So You Want To Publish A Book? Start Here…

Congratulations! You’re here because you have a book idea and now don’t know what the next steps are. Let’s break down the steps from book idea to published author. At the end of this breakdown, I will answer some frequently asked questions I get! The Three Publishing Paths Traditional Publishing

I Can Only Seem To Make 320+ Page Graphic Novels – BTS on illustrating a graphic novel

This is the “behind-the-scenes on my process of illustrating a graphic novel blog post” I have been asked over and over to share, but am finally sharing. Or… “I Can Only Seem To Make 320+ Page Graphic Novels”. “I want this one to be under 300 pages,” I think, as

Aftermath of a Book Release

Hooray! Look On The Bright Side (co-written with Karen Schneemann) has been out in the world for one whole week! You can now pick up a copy wherever you get your books. Book Launch at Boulder Bookstore Photo of myself in front of Look On The Bright Side and Kellye Crocker in front of her book Dad’s

Time to Look On The Bright Side – Happy Book Birthday!

Today’s October 10th, 2023! That means Look On The Bright Side is available anywhere you get your books! The long awaited and much anticipated (other people’s words, not mine) sequel to Go With The Flow is finally here. As many of you know, Go With The Flow came out in

Things To Keep In Mind While Illustrating A Graphic Novel

There are so many things to keep in mind while illustrating a graphic novel! Obviously, it’s good to think about the regular things like sizing, demographic, tone, and what brushes and tools you’ll use to finish it. Those are expected parts of any creative process, especially a book-making process. I

Why preorder a book?

Preordering matters to authors/illustrators. Have you ever heard authors ask you, nay beg you, online to preorder your books? Or have you ever walked into an indie bookstore and seen preorder forms for upcoming books? Preordering books is super helpful to authors and illustrators alike. It can seem silly to

A Love Letter To Educators: What I Learned Going From Teaching Higher Ed to Elementary School

My resume is a wild one. I’ve worked in feature film animation, as a swim coach, a bookseller, and, these days, I spend most of my time as an author and illustrator. Here’s even more context on where I’ve come from, I was raised in a family of artists, I

In 2022 I Almost Died, But Instead I Grew

Growth is an opportunity not afforded to many, and a path many don’t choose to take. If anything became apparent to me over the course of 2022, it was this. 2022 was my year of growth. I wish I could say that growth showed itself on my blog, but I

Want to learn from me? We’ve started an online school!

I’ve been keeping a secret up my sleeve! The Cuddlefish Gang, a collective of Colorado children’s book illustrators, has launched an online school called The Cuddlefish Academy! I have launched a Character and Costume Design class and an Illustration, A Career lecture on our website: What makes our school

What the If Animals Disappeared series means to ME! (the author/illustrator)

The If Animals Disappeared nonfiction picture book series is, at its core, a series about the trophic cascade. The books follow Simone, the visual narrator, as she investigates a different part of the world, highlighting keystone species and uncovering the harsh realities of the species impacts and what it would

Art Rewind: What Happens When Sharks Disappear?

In the Spring of 2013 I enrolled in a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion class (DEI) at my college. During the class, my professional artist teacher asked us to pick a cause and make art about that cause. I had always been interested in sharks. I grew up swimming on the


Today’s the day! The final book in the If Animals Disappeared series hits bookshelves across North America. Welcome to the world, If Tigers Disappeared! It was such a journey to get this book published. From the rocky roads creating the other books in the If Animals Disappeared series, to a

 Censorship in Children’s Books:  Getting If Tigers Disappeared Published…

In the Fall 2021, If Tigers Disappeared (the fifth and final installment of the If Animals Disappeared series)was completed. The copyedits, sensitivity reads, and five printers proof checks were finished. If Tigers Disappeared was ready to be printed in China. The publisher, Macmillan, prints most of their books in China

The Next Time You See Me, I Might Look Different

The pandemic afforded me the space to privately figure out how to exist with the changes in my body. I alluded to the fact that my health during 2020 and 2021 deteriorated further in blog posts of yore, but I don’t really feel like discussing it beyond that right now

