All Things Are Possible

All Things Are Possible by Kenneth Leon Roberts

All Things Are Possible

The Story behind the Art

This illustration ‘All Things Are Possible’ is a fantasy picture of hope. All things are possible to those that believe. In a world of endless possibilities, it is the belief that  ‘Life is your oyster’ that the illustrator Kenneth Leon Roberts lives by. If it can happen to anyone, it can happen to you. Reach for the moon and life will reward you.

Illustrations sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

A Note about Marketing your Book

A note about marketing your book.

There are a few things to remember when marketing your book.

  1. You must write an exceptional book. If you feel your book is inferior, you will not be able to market it effectively. Great sales always start with a great product. Write something you can believe in when you sell it.
  2. Change people’s perception of your work. People are usually curious but cautious. When you do your marketing, make sure you address the perception you want people to conceive about your work. Remember – In marketing perception is everything!
  3. Don’t just tell people how great your work is that you have written. Show how it can help them. People really don’t care how great you are unless you can help them.
  4. Show value in your work. There needs to be value in the person taking the time to read your work. If you don’t communicate value to the person, they probably will have better things to do.
  5. Give them something to remember about your work. If they don’t remember the marketing, they will find other things to do.

Autographed copies sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

The Aspiring Writer

The Aspiring Writer

Writing is a discipline like any other art.  Great writers take time to develop their skills. There are a lot of skills that need developing. One of the greatest skills I believe a writer can develop is the skill of indifferent objectivity.

Most writers write from a place of knowing. They have their opinions and they use their writing to share them. Their writing is great for a book or two. Then it is rehash. They don’t objectively look at things outside their personal point of view.

An accomplished writer looks at things, opinions, and ideas as tools and not personal crusades. They explore the possibilities and limits of things other than just their personal beliefs. This brings a depth and an insight into their writing that new writers have not yet developed.

When I think of some of the greatest stories ever written, I am always reminded of two worlds or beliefs that collide. It is the conflict between the two that make the story great. Whether right or wrong, an accomplished writer can present both sides equally with a solid viewpoint for each. This balancing brings a depth and quality to the story.

I noticed the difference in this principle from my earlier writings to my later writings. Stories can only stand with the introduction of differing viewpoints. I look forward to my upcoming books because I feel they will have greater depth.

Remember, one of the greatest skills a writer can develop is the skill of indifferent objectivity.

Kenneth Leon Roberts

Signed book copies sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

Media Kits for Authors

Media Kits

Authors should have a media kit!

A Media Kit consists of:

  1. Professional business card.
  2. Professional head shot of author.  (High and Low Resolution)
  3. Professional photograph of book (High and Low Resolution)
  4. One-page promotional material of book.
  5. Biography of author.
  6. Business information sheet if books belong to business.
  7. Complete PDF of your book.
  8. Print copy of book.
  9. Press Release copy.
  10. Cover Letter.

Remember this is your time to show off brand!!!!

I hope you enjoyed Media Kits.

Signed Book copies sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

What Role does Artists have in Society?

Tango by Kenneth Leon Roberts

What role does artists have in society?

As an artist, I was asked this question the other morning. What role does artists have in society? In pondering the answer to the question, I came back to my traditional viewpoint. Artist’s can make statements on society and how we live without stepping on people’s toes. If a person spouts out political or lifestyle viewpoints, they can cause a lot of animosity and controversial behavior. It can really be “in your face.”

An artist can portray ideas and viewpoints in a way that the observer stands back and looks at them and evaluates them in a safe environment. They can look at different sides of the issue, in different lights.

 That makes an artist role very significant in society. They can establish questions and answers to societal roles and issues.

As an artist, I always try to make my audience look at the world through the eyes of a child. I try to bring hope, peace, joy, and understanding back to our lives in the form of simple values. Values, whether time honored or progressive, brings stability and structure to a life. That makes people feel secure.

As an artist, I feel I have a significant role in society.

Kenneth Leon Roberts – Artist/Illustrator

Illustrations sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

Acrylic Painting – The Latest Artist Fad

Indian Dancer by Kenneth Leon Roberts

Acrylic Painting – The latest artist fad

Have you been to an art store lately? Acrylic paints are everywhere. Oils had harder to find and acrylics are dollars less expensive. What is up?

Acrylic paints have a few advantages. Let’s recount a few.

