Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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You have a wonderful idea for a book for kids. You have to write it. So, you do. You know you get it to an editor and you love your story. But what then?
This is where a lot of kids' authors get stuck. They have all the words for their picture book, but they don't have any pictures. In this guide, we'll talk about how to find an illustrator for your kids' book.
People always ask me, "How do I find a good artist who won't break the bank to work on my book?"
You Need a Good Illustrator
The beauty of a picture book is the interplay between the words and pictures go together.
The story shouldn't just be told through words or pictures. The other person should tell the whole story. So, getting an illustrator is a bit like getting married.
Your illustrator will always be the other half of your story. Most of the time, you, not the illustrator, will be standing behind your book, and you don't want to stand behind something that would make you be embarrassed about.
Don't settle when you're looking for the right your illustrator.
You'll be so grateful you didn't.
How Much Does an Illustrator Cost?
If you know where to look and how to find a good illustrator, you can expect to pay at least $500 for one.
The formatting and cover design have sometimes been part of that $500. People are often shocked by this, and they should be.
It's a low and fair price for people who are just starting out and want to work with a new artist who wants to gain experience and get paid for their work. I'll explain how it works and how I pay the illustrator in other ways below.
It takes a lot of work to illustrate a book. The artist brings their years of experience, skill, and creativity to a story they didn't write, hoping to please the author and show their own "voice" in the story. You are very lucky to find a good illustrator who charges a low fee.
How to Find an Illustrator in the Self-Publishing World
Illustrators are independent contractors who do work for the author in the self-publishing industry. When a person is chosen to be an illustrator, they are usually paid a flat rate.
Most of the time, royalty payments are not part of the deal, but sometimes they are.
At the moment, Print on Demand platforms like KDP and IngramSpark don't allow for split-royalties. This means that if you want to give royalties to an illustrator, they need to keep good financial records and keep their promise to the illustrator. Because of this, most writers and artists just agree on a flat rate.
Different illustrators will charge you different amounts. Find an illustrator who has a lot of experience and has been published. The more experienced, published, and skilled an illustrator is, the more they will charge for their work. I've seen illustrators of this level charge anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000, for example.
Also, if an illustrator is just starting out or has only had one or two books published, they will probably cost less. Geography can also affect prices. If you pay an illustrator in US dollars and they live in Eastern Europe instead of North America, your money will go a lot further for them.
Using a site like Upwork.com to post a job is great way to do it. In your posting, include all the important information, such as the number of pages, the time frame, a summary of the book, and what I'm looking you're for in an illustrator.
Also set your budget.
Upwork Lets' them come to you
This is how you find illustrators without searching. Having someone find your posting is a more effective method to start a dialogue because you're attracting someone who agrees with the price and requirements.
Sort through illustrator applications. Illustrators can bid above or below the budget amount depending on my ad. And you hire a talented illustrator within my budget. Simple.
Having worked in the industry for a while and having many illustrator friends, I know that $500 is not much for a newbie illustrator wanting to build a portfolio. I know how hard it is to sell a children's book and how long it will take to "pay off" your illustrator.
Other Ways to find an illustrator
Here are some other really good sources to find illustrators for your next children's book
And that's all for today! Come back tommorrow for Part 2 for advice what to do to ensure that your work with you new illustrator goes smoothly!