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Illustrations - When and How

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, "How do I find an illustrator?"

My response is, "You don't!"

Many new authors who write picturebooks assume that they must have illustrations before submitting their story to a publisher. The truth is.. your chances for publication are better if you do not pair up with an illustrator.

Most publishers prefer to pair unknown authors with established illustrators to enhance the marketability of the book. They also pair new illustrators with established authors for this purpose. If you are a brand new author with a brand new illustrator, there is no built in fan market for your book.
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The likelihood that the publisher will love both the manuscript and illustrations is not that good either. Publishers will often reject the entire package rather than one element or the other. This limits your chance for success.

One case where these factors do not apply is in the case of an author/illustrator. If you do both well, then you have a marketable talent that will serve you well. Having to deal with only one person makes the editor's life easier. It saves on costs and time which are required when coordinating the work of two individuals.

If you are both, you can submit both illustrations and manuscript together. You can also save on your own costs and submit the manuscript alone while mentioning in your cover letter that you are also an illustrator. Then offer to send the illustrations if they are interested in your manuscript.

As a note: NEVER send original illustrations with a submission!
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In conclusion, if you have your manuscript written, then you are ready to research the market, professionally package your manuscript submission, and start submitting. If you do your market research, you will meet with success sooner than most!

If you are interested in learning more about illustrating children's books, you can check out books on the subject. Simply click here to launch a new search for "Children's Book Illustration".

Happy Writing,


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