Want to be an IMPACT Books Author? Here's How...
One of the questions we get at IMPACT Books is how to become an author. We're always looking for talented artists with great book ideas. Check out our guidelines below. We'd love to hear about your book idea.
How to Submit a Book Idea and Become an Author of an IMPACT Book
IMPACT Books is an imprint of F+W Publications
IMPACT is always looking for talented creators to share their techniques with our readers.
What Does IMPACT Look For?
1. We publish books about do-it-yourself comic and fantasy art creation activities. We need ideas for books that will appeal to the person who wants to learn skills in ways that are easy to follow and fun.
2. We publish books with great examples of finished art. All of the artwork and step-by-step demonstrations in the book must be:
- Of high quality in artistic technique, instructional value and reproductive quality (all digital files high resolution and photography in focus with proper exposure)
The response of the reader should be "Wow, I want to do that!"
3. We publish books on a basic skill level. IMPACT books must interest beginners who like to spend time creating comics. The art, techniques and processes presented should appear to be well within the reach of what the average reader can do. Emphasis should be on relatively easy, fast, fun methods. Reader response should be "Wow, I CAN do that!"
4. We publish books that teach primarily with pictures and easy-to-follow step-by-step demonstrations, not just with words. Illustrations should be clear, instructive, easy to follow and of professional quality. You must build your book around demonstrations with five to ten steps per demonstration that the reader can easily learn from to complete similar art that looks good based on your instruction. The reader must be able to see the whole process by scanning the sequence of illustrations without even having to read the captions. In other words, the captions should support the art.
5. We publish books that fit our format. Our books are usually:
- 8 1/2 x 11 inches
- 80, 96, 112, 128 or 144 pages long (most 128 or 144)
- Full color (though some may be black and white)
IMPACT, not the author, determines binding and selling price. We sometimes consider other formats, but most IMPACT books are 8 1/2” x 11” paperbacks.
What You Must Be Able To Do As An Author
1. Provide great art and step-by-step demonstrations suitable for reproduction. Art and instruction must be high quality. We can work with hi res electronic art, transparencies, 35mm slides or flat art flexible enough to curve around the drum of a scanner. You must submit electronic art, transparencies or slides of highly valuable finished art; art that is not flexible enough to be curved around the drum of a scanner; art that is larger than 19" x 25" or smaller than 3" x 5".
2. Provide great step-by-step demonstrations that show the process of producing comics or fantasy art as you create them, reproducing each step in a progression with electronic art, slides or flat art. This is a necessity for doing an IMPACT book. We have sets of guidelines showing you how best to do this. You must submit your materials as written in the guidelines. Most IMPACT authors scan their art in stages as they produce it or provide original flat art showing each step.
3. Write clear how-to instructions for step-by-step demonstrations. This is also a necessity for an IMPACT book. If you can describe in words exactly what you are doing when you are creating comics or fantasy art—including what materials, tools, colors and techniques you are using—you most likely have the necessary writing skills. We are not looking for stylish or scholarly prose, lists of anecdotes or travelogues—just concise, easy-to-follow descriptions of how to perform techniques that are clear enough to follow. If your writing is logical and correctly ordered, we can do the rest, such as grammar, spelling and punctuation. However, our editors work with you and your project on much more than those details.
4. Work with editors. Once a committee accepts your proposal, you continue to work with an editor who helps you with the following:
- Providing you with guidelines for producing and submitting your materials (this may also be provided to you before your proposal is accepted)
- Answering your questions about how you should proceed
- Helping you develop a page-by-page plan of your book for you to follow (this may also be developed with you before your proposal is accepted)
- Establishing a schedule of deadlines for submissions (you will be asked to send finished chapters for review)
- Reviewing and editing your manuscript and art as you submit them
- Providing feedback within a reasonable time frame (it is not always possible to provide immediate feedback, since our editors work on several projects at one time)
Most IMPACT authors are artists, not writers. You don't have to be a perfect writer—your editor will help you make your book the best it can be. Usually, we do heavily edit most IMPACT books in the interest of being most instructive for the reader. Your editor may cut text or ask you to provide more to ensure logic, accuracy, flow, etc. An editor may cut art or ask you to provide more to ensure good reproduction and instruction, IMPACT style, etc.
5. Follow an outline, clear page plan and all agreed-to project information for the book. Before you produce anything beyond proposal materials for a book, we plan exactly what will go in it, arranged in a logical order, so everybody knows what is necessary to complete the work. This makes gathering and producing the material much easier for you. It also lets us know what is coming and how long the book will be before we start work. We need authors who can write the books we need and know we can sell.
6. Deliver material on time. It is essential that you deliver artwork and writing on time in order to receive your advance payments and so that we can have your book ready when we can best sell it. You must be able to keep yourself on schedule from the beginning. Good book writing requires organization, discipline and applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Your editor will work with you on mutually agreeable due dates for submissions. If you do not meet deadlines, we may decide to cancel your book, which means that you will have to return any advances that you have received.