  1. Acrylic paints are less expensive
  2. Acrylic paints are water soluble. Easier to use and clean up in soap and water.
  3. Acrylic paints are less toxic. Usable in confined spaces with less ventilation.
  4. Acrylic paints dry faster. They are quicker to use.
  5. Can paint on more surfaces without preparation. Paper, canvases, plastic, wood, metal, etc.
  6. Acrylic paints can paint any of the following techniques.
    1. Brushing
    1. Dripping
    1. Glazing
    1. Impasto
    1. Masking
    1. Scumbling
    1. Spraying
    1. Underpaintings
    1. Washes
  7. Acrylics don’t fade over time.
  8. Acrylics create crisp edges.
  9. Acrylics can paint more graphical in style.

If you haven’t checked out the acrylic paints. Do so.

The advantages are great.

Illustrations sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

What does Author Success look like to me?

What does author success look like to me?

As an author of 2 novels and 15 children’s books, I am often asked the question – What does success as an author mean to you? It is certainly something I have thought long and hard about.

I do not believe that success means selling a million books or writing the next “Great American Novel.” Rather I feel success to me is in the process that took place in the writing. It was the overcoming of the personal challenges of writing. The putting of thoughts on a paper and trying to make them legible. The personal triumph of my 20th edit and the challenge of it still not being right. The realization that I had 100 revisions planned by the time the 3rd edition was printed. The constant striving to re-work the ideas.

My books are not anywhere near to being perfect or correct but they represent to me challenges overcome.

 I define my success but these events. I may never be successful in anyone else’s eyes, but in mine eyes I have found author’s success by doing the work.

Kenneth Leon Roberts – Author/Illustrator

Books sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler.com .

How to Improve your Art through Art Contests

How to improve your art.

As an artist, I tend to get into a rut with my art. I go through times when I am excited to create and times when it is hard. I know that is part of life, but it can be reality most of the time. Keeping a normal workflow is hard for me. One thing that helps me keep on track is providing challenges into my work. One way to do this is by entering art contests. There are many contests offered by major brands, advertising agencies, or art enthusiasts. Each contest has a set of criteria that must be met. This offers challenge. I do not expect to win every contest and I certainly do not do it for the money. I do it for the personal challenge. By pushing myself into strange new situations, I advance my art. 

If you are looking for new ways to improve your current art attainment, try entering a couple of contests. You will be challenged.

Remember, do it for the personal benefit and nothing else. You will not be disappointed.

Kenneth Leon Roberts’ Illustrations sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

Values – The Focal Point of Good Writing

Values – The Focal Point of Good Writing

Diversity in life is the greatest thing people have in common. Diverse lives mean diverse values.  As a writer, if you want to relate to people and get them personally involved with your writing, challenge their values. Give your readers something to digest. I learned this principle with the first book I wrote. It is the most appreciated book in the Lil Quacker Series written for children. It is titled “Oldie Oldschool and the Chicks.” It is a comic parody of values. Its characters have different values from old to modern, conservative to liberal, men to women, and more. It looks at the crazy sides of them all with Oldie Oldschool teaching the chicks. The fun side of using values in your writing is looking at different viewpoints, lifestyles, and people. Situations always change the accepted norms of the value. What is commonplace now, will look absurd over time. By placing the value on unimportant things, a writer can safely examine it. For example, in Oldie Oldschool and the Chicks, all values were examined in the context of chickens becoming cowboys and cooks. It was a safe environment to discuss conservative and liberal values. It made it possible to laugh at both.

A writer who uses values as a writing tool has a few decisions to make. The writer needs to decide what writing device they will use with their values.

  1. Promote a value.

Everyone has different values. If a writer wants to entice different people to their beliefs, they need to get behind the values they believe and promote them in their writing. They need to stand on principal.

  • Oppose a value.

Sometimes a writer needs to stand up and oppose what they don’t believe. If you want to make your writing stand for something, people need to know where you stand.

  • Present opposing values. Show your reader where values clash. By presenting both sides of an issue, a writer can present conflict and move along their writing.
  • Be a distant observer. A writer can take a distant view from the issues and show the values in a clear picture from afar. People can see more clearly if they get the big picture.
  • Take a comic look at the values. A writer can look at different values in their extremes. An understanding of something can change when it is presented in its absurd extremes. Sometime the truth just looks funny. Humor is the best remedy to look at sensitive issues.

Once a writer decides the writing device to use, they must decide the point of view to use.

  1. Writer’s opinion. Is your writing going to be an opinion piece? Are you taking ownership?
  • Story piece. Is the writer going to use a story to show a casual view of the values.? Stories are very powerful.
  • Character values. Are the characters in your story going to posses the values? Do they portray the movement of the piece by their beliefs?

