Home > Uncategorized > Soul Coats: Restoration – How It Was Made (Part One of Two)

Soul Coats: Restoration – How It Was Made (Part One of Two)

This is part one in what will ultimately be a two part series. For several days now I’ve been corresponding with Calgary author Rohadi Nagassar about his book Soul Coats: Restoration, an adult colouring book based on scenes and scriptures from the Bible. I asked him if he would share the background story on his book, which follows; and then at a future date to share his reflections of being an independent author and publisher in Canada trying to get his product into stores. I hope you’ll take the time to read this.

soul-coats-restoration

Thanks Paul for letting me share my story about making my ambitious first publication, Soul Coats: Restoration, an adult colouring book based on scenes and scriptures from the Bible.

We don’t have to go too far back to get the back story: October 2015. I’m sitting at a Thanksgiving party with friends when one woman starts chatting about the fun she’s having colouring. “Colouring?!” I had heard about the growing trend of adult colouring over the Summer but didn’t think much of it. In curiosity I asked her, “are there any Bible themed colouring books?” The response was ‘no’.

I didn’t believe it at first, when a craze hits there’s always a (or many) faith version at some point. Out of curiosity I checked Amazon and discovered there were only a couple faith based adult colouring books. That’s where I left the conversation until Christmas.

The Christmas buying season arrived and adult colouring books were a HIT. The sales of adult colouring books literally ‘saved’ the softcover print industry. For the first time in years softcover book sales increased, by double digits to boot. Colouring books were the reason. The volume of books sold was staggering, the top title alone sold over a million copies that year.

Suddenly my entrepreneur ears were pricked. A MILLION copies? Maybe there’s an opportunity here?

So I checked Amazon again for faith based colouring books and still only found a handful. It was time to take my preliminary research further to see if a book project would make business sense. Step one: order all the Christian adult colouring books I could find.

Soon after they arrived and I was blown away….at how TERRIBLE they were.

I was half expecting beautiful productions of scenes and inspirational images. What I saw instead were rip off stock images converted to illustrations, repetitive floral patterns, cats (for some reason cats, umbrellas, and lighthouses in ‘inspirational’ faith-based colouring books), and heavy use of fonts. Someone basically took a computer and bashed out a colouring book for utility over beauty. A lot of uninspired productions, but here’s the thing, these books were still selling hundreds of thousands of copies. I couldn’t believe the numbers, which made me think, “there must be a market for beauty in an art book.”

Since the existing books paled in comparison to the best colouring books on the market I knew there was an opportunity to create a beautiful book that would not only rival the best faith based books, but would be a work of art challenging the best adult colouring books on the market. With that in mind I set out with two objectives: (a)sell books; (b) those books needed to be beautiful and follow a narrative.

soul-coatsThe only problem? I’m a writer, not an illustrator. I can’t even draw.

Thankfully, I knew (or knew people who knew) a number of people who were talented illustrators. Through relationship I found seven, six of whom were/are based in Calgary. So not only was I differentiating in creating a quality book, it was going to be a local Canadian production as well. After I laid out a storyboard of God’s restorative narrative, including all potential scenes for my Bible themed adult colouring book spanning scenes and scriptures from Old to New, I pulled the trigger. That was January 2016.

Projects like this take months, sometimes years, but I knew the colouring book had to come out ASAP to beat the big publishers from getting their multiple versions out. Four months was the deadline.

April came and passed.

Courageously, the team of illustrators, came through at the end and the final book went to the Canadian printer in May. Early June the (currently) only adult Bible colouring book spanning the entire Bible was released— Soul Coats: Restoration. Constructed to match the best adult colouring books on the market, art that was unique (no cliché scenes) and professional, was the key piece to set the title apart. It remains exceptional in my eyes.

Take a look inside by visiting my book walk-through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Py-0IUI598 (also embedded below)

To add to the experience I even created a free downloadable reflective guide for every scene.

The whole project was a huge learning curve, but a fun one. The creation of a book title like this was exciting to complete. But as an indie publisher, the real work still remains—marketing.

Creating an exceptional title is one thing, getting people to notice is another.

In part two, I’ll share some of the struggles publishing without a major name, and how to navigate distribution from wholesalers to bookstores.

Rohadi Nagassar
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