Friday, July 3, 2015

Ah, you are looking for an Illustrator for your book ....

There are a few times a week that I will get an email or phone call about my rates or availability for children's book illustrations.  Sometimes these come from publishers and sometimes they come from those who wish to self publish.  In any case, it is wise to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI.

Each time I try to craft a personal reply to the person and each time I find myself answering the same questions, but in different ways.  Here are some things that will help those who are planning to hire an illustrator for their self published or trade book published book.

1. If you have a finished, edited, and great manuscript, by all means, submit
    it to a trade book publisher. They will pay you in some form, hire and pay the best printers and
    help you market your book. You do NOT need any illustrations to submit your manuscript
    unless you are also the illustrator.

2. To find out who might be the best publisher for your book, get a copy of the
    Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market.  It is published each year and always available on
    This volume lists all interested publishers, their contacts, their terms and what they are looking for.
    It also includes international markets, magazines, contests, agents and wonderful articles
    from artists and authors as well as publishers and editors.

3. If you have been through the process and months have gone by with rejections 
    and you feel your work is so good that it must be seen, you may choose to self  
    This is a leap of faith.  You will be choosing your illustrator, paying a fair market price for the
    artwork, paying to have the book  printed, paying for design and book layout, paying for  
    distribution, paying for any marketing and doing your own sales wherever you can find a
    venue. Your indie bookstore may or may not, host a signing. You may market your books at
    the outdoor market places, or at events that you set up. Some schools have book nights where
    you can sell your books.

4. When you hire an illustrator remember that you are hiring a professional. You need
    to be prepared to pay a fair market price. Depending upon the length of time it will take to
    illustrate your book, the amount of research needed, and any unusual requests you may have
    you will pay a rate that could be several thousand dollars or many thousands of dollars.

5. My illustration costs for self publishers are shared with them after I have
    seen either the whole finished and properly edited manuscript or at least a detailed outline of
    the work.
    I ask that so I can determine if my skills will match the content of the work, and if
    I can do my best work for the client.  Because I can also do the layout, create the PDF for
    the printer and provide full color cover and interior artwork my rates are based on those factors.

6. A contract is issued with payment dates, artwork dates, copyright restrictions for
    both the author and the illustrator. Work can take from 3 to 6 or 7 months to complete.
    Stages of the work are paid for in sections as the work is completed and approved.

7.) Any artwork that has been finished and approved by the author is final.
     However, if changes are made after the final approval a fee per hour for any changes will apply.

8.) Getting a trade book publisher to acquire
     your book is a long process but will be to your
     best advantage.

9.)  Should you decide to self publish your work contact
      the llustrator of your choice and together create a contract
      that is fair for both parties.

10. Click on the image of Gunther the Underwater Elephant to see         some of the books I have illustrated.