Needing standard response to address requests from people"will you illustrate my book?"

  • Hey y'all.
    Now that I'm starting to post some of my work on Instagram and Facebook, I'm getting requests from friends to illustrate their books. They typically don't have their story finished. Or started. One is writing it now. ( He's a great writer so you never know!).
    Thry typically offer a 50/50 split on profits. Haven't approached a publisher. They don't mention self publishing either.
    I think I and many others here, probably need some standard response letter!
    I really need to work for actual payment these days .
    Anyhow, one funny story is a friend who messaged me a whole pile of photos out of the blue of her kids and nephews and nieces and her dog. Asked me to put them together in a children's book! I didn't understand what she was even asking for the first couple minutes but she thought I'd just whip up a book with all those characters for her! That request was so bizarre it was easier to address lol. Ummm it takes 3-6 months to just illustrate a book let alone write a story so she then realized it was more complex than she thought. 😂 Oh my.

  • SVS OG

    Check out Will's video - 7 reasons why I can not illustrate your children's book. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration to craft your standard response 🙂

  • @Kat thanks I will do that today!! Might jot a few notes too.

  • also a three point perspective podcast too!

  • @Kat @Coley this my favorite video 👍🏻 Those who are not thinking about self-publishing usually have a notion that the artist is going to do the work of getting it published too! They seem most responsive to the idea " if you are not an author/illustrator, you'll have more success getting your manuscript seen and published if you submit it without illustrations. Publishers have their pool of established illustrators they will choose from as the best fit for your manuscript".

  • My standard reply is "I would be happy to illustrate your project. It will be $xxxx total with 1/3 due up front, 1/3 at proof acceptance, balance upon delivery of final art. additionally there is $xx percent of sales, $xxx kill fee and I would like $xxxx advance. The rights you are purchasing are XYZ.

    I never hear from them again.

  • I've never had this problem, but after hearing the responses, something short and sweet might be effective:

    "Thanks for your inquiry. At this time I only take picture book commissions through publishers. Best of luck to you in your project. Thanks so much for considering me"

    "Thanks for considering me for your book. For picture book projects without a publisher involved, my fees and terms are: ____________________ and this is the timeline you can expect:________________."

    If you feel you need to educate them a little:

    "Thanks so much for considering me. Honestly. it's a better strategy to submit your story to publishers without an illustrator already attached to your project. Publishers tend to have a big hand in the selection process for an illustrator, finding the best pairing between the story and the illustration style, and bringing your own illustrator upfront could serve as a roadblock to you.

    However, if you are still interested in moving forward, here are my standard fees and terms for a picture book project:_____________. After the manuscript is finalized and the format is established, It takes approximately 3-6 months of working time for me to complete a picture book project."

  • Moderator

    I have a design for a house. You build it, I'll sell it, and we will split it 50/50. 🙄 50/50 promise with nothing to back it up is never good, unless the book went mega viral, but what are the chances? If Harper Collins said, hey we have a risky book idea, but don't want to risk an advance, so were offering 50% royalties, I might take that chance because of their track record, and ask for an extended deadline so I can do other work to survive whilst working on their book. That would never happen either. 😛

  • @Coley My go to response is 'fantastic! What's your budget?'

    Usually the response is 'I'm not sure' or 'I hadn't gotten to that yet' or somesuch and it's easy enough to say 'when you work out a budget I'd be delighted to talk numbers'.

    This way you don't say 'no' and you don't give them a number that (while realistic) they may find insulting. It also lets them know that you don't work for free.

    Once in while they DO have a budget, and if they do then you can go from there. Saying 'no thank you' is always just fine 🙂

  • Thanks peeps! I am feeling better about saying no now. I'm getting lots of practice LoL. I did some education on how much work it is and how long it takes. I think people don't understand that side of it. And Will Terry did say to on the positive side, be a bit flattered so I'll do that too ha ha.
    Everyone has a kid's book in them ( that they haven't actually written yet lol!)

  • @Coley my responses if it's friends or family is, well it kind of depends.

    If it's a friend who you think may write an awesome story, maybe you can offer to do up one page or spread, to pitch to a publisher and see if there's an interest. A publisher would not want to see a finished fully illustrated book by a writer and separate illustrator. Most they would want to see would be a manuscript, finished spread and a rough dummy. That's for a friend you trust. Because you never know.

    If it's family or random self publishers approaching me on social media, I advise them to go to a publisher and the publisher will want to pick the illustrator. If they are determined to self publish I would not go 50/50 split I would ask for payment, 6 months worth. They usually don't respond after that 😂 Win win

  • @Phil-Cullen thanks! So many ways to look at things. Maybe responses aren't standard like I'd hoped least I'm figuring out how to respond. Thanks for the reply

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