Our Graphic Novel Is A Banned Book

In January 2020, Go With The Flow was released on bookshelves across North America. Since then it has been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, and German (forthcoming) and sold close to 100,000 copies, was published to critical acclaim, and was nominated for an Eisner and was a LA Times Book

Art Rewind: Anger

In 2019, I wrote a blog post called Anger: It Fuels My Work. Recently, at the prompting of a friend who asked me how I handle my anger at the world… I revisited that blog post and reread it. Its fascinating how when we write from the heart, our work

Artists You Need To Charge More: Income Inflation

When I attended California College of the Arts there was an illustration professor who would often tell students that illustration wages hadn’t adjusted for inflation since the 1980s. He had had a thriving career since the 1980s with firsthand experience in the matter, so my drive to fact check this

Art Rewind: Old Character Designs

It is a weird feeling when you work a job and have little to show for it. I worked at Sony Pictures Animation several summers as an intern and just under two years as a visual development artist; however, only two movies I ever worked on as an artist (not

Art Rewind: I’m So O.C.D. That… comics

Whenever I sit down to write one of my blog posts, they usually feel pre-written. I’m often able to just sit down and knock out the writing, make a header, then post. Usually this happens because I have had the idea in the back of my head, simmering, for a

I’m Fucking Flawed: A Farewell to Social Media

Farewell might be too strong of a word, granted, I sort of wish it was a well-and-true cut-and-dry farewell. But life doesn’t exist in the black and white, it exists in the grey. So a “farewell to social media” for me means… something much more grey. The COVID-19 pandemic of

Happy Earth Day! It’s Everyday!

It’s that time of the year again… Earth Day! Each year I feel like I need to blast the internet with Earth Day posts on April 22nd because I have a series of books about the trophic cascade which feature climate change and the detremental cause and effect that human impact


While working on the If Animals Disappeared series, I travel the world in the books, but not so much in real life. It simply just isn’t possible for me to have done everything Simone has done in the books while also writing the books. Therefore, whenever I get opportunities to


Not all of us have gardens or the ability to support native bee species with native plantlife. If you’re looking for an easy way to help your local pollinator populations, a bee hotel is a great option. Bee hotels range in sizes from small birdhouse like structures to huge installations


Did you know there are over 20,000 different species of bees?! I didn’t either before starting my research for If Bees Disappeared. But now that I do, one of my favorite hobbies is what I call “Bee-ing“. In the way people “Bird” or go “Birding” to search for birds and

So You Want To Be An Influencer?

An influencer is someone who, by definition, influences. To influence is to effect change. So when someone self appoints their job title as “Influencer”, you expect more than just a person who is paid to promote a myriad of brands and products. Last week there was a staged failed coup

100 Reasons to Vote Blue

We all have to vote blue. I mean, how many times can I say it over the last four years? It feels like a million. So here is my last push for 2020… here are 100 reasons to vote blue. For our kids Because Trump was impeached For the future

Dear Republican,

Years ago I would have cringed reading a letter that started that way, and I’d certainly never have written it. I thought myself above “us versus them” mentalities and believed them harmful to our nation. I thought it was irrational and unfair to pit two sides against each other, especially

Coloring In Place

I was asked in July by my friend and former professor, Caitlin Kuhwald, if I would join her cool initiative to get people to shelterin place while donating to fantastic nonprofits. This venture, called Coloring in Place, is a hub featuring some incredibly talented artists where you can buy $1 coloring sheets for you or your family


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu I do my best not

Finding Gratitude In The Time Of COVID-19

How does one find happiness, gratitude, and joy in the time of Coronavirus? Well, I have no idea. I’m no expert in happiness or finding joy. I struggle with it daily. Heck, I cried on the floor next to my bed this week. And now it feels like we are expected to be able

The Best Thing You Can Do For Our Planet: Vote Blue!

