You have a book manuscript going and have talked to a self publishing company, now you want illustrations for your book. When is the best time to bring an Illustrator into your project? From my past experience as an illustrator I can tell you the best time is after your manuscript is finished, edited and ready to go to print. Jumping the gun and seeking an illustrator’s services when changes are still being made to your writing will result in frustration and lack of success for your project.
A family member asked me to illustrate a book he was self publishing. It featured a lab mouse named Piebald, who became the first character I brought to life on the written page. The publishing company liked my drawings and began giving my name to other clients. Over the next 14 years I selectively worked on a number of book projects. Each client helped me to learn a little more about how to work with an author to get their book ready to print. I joined the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and attended a number of their state and national conventions. This was a great venue to begin to understand how the children’s book industry works. I have received many emails from aspiring authors who are looking for an illustrator. In future blog posts I will write about some of the things I’ve learned that may help you in your quest to obtain a published book with illustrations.