To Illustrate or Not to Illustrate Your Children’s Book?

Everyone who is writing a children’s book erroneously believe that illustrations must accompany the manuscript. They are wrong. The answer to whether you should illustrate your children’s book is a resounding no. The only caveat is if you are an illustrator by trade.  If you are, then you will not only have to convince the publisher to purchase you writing, but you will also have to convince him of your illustrating credentials. If you hire an illustrator, the same applies to him or her. You will then have two things to sell. So, don’t do the illustrations yourself or hire someone to do it. Not because you or the person you hire isn’t good, but because the publisher wants to do it.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) says, “The editor who purchases your picture-book manuscript will put your manuscript in the hands of the publishing house’s art director and it is the director who will ultimately choose the illustrator.

“Except in rare circumstances, it is seldom a good idea for authors and illustrators to collaborate together before publication.” says SCBW.  And says SCBW, “There is no need to describe the illustrations in your submission. If your manuscript doesn’t come to life visually without being explained, then it probably needs work.”

If you’re going to self-publish, research the kind of illustrations you will need to help sell your book to readers then hire that one. Illustrations come with an underlying tone, feel and suggested meaning more than you might think. Illustrations are too important to leave to chance and the fact that you like them doesn’t necessarily count.

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March 30, 2017

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