Recently I’ve been hired to help an author edit and publish their picture book. She’s already written her manuscript, contacted an illustrator, and needs help with the rest of the project. What does this process look like?
Editing Picture Books
Picture books indeed contain fewer words than novels, but the process is just as involved. When a client sends me their manuscript, I read over the story as a whole and edit it developmentally. If certain pages need to be switched or moved, I’ll make those suggestions and see what the author thinks.
Once I’m satisfied with the story’s layout, I’ll take a closer look at the text on each page and edit it line by line. The very last edit is when I focus on proofreading the entire book, but this part doesn’t take place until the book is completely formatted.
Typically, when a client contacts me, they already have an idea who their illustrator will be. I always suggest having the author sign a separate contract with their illustrator, so there aren’t any unforeseen problems later on. For instance, will your illustrator be paid outright for the job (per illustration or per project), or will you agree to split royalties? Questions like this need to be answered up front and before the project begins. *General Author/Illustrator contracts can be found online.
Formatting a Picture Book
Every author who contacts me has a different vision for their picture book, but ultimately, every book will probably have many drafts prior to publishing. Illustrations need to be published with a specified resolution so that the quality produced is clean and colorful. The font of the text will need to be chosen, placement on the page decided, and all of it formatted to size. In other words, I bring the illustrations and manuscript together digitally, formatting the interior pages, including the front and back matter.
The majority of my clients need guidance with the publishing process as well, so I help them create their KDP accounts (if they choose to use Amazon as a publisher), obtain an ISBN (if needed), order author copies, and basically guide them so that at the end, THEY are the publisher and have complete control of their book and royalties.
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