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An Illustrator's journal where experiences are logged in as pictures with a word or two added from time to time.
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Many times illustrators are contacted by self publishing authors. What are the dos and donts or the ins and outs when you respond to their requests?
Many times in a month illustrators can be asked for their rates and f they will illustrate a book for a writer. Sometimes the reality of what an illustrator needs to create images for an author's book does not match the expectations of the author seeking the services.
There have been many articles, social media comments, and essays on the subject. This is my take on the subject. I am writing it here so that I can refer to it from time to time. That way maybe it will help some illustrators, and some writers that are concerned or interested in self publishing.
Those who are planning to self publish, for whatever reason need to know some things about that process.
|"Wow! I have a great idea for a book. I think I will write it and go off to find an illustrator. Then I will publish it!"|
First of all the best advice is to seek a traditional publisher first. Why? Because the trade book and magazine publishers will find the best illustrator for your work, and they will bear the cost of the illustrations and the printing. Sometimes they will also arrange for marketing and more. They will offer you an advance and royalties, or just royalties, or a full fee with no royalties. In any of those cases, your costs will simply be the sweat you spend making your story the best it can be, and the mailing of the manuscripts to the best publishing audience you can find.
Where do I find that?
The best source I know of is the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. It is published every year with updates. You can purchase it in a bookstore, order one there or go online and get your copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. In this "bible" of sorts, you will find the Children's book and magazine publishers in the US and Canada. There are articles of all sorts, lists of agents, contests, and much more.
|I did that, I sent out many, many queries... no response. I know my story is GREAT and I want now to self publish. Will you illustrate if for me?|
This is where the illustrator has a chance to make one last plug for the traditional route. If the author is determined to self publish, the illustrator needs to make sure of five key things.
1.) The manuscript is something for which the illustrator can do her/his best work. That means the illustrator needs to see a copy or at least an outline of the work.
2.) The manuscript is well edited and proof read.
3.) The author is willing to pay a fair fee for the work.
4.) There will be a contract signed by both the author and illustrator that is fair and agreeable to both.
5.) The decision of who will do the layout and send files to the printer must be made.
Normally the illustrations will be copyrighted to the illustrator. The text will be copyrighted to the author. Any use of the illustrations or derived characters that are later licensed by the author will need to provide adequate compensation for the illustrator. The illustrator is entitled to free copies of the finished book. That number needs to be agreeable to both the author and illustrator and can range from anywhere from 5 to 25 books or more.
The hardest part of the process is setting the fee for the illustration work. You have heard all this before. Illustrators cannot and should not work on spec or for free. It hurts every other illustrator when that happens, and the quality may not be there either.
Once the illustrator sets a fee there can still be negotiations, but there has to be a limit on either side.
Fees can range from four figures right up to five or six depending upon the experience and status of the illustrator or the scope of the project. The length of time to complete a project, the research that may be involved and the particular type of illustrations will affect the time needed and the final cost.
If the illustrator is also doing the layout and uploads there may be an additional cost, but it shouldn't be more than any service that is also offered by the printer of choice.
This lovely trailer was created by Tangerine Sky Productions, where Kevin Collier is the man behind the curtain. I am pleased with the peek into Willow's world, and hope that it may encourage you to buy the book. It is available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble. Elephant facts are included on the last two pages, and some of those may surprise you.
There is a new trailer for the book, Half Past Winter, online at YouTube. It is short enough not to keep you tied up and fun enough to get you interested in the book. Take a look when you have time.Half Past Winter
I normally finish all my work as digital paintings, but I like to paint traditionally as well. Sometimes the traditional work goes into the computer and is completed with digital media. This particular piece is a watercolor study that has been ongoing for a few days. While the paint dries I continue with other work.
Sometimes when you create a progression like this you can transform it into a fade-in video sequence and as you watch the colors and forms begin to appear. I have done that on my website several times, but since that kind of thing takes a while for it to open, I usually don't end up keeping those files there. Finally once in the computer with some issues worked out and space for the text... the finish.
I plan to start off the New Year with a challenge! I will participate in the Start the Year Off Write challenge.
This challenge will encourage all writers to extend their skills. You can join and find out much more about how this challenge will work for you at: Shannon Abercrombie's blog.
Here is a link to the Challenge itself. Start the Year Off Write.
There is a place to either join by email or on the Facebook page. The invitation is open to all and includes all kinds of writers. Read about the journey on Shannon's blog using the links I provided above.
A new book I illustrated has just been released. You can read more about Brian Halla's lovely first picture book using the link provided. Boot's Bridge
is available on Amazon.com
.The story of twins who are pretend fishing is heartwarming. Not only do they catch an unusual item, it contains a surprise that they did not expect.
