Many authors of children’s picture books have questions about how to get their books illustrated. Here are some common questions about illustrations for children’s books.
I have written a children’s picture book, but I am not an artist. How do I find someone to illustrate the book before I submit it to publishers?
Most publishers do not want to receive illustrations with manuscript submissions, even for children’s picture books. The publishers have relationships with many illustrators and they will want to choose the artist to illustrate the book. Just make your manuscript the best it can be before you submit it to an agent or publisher.
I have a friend who can draw, and she drew some pictures to show how the characters in my book should look. Will including the illustrations with my manuscript make it easier to get a publisher interested in my book?
No, it will probably make it less likely that a publisher will want your book, especially if the illustrations are less than professional. Let your manuscript tell the story, and let the publisher decide how the book should be illustrated.
I am an artist and I have written and illustrated a children’s story that I want to have published. Should I send the illustrated book to publishers for their consideration?
Do not submit a fully illustrated manuscript to publishers. If you are a professional artist and would like to create the illustrations for your book, you may say so when submitting your manuscript. Submit a few high-quality samples of your work. These should be color copies—never send original art as it may be lost or damaged.
I created the story and characters for my book, and I do not want someone else deciding how the book should be illustrated. Can I decide who will be hired to illustrate my book and work with them to be certain that the book is true to my original vision?
Although publishers may be willing to accept comments and suggestions from authors, the ultimate decisions are theirs. If you want to be in control, you should consider self-publishing.
You have heard about the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. In this case, what that means is that the person paying the bills gets to make the decisions. If you want to have total control, you will have to become the publisher and take full responsibility (including financial responsibility) for the book.
Keep in mind that publishers of children’s books have often produced thousands of titles over the years. They have a pretty good idea of what sells and what doesn’t, and they know what book sellers look for when deciding what books they will stock. If you do not have any publishing experience, use caution and get expert help when deciding to self-publish.