Traditional vs. Self-Publishing Children’s Books
- NEVER do your own illustrations unless you are literally a professional illustrator! I’m not talking about how you took a few art classes. Books need high quality illustrations. The ebook market is flooded with cute kid books that are permanently free because their horrible illustrations make them unsellable.
- Unless you're self-publishing, or do your own professional quality illustrations, don't get your book formatted and illustrated! Publishers will want to see your naked manuscript. They want to know that you will be flexible and easy to work with. Having your book laid out and complete with illustrations can give the impression that you are set on one style and you'll be harder to work with. Perhaps most importantly, they don't want to see your book already illustrated because they don't want to worry about copyright issues and having to worry about working with two clients (you and the illustrator) instead of one. Also, most publishers will already have an illustrator on hand that they like to work with.
- Never sign a contract without knowing exactly what every part of it means! Get a lawyer or another professional to look it over. Need one good reason why? For starters, look up non-compete clauses, they can ruin your future career.
- When hiring an illustrator, be sure to sign a contract that gives both you and the illustrator the copyrights you need. You’ll want the rights to the images to use for your books, promos, website, etc. The illustrator may want use of them for a portfolio, etc. Do NOT give an illustrator the rights to use the images that you are commissioning in other books. If you do that, you may as well be paying for stock art (which is a heck of a lot cheaper!) Sign a contract before ANY work is done and paid for!
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