Updates, Quotes, and Working With Illustrators

Fast Updates:

*(There are quite a few updates)*


 The third book in the blood inheritance quartet, Endow” was released on July 28th and is now available for purchase through most online retailers. You can find out more by clicking on the new Endow landing page link or visiting the newly updated Novels page. The Works in progress and general information pages have been updated as well. I have also published a review page for “Endow”. You can access it here:Reviews – Endow


To celebrate the launch of the third book in the blood inheritance quartet we are offering a special price for “Rise” on amazon in EBook format, for a limited time. This price is in effect in all available amazon marketplaces.

*Also – If you have purchased “Rise” in Ebook format and would like a signed paperback, mention it at an upcoming event and you will receive a 50 percent discount at the show.*

Last month Rise was featured on shoutmybook.com.  You can also check out “Rise” at: Fictionhideaway.com and at bargainbooksy.com


*If you loved “Rise”, be sure to cast you vote at The Kinde Book Review!  VOTE SciFi/Fantasy 2020 by clicking this link: kindlebookreview.net/vote-sci-fi-fantasy be sure to leave a comment about your favorite book listed.*


The Book Review Directory featured “Endow” On august 12th! You can read the editorial review here: Editorial Review – Endow

Celebrate Diwali With Us

“Endow” also received three five star reviews on readersfavorite.com!

To read the full reviews please visit: readersfavorite.com/endow

I am honored that “Endow” has been featured in the all author cover of the month contest. To vote for your favorite cover visit the site: allauthor.com



readersfavorite.com will have Rise and “Lost” listed as available prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway/Rise and here: book giveaway/Lost

Lost reads quickly and smoothly, moving between...... review gif


Upcoming Event Reminders:


We will be participating in The Milwaukee Comic Con! This MightyCon event takes place at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds Products Pavillion located at 640 S 84th St., West Allis, WI 53214 on September 12th.

Concealed Realms will be at Quad Con Iowa City on  September 26th. This event takes place at the Coralville Marriott Conference Center.

Postponed events:

*(Events that were canceled outright are not listed)

Concealed Realms will be participating in the Dupage Mighty Con. This event takes place at the Dupage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL on Saturday May 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Concealed Realms will be participating in Porter County Comic Con. The Porter County Mighty Con event takes place Saturday, June 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Porter County Expo Center, 215 E Division Rd, Valparaiso, IN.

We will be returning to The Madison Comic Con! This event takes place Sunday, July 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Exhibit Hall, 1 John Nolan Drive, Madison WI.

Concealed Realms will be at the ST. Louis Mighty Con! This Mighty Con event will take place  July 18th  and July 19th at the St. Charles Convention Center.

We will be participating in Oddmall: Hallowondrous on October 16-17, 2020. The event takes place at Lakewood Masonic Temple – 15300 Detroit Ave. Lakewood, Ohio 44107.

Concealed Realms will be at Oddmall: Chrishanukwanzmadan,  December 4-6, 2020. The event takes place at the Cultural Center for the Arts – 1001 Market Avenue, Canton OH 44702.

Art Quotes:


“Art is the reflection of pure emotion and mind, the nature of sensation. An artist illustrates that.” – Unarine Ramaru


“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci


“Inking is meditation in liquid form…” – J.H. Everett


“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso


“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” – Vincent Willem van Gogh


“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton , No Man Is an Island


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas


“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t creak.” – Tom Robbins


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso


“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” – Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park



Definition of illustrator:


noun an artist who makes illustrations: an illustrator of children’s books.www.dictionary.com

Merriam Webster.com

nounto provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate illustrate a book.”– merriamwebster.com



Working with illustrators on a creative project:

In the past I have hired freelance illustrators for many purposes such as creating a scene break image, drawings for bookmarks, general images for marketing, and even character sketches.treee(1)

Image created by freelancer for “Rise”

Why do I choose to outsource illustration and design work?

My passion is writing and I am not very talented when it comes to the particular skills involved with drawing and illustrating. It’s true that I could just go without the artwork, but by outsourcing the job I don’t have to.

Hiring  freelancers can save you time, and headaches.  It can bring fantastic outside talent onboard for your project and there are countless quality candidates available. Sorting through them may seem like an arduous task, but once you find the right one, it makes all the difference in the world.

  • Note: If you are intending to submit your text to a traditional publisher or literary agent and it is acquired by them, they will choose the illustrator and liaise with her/him.
Illustration by: kokongm74

What is a freelancer?

Freelancers are remote workers who take on projects as independent contractors.

As you know, when writing and publishing, your to do list can become endless. There is a lot to accomplish beyond sitting down and getting story’s onto the page such as: Marketing, hiring editors, production, distribution, etc.

There can be many benefits to outsourcing and incorporating freelancers into Your strategy, but we wont get into all that in this post. I will simply recommend that you consider freelancers as another great resource to help you reach your goal.

Illustration by: Tauseef Ahmed

Hiring a freelance worker for your illustrations is not overly complicated:

 The first key to finding a great freelancer, is to determine what the job entails and what you can pay for the service. This may seem obvious, but there are a lot of different options available: for example, I have found that I prefer hand drawn sketches and I have a strict budget which I must adhere to. Making these distinctions significantly narrows down the search as they are key factors in who will be willing to work with you.

After you have determined what you want, you can utilize a trusted online marketplace to seek out the appropriate artists. These marketplaces assist in uniting authors and publishing freelancers in the self publishing industry.