I have finally decided to take the plunge into self publishing and have just finished a book I have been working on for over a year.
Half Past Winter is the tale of two curious bear cubs who have never seen snow. They decide to go find it when the winter has lasted long enough with out any. They find snow, have a great time playing and enjoying it, but end up with more trouble than they hoped for.
The story does have a very happy ending, and I hope people will enjoy the book. It is available on Amazon.com
and in the Create Space bookstore
Most of all, I wanted to offer a book at a reasonable rate so that people who wanted the story could feel comfortable with the price.
I enjoyed the process of creating something of my very own and have plans to do this with at least two more of my stories. They will be larger format and possibly hardcover is the price to the consumer is as good as it can be.
I am lucky enough to be doing a job that I truly love. Illustrating for children's books. Some of these I also write. My goal has always been to create a beautiful work of art that children can hold in their hands, take to bed, take outdoors, take on vacation, and when they feel they are too old for that 'sort of stuff', place on their bookshelf to be discovered much later in their lives.
E books are something new. Six of my 30 + books have been converted into E-books,
and I am sure there will be more conversions as the clients I work with want to cover the children's market from all angles.
My personal preference is the hardcover book. With or without a dust jacket, (they often get lost or torn) this is the book a child can hold, keep for ages, and pass down to younger siblings or their own children is still a timeless treasure. My own copy of Babar
the elephant is on my current bookshelf. It shows the loving wear of the 50 years I have owned it. The marks of my children are there as well and when my oldest child felt she could give it up, she returned it to me for safekeeping. Most likely I will someday part with it again for a grandchild or two.
If you are planning to publish by seeking out an established children's trade book publisher who will acquire your manuscript or accept your illustration style for future books, you need to be ready for the long wait, the rejections, the disappointments, and the frustration. But if you persevere, there is a very good chance that your work will be picked up by a publishing house that not only creates a beautiful book, but pays you a decent advance and royalties.
If you plan to follow the shorter path and publish yourself, choose wisely. There are many publishing venues that promise a great deal and deliver less than you would expect. There are a very few that actually hold your hand along the way, help you create a beautiful book and offer you the additional option of creating an E book along with your hardcover or softcover book.
Check out the options offered by Create Space, Gorham Printing, and Ingram Spark. They all offer short runs, or print on demand and there is the option for conversion to an E-book if you wish.
There are different models here but one might fit your publishing needs. There are many good Asian printing houses as well, but there the minimum order for books is 1000, and then you have the problem of the language difficulties, shipping, and marketing and selling your boxes and boxes of books.
I would like to introduce you to Dan Levinson and John Suter the men who made this book possible.
The book and e-book are available from Amazon.com or from the
Poodle Dog Productions website at: Flying Poodles
where you can find bookII of the Poodle Dog Trilogy.
The Phantom Poodle of Rainy Pass was written lovingly by the late Dan Levinson.
His story will speak to young and old, but is especially geared to the 6-12 year old age group. He based his story of a lost sled dog on the true life adventures of John 'the Poodleman' Suter. John Suter raced the iditarod many times and some of those times were with a team of poodle dogs.
Dan's writing is exceptional, reads beautifully, and creates the perfect mood for an Alaskan winter adventure.
It was my pleasure and honor to be chosen to illustrate this delightful story. I am sure that anyone who knew Dan Levinson would enjoy his story.
The Alaskan winter can be lonely. Rose Ningaloo, knows that.
But on her 9th Birthday a special surprise arrived by plane.
A girl her own age, to play with, do homework with, and "adventure" with.
Sharing secrets, making taffy and reindeer ice cream, playing video games was all part of getting to know one another. But soon the girls decided they needed an ADVENTURE.
Off they went, up Rose's mountain. What they saw from the rock they were perched on was a mystery at first. Soon it became quite clear what the dark object was that they had seen hiding in the
snow covered trees below.
You can be part of their exciting discovery when you get your copy of the book or the eBook.
Visit Flying Poodles Website
to learn more.
Today I added another book to the growing list of those I have illustrated. Today's count is at 31! I have three more waiting for me and I am so grateful and happy that I am able to do something I truly love, each and every day!
