children's books, self publishing

So you need an illustrator?

You finished your book! Congratulations! And now you are thinking, “How do I find an illustrator?”

If you cannot illustrate your own book, then you need to find a reputable illustrator. Illustrations can make or break a book.  Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for?” That saying definitely applies here. I would not recommend going cheap on an illustrator, you may regret it.  Make sure to do your research.  Look at different styles and know what you want your book to look like.  Illustrators are not mind readers, and they do want to create for you, and not disappoint.

 Once one is selected, make sure to have a good contract, as I have heard lots of horror stories about illustrators not finishing projects, or authors not happy with illustrations.  It is not common, but illustrators can also sometimes ask for royalties.  I would not recommend a contract with that clause, as it is hard to be on the hook to calculate their share from profits.  Besides that headache, you may not make much, and do you really want to share what you do make? I certainly would not want to, and personally would not accept a share of royalties as payment. 

Tips on deciding on an illustrator:

  • Look at books that you enjoy, and take note of the style of the illustrations.
  • Ask other authors who they hired and their experience.
  • Be wary of places such as “fiver” often the illustrators use clip art for books which is not a good look. In addition, much of the art is stolen. Not something you want for your book.
  • Have a good contract. Do not pay all up front.
  • Beware of illustrators that want royalties. Besides trying to keep track of what to pay them, do you want to share your profits?
  • Have dates for submissions to keep illustrator on track or be sure to have good communication.
  • Be careful giving them too much direction. I often say that an artist is like a horse being reined in. If you are too stringent you may stifle creativity.
  • How will you receive illustrations? Formatted in a book? Separate images? Paper?

It is very important how you receive your illustrations. If you are computer savvy, then getting raw images to crop and size would not be an issue. But if you are not savvy this could be a nightmare that you have to hire a formatter for. And that is yet another cost. If you do decide to try yourself, I have found Photoshop elements to be great for cropping and editing. YouTube is a fountain of information to learn how to do what you need.

When I illustrate a book for a client, I do it all.  I take their text, and with my illustrations create a manuscript.  I then create the separate cover files, and once finished will give them a thumb drive with all the files ready to go.  Once they receive their files, they can upload the files to publish their book.  I try to make it easy for them, and will sometimes include some marketing images, because to sell books you need to market your book!!

You have heard that saying “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, that is a great saying, but no one listens to it. Your cover has to be wonderful. This is a tough one as I have loved some covers that I have done, and then the book doesn’t sell. So, I have to redo the cover. I now create my cover, then upload it to a Facebook group for book covers and they critique it. And even if I hate what they say, I listen. Because they know their subject and they are right! It is not fun to hear that people do not like what you did. But you need this feedback. And you MUST listen to be successful. I will say it again… you MUST listen to critiques.

If you do not have the skills or software to create a cover yourself, I highly recommend I have even used them! And they are so reasonable! They charge $35 for a cover. What a bargain! I use them for the font and title of my books often as they really do a wonderful job!

If you are still wanting to create your own cover, please click here to download cover templates from KDP. You must know your size of book to proceed. Their template will guide you to create a cover that works.

Good luck in your illustrator search, and don’t forget the most important thing… Don’t give up!

Tips for finding an illustrator for your books are here!

Ready to start your files? Here is a blog that will help you set them up! Click here!

Looking for publishing and printing help? Click here!

Need help with creating amazon ads? Please click here.

Learn about Vanity publishing here!

Need an illustrator? I have illustrated many books of my own and other authors. Please visit my website by clicking here, to contact me or see examples of my work.

If you would like to see my amazon page with my books, please visit here. 

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