1. Ask yourself what you are expecting to be performed.

2. Determine what you are willing and able to pay for it.

3. Select a marketplace that suits your needs.

  • Note: Always read the marketplaces terms of service. Do they clearly state that the purchaser is granted all rights for the delivered work? Hiring an illustrator for this type of project should fall under “work made for hire” rules unless otherwise specified.
Illustration (Amanda) by maria_x

 What is Work Made For Hire?

To keep it in the simplest of terms: “Work made for hire” is a doctrine created by U.S. Copyright Law. Generally, the person who creates a work is considered its “author” and the automatic owner of copyright in that work. However, under the work made for hire doctrine, your employer or the company or person that has commissioned the work, is considered the author and automatic copyright owner. The first requirement for a valid work made for hire contract is that your work must be “specially commissioned.” It cannot have already existed beforehand.

Illustration (Amanda) by maria_x
  • Note: When setting up a proposal, I always make sure to add that I need commercial rights in the requirements. It is also a good idea to ask for the source file, this might cost extra but it is well worth it.
If you want to learn more about copyright law and work made for hire visit: www.copyright.gov
Scenebreak Illustration by: Tauseef Ahmed

Doing your homework:

Once you have found the right marketplace and you think that you have found a few candidates for your project, check out the freelancer’s work samples and read feedback from others that have worked with them. Make sure what they offer fits your needs and don’t be afraid to contact the freelancer with any questions in order to make sure they can meet your expectations, but always be respectful of their time.

Clear communication between you and the illustrator is a must before agreeing to anything. To ensure this happens, you should write a complete proposal with very clear and specific goals to verify that the freelancer understands exactly what you need.

Illustration by Tauseef Ahmed
  • Note: Don’t expect every illustrator you contact to have an immediate desire to work on your project. Your idea may not resonate with them or they may simply not have time. You have put blood, sweat, and tears into your story and you want them to do the same with your illustration.
Illustration by Tauseef Ahmed

Get Offers:
If you prefer, many online freelance service marketplaces have an option to get offers for a job. This option often allows you to post a definition of what you need done, your time frame, and your budget so that freelancers can contact you with custom offers. I like to seek out illustrators personally.

Illustration (Emily) by jcarlina
  • Note: You tend to get what you pay for. Be aware of the standard industry rates going in. Good illustrations can be costly, but if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and a professional will provide expertise that may save you in the long run.
Illustration (Emily) by jcarlina

As the work begins:

I have heard that some illustrators may ask for a full manuscript to review.  I have not had this happen, but I have never had my entire book illustrated. I generally have an image in my head that I want drawn.

In order for them to get a proper sense of the story and its characters, I tend to include my book genre and the blurb. I then write a description of what I am looking for and what I need to be included such as, whether or not the image needs to be high resolution, etc. I also tend to send short excerpts from the book that describe the character, item, or scene in detail. I enjoy seeing how the artist will interpret what I wrote but if there is any question about what I am asking for, I will include an example or two of images that look similar in some way.

Illustration by Avitalshtap

Listen to the illustrator’s feedback regarding your ideas. Don’t think of them as an employee hired to do your will, but as a collaborator with expertise in the field of creating illustrations that pair with your words in an appealing and viable way.

  • Note: You want to maintain a positive working relationship so, any criticisms should be respectfully and constructively given from ether side of the collaboration.
Illustration by Tauseef Ahmed

The Illustration Process:

Like writing a book, the illustration process has several stages, which could be slightly different depending on who you are working with and what you are asking for. Stages of the illustration process that I have encountered most often after excepting an offer, generally include a rough sketch of their interpretation. This helps them verify that they are on the right track before they incorporate more detail.

Draft 1 – castle image created by Tauseef Ahmed

Once you give the okay, some artists will then send you the finished, but uncolored draft. This gives both of you piece of mind throughout the process. You wouldn’t want someone spending hours, or even days, on a piece that you are going to request big changes for.

Draft 2 – castle image created by Tauseef Ahmed

They may ask a lot of question about the color and feel that you want for the image before colorizing. Again, always be as clear as possible in your description. You don’t want a character image to come back with blonde hair when you state throughout your manuscript that he or she is a redhead. This is not just a headache for you, but for the artist as well.

Draft 3 – castle image created by Tauseef Ahmed

As you can see, there are multiple stages at which the author can give feedback or request changes. Don’t be afraid to offer polite corrections if something looks amiss before you receive the final artwork. Take advantage of the opportunities to comment and politely ask for changes. If you do request late changes, be prepared to pay extra.

Work in progress illustration by: Tauseef Ahmed

When you receive the final artwork, be sure to thank them. It was no easy feat to bring your story and its characters to life. They deserve recognition, even when its not required. I like to add the illustrators names or handles to their pieces here on my website and try to promote them on social media when its appropriate.

Illustration by Tauseef Ahmed
  • Note: Some marketplaces forbid sharing information such as names during a collaboration.
Image created for “The Warning Signs” by Onesketchman

The whole publishing process itself can be filled with ups and downs. There will be moments of triumph and times when you are filled with frustration. But in the end you will find that it is a wonderful experience. For the most part, my collaborations with illustrators have been great. The few that I have had the honor of working with take a lot pride in their artwork. Remember, they want you to end up with an amazing product, so sit back, be inspired, and enjoy the trip.

Learn more about working with illustartors:

selfpublishingadvice.org, reedsy.com


(Rough draft images used with permission from the artist Tauseef Ahmed for the purpose of this post)

The Best ay To Thank Wan Author Is to rite a Revie

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Shalini says:

    Thank you so much for the shout out ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. M. Ainihi says:

      It is my pleasure!


  2. mitchteemley says:

    Sounds intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

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