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7 Ways to Find an Illustrator for Your Book

May 1st, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.27.33 AMThe universe seems to keep asking me this question a lot lately, so I thought I’d put together my various answers on the following question:

“How do I find an illustrator for my book project?”

…in one place so you all may get to the fun part – actually writing and producing your book – because the universe needs your book!

(BTW, if you’d like the audio version of this post, check out this wave from Anchor I did a couple of weeks ago on this same subject here…and below:)

First, a few issues before shopping for that illustrator to consider:

1. Make sure you include the illustrator in the production of your book–the earlier, the better.
2. The range of prices of illustrators can vary. Widely. They can charge by page, time, (or both) by the project, or even by character. Do you need a cover, or a full blown book page by page illustrated? Have a frank conversation on specs with your potential illustrator(s) so everyone is on the same “page” when it comes to production of the book. (Get it? Page? I like that one. I digress…)
3. Make sure you get it in writing – be clear on who is doing what, by when, and for how much, paid by when. Who owns it? Get a lawyer if it’s your first time. Be smart and transparent.

Now, on to the ideas for finding an illustrator!

1. Your mailbox – I am 100% serious with this one. If you start paying attention to the art that is hitting your mailbox, you might be pleasantly surprised. There are lots of local graphic designers that do a great job with your local charity’s gala, fundraiser, or event. Who is the illustrator behind that awesome soiree you just got invited to? Ask around. Shop local. Local artists are the best anyway, because you can meet with them eyeball to eyeball to gauge how interested they are in working with you on your project–and conversations are about 92% nonverbal anyway–so meet with those prospective illustrators in your very own backyard to find someone local who will rock it with you! See if there’s a local chapter of AIGA…that’s where the designers hang.

2. Other books – Good artists copy. Great artists steal. (Who said that? Picasso?) If you are an artist (and you are if you’re a writer), then why not shop the best book cover artists out there and see if they might be willing to work with you? I even use Pinterest to collect my favorite art for book covers.

3. 99 Designs – Don’t have a local tribe of artists? Well then, step right up into 99 Designs and find thousands of them, who will work hard to get your business!

4. Fiverr – Dare I say a cheaper version of 99 Designs? Yes, that may be a controversial way to put it, but like it or not–I am a fan of commerce, so it’s another portal where you can discover artists–and let’s face it, illustrating can get expensive fast.

5. Your network – Here’s a place where your network could actually help you! Who do you know who knows graphic designers/artists/illustrators? ASK! Check around. Even LinkedIn is getting into the freelancing networking community, which hopefully will be awesome. One more place to shop for talented freelancers to collaborate with – yay!

6. Publishers Weekly – a good general site on the publishing industry.

7. Your local art school or university – there are a lot of college students looking for cash.  Why not help them out by helping them get their talents into the universe by taking a chance on them?

So there you go. Get busy on that book. And, while you’re writing it, shop the universe for an illustrator. Whether it is a basic front cover you need for your ebook, all the way through to a page by page illustrated children’s book, there are great designers out there just waiting to work with you…to bring that book to life, and inspire another generation of creatives yet to come!

Happy May!

May 1st, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.27.33 AMHello May!

In my completely biased opinion, we are heading into one of the best months of the year.  And I. Am. Pumped.

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted – but that’s because, as always, my fab 13, I’ve been busy.  This week was finals at one of the day jobs–which meant exams, grading, and posting of grades.  But that’s all behind me now.  And for all the students who suffered through my classes this spring, thanks for the memories and I’m glad we survived it together!

If there is anything this academic year has taught me, is that even I have limits.  I was stretched and challenged with more work in my life than ever, and have mixed feelings that I discovered and tested my own limits this year through work.  Sadly, I am only human, and definitely won’t be getting my Incredibles club membership card anytime soon.

But, those who know me well (all 13 of you) also know that I am not a history dweller. I’m an onward kind of girl.  So, this month, I’m going to decide the fate of my next book title and get cranking on it now that #STEMPrincess3 is out, and hopefully try out a couple of new ideas on that I’ve never tried before.  We’ll see how they go!

