You have to sit down and just do it. Create a writing schedule, the same time (if possible) every single day, and use that time to write. Write every day.
To be a professional writer, make time, get educated and write.
Second, don’t edit as you write. The first step is to write your thoughts down. The second step is to edit the writing. If you mix the two, editing as you write, you slow yourself to a crawl.
I also advise self-publishing because you have complete control over the process. The downside is you have to do everything yourself, including marketing and promotion, but once you figure it all out you’ll do fine.
One of the most important things a writer can do is get a good grammar book as well as a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Use these constantly. Don’t ask questions about grammar and style on the internet – look them up in these two books. That way you know what is right.
Interviewer: What do you like to do when you’re not writing or creating coloring books?
I am a photographer and spend a lot of time taking photos of nature, events and shows.
Interviewer: What does your family think of your writing and your coloring books?
My sister is extremely supportive. She believes in the power of the written word. After all, she runs a school called the Schmahl Science Center.
Interviewer: Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
When I was a child, I was interested in becoming a geologist. I collected every type of rock and mineral that I could find, and had a beautiful collection. I also built military models and had a model railroad in the garage. I was always creating something.
Interviewer: Did you like reading when you were a child?
Books were my main friends when I was growing up. I had a library of a thousand magazines and a couple of thousand books. More importantly, I read them all from cover to cover.
I’ve wanted to be a writer from as early as I could remember. I wrote a lot, mostly for work, until I was 53 years old, then decided it was time to take an early retirement and become a professional writer.
In the two years since, I’ve written and published 32 books and also ghostwrote 12 additional books.
Interviewer: Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I was extraordinarily introverted when I was a child, and I found that books were my best friends. They were always there, always ready to share their experiences with me.
Interviewer: Which writers have influenced you the most?
Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, L Ron Hubbard, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mike Resnick, Sir Liddell Hart, Sun Tzu, Arthur Hailey, and Winston Churchill.
Interviewer: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers send me messages all the time, mostly congratulations on a job well done.
Interviewer: What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have over a dozen coloring books in production now and expect to publish them by the end of October. I’ve also got a Help! series, the most recent of which is Help! My Debt is Making me Miserable, that is a major focus. The next volume will be Help! I’m Stuck in the Friendzone. Finally, I’m working on a major science fiction series called Peacekeeper.
Plus I’ve got at least a dozen more books to publish this year.
Interviewer: Thank you for the interview. Any closing words?
Just that creating and publishing adult coloring books has been a great experience and I’m finding it very rewarding.
References for Coloring Book Publishing
If you’d like to learn more about publishing adult coloring books, check out the articles below.
- How To Self-Publish An Adult Coloring Book With Meg Cowley by Joanna Penn
- How to publish an adult coloring book (and why you should by Derek Murphy
- The King of Coloring Books by Jim Milliot