Looking for feedback about working with a self publisher.



  • Hi,

    I received a message from a self-publisher to possibly illustrate their children's book. However, I've tried to go this route years ago, but many of the self-publishers back then wanted to give a ridiculous payment amount for my work. This time around I want to approach it the right way. So I am wondering what questions do I need to ask for a self-publisher in order to get paid a fair amount.

    Here are some things I've already thought of. Could you help me add to it?

    1. How supported this book is in other ways?
    2. Do you have help with promotions?
    3. Should a charge a Flat fee or add additional Royalties? If so how would I do that with a self-publisher.

    Also what key things should be in my contract?

    I'm looking forward to hearing your responses. Thanks.



  • Hi,

    I can't speak on contracts because I have worked with self publishers on book covers, album covers, and interiors for chapter books but always faith based. I was never screwed over so that's lucky and I'll definately use contracts from this point on.

    Here's some things I learned that may be helpful.

    ~Get as much info about the kind of drawings, how much detail they want, agree on how far you're willing to take the art beforehand because you don't want to agree to a price and find out they want a lot more than they originally asked.

    ~Ask how much creative control you have. You want to get portfolio pieces from it as well as payment. Also probably want to make sure that there vision for the project is an art style that you'll enjoy making.

    ~I've heard some people set limits on the number of revisions. I had someone come back to me after 6 months for a revision. I did it without complaining because it was an easy fix but I wasn't excited about making the changes.

    ~If the budget is small, consider offerering simpler versions of what they want. Like black and white or simple spot illustrations. That's if you really want the job.

    ~I would ask what piece of yours they saw and liked so that you have an idea of what they are looking for.

    ~Negotiate for half up front if you feel that's right.

    ~Most of all, get all the details of the job first. I know I said that but a few projects turned out way bigger because I didn't know how to interview clients.

    So this is a lot, and I am an amateur with little work experience but these are things I wish I had done when I worked with self publishers. Will Terry and Tyrus Goshay have a really good video on youtube about working with self published authors.

    Good luck!



  • @Zachary-Drenski Thanks, this really helps. I’ll be sure to check out the video too.



  • @Jennyann I've illustrated 3 books for self publishers, I was paid a lump sum based on an amount per illustration that we agreed on and that I was happy with, no royalties. I was paid in 3 stages, 1/3 upon signing contract, 1/3 upon completion of sketches and the rest upon completion.



  • @anya-macleod Thanks for the information.


  • Pro

    @Jennyann I personally like a flat fee when working directly with authors. Calculating and getting paid royalties requires a system, careful tracking, and trust that the author is doing all this properly to give you what you're really due. It's also always hard to tell when a self-published book will work really well or be a total bust. So I prefer to just ask a flat fee, it's simpler and you know what you're getting. Only when working with established publishers I like the royalties.



  • @NessIllustration Got it. Thanks.


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