They Want You to What?!?

Some publishers want illustrations to accompany a picture book manuscript. If I’m not a professional illustrator, where can I find one? Should I consider finding an illustrator or just submit to another publisher who doesn’t require illustrations with the text?

Who asks for that??!? It is so often NOT the case that a publisher wants you to find your own illustrations for a picture book that I’d say forget them and go with someone else. I’m thinking they just don’t want to pay the extra money to hire an illustrator themselves. You really should not have to pay for an illustrator unless you’re self-publishing.

Most publishers DO NOT want you to send illustrations with your picture book. Bad/mediocre illustrations can hurt a picture book more than bad/mediocre writing, so the publisher is going to want complete control over that. (I’ve purchased picture books with a so-so story because the pictures were gorgeous; but the only time I’ve ever purchased a good story with icky or boring pictures was Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. I just don’t love those illustrations.)

Picture book publishers have illustrators that they use on a regular basis, someone they know will be easy to work with. They will choose the illustrator that they feel matches the style and voice of the book. Sometimes illustrators are paid by the picture and sometimes they share in the royalty with the author.

Generally, the only time a publisher will even consider looking at illustrations provided by the author is if the author is also the illustrator, or if the author/illustrator insist on working together as a package deal.

And to give you an idea of how often I like illustrations sent in by the author (whether self-done or by a “professional” illustrator the author has chosen)–I have NEVER liked them.

Read more here.