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Hiring an Illustrator 


After years of working with clients in the publishing industry, these are the things we found most important to mention.


To help self-publishing writers understand more about the process of hiring an illustrator to help bring their book to life, we're posting some basic things to think about and some things you can expect from an illustrator. We hope this will be helpful to both the authors seeking to hire an illustrator and illustrators working with self-published authors. It is a finely tuned dance between the two and in order to create the best book possible it requires a lot of work on both sides. Hiring an illustrator is a BIG step and there are many things you need to have in mind and have answers for before approaching an illustrator.


 Before an illustrator can quote a price and gauge their interest in your project, there are several questions that need to be answered or at least considered.


Questions, Queries, Posers


• What particular illustration or illustrations sparked your interest? This help us know what work you have seen and what style of art with which you might be most interested.
• Is this your first children’s book?
• Do you have a completed manuscript?
• Has your manuscript been professionally edited?
• How many pages will your book be? (Please include the cover, back cover, copyright page and title page in that number).
• What age range is the audience for your book?
• Are you publishing traditional print or ebooks? Or are you going to try to sell your books to a publisher? (If you are looking for a publisher, you do not need to hire an illustrator. If your manuscript is acquired by a traditional publisher, they will choose the illustrator.)
• Do you have an estimated date that you would want the artwork completed by?
• Do you have a printer?
• What outlets will you be using to sell the book?
• How do you plan on publishing and marketing the book?
• Will you be hiring a designer as well, or would you like us to perform those duties as well? We have designed several books and can take care to this stage for you, providing you with a print-ready file. This would be a separate fee from the illustrations.

• What rights are you interested in purchasing from us?

And one of the toughest questions of all:
• Do you have a budget in mind for this artwork? Keep in mind that it takes several months to a year to complete the illustrations for a full book, and illustrators need to be reasonably compensated for that time.

Remember, publishing is a business

Before we can agree to take on any project, we would need to review the your manuscript to gauge our interest in working on the book. You can send an NDA if you feel you need to.

What we need to begin:

• The final size, a template from your printer, and an ICC profile (if they have one, which they most likely do)
• How it will be printed
• What kind of cover you will want -- a full wraparound, or illustration on the front only. And will that be an illustration from inside the book?
• What text will be on each page or spread. We can, and like to, split the text up into a story flow we feel works best for the story, but this will also effect the price. If you have a specific idea of how you would like the story to unfold, then you can do this.

Things You Need to Know

Timing: It will will take from four to eight months to complete the illustrations for a full book depending on the total amount of illustrations needed, the number of pages, the complexity and number of characters for each spread as well as our current work load.
Payments: We break the payments into thirds: one third up front to get started with character development, one third upon delivery of final sketches, and the final third at delivery of the final art.
Kill fee: We also have a kill fee of 25% in case the project is cancelled after we have invested much or our time.
Revision Limit: We will provide one or two rounds of revisions on sketches and light revisions on finals. Any further revisions needed, we will an additional charge.
Copyrights: It is unlikely that you will need or ever use all rights to the art we create for your book. We will grant you the appropriate usage and terms needed to use the illustrations for 1st North American Print rights for an agreed upon time frame. If you still wish to buy all copyrights, be prepared to pay an appropriate amount for them. This can add up.
Contracts…Yes: There will be one. We use a simple contract outlining rights. We can use one of our own or you can provide one, but keep in mind that what we have outlined above must be clear.

Thank you for your interest.

We have not given any pricing here since there are so many variables. We will be happy to provide an estimate once we have as many as possible of the above questions answered and have established an interest in taking on the project.

If you are interested in hiring us to help bring your story to life, please contact us with as much information as possible, and we’ll get the process started.

We hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions, or share your experiences as an author or an illustrator with us in the comments below.
Traci & Kurt

Live, Laugh, Learn

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