“What’s the best thing you can do for our planet?“ I get asked this often enough… so This Earth Day, 2020, my message to everyone around the globe is to remember to vote BLUE in our upcoming elections! If you are reading this not on Earth Day… the message is the


There are so many mask tutorials online right now and after testing many of them, I came up with my own pattern. For me, this one works best. For you, it might now. This is why I like it: It doesn’t hurt my ears, it can be modified to each

Tips On Working From Home (From A Woman Whose Worked In Her Bedroom For 4 Years)

As of this spring of 2020, it will be four straight years that I’ve worked at home from my bedroom office. To many, this idea seems weird… but it’s my normal. I like my bedroom studio. It’s small and cozy and my rabbits also share this room, so we are

Book tour snapshots and going with the flow (thanks to covid-19).

I have been conscious to post an update because I have been getting a healthy amount of COVID-19 updates myself and I didn’t want to spring another one on you all. But, here we are! What a strange turn this world has taken in the last few weeks. I hope you

Go With The Flow: Further Reading

Congratulations you have read Go With The Flow and are looking for more things to read! First off, I would love to thank you for reading Go With The Flow, it was a project from the hearts of my co-author, Karen and I, and we could not be more proud

!! Period Cramps !! Some Helpful Tips and Tricks

I am basically a master cramper. Not that that is a bragging point… but it has given me some experience over the years as to how to curb this particular period pain. As I have mentioned numerous times before, I was diagnosed with endometriosis after 14 years of incredible period

Happy Book Birthday, GO WITH THE FLOW!

Go With The Flow is officially available everywhere books are sold! Unlike some periods, this book about periods arrived on time! Coming in at a whopping 336 pages, Go With The Flow is the teen middle-grade graphic novel about friendship, crushes, and menstruation that so many of us wished we

Menstrual Disorders: What is a “Normal” period?

“Normal” is such a weird word when it comes to bodies because no bodies should or do define a “norm”. However, with bodily health, there is definitely a range in which something is normal. Whether it be with cramps, PMS, headaches, the dreaded period poops, aching breasts, and more… most

Why I Left Animation and LA (And How I Transitioned into Freelance)

As a child, the idea of what I wanted my dream job to be would change a lot. I had wanted to be a teacher, a scientist, a mad scientist, a novelist, an architect (for a fleeting moment), and then I learned about the artists who make animated films. So

Why Choose Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified Goods?

When you look on the back of many products like chocolate, coffee, and paper goods, there are often little labels. While some of us might look for a gluten free label first (like me, hi) or a dairy free label, or a nut-free label, many people look for labels that

Much to do About Our Planet

I have been thinking a lot about Greta Thunberg, the Climate Strike, Climate Change, and frankly… adults. This week we saw what was potentially one of the largest demonstrations organized by kids across the world. This #GlobalClimateStrike movement was started by one girl, Greta Thunberg, who sat alone in Sweden

What is Poaching?

Poaching is when an animal is captured or killed illegally. Poaching happens frequently to endangered animals or animals who possess something of worth (fur, ivory, shark fins, etc.) or animals that are considered exotic (to be kept as a pet). Poaching occurs all over the world from big animals like

Happy Book Birthday: If Elephants Disappeared!

Today is the day that If Elephants Disappeared is out on bookshelves! This is the third book in the If Animals Disappeared series written and illustrated by me, and published by Roaring Brook Press (an imprint of Macmillan Publishing). Unlike it’s predecessors, If Sharks Disappeared and If Polar Bears Disappeared,

What is an African Forest Elephant?

When we think of elephants, we think of the African Savanna Elephant and the Asian Elephant… but did you know there is a third elephant? Smaller than the African Savanna Elephant, and as genetically diverse from it as the Wooly Mammoth, the African Forest Elephant can be found in the


We have a gun violence epidemic on our hands. As Americans, we need to vote out corrupted politicians and encourage others to do so. As children’s book authors and illustrators, we need to stand up for the next generation. I know a lot of people feel hopeless and sad right now, and that is

Anger: it fuels my work

I am physically short, fairly soft spoken, and shy. I don’t like debating people and will always back away from an argument. This is why it shocks many to know that I am angry a lot of the time. I am not angry as in punch-a-wall-get-it-out angry or you-are-in-danger-of-me angry,

Internet Boundaries: What are they and how to create them

Boundaries are healthy things to have in your life. They help you create balance and maintain relationships. But how do we create boundaries with the internet that match what we want in real life? How does a person make sure their mental and physical health are protected while being constantly

My Zero Waste Period

For the last two years, my periods have been zero waste (except for the time around my surgery). I decided to go zero waste on my period journey in an effort to reduce my single-use plastic consumption. The average period haver will use over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their

World Oceans Day 2019

Today is World Oceans Day, a day where we celebrate our oceans (and roughly 70% of our planet)! To me, every day is earth day and world oceans day because it is important to celebrate our planet and oceans daily through the decisions we make, like opting out of eating fish,

New Book Announcement: EXPOSURES

I am excited to share the news that my second graphic novel, Exposures, will be published with First Second, an imprint of Macmillan! My amazing editor, Emily Feinberg, acquired the rights to Exposures and my incredible agent, Minju Chang (BookStop Literary Agency), negotiated the deal for world rights. Exposures is


Recently I found out I had Endometriosis after being sick for about 14 years. By now, you probably know I love to fight for causes I believe in… so this certainly won’t be an exception. From saving sharks to climate change action, I use my art and words to spread


Located on my website at LILYWILLIAMSART.COM/SHOP, I am now selling enamel pins, some stickers, and temporary shark tattoos! I am opening this shop with the environment in mind. I purchased my shipping supplies from EcoEnclose – a sustainable shipping company, and I am using stamps on recycled paper/cardboard for packaging.

How I Avoid Art Burnout Though Work/Life Balance

If you ever go to a gathering with a group of professional artists, we often go back to one topic: burnout. Burnout is inevitable when your hobby becomes your job. Finding that original passion for your hobby can be a challenge day-to-day when you start feeling the burnout. I consider

Why Independent Bookstores are so Important

We all have been guilty of taking independent bookstores for granted at some point in time. They are always there when you need a last minute present or a new read, but indie bookstores do so much more than just sell books. Indie bookstores are like a secret backbone of


There are so many reasons to vote! That is the wonderful thing about voting. For me the answer is simple, I do it for kids. I want kids to have a future where climate change is something those before them took care of, where education is easily accessible, health is

International OCD Awareness Week

This week is International OCD Awareness Week, a week that is very close to my heart. I speak up about a lot of things in the world, things that I think 1) are unjust or 2) don’t get talked about enough. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder falls into the latter category. Not

Shelby, Alysa, Atuat, Ukpik, And Simone!

By the time a book hits bookshelves, the book bears the handprints of many people who helped bring it to fruition. While my name is on the cover, If Polar Bears Disappeared was helped by so many people along the way. From my agent, Minju Chang, to my editor, Emily Feinberg,

What to Read After You Have Read:​ If Polar Bears Disappeared

So you just finished reading If Polar Bears Disappeared! Or maybe you’re just interested in polar bears… regardless of your reasoning, here are the books I’d recommend if you’d like to do some further reading. If Polar Bears Disappeared is about polar bears and climate change and what would happen

10 Cool Facts About Polar Bears

Polar bears are PAWsome arctic animals! Here are some BEARYy cool facts! Polar bear fur is transparent! While many believe their fur to be white, it actually has a hollow core which reflects light and helps polar bears camouflage in their environment! Under their fur, polar bears have black skin!


  Happy birthday to If Polar Bears Disappeared!  You can officially go pick up my latest nonfiction children’s book in bookstores! The companion book to If Sharks Disappeared, If Polar Bears Disappeared follows what would happen to our world if the sea ice in the Arctic melted causing polar bears to die. While this book

Two Book Giveaways!

I am currently running two giveaways online! The first is an educator-only giveaway (closes 9.1) with three winners and the second is a giveaway on Instagram (closes Monday 8.20) with one winner. See more information below! . Educator Giveaway Three winners will win a signed copy of IF POLAR BEARS DISAPPEARED

10 Things you should know before going to art school

Anyone who has gone to art school can attest, it is a very unique experience that differs greatly from a normal college one. Art school runs in my veins, my Papou (Greek for Grandfather) went to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and was a professional commercial artist during

Ways you can help our planet every day

Here are some things you can do to help our planet each and every day! Each of us has our own unique path in life and because of that, we all have wonderfully diverse perspectives! When we take all of those perspectives and put them together, we can change the

What is climate change?

Climate Change is a marked change in Earth’s overall weather patterns or average atmospheric temperatures. Climate Change is different than weather. Weather is the short-term changes in local atmospheric temperatures (from minutes to weeks), while Climate Change is long-term (usually over decades). Earth’s temperature has cooled and warmed on large scales for its

My Favorite Summer Middle-Grade and Young Adult Reads

  My favorite things about summertime are pools, books, and sun. I love them all individually but prefer when they are combined. While searching for a summer read through my many YA and middle-grade books… I thought: “hey, I should share which books I love for a good summer read!” I almost exclusively read

3 Easy Ways To Support Your Favorite Author (or illustrator)

  Sometimes it seems that authors and illustrators live in a different world, and maybe depending on the book they are reading, that is true! But for the most part, they are just like any other professional and are striving to do their best. Like any small business owner, authors

I Swam With Sharks

On October 9th, 2016, I swam with sharks. I have always been a big believer in the phrase “putting your money where your mouth is”. This essentially means if you talk about a big game about something then you should be able to follow through on it yourself. For me,

How to be a good intern

    I got my first internship in feature film animation at 16. That in itself is pretty nuts, but then I got asked back each summer until I ended up getting a job after college at the same studio. Internships are about building relationships that will hopefully last a

One year later: What I have learned since my first book was published

When my first book, If Sharks Disappeared, was published in May of 2017 I felt a little overwhelmed. What no one tells you is, being a newly published author is scary! There is no office you can go in to and get feedback from your peers, no one who’s ever

Summer Drawing Challenge #kidlitsummers

My friend Kaley and I were reminiscing about our favorite summer memories the other day and we thought: “let’s draw them!” Then we thought: “wait! Let’s also encourage other people to draw them!” Rules: Draw your favorite summer memories from being a kid. Post them online with the hashtag #kidlitsummers

Save the Miramonte High School Art Center

Comment on this post to save the art center. To whom this may concern at Miramonte High School and the Acalanes School District, As supporters of the Miramonte High School Visual Arts program, we are writing to you on behalf of the Miramonte High School art center. It has been

How I Got A Book Deal pt. 3

Now I had an editor, an agent, an idea… and absolutely no knowledge or training on how to write a children’s book (ah!). I just had my drive, eagerness to learn, a ton of sources and compiled data I had used for my infographics, and a totally unfounded belief that

How I Got A Book Deal pt. 2

  Fast forward to 2013. I am 20 years old. It’s pretty amazing how from 11 to 20 I became a completely different person — I suppose that happens when you grow up! I slowed my appetite for art slightly to allow growth with ideas, friends, and exploring the world

How I Got A Book Deal pt. 1

I am young. Like, pretty young to have had as much happen to my career as it has. My first children’s book was published when I was 24 years old. I get asked all the time how I got my first book published when I look “like [I am] 18”.

Two Books Every Professional Artist Needs

What do I need to know to be a professional artist? You are going to need a dash of talent, honed by; hard work-ethic, resilience, understanding of pricing structures in your industry, a good template contract, representation (if you need it), a supportive person to help you with the hard days,

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Recently for my friends wedding I got them a personalized zero waste kit instead of a “regular” wedding present. It took me a while to think of the little things to add to the kit and I thought, “hey that would make a great blog post”! Here are some sustainable gift

Quick: What is a Nonprofit?

  A House Rabbit Society tote I designed. HRS is a nonprofit rabbit rescue based in Richmond, CA.   It is very common to hear the terms “for profit” or “nonprofit” thrown around casually. You might hear it on a commercial break, on the news, by a politician, or even

My O.C.D. Story (behind my struggle with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder)

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD), as defined by Mayoclinic, is a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.         I have struggled with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder my whole life. I

My Favorite Shark: The Greenland Shark

I recently did a blog post about my Top 5 Favorite Sharks. It seemed so unjust to only give my favorite shark a few fun facts, when there are so many things to love about the Greenland Shark! The Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is the second largest carnivorous shark in the

5 Easy Ways To Help Save Sharks

For Shark Week 2017, I created five images to help people easily incorporate saving sharks into their daily routines. Here are some easy ways you can help save sharks every single day! No. 1 – Abstain from shark meat Sharks are #ApexPredators (keystone species) which are necessary to their environment.

What The Heck Is A Wobbegong??

Meet the wobbegong. The wobbegong is the common name for a type of shark known as the “carpet shark”. Carpet sharks are a classification of 12 shark species within the family Orectolobidae. They can be found off the coast of Japan, Indonesia, and Australia, preferring warm and shallow waters. Unless you are

My Top 5 Favorite Sharks: Fun Facts

My main reason for liking all of these sharks is that I think they are awesome. However, what separates cute leopard sharks or frilly carpet sharks from my top 5 is that these sharks all have something that makes them special to me in particular. With Number 1 being my

5 Things You Can Do To Help The Ocean

World Oceans Day is June 8th! The 2017 focus of World Oceans Day is Our Oceans, Our Future. The focus this year is plastic pollution and marine litter. You can learn more about how World Oceans Day came to exist on the website. The ocean makes up about 70% of

Dear America: Let’s Ban Shark Fins

Right now 12 states (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington,and three territories American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands) make it illegal to acquire, sell, or trade shark fins without exceptions. With about one-third of pelagic shark species vulnerable to extinction, this is

All About The Megalodon

Meet the largest shark to ever exist: The Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon). The Megalodon is extinct. The fact that the Megalodon is extinct needs to be shared first and foremost, because over recent years, Discover Channel’s Shark Week has not accurately portrayed that very real fact. In a reckless and irresponsible move,

Just Some Silly (and true) Shark Facts

While sharks may not wear sweaters, but the facts that follow are very true shark facts! Greenland sharks can live to be an estimated 400 years old! Bull sharks can be found in freshwater. They need saltwater to survive… however, they have adapted to be able to keep salt in their

Spotting Facts: How To Tell If Something Is True

Facts: Questions and Answers Q: How can I tell if something is a fact? A: In this day and age it can be very difficult to tell what is true and what is false. Especially on the internet. Before you share something with your friends, check out some of these

5 Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen

EDIT: The cool thing about science is as time goes on, new discoveries are made! Since I made this post and infographic, some new information has been discovered that says that Reef Safe Sunscreen doesn’t really matter. Here are two really good articles about it if you’d like to learn

Easter Bunnies + Adoption Story

It’s Easter time! Which means there are lots of Easter Bunny posts circulating the internet. It also means that… I wanted to share some fun and stinky bunny facts, as well as, pictures of my binky babes. Rabbits are like… the cutest. Trust me, they are. They also are a ton of work. Rabbits eat:

Facts vs. Feelings

The thing I love about facts is that they are true whether you believe in them or not. Whether they hurt your feelings, enrage you, or make you question who you are… facts are true and there is no getting around that. There is a lot of beauty in something

Book Announcements + Date Changes

March has been the month of book announcements! I am so excited to share with you my latest books which have been officially announced, and a new date for If Sharks Disappeared! BOOK ANNOUNCEMENTS IF DISAPPEARED COMPANION BOOKS Roaring Brook Press will be releasing the companion books to If Sharks Disappeared: If

Who is Lily?

There’s a good chance you are reading this because you stumbled across it. Or maybe you have chosen to follow me online and I posted about it with a link and now you are here.  Whatever way you have come to view this blog post: Hello!   Now… Who the


Hi friends! Welcome to my blog! I decided it was time to start a real-deal artists blog. I am looking forward to using this space to write more, include more information alongside my artwork, share my process, and even show you things that I find inspiring. I haven’t ever kept a