Published Books Include:
Flying Poodles, A Christmas Story
I Like Pink
The Phantom Poodle of Rainy Pass
Willow, An Elephant's Tale - I also wrote this book
Gunther the Underwater Elephant-I wrote this as well
A Dinner Date for Dilly
Carla's Cloud Catastrophe
The Angry Little Boy
Little Charley Thornpaws
In My Bath
If Wishes Were Fishes
A Wish and A Prayer
While You Were Away Daddy
Zubie the Lightning Bug
Daniel and the Harmonica
Princess Caitlin's Tiara
When Wishes Come True
The Adventures of Cali
Song for a Giraffe
My African Bedtime Rhymes
The Peace Department
One Day in Peace
A Moose on the Loose
A Birthday Wish
The First Map of Maine
A New Friend for Dilly
Pony Strings and Critter Things
Rhino Crashes and Critter Classes
The First Flag of New Hampshire
I Love San Francisco
I just upgraded my iMac to Mountain Lion. I have to say I did so with a bit of fear because I have very expensive software that I need to have working. After a horrible experience with Lion it made me even more cautious. BUT... after downloading Mountain Lion and starting everything up... it all works. The only change that bothers me is that the scrolling on my mouse is now the opposite of what it was before.
Main reason to upgrade... all the new upgrades leave some of the older operating systems in some kind of techie graveyard, never to be found or downloaded again. Second and very important reason is that Painter X3 just came out and it needs Mountain Lion to operate.
And Painter X3 is just as good as ever. I am looking forward to exploring all the new things that make this program my choice as a digital PAINTER.
I have been blessed with enough work to keep me going for the next year and one half...but have neglected the blog. Some of the things I am working on are not for sharing just yet, but there will be snippets from time to time. Here is a study for a larger illustration in a book that will be underway later this year.
And here is one from a dummy book I submitted recently. I got great feedback from one editor and have reworked the key points to see how her suggestions will impact the entire book. Then I will decide if I want to resend it, or keep it for a later submission.
The Next Big THING! is a blog tour that gives authors and illustrators a chance to share their work, and then tag others to share theirs. Each blogger answers the same ten questions. The tour started in Australia, and has spread world wide.
I was tagged by Diana Delosh
a fellow artist in the group we both belong to, CBIG. Please check out her blog at:The Hare Illustratere.
Her Next Big Thing
is about her newest picture book dummy, ROBIN. Her book is only one of the many ways in which Diana uses her magnificent talent. Visiting her website will give you a idea of just how gifted Diana is as an artist.
At the end of this post I will tag children's book illustrator/writers Robert Baird for your next stop on the tour. And now my questions will be answered.
1.) What is the working title of your next book?
Actually there are several. I usually don't work on more than one book at a time, but this year has been particularly busy. I am currently working on a book by a well known author who has written her first picture book. I can't share any images, but I will say it is about a sweet little girl who loves the color pink.
One of the other books is a work in progress that I have had on my drawing table for a long time. When I write and illustrate my own work, it usually takes a back seat to the work I do for publishers. The tentative title is :Half Past Winter.
Although I liked the title at first, it may change to something more like, The Bears' Winter Surprise.
2.) Where did the idea come from for the book?
We have bears here, and we have lots of snow in the winter in New England. I love both and decided to write and illustrate a story about both. Even after a wicked winter once the summer is over and fall has set in, we just can't wait for the first new snow of the next winter.
3.) What genre does your book fall under?
This is a picture book for ages 4-8 and any adult who still loves the magic of a picture book.
4.) If this were a movie who would be the actors?
If it was a movie, I think an animated movie would tell the story beautifully. Three bears, a cardinal, some squirrels, and lots of snow would be the featured characters.
5.) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
It was half past Winter, and there was no snow.
6.) Who is publishing your book?
I have a special place in mind but I can't say where I will ultimately submit the work.
7.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Not too long. Actually I wrote the first draft in a day. BUT, I reviewed, edited, and re wrote it
about 6 times after that making sure that every word was actually needed. I have two versions now,
one with 650 words and one with only 15 words. I am leaning toward the longer version.
8.) What other books have you written and illustrated that feature animals as the main characters?
There are two as of this writing. Gunther the Underwater Elephant
, and Willow, An Elephant's Tale
Both books were published during the last two years by 4RV PUBLISHING in Edmond OK.
9.) Who or what inspires you to write a book?
Sometimes it could be as simple as a shadow on the wall, or a walk though the woods. Children and animals have a way of wiggling their way into my days and nights in many ways. Music plays a part as well.
10.) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
In this particular book there is a surprising ending. I like to add a big surprise in each book I write and illustrate.
Sometimes it comes at the very end, and sometimes just before. It is always planned so that the reader will get a hint of the surprise before they actually see it. But, by then I hope they are laughing really hard!
The next stop on the tour is a visit with writer/illustrator Roberta Baird
From preliminary paintings for
"Gunther the Underwater Elephant"
The first paintings were done in watercolor then transferred to the computer for finishing touches in Painter 12.
The County Fair is always a fantastic event! So much to see, so much to eat, and so much to do.
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A composite of some of the latest prints I have framed for exhibition.