Friday, September 25, 2009

Win a Free Autographed Copy of Karate Dottie and a Sketch!

Observation Paper recently did an interview with me as part of the Creative Process series. You can read it at Creativity Profile: SF Varney

If you leave a comment on the article, you are automatically entered to win an autographed copy of Karate Dottie and the Treacherous Treehouse with an original sketch on the inside cover.

Karate Dottie,SF Varney,Illustration,Book Covers,Manga

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Digital Books vs Traditional Publishing

There is a great debate going on concerning the impact of digitally published books on those that are traditionally published.  Many people extol the virtues of feeling the weight of a book in their hands, the ease of sharing a book while reading to their children at bedtime, and the ability to loan out the book to friends.  Some authors and publishers are concerned about ease of piracy and the cannibalization of the traditional sales since most eBooks are priced significantly below the price of traditionally printed books.  Those who favor digital books cite the lower prices, the lower environmental impact (although that also has been debated), and the ease of carrying around a library in a digital reader approximately the size of a legal pad.

The two main readers currently out there are Amazon's Kindle and the Sony Digital Reader

 There are a lot of great reviews out there on both and if you are in the market I would encourage you to check them out before you purchase.  This post is more for the producer of content and less for the consumer.

I personally feel both formats are valid.  I love books and have a large collection of them.  I have no issue telling my children "no" when they come up to me wanting me to purchase a new toy or new video game, but it is a different story when they want a book.  I also, like many others, cancelled my newspaper subscription long ago since I get most of my news instantly from cable news and the internet (although I still enjoy reading the Washington Post with my coffee on Sundays). 

Recently I wrote a book called Karate Dottie and the Treacherous Treehouse.  It is an illustrated children's chapter book targeted towards children aged 8 and up.  As an afterthought, I decided to publish it digitally on Amazon's Kindle.  The process was fairly easy and it went live about a month before the paperback version was published.  The book can be purchased as a download to be read on Amazon's Kindle or Apple's iPhone or iTouch with a free Kindle app installed.

I was not sure how it would do considering I personally do not know any children that have a $299 Kindle.  I was pleasantly surprised.     

In thinking about it, I shouldn't have been.  My wife recently purchased an iPhone and really enjoys it.  She especially enjoys the downloadable apps to add functionality.  Two apps she recently purchased are simple games for our preschoolers which she paid $1.99 each.  Why would you let a preschooler play with a $200 phone?  For those without small children, let me just say there are times when you need something to occupy them (like when they are bouncing off the ceiling in a grocery store).  

As a retailer, one of the most important things you need to know is who is your customer.  Unfortunately, Amazon has the customer information regarding who is buying the digital books but I do not.  I would assume it is people with digital readers who are downloading books for their children to read.  Although I have seen many commuters in the Washington DC area and other major metropolitan areas use digital readers, I have not seen them show up in my children's friends backpacks.  

If you are a publisher or producer of content, you cannot ignore this important market.  It adds an additional revenue stream for your company at very little cost and there is a great deal of evidence that points to a tremendous amount of growth in this category.  As a creator of content, your product will reach new viewers and open up a worldwide market.  As technology improves, it may even create a more interactive reading experience and open up possibilities that we cannot even imagine at this point. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This is the first post of my new blog, TradigitalART.  This blog will primarily be focused on what is currently on my drawing board/computer screen, TradigitalART techniques, and profiles of the talented artists that inspire me.  I intend for it to be an open dialogue with other artists so feel free to comment. 

About me, I studied art and graphic design in college, worked in the comic book industry as an inker for a little while and illustrated a few books along the way.  Most recently, I wrote and illustrated my first children's book (chapter book for middle readers) called Karate Dottie and the Treacherous Treehouse which is available as an eBook and in paperback.  I am currently working on the second book in the Karate Dottie series.

This is a painting I did a few years ago called the Pedestrian.  It started off as a pencil sketch and then was painted in Photoshop 7.  It was originally created as a cover for a comic book series that I wrote but the story changed a bit and it was no longer relevant so never used.