 By making these choices, a writer will be able to successfully use values as their focal point for good writing.

As a writer yourself, you might be asking why you would want to worry about values in your writing. I think the best reasons are:

  1. Relatability. A writer wants to relate with his audience. A writer must present something that a reader can relate with whether good or bad.

It brings up feelings that the reader has or opposes.

  • Interesting. Everyone has values. It is interesting to discuss what you believe. Most people have formed strong opinions that they can explore. Readers will remain interested in what you have to say.
  • Promotes writer’s conflict. The best way to move an article or story along is with conflict. It moves a story from one place to another, and from one level to another. Values naturally brings conflicts into any conversation or written piece. Everyone has an opinion and their opinion is right.
  • Provides an endless supply of writing material. In a world of media and writing, the idea pools for a lot of writing can be tough to tap. A writer does not just want to regurgitate the same ideas. Values provides endless interesting writing material.

The bottom line is this – If you want to practice good writing – Use values as your focal point in your writing. It will produce marvelous results in your writing process.

Oldie Oldschool and the Chicks autographed copy sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .

The Art of Diligence in the Writing Process

The Art of Diligence in the Writing Process

It was always a dream of mine to write the great American novel. A dream in which I am not alone. Many of us want to captivate millions with a few dazzling words that move people.

One day I decided I would fulfill that dream. I figured that in a day or two I would be at the top of the writing world.

That is when I quickly discovered that writing is not a midnight miracle, but rather a long training for an Olympic event.  

It is not by any sense of the word, quick or easy.

My first real long novel was The Pixie Tales – The Gift. It was the first in a series in which I decided to write. It was from this experience I learned that writing takes diligence.

In an Olympic event training, it takes years of experience to develop your skill. Years of practice to use the skill, and massive effort to complete the event. All that, just for a chance that you might be noticed.

Writing is very similar. My first novel taught me that if you do not prepare, work, rework, re-prepare, and apply hours and effort, you will not have a chance to perhaps be noticed. What you do will have to be intentional or reworked.

I soon learned that the writing process looks something like this:

  1. Pre-planning stage. Decide on a topic, idea, genre, or subject to write on.
  2. Outline the project. You must get some idea where your going and how to get there.
  3. Drafting stage. You just need to put words on a page. You need something with which to work.
  4. Rewriting stage. Writing is rewriting. What you write rarely comes out perfect the first time.
  5. Content Editing. You need to get the plots, subplots, character development, and general structure right.
  6. Grammar editing. If you don’t communicate effectively, no one will want to wade through it.
  7. Proof reading. It just doesn’t always come out right the first few times.
  8. Critiquing. You must critique your work and let others critique it. It makes it stronger.
  9. Rewriting. Writing is rewriting,
  10. Formatting. You need to format the written word, and general layout.
  11. Tweaking. You must fix the little things and do the important things like the cover layout.
  12. Publishing. A book needs to be published if it is going to be a real book.
  13. Marketing and advertising. You have a book, but does anyone know about it? Marketing is just as important as writing if you want your book to be read.
  14.   Add-ons. If your book is part of a series, you need to write the rest of the books.
  15. More marketing and advertising.

This is not a midnight miracle. It takes diligence and work. I learned that a writer needs to be disciplined. I personally follow a simple plan.

  1. I set aside time to work in my writing.
  2. I create a plan for each project that sets aside time for each of the elements of the writing process.
  3. I work the plan one element at a time, in order so I do not get overwhelmed.
  4. I pick myself up and dust myself off every time I fall off the wagon. I start again where I left off.

Persistence and diligence win the game.

Why do it if it is difficult and hard? For each writer it is different, but for me it is because of the dream. I just can not walk away from my dream. I write because it helps me see the world and make sense of it. If I explore different sides of an issue in my writing, it clarifies it for me. If I explore values and opinions, character flaws and lofty ideals, it somehow makes them real and brings them home to me in my life. Writing gives understanding. It gives me the hope of seeing something clear enough that I might write those words on a page that matter. I might say something that is profound enough that someone will take notice. It is all about the dream.

My first novel taught me a lot about writing and the Olympic training process it takes to write. If you have a desire to write the next great American novel, or just put a few words of the page, remember that the intentional writing process takes a lot of work and a lot of diligence.

The Pixie Tales – The Gift autographed copy sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheeOldePeddler .