Introduction: The World of Debbie Macomber, an In-depth Look at the Author and Her Books
In her many books, Debbie Macomber has created an odyssey of hope and romance. Her characters struggle and overcome through the power of love. The themes she explores in each story are universal: love, faith, forgiveness and redemption. Through their trials, readers learn a little more about themselves as they follow along with these characters’ journeys. It is her goal for readers to feel like they have a new friend or family member that is stopping by for a visit. That feeling of familiarity and comfort has helped her books sell over 100 million copies worldwide. Many have described her as the Queen of Heartwarming Fiction.
Macomber’s family moved to Medford, Oregon, when she was eleven years old. She appreciated the place because it was close to the beach and offered a scenic view of the area. Her first job was at a local hospital working as a clerk in the gift shop. Macomber spent a year traveling all over Europe with her parents while her brothers were in high school and college. This time period afforded her a different type of education than the classroom setting. She learned to appreciate the small things in life and the importance of family. It was also during this time period that she began to write as a hobby and made many friends, both of which she still has today.
What is the Purpose of an Adult Coloring Book?
Debbie Macomber started the trend of an adult coloring book with her first release, “The World of Debbie Macomber: Come Home to Color” in 2014. The idea behind adult coloring books is that they take readers away from the everyday stressors with beautiful imagery and patterns throughout each print. It has been proven that coloring can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as it allows people to focus on the task at hand allowing them to look at and create new things: art, otherwise known as therapy.
Since the release of her first adult coloring book the author has seen a surge in the popularity of the genre. The popularity can be seen in that there are currently 16 coloring books on Amazon ranked as #1 in best seller, they have also been featured on Instagram and Pinterest by some of the top influencers in today’s publishing industry.
The main reason for this surge is generally attributed to people finding a purpose or need to take part in this activity: “It is fun, relaxing, and a great way to unwind. People are discovering a renewed sense of joy. It is also an opportunity for people to reconnect with something new and enjoy the performance, however simple.” This quote was taken from a New York Times article released on February 25, 2016 titled: “All the Coloring Books You Need to Keep You Sane This Summer.”
How Coloring Helps People Relax in Difficult Times
Adult coloring has been used to help with reducing stress and anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults. It has also been reported to help reduce depression among older people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. In a small 2013 study by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International it was discovered that participants experienced reduced anxiety and stress, as well as pain relief, improved mood and concentration. In another study done by Dr. Kathleen J. Ryan’s and published in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, “The purpose of adult coloring is to allow us to manage our stress levels during challenging times by bringing a sense of calm to coloring. Adult coloring has similar effects to ‘mindfulness’ techniques, which have also been shown to reduce stress. Adults who partake in this art form are called “colorists” and the artwork is referred to as “coloring books.””
In a study by Callaway J.F., Choo S., Wilkins I., Feuerstein T.H. and Nichols M.E. Locus of Control, Attentional Bias and Coloring in Children. “We examine the effect of locus of control (lo) on coloring book use in children (N = 242). LO was measured as a measure for a person’s influence over their own outcomes. Participants were asked to state whether they saw themselves as a participant or a reactor. Children with high levels of locus of control were more likely to color and use the coloring books.”
In another study done by Aparajita R. Gold, Reena Rai and Suyog J. Shah and published in the December 2014 issue of Current Pediatric Reviews, “Authors suggest that a depressive symptom scale be administered to children at an initial assessment followed by a coloring session as a part of therapy.”
Is it for Men or Women?
There is no gender distinction between adult coloring books; they are aimed at both men and women. In a 2016 study by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, it was reported that adult coloring was a more masculine activity while other studies have found that women were more likely to report that it helps them relax. It was also reported that women were more likely to report that adult coloring helped them forget about their daily troubles. Furthermore, a recent article in the New York Times reported that adult coloring books were now being considered by some to be male-dominated, citing that “There was a time when adult coloring books appealed mainly to women. Now it’s hard to find one at Barnes & Noble or Urban Outfitters that doesn’t have a helmeted hero and his weapon of choice on the cover.”
What are the Distribution Requirements for a Coloring Book?
When a publisher submits an adult coloring book there are certain specifications the publisher must follow. First the book must be an actual coloring book with high-quality paper and not a simple print out. The spine of the book must be at least 1 inch in width to allow for binding, and there must be an accurate count of pages. An adult coloring book is considered to be a specialty book and must be at least 42 pages long with no more than 250 black and white images. The book must also include at least 25 percent of the pages as actual coloring pages.
Coloring books must be of a non-fiction, non-religious nature and not be a compilation of photographs. The publisher must submit samples for approval to the Department of Education prior to finalization of the book’s design or publication. The publisher will provide three (3) copies of the book for review and approval along with the following:
1. A completed application from the publisher that includes contact information, addresses and telephone numbers for both an American supplier and manufacturer, if applicable;
2. A detailed summary of the book’s content, including plot, characters and themes;
3. A detailed table of contents in a list format;
4. One (1) copy of the book for review purposes; and
5. A sample at least one (1) black and white illustration from the novel.