I wish you the best of Mays ever, my fab 13.  It’s our month!!!!

New Pharmacy Podcast: My Career Chat with Dr. Shaun Young, CEO of Ardina

April 26th, 2016

I roll about career this year as a co-host on The Pharmacy Podcast.  This week is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and diverse in terms of career backgrounds – listen to my interview with Dr. Shaun Young, PharmD, MBA, CEO of Ardina – and remember: if you’ve seen one career path of a pharmacist, you’ve seen one career path only!

Stuff I’m Tracking…Just for You…

April 24th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 10.40.42 AM…OK, and me.  I confess!  All on google sheets – just for us:

National Pharmacy Meetings

Who’s at the Helm in Healthcare?

The Know Thyself Kit - good for high school and big kids

Women’s Leadership Training Programs

Pharmacist Certifications…and Healthcare Certifications

Enjoy! And if I missed stuff in any of the above lists and it fits the parameters – let me know!

3 Lessons I Learned from the Artist Known as Prince

April 22nd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.02.01 AMI am a child of the 80s.  Therefore, any loss of artists from the 1980s reminds me of my own mortality.  Such is the case this week with Prince, who we lost.

While I was grateful for Prince and his music, he reminded us all of a few items through his life and work, some of which I think are the following:

1. You be, and do you – Prince unapologetically was and  did himself.  Remember the symbol, when no one really knew what to call him?  Yeah, perfect example.  He did what he needed to do, and didn’t really ask for permission or whether or not anyone minded.  He just did what he needed to do.  I like that.  We all should be little more like that.

2. Art allows you to evolve - He didn’t get stuck in the 80s rut.  He was constantly reinventing himself.  He did really creative things – music, film, collaboration with other artists, and yes, even my pal failure.  This year he was even writing a memoir and was still touring. He never stopped experimenting, which is fascinating for artists, because a lot find their style and just stop evolving.  He never did stop. (And…we both love the color purple!)

3. He stuck it to the man – He had some famous legal battles over issues of copyright, and right of publicity.  He really didn’t shy away from controversies – artistically or legally.  “There’s a dark side to everything,” he’s quoted as saying. Not going to lie – I like it when authority is questioned, and personally never enjoy the excuse of “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” I get the feeling Prince shared that with me.

There. The world will be a little less bright, sparkly, and purple without him.  Less partying like it’s 1999, and less flashy little red corvettes.  I am not patronizing here–I am merely appreciating his unique brilliance. If we all could pull that out of ourselves a little more, the world would be a truly better place.

But, I was glad so many of us experienced him and his music…we are the richer for it.


Dear FOX,

April 20th, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.07.22 PM

The weirdest email I’ve ever received–that was legit, anyway.

Last night, you contacted me through a casting agency to appear possibly on your new TV show taping this summer, Superhuman.

First off, not only was this probably the weirdest legitimate email I’ve ever received, but I’m flattered.  I’m also impressed you found me through Kickstarter and the #STEMPrincess project.  Finding talent through projects that actually matter is commendable, and rare in reality TV shows these days.  Thank you for making my evening!  Truly, I’m humbled.

However, I really don’t have any dazzling, instantly visible talent.  I can’t memorize a line of chess pieces in order, or bend through lasers, or cook.  What I can do probably doesn’t make great TV.

Here’s what I can do, which probably makes terrible TV: I work basically 2 jobs right now (as site based faculty–at a college of pharmacy a couple of days a week, and at a site a couple of days a week), and I run two of my own companies.  I’ve published 11 books – on my own, without a publishing house to back me up or give me fancy advances to write them.  I’m single. I don’t have anyone else to rely on for my income and livelihood, so guess what? I get to hustle on my own. I’m often working late at night or on weekends.  I also read a lot of books, and listen to podcasts.

All this = BAD TV.

While I’m thrilled you’re actually looking for sharp talent these days, I think you might want to consider adding a show about real women out here busting our *&*!s and trying to hustle our way through our careers and lives.  Work is changing. I want to see more women on TV actually busting through the new way of work and getting to success in their own individual ways.  THAT would truly be a Superhuman show I’d want to see.

