Now that we have covered the visual styles available to you, it’s time to make your choice and announce yourself to the artistic world. Once you reveal your interest, a lot of offers are going to come your way. This is where you’ll need to sign the contract with your illustrator or illustration studio. Let’s cover the options.
The first thing you need to do is research all the illustrators or studios that fit your visual style. The best way to do that is to get yourself browsing through the Facebook groups for illustrators, illustrations, children’s books, etc. There are a lot of people who would be interested in getting your book ready to be enjoyed in front of an audience. With a single “I’m interested in an illustrator or an illustrator studio for a children’s book” you’ll get countless offers with portfolios where you can begin your research. Another way is to browse through children’s books in the range of the age your book is intended for and contact the authors. The names of the illustrators are visible on the cover, but what you need is the first-hand experience in the method of their work. More often than not, the authors are lifetime partners to the illustrators so you’re likely to get the info you need to make a final decision. Just keep in mind that it’s in your best interest to form a lasting bond with what should be your creative soulmate.
The basis of a healthy relationship is well-established communication and the basis for creating it is establishing a set of ground rules. The contract is exactly that. There’s always room for flexibility but the contract is something that protects both sides. So, let’s define the parameters. The main are budget, method of payment, deadline, and copyrights. Let’s cover them one by one.
We’re all functioning within the range of our budget in everyday life. This is no different. Like in a grocery store, the higher the quality, the more it costs. But don’t worry as there is some middle ground. Namely, if you have more books that you want to publish or plan to write more, you might be able to arrange a better deal. As we previously mentioned, most authors are lifetime partners to their illustrators. Whatever your budget might be, you’ll find someone that suits you in this department.
Method of Payment
This is important because it addresses whether the payment will be upfront, in equal installments, or after finishing the book. Sometimes, if you prefer a studio or an illustrator who is out of your price range, you could also arrange a percentage of the sale after an established period of time. The latter is linked with the copyrights, which will be mentioned shortly.
Setting the deadline is an absolute must. You must be aware that every change to the creative you demand to be done is time-consuming, so if you request countless little changes to be done, this will push the deadline set upfront and even create additional costs that may won’t fit your set budget. That’s why you need to be as precise as possible before they begin. However, asking for changes is perfectly normal and the illustrators are aware of that. The point is to avoid the needless overburdening of the creative guys and let them do their job. That being said, be open to suggestions that maybe will look better and even speed up the development process.
Copyrights are one of the most important parameters of the contract. They define what happens not just to the book, but to everything related. You always have the option of full ownership. That means that you have the complete exclusive right to every creative of the book, including the rights of the artist’s illustration to produce shirts, toys, cups, badges, animations, and promos, and literally everything connected to it. This is also called work-for-hire. However, you should be aware that this choice affects the price and the illustrator or illustrator studio is bound to set it higher.
Shared ownership is the second choice and it means that both parties have the right to use the creative of the book. If you plan on creating merchandise from your characters, and you have shared ownership of the illustrations, each time you sell some products that are linked to it, a percentage is going to the illustrator. This is set in the contract, so choose your words wisely. Numbers, as well.
Some final words
You should keep in mind that a contract is as individual as every person on this planet but it has to be made. This guarantees that you’ll get what you expect, the illustrators will get compensated for their work and legally protects both partners.
Next, we’ll cover the artistic work, how many pages will your book need, will you like it to be digital, hard copy, or both, and getting your book ready for printing. Until next Friday.