A couple of months ago I jumped into a brave new world – Adult Coloring Books. I’d been hearing about them for some time, but since I’m a writer I never considered doing one of my own. Many authors and publishers had mentioned coloring books is a “hot” (meaning good selling) niche, and there are even several products on various affiliate lists giving training on how to do it.
At first I resisted, thinking I had nothing useful to add to an already very crowded market. There are tens of thousands of adult coloring books for sale on Amazon, and most of them are quick versions generated from stock photos.
If I was going to enter the adult coloring book world, I wanted to be sure I had a good product which was relatively unique – at least as unique as possible. I don’t like to produce fad products, or quick one-offs, or the newest hot commodity; Instead, my goal is to create products that are of such high quality that I can be proud my name is on the cover.
One day I was looking through my photographs, trying to find one for someone, when I realized that I had, sitting right under my nose, a unique and interesting subject. You see, I’ve photographed thousands of belly dancers as they performed and in private and public photoshoots. My website has almost 1,000,000 photographs that I’ve taken over a period of a decade, and about 400,000 of them are of bellydancers.
Years before, in 2005, shortly after my wife passed away, I discovered the belly dance community at the renaissance festival. I met the dancers and found them all to be very nice people with an incredible amount talent. It was just what I needed to help with the and send of loss. The dancers accepted me into their community as “their” photographer, and I was proud to be able to shoot photographs of their performances and earn their friendship.
As I looked over those photos, I realized I had an opportunity to create not just a nice product, but to reconnect with my friends in that community. i’d moved to Florida and over the span of a few years lost touch with them.
My goal was to create a high-quality coloring book to honor my friends and to interest those who enjoy adult coloring pages. I’m not an artist, which created a substantial barrier. How to get my photos converted to a form suitable for coloring?
I experimented with half a dozen technologies and was not satisfied with any of the more automated techniques. I didn’t want to produce garbage.
I tried a few artists with poor results.
Finally, I found an artist with a good price point who drew very nice images. Better still, she was able to work fast, so I could produce coloring books quickly and efficiently.
I made sure I got permission from all the dancers to include their images, and set the artist loose. Within a couple of weeks, I had a finished book, published it and the comments were all positive.
This has been a fun project, so much fun that I did three more bellydance coloring books, and have now moved on to produce some other types. My feeling is coloring books make good products to have available during the holiday gift buying season.
So far, it’s been a grand adventure and, since I have the help of an artist to do much of the work, it has not drained too much of my time. Besides that, I have reconnected with the bellydance community and am making new friends in the adult coloring community. So the fun continues.