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A question (or two!) for authors

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
hi all,

i have a couple book ideas, one is a science curriculum for young kids, adn two ideas for non-fiction science books for young readers. i can write them, and i even feel okay possibly self-publishing, but here are my questions:

i can't draw to save my life, how do i find an illustrator?

when i find one, do i give them some rough ideas of how i want the pictures to look? i have some ideas in my mind, but i know that i can't do that part.

if i did want to publish through an official publishing house, how do i find an agent? how d i get my stuff looked at by the publishing houses?

thanks! i am sure i will think of more just sitting here.
post #2 of 4
I am a self-published author of one book with another one in the works. If you are willing to do the leg work necessary to market your book (and usually any traditional publisher will leave it up the author to do their own marketing anyway) you will be able to make much more money self-publishing. The expense for the preparation of the book usually also falls to the writer, so you will likely be responsible for illustrations regardless of how you publish. I do indexing as well, and I know that many authors are now responsible for the creation of their own index. Publishing is changing!

Do an online search for agents. You will easily find many links that have lists of agents. Also do your research on publishers if you want to pursue traditional publishing. They will have various policies regarding the submission of manuscripts. Some will not take unsolicited ones, some will only accept book proposals, others will accept completed manuscripts, etc. If you can get access to a copy of Writers' Marketplace or Writers' Market it will give you some information and they also have information on literary agents.

I have not used the services of an illustrator but you may consider joining some self-publishing lists. They are good not only to learn about publishing, but also connecting with professionals of all types or to receive recommendations. You may also want to look at similar books to what you are wanting to publish and find illustrations that you like. Contact those illustrators if you can find contact info for them.

In Canada there is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwicanada.org/ I would be very surprised if the US doesn't have a similar organization and of course you can work with people from anywhere in the world. These organizations might help to connect you to someone you can work with.

As for how you work with them, I think it is likely a very collabrative product. You certainly can approach them with your ideas, but you will also have chosen the person because you like their work and style and as a creative professional, they will likely produce better work if you give a basic concept but then let them do their job and insert their own ideas and style as well.

Good luck with your projects!!
post #3 of 4
Sorry - I posted the same message twice and don't know how to delete one of them! My message is below ...
post #4 of 4
I am also an author and fargo covered many of the main bases in her post ... I just wanted to add in regards to finding an illustrator, it is like building a relationship of any other sort ... the best place to network and find artists is deviantart.com - try to find an artist whose style you like and just contact them to see what you can work out. Most artists will want some kind of compensation upfront, but if you find someone very green in the field of art that you like the style of, you may get lucky and they will partner with you and produce the art for a cut of sales or something like that.

The art is such an important aspect of the book - it really is a make or break for the deal.

Another way to bypass a partnership is to purchase a license on stock artwork, but read the licensing agreement for the piece you are wanting to make sure you can use it for the purpose you intend - many have various restrictions which you want to be clear on before purchasing it or getting attached to the art.

Try istock.com or corbis.com (more expensive) ... good luck!
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