or I've written a picture book and I need some pictures done…

You’ve put in the hard yards in and taken some words, massaged them into place and created a beautiful story. It’s a great thing to do and it’s something you’re very passionate about. You know you need some pictures for the story and so you’ve landed here. That’s great, and I’m looking forward to our adventure together.

Before we start, there are a few things I need you to understand and there is no judgement in this, but from many requests I and many of my illustrator colleagues get it is clear that there is a gap in the information available to writers as to how and what it takes to get a book published.

Let me be very clear, If you are going to submit your book to a publisher, they will want to chose their own illustrator. Employing me to draw anything will be a waste of your money, the drawings will be discarded. Publishers do not want illustrated submissions unless the author is an illustrator, illustrating their own writing.

Publishing houses exist is because it takes a lot of work to get a book published and involves a lot of people. Looking clearly at how the industry works will protect you emotionally and financially. It will help you clarify what you want out of me and what other things are involved in getting your book out into the market place.

  • Editor: Basically, the project manager, pulling all the parts of the book together. Managing expectations of the author, illustrator and book designer to get the best result

  • Art director: Like and editor, but for pictures

  • Book designer: A specialist graphic designer who lays in the text and places the illustrations getting the item ready for print

  • Author: Writes the words with editing guidance from the editor

  • Illustrator: Draws the pictures under direction from the editor (and/or art director)

  • Marketing: Assess the book for sales potential, deciding on print run and distribution

  • Printer: Prints and binds the book

  • Distribution: Delivers the book to the shops

If you are going to self-publish, you take on all of these functions or you pay someone to do them for you.

Illustrators and anyone you ask to do work on your book will expect to be paid. Your passion project is not their passion project. By all means you can ask for advice, almost everyone is happy to share their knowledge (if they have time) but it is not right to ask them to work for free or at a discount.


It can cost thousands of dollars to get a book published and the person doing the publishing will bear this cost.

Economies can be made with the scope of the project, but the illustrations alone can cost $5000 to $15000 (maybe even more), depending on the illustrator, the number and complexity of the illustrations and how soon you want them.

I am not trying to step on your dream or be nasty, this is an industry and there are, few (if any) short cuts.

There are successful self-published authors, it is a lot of hard work and an ongoing commitment to your project is needed.

Find a few and talk to them.

Join the ASA and/or SCWBI, these are your network. You will meet lots of people who have lots of information and advice to get you on your way. They are your peeps!

SO, when you’re ready and you’ve learned all you can about publishing and want to go ahead and get a quote for me there is one more step (sorry). Fill in this form and send it through when you request your quote.

It will help you clarify what you’re asking for and it will help me put together an accurate figure for you.

I want us to have a fun and rewarding working relationship, getting the best result and realising your vision. Having a comprehensive understanding of what’s involved and clear communication paths is the foundation of a really positive experience for everyone.

See below for some further information to read and listen to. Good luck and hopefully I haven’t done myself out of too much work.



Further information…

On publishing…

Sarah McIntyre 'Can you illustrate my book?' Some tips for writers approaching illustrators, 25 April 2016

Tania McCartney, The Happy Book Children’s Book Podcast, 2 January 2019

Australian Society of Authors, Find and answer, Publishing [5 March 2019]

Australian Publishers Association, Getting Published [5 March 2019]


Australian Society of Authors (ASA)
Contract advice, workshops, industry information

Society of Childrens Writers and Book Illustrators (SCWBI)
Meet your people, network and learn.

Keep and eye out for…

CYA Conference