Thanks for your consideration and offer.  But writing a book or working hard probably isn’t sexy enough.



PS – here are some other TV shows I’d love to watch!

A Few Things I Was Reminded of Today…

April 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.58.52 PM1. You’re never going to please everyone – so get over it.

2. The only person you can control – is yourself.

3. Singing in class – probably not the best idea.  Unless, of course the class is voice.

4. Weird stuff will come your way – be open to it, but investigate.

5. All good things must come to an end. Including this post.



The 2016 13th Annual Continuing Education Symposium for Pharmacists at Butler University COPHS, June 2-4, 2016

April 18th, 2016

Excuse me for a moment while I talk shop.

This week and pretty much from now until the top of June, I’ll be focused at work on delivering a top-shelf annual Continuing Education Program for Pharmacists at my first alma mater, Butler University.

If you’re a Midwest pharmacist, or visiting Indy as a pharmacist during the first week of June, you may want to register.  Here are a few hi-lights:

- Registration form, costs, and agenda.

- Full 3 day conference agenda.

- And of course, it’s included in the national pharmacy meetings list.

Topics this year include: pharmacy law update, new guidelines you may have missed, 2 new drug sessions, diabetes, bugs and drugs, biosimilars, and so much more!

- Hi-lights in audio at Anchor/Twitter: (yes, recall I do have a face for radio!)

Who’s at the Healthcare Helm? An Update

April 17th, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 2.27.55 PM

Who’s running the US healthcare system: in a word?  Dudes.

After reading this article by Scott Gilmore courageously standing up as a dude and proclaiming he will no longer speak at all male panels today, and along with it being National Healthcare Decisions Day yesterday, I thought it was time for a little update…in my tracking of leadership in the healthcare arena.

I wanted to check and see if my sisters made any progress in leading the US healthcare system, after doing a study back last fall looking at the heads of US healthcare – from pharmacy chains, PBMs, specialty pharmacies–to healthcare systems, non profits, government and even drug companies.

Back in the fall? Abysmal data. In fact, if aliens landed and met our healthcare leaders, they’d barely know women existed at all, let alone that women:

  • Make up 2/3 of US healthcare workforce (at least in pharmacy)* and
  • Make up to 80% of all healthcare purchasing decisions for themselves and their families in the U.S.

So, after this very depressing analysis in the fall, I wanted to go back and see if there was any good news 6 months later. Well, is there?

There were 3 bright spots.

  • The number of pharmacist association heads is up by women.
  • Also, consulting firm mergers have given more women a shot.
  • Last, I wanted to start tracking women heads of government organizations and they seem to be doing pretty well in the healthcare related entities I’ve started to track.
Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 2.41.30 PM

Women at the helm in top pharmaceutical companies? Zero.

However, we haven’t had a lot of positive movement in the right direction in most categories. And, we’ve lost some women deans in pharmacy schools too. Some charts, like the top pharmaceutical companies left, is just flat out embarrassing – zero women.

Because these numbers are abysmal, I’ve committed to tracking the data now publicly – so here’s my google sheet on the matter. That way, you can call me on it if my tracking is wrong (I never fear failure or being wrong). What I do fear, however, is not having enough women at the helm of one of the largest and wealthiest systems on the entire planet… No women in leadership could lead to really terrible outcomes for all of us.

How do we fix this? 1. We start promoting more women into leadership roles in healthcare. 2. Ladies, if we make purchasing decisions in healthcare, just like anything else – we can vote with our wallets. 3. Stop choosing organizations that don’t care about women, period. That’s it. The more of us who discuss this problem and call it out on the record, the better for all of us moving forward.

A dude over at Linkedin commented on this exact post that we need to get over stereotypes.  What I want to know is that of all the women leaning in out there, how many of us are really leaning in so much that we’re leaned over upon ourselves? How many of us as sisters have volunteered or nominated ourselves for leadership posts, only to be passed over for dudes?  It’s one thing if no women are out there asking to serve.  And it’s entirely a different thing when women are saying yes, but those making the hiring decisions are still saying no to smart, capable women.  That’s the bit I can’t really track, unfortunately.

