Q: I’m writing a picture book, and I need an illustrator.

Good news! You don’t need to find an illustrator for your manuscript. In fact, it’s often better if you do not. Once your manuscript is acquired, the publisher will select an illustrator for your project. A lot of thought goes into matching the right illustrator with the right manuscript. You can suggest your choice of illustrator at that time, but the publisher ultimately makes the decision.

Q: I plan to self-publish. Will you illustrate my book?

Thank you so much for your interest. Unfortunately I am not accepting self-publishing projects at this time. If you’ve written to me in the past about this subject and I never responded, please accept my sincere apologies. (I get a lot of these emails and I have a hard time keeping up with them.) You can find illustrators through various online freelancer registries like Elance. For more information on finding an illustrator for your project, please read How To Find An Illustrator For Your Picture Book, Part 2: The Self-Publishing Edition – by Dani Jones

Q: Do you do spec work? I can’t pay, but I can offer exposure/a share of the profits…

I do not accept spec work both out of necessity (the need to pay the bills) and principle (the fact that writers and artists are professionals who deserve to be paid for their work.)

Q: I’m just getting started in the business. Any advice?

I recommend joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which offers guidance and help at all stages of your career. Take advantage of their online resources, join a local or online critique group, and, if you can, attend a regional or national conference. Keep working and reading, collect your rejection letters with pride (you’re in good company) and don’t give up!