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A NOTE TO AUTHORS: Advice on Illustration from Illustrators

From time to time, members of Yellapalooza hear from aspiring children's authors looking for someone to illustrate their story. If you're new to the business of writing for children, here are a few basic guidelines and tips.

First off, you don't necessarily need an agent. Although there are some wonderful children's literary agents, we know many children's authors who have been published without having an agent.

Unless you're planning to self-publish, you don't need to find an illustrator. Study the market, polish your writing, and send it to appropriate publishing houses. If they decide to publish your story, they will find an illustrator for it.

To help you learn more about the business of writing for children, we can point you to many excellent books and web sites. Look at the Resource Books and Links pages right here at Yellapalooza. One good book to start with is the Children's Writers and Illustrators Market.

To polish your writing, read as many books in your genre as you can. You may want to take a course in children's writing. You should certainly join a writing critique group. To find groups in your area, visit the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators.

If you are planning to self-publish, be aware that it's quite expensive to print a full-color picture book. In addition, the illustrator will probably need to be paid for two or three months full-time work. You may be able to find a beginner who will work for the experience; a good place to find others who are just starting out in the field is on message boards like the Yellaboard.

Writing (and illustrating) for children is hard, and the business is competitive. If you love it enough to persevere, we wish you great good luck!!