Hello Forum-dwellers, Can I put a scenario to you all for advice on a possible way to proceed, please? I would be interested to hear from any of you who have been in this position.
I was looking for a project and contacted someone who had told a good story on facebook. I wanted to illustrate the story as an exercise to improve my skills principally. The project is now nearly complete - a book of 32pp + cover. I want to be clear that there is no dispute between the author and I - she loves the work, I am happy to have been able to use her words.
There is no contract between us at the moment but I would be happy to spend $$$ to get one set up for clarity from the start.
My question is - how to handle the next step with possible publishers? Do we approach as a team or would it be better for the author and I to set up our own self-publish accounts and market the book independently - we could collaborate on the marketing but sales would go through us individually.
If anyone has experience of this situation I would love relevant advice, please. Thanks in advance.
Jane in New Zealand
@Jane-Smith are you planning to go through the traditional publishing route or do you want to self publish?
Hi there, well that's part of the question really. I don't have any agreement with the author yet as to how this might work - we are on good terms BTW. I have self-published before but wondered if anyone had experience of collaborative publishing in this way?
There are a lot of pros on here that would be able to confirm this personally, but generally authors of manuscripts submitted to publishers are not able to choose the illustrators they work with. The manuscript is submitted by itself. It's a general misconception that a children's book in manuscript stage needs to be illustrated to be submitted. So this may mean sending it to publishers is not an option.
It's great that you're on good terms with the author, but keep in mind that any agreement would primarily protect you and the author from disagreeing on what to do with a finished product. Sometimes it can be tricky to achieve this agreement when it puts the time already invested in jeopardy. There is a contracts class here at SVS that is great, perhaps you can give it a listen? It's not to do with self-publishing but might make you more aware of what a typical situation would look like and how a contract protects all parties by making sure everyone's on the same page before the work goes into the project.
@Jane-Smith traditional publishers typically don’t accept work from an author and illustrator team up so I guess your best bet is to go the self-publishing route. I also would suggest you two settle on a contract as soon as possible.
@Nyrryl-Cadiz Thanks, that is great advice. I will look into getting a contract set up between us as a priority.
Thanks again and stay well. I hope - like a lot of artists - you're not finding the isolation too onerous, it's a great opportunity to hoe into personal projects and get those half-finished creative ideas brought to fruition!
@carolinedrawing Thanks Caroline, I will hunt out that class, I hadn't spotted it. Great advice, thank you.
@Jane-Smith lol! Yeah, I was already practicing quarantine even before it became a thing