But I’ll keep tracking what I can until we get to a closer general population % of women at the helm in healthcare.  I think I’ll be tracking for a while, unfortunately…

*There are stats out there that state women make up 40% of leadership roles in healthcare.  Based upon the organizations I looked at, that number is way, way high.


Who Are You, Anyway?

April 16th, 2016

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked about the following, I’d be a rich woman.  But, since people keep asking me about it, I’m going to post on this then I’ll have a spot to refer them to. Yippie!

Who are you?  What do you love? What are your strengths, and what do you value? What skills do you have that people will actually pay you to do?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions right now in your life, then read on – I’m going to share with you the best tools I’ve seen thus far to get you at your best life intersection – at least for your work (I can’t really state if this works for your entire life or not…but I know it does work for work!)

Know Thyself from Erin L. Albert, MBA, PharmD, JD
The slide above is how I represent your best career intersection. It lies at a 4 way intersection between: 1. What you love to do, 2. What your values are, 3. What your strengths are, and 4. What someone will actually pay you to do. You’ll be pretty good if you can hit a couple of these at the same time, but I think it’s best to go for all 4 in this life.  After all, life is short and why not enjoy the ride?
1. What do I love? Think back to the last day you had where you never looked at the clock, yet time flew by. You were so entrenched in what you were doing, time really didn’t matter anymore.  WHAT WERE YOU DOING? That is a hint on the stuff by which you love to do.  Another way to look at it – I call it the lottery test.  If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do differently about your life?  Would you quit your job(s)?  Would you travel? Would you move?  If you have radical ideas to change your life based upon the lottery test, I’ll go ahead and ask–WHY AREN’T YOU MAKING THOSE CHANGES NOW?  Again, life is short!
The last day I experienced this, I was working on my peeps diorama for a display on innovations in teaching, believe it or not. Maybe I should be building more models out of sugary marshmallow?  I don’t know, but it was fun!
2. What do I value? I never was taught about this one, but it is absolutely CRITICAL to do work that matches your values.  If you choose not to, there’s always going to be this nagging feeling in the background that’s eating at you.  Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and it’s not pretty over the long haul.
So, what to do about it?  Go to Google. Type in “values card sort”, and up should pop this card sorter that you can print out, cut out and start sorting.  Rank the values against one another.  What are your top 3-5?  Next, go to your employers’ websites and look up THEIR values.
I value knowledge.  Double check if you can hear that message/value loud and clear at this podcast interview I recently did with the “Is it legal?” podcast.
The big reveal: do any of your top values match those of your employer?  If not, why not?  If not, are you happy with your work? I’ll bet the answer is no.  Maybe if they are radically different, it’s time to start shopping for a new job….? I’ll let you decide.
3. What are my strengths?  Pretty sure 98% of the planet has heard about What Color is Your Parachute? and Strengthsfinder 2.0 by now, but just in case, run out and get these books, take the quizzes in them and figure out what your strengths are.  In the first slide, there’s even a link to a free strengthsfinder-like quiz.  I also really like the new release, The Episodic Career, because it also has a quiz in it that points to certain careers and it nailed mine for me!
For me, my #1 strength as I’ve stated on this tiny blog several times is far and away “futuristic.” I love talking about the future. So, future based projects for me? SIGN ME UP.  But this post isn’t about me, it’s about you. So, what is your #1 strength, and tie it back to your values and that last day you didn’t notice time going by–see any patterns or connections here?
4. What will someone actually pay me to do?  This one is the kicker, because not everyone will pay you to do everything that you love, that you’re good at, and that you value.  If you love something, but no one will pay you to do it, that’s called a HOBBY.  But hey, even hobbies these days pay with sites like Etsy and Ebay!
And, I’m sure there are other things that comprise this best life intersection. I’ve even given you a link in the first slide above in the upper left corner of the slide to all the other tests I’ve used on myself over the years to discover what I should be doing with my life.  Friends, family, travel, other books, podcasts can help you get to your very own best life intersection.  But for now, at least I’ve given you part of the map to get there.  Now it’s just time for you to plug the address in on your personal GPS and get navigating!