A Picture is Worth...
Let's step a little backwards shall we?
Before I signed my paperwork, I had a follow up call scheduled with the publisher/owner. This was to go over any and all questions I had about the proposals, the packages and the book process in general. I had a long list of questions and remarks.
Then I brought up the topic of illustrator. An illustrator is included with your sign on proposal.
I had found so many great ones on Fiverr and social media. My sister in law has also shown interest on drawing things up for my story after we first spoke about it last month. I had about 10 people making interview mock ups and have only received one thus far.
My publisher will only contract and be able to control someone that is hired through my publisher versus someone I contract as a freelance illustrator. She explained in depth why. Whether its family or a freelancer, she can't control the deadlines being missed or the illustrator being inexperienced with children's books. If the illustrator has not done a book before they may not know proper margins or sizing or file type for a book. If this is the case, my publisher isn't going to take the time to teach them. They hire experienced, award winning illustrators who have this as their main job.
After listening to her insight I decided I'll look into using freelancers and family once I am a bit more experienced with this entire process. That way I am able to instruct and guide whomever I may end up hiring. So, I told her I would go with one of their illustrators as long as I was paired with one I liked which was unfortunately not looking to be an easy task.
I was sent a list of their illustrators with previews of their work the night before this call. Every single one of them was unique to the next. I only felt connected and pulled towards one. O-N-E ! She was at the top of the list! I was asked to choose three potentials and submit those names. I was to put them in preference order. I didn't want to even choose a third name to be honest. [Honest to the point where I even told my publisher the truth on our call]
I felt uncomfortable that night. What if this wasn't the path for me? What if I was stuck choosing someone in whose artwork did not appeal to me? I knew I didn't want extremely hand drawn looking pictures but I also did not want super digital either. I began hitting an anxious rush of overthinking. My husband calmed me down and said, "You are in charge of what happens with this book. If you don't like who they have - then dont choose someone just because. Tell them you need someone new. " Hearing it was like a big DUH but I needed someone to kind of shake me back into reality.
He was right.
So, it led me to be very blunt with my publisher. I told her I didn't feel drawn [ha, get it] to any of them except for my top choice. She told me she would look over my list, send me full samples of their work and we could talk from there. She added that they do have one more expensive illustrator too but it would be costly. I said I would like to see her work too then. She told me if I wasn't okay with who they had, she'd guide me through hiring someone else with the stipulations from above. I felt way better.
As promised, she sent me over the other illustrators work once our call ended [which ended up going almost double the time - shes very easy to talk to!]. I was not appealed to their work either. OH MAN! I took the weekend to really think on everything before signing the paperwork.
Sunday night I signed everything and got things handled within 24 hours from then.
That Monday, she then sent me over full examples of my top picks. She told me her preference was pick 2 and pick 3 because she knew they had more experience and were ready to take on projects. Pick 1 was brand new to scene for them AND was already working on a project.
She let me know that Pick 1 would not be available until May. May is when I was hoping to be prepping to launch the book itself. AHHHHHHH. You see, illustrators can take awhile to complete a book. PANICCCCC SLOWLLYYYY BEGAN CREEEEEEPINNNGGGGGG IN.
I sent her a collage of various samples of illustrations I adored and wanted to stick within. She immediately said she felt Pick 1 would deliver that for me and that she wanted to see if she could make things happen!
Well, wonder woman worked her magic!
Within the same day she was able to get in touch with Pick 1 and propose the book to her. Pick 1 not only agreed to do the book but agreed to begin once we are ready for her!
O. M. G. INSERT VICTORY DANCE!
God's timing feels super super evident. I just pray that I can remain confident enough to speak up and calm enough to let the waves come and go as they are meant to!
My publisher is talking with the illustrator this week to figure out the timeline and next week we begin storyboarding the illustration details and having everything laid out!
THIS IS BECOMING MORE REAL EVERY DAY!