What You Should Submit For A Potential Book Idea
1. Submit at least twenty high-quality samples of art (printed, digital, slides, transparencies—whatever represents your work best) typical of what readers will learn to do in your book. We need to see enough so that we know your work is consistently good. It is important that you also let us know how you would plan to submit the art for the book (electronic, original, etc.) so that we can make sure your submissions will be acceptable.
2. Submit a definition of your book with a detailed outline/table of contents. It is best if you can establish a very specific "handle" or "big idea" to focus the book and give it a definite direction from the start. You may already have this. Whether you already have an idea for a book or do not yet know what your "big idea" is, write short answers to the following questions to develop your idea further:
- What is your book about? What medium, techniques, subject matter and point of view will it include?
- Who are your targeted readers? It must be suitable for beginners, but please define your audience further.
- How will the book teach the reader? In what form will you deliver the instruction? It must include step-by-step demonstrations, but it can also include projects or exercises for the reader to do; close-up details; case studies; artist profiles; before/after or good/bad comparisons; etc.
- What makes your book special? What will the readers find in your book that they cannot get in other books? This does not mean your book has to be startlingly new. Nevertheless, what features would it have to set it apart from other books?
- What makes you qualified to write this book?
Then make a detailed outline that shows you have thought your book idea through.
3. Submit a sample section or chapter (both art and writing) representative of the book.
Send all of the above to Pamela Wissman, Acquisitions Editor, IMPACT Books, F+W Publications, 4700 East Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236. Though we produce many types of instruction books, I am currently most interested in proposals on the following topics for the IMPACT line:
- How to Draw Comics in Popular Comic-Book Styles (superheroes, fantasy, manga)
- Special effects (how to depict speed, blasts, superpowers)
- Dramatic facial expressions (rage, fear, etc.)
- Action poses/fighting/battles (including professional wrestling)
- Basics of backgrounds/settings
- Science fiction
- Panel sequencing/layout/composition/design
- Auto detailing/airbrush
- How to Draw Monsters, Dragons, Creatures and Animals
- How to Draw Aliens
- How to Draw Horror
- Drawing People
- How to Create Comics from Photos (particularly people and animals)
- Basic Drawing and Sketching
- Creativity/Getting Ideas
- Coloring (including computer coloring)
- Big Reference Books on Comics
- Comic-Book Artist’s Photo Reference
- Inking Essentials
- How to Draw Comics for Kids
- How to Create Fantasy Art (people, creatures, backgrounds)
- Anatomy for Comics and Fantasy Art
- How to Draw Cars and Vehicles
- Cool Drawing for Kids
- Ideas that might possibly be produced in a trading-card format
- Activity books that include both games/puzzles and art
I assess your material, and if it appears suitable for our publishing program, I work with you to develop the outline and chapter-by-chapter description of the content of the book further. We will also finalize how to present the material, i.e. step-by-step demonstrations, details of finished work, etc. If you haven’t provided a sample step-by-step demonstration already, I will ask you to create one consisting of all the steps involved in making one of your projects, along with captions telling what happens in each step. This will also indicate how we can best help you with the writing and with acquiring quality illustrations as the project progresses.
Once we have a good outline, page plan and sample demonstration, I will propose your project to a review board for approval. If approved, you will then negotiate a contract with our Manager of Acquisitions and Contracts. The terms of the contract will spell out the advances you will receive, the royalty payments and the due dates for art and finished manuscript.
What's In It for You as an IMPACT Author
There are many good reasons for publishing a book with F+W and IMPACT. We create the finest art instruction books available today and are the leading publishers of art instruction books in the U.S. Our books are in nearly every bookstore and art supply store in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other areas of the world. Publications such as Comics Buyer’s Guide, Previews, Comics & Games Retailer, Scrye, School Library Journal, Library Journal and mail order catalogues also feature them. We promote them at conventions, as well as distributing them to comic book retailers. In addition, our books usually remain in print and in our catalog for many years, as long as there is a demand for them.
Creating a book takes time, effort and commitment. Nevertheless, it is worth it. Besides the obvious satisfaction and pride you will feel when you see your best work in print, there are other rewards.
1. It gets the word out, providing you with increased opportunities in your career. Being the author of a book is a great way to publicize your work and to become better known. If people like what you show them in your book, they will want to see more of what you do. A book with your name on it is good advertising!
2. You share your joys and discoveries with others. Not only do you share your joy in the process of making art, but you also make it possible for the reader to create. There is no better way to enrich the joy of others than to share your discoveries and secrets in a well-written instruction book.
3. You make money. As the author and copyright holder, you will receive royalties on all sales of your book. Although you might not be able to retire early (or even quit your day job), periodically receiving a royalty check can be a nice supplement to your earnings.
How to Find Out More
If you have any other questions, please write to:
Pamela Wissman, Acquisitions Editor
4700 East Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236