Svetlana Chmakova

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you run workshops?
A: Yes, depending on my work schedule. I usually do workshops as courtesy to the conventions that bring me in as a guest, so you can contact your favourite con and request that they invite me. Outside of conventions, I can be booked for workshops via Skype or in person by your local library or school — just contact them to say you are interested in attending and point them to my About page!

Q: Will you be at ______Con so I can get my books signed?
A: My con presence depends on two things — my work schedule (7 days a week!) and whether the con in question invited me. I am a working artist which means I don't have a lot of time or money that I can spend on trips. :( If you would like me to appear at your favourite con, please write to them and request that they invite me! If they do so and I am able to take the time off work (a con trip is usually 5 days with the travel… yikes!), I will happily attend. :3
You can see a list of cons where I have been a guest (or will be a guest) at My webmaster, Mr. Raccoon, also tries to keep the schedule on my home page up-to-date.

Q: Will there be more Awkward?
A: THERE IS! It's not called "Awkward volume 2". It's called Brave and it's about other students at Berrybrook Middle School. (Go Wiener Dogs!) You can see more of our friends from Awkward in that book too...even Mr. Raccoon. The third book in the series is called Crush. All these books are available in bookstores in the US, Canada, and UK.
Although they do take place in alphabetical order, they can be read in any order you'd like without spoiling the other books. They are not "volume 1", "volume 2", and "volume 3".

Q: Is there a book after Crush? Will it start with the letter "D"?
A: Yes, the fourth book is called Diary. The fourth volume represents an exciting variation that, in addition to exclusive short stories featuring familiar faces from Berrybrook, doubles as a real journal featuring a "One Sketch a Day" section, stickers, and free note pages with fun journal entries from one of the main characters. It will be released in October 2019.

Q: What is the book series with Awkward, Brave, and Crush called? Is it "Awkward", "Alphabet School", or something else?
A: We've usually referred to it as "the Berrybrook Middle School series" or "the Berrybrook series" (which refers to the name of the school). When Diary is released in October 2019, JY will also be releasing a Berrybrook Middle School Box Set that includes all four books!

Q: What about after Diary? Are you going to do the whole alphabet?!
A: Nothing has been announced. We'll see...

Q: Can I suggest a title or idea for your next book?
A: Although this seems like it might be fun, we respectfully ask that you do not submit any guesses or suggestions due to complicated lawyer and intellectual property reasons. Svetlana is not able to discuss any books which have yet to be announced.

Q: Will there be more Nightschool?
A: Hopefully. There are more stories to tell in that world. Maybe someday you'll be able to read a "Nightschool volume 5".

Q: Will there be more Dramacon?
A: Sorry, but there is no Dramacon volume 4. It is extremely unlikely it will ever happen because Tokyopop has a tight grip on the rights and does not appear to be publishing new North American titles.

Q: What's it like to be a professional comics/manga author?
A: It's kind of like high school and college art/creative writing projects without the teacher but with a billion times the deadlines and the amount of work. And you even get paid for it sometimes!

Q: How does one become a professional comics/manga author?
A: This is a long and involved topic and I am hoping to write a few in-depth essays on this in the future. The short answer for now — become good at drawing and writing, get your work out there (established webcomics communities, submissions to contests, etc.), be ready to face a lot of rejection, and be ready to work even harder when you land your first job.
Also, please read Dave Roman's absolutely excellent Guide to Being a Freelancer. (It's mostly for artists, but is very applicable to aspiring manga authors too.) It's a treasure mine of Very Good Advice.

Q: I wrote to you like, months ago, and still haven't heard back.
A: Sorry! ;___; Please understand that I get a lot of mail, so I can't always reply right away. Here are some common reasons for lack of a reply:

  • I'm swamped with work and trying to meet a deadline
  • you just sent it and I haven't seen it yet
  • you sent physical mail to Yen Press and they haven't forwarded it to me yet
  • your e-mail didn't get to me
  • my e-mail didn't get to you (check your spam folder)
  • your e-mail got buried and/or accidentally deleted with spam
  • I left your e-mail to reply to later and then forgot to do so >.>

I do always try to write back, especially if you are asking a question not answered here. I always read every letter I get (even spam XD) as it often adds a much-needed ray of sunshine to my day. <:) ...but I do occasionally have a large backlog of unread mail when I get busy with projects. If you wrote to me and really need to hear back but still haven't after a week or so, please try writing again. XD

Q: Can I ask you some questions or interview you for a school project?
A: It's an honour that you'd consider me as a subject for your school project, but I often don't have a lot of free time to answer questions, especially when I'm trying to finish the next book by a deadline. (These days, that's most of the time.) You can ask, but please don't be disappointed if I don't get back to you right away (see the above question) or don't have the time to answer questions.

Q: Can you be my mentor for school?
A: I'm honoured that you want me to be your mentor. Unfortunately, as I've indicated above, I have very little free time available to me and that means that I'm unable to be a mentor.

Q: Do you do requests?
A: Not anymore, sorry ^___^; I barely have time to complete paying work on time, so haven't been able to do favours like that in a looooooong time....

Q: Do you do commissions?
A: I'm not taking any at the moment — the last people had to wait a year before I managed to get around to their requests! Some are still waiting. >.> No one deserves that...

Q: I really like your "_____" picture, may I put it on my website/use it as my RP avatar/stick it on my wall?
A: I don't mind people using my pictures for role-playing or displaying them on their site, etc, under following conditions:

  • No hotlinking/linking to the image on my server for your own uses. That's bandwidth theft!
  • No making profit off my images in any way — they're not yours! ^___^;;
  • Please remember to credit me as the picture's creator and provide a link back to my site.
  • Once you decide which images you'd like to use, please e-mail me their names, to which purpose they will be used and on what site. You don't have to wait for a reply from me. I will only be contacting you if I see a problem with the way you are using my stuff.

Q: Where can I download your comics?
A: Amazon, Comixology, Apple iBooks, and Google Play have some of my books available in e-book format. Every book purchased (of both physical books and e-books) help make future books possible!

Q: Where is Mr. Raccoon hidden?
A: You'll have to find him yourself. He can be found in Dramacon volumes 1-3 (and the Ultimate Edition), Nightschool volume 1, Awkward, Brave, Crush, and Diary. My niece confirmed that he has 24 appearances in Awkward, mostly in the Art Club room. He appears over a dozen times in Brave and Crush, but I'm not exactly sure how often. His story throughout all these books can be found in his coloring book, The Art Adventures of Mr. Raccoon, which I sell at conventions and on those rare occasions I open my online store.

Q: When will your store open up again?
A: I tend to only open it a couple times a year because it takes a lot of time and effort to package everything and ship it out in a timely manner. It usually opens up before Christmas and maybe one other time of year...but never when I have a pending deadline. When it opens, I'll announce it on Twitter and Facebook, so follow me there! Otherwise, you may have better luck finding my table at a convention. I no longer sell autographed books in my store because books are heavy and shipping books is not cheap...especially when shipping internationally.

Q: How can I ask a question not listed here?
A: I work so much that it is notoriously difficult to get a hold of me both online and in real life. I'm like that rare Pokémon that they didn't even add to Pokémon Go yet. However, if you have questions that you'd like included in this section, contact me.

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