Aug 09

Written a Picture Book? Are Illustrations or Layout Next?


Picture books, illustrations, and layout

I read an interesting article from a self-publishing service (1106 Design). The article explains that the best way to produce a children’s picture book is to create the interior layout before getting the illustrations done.

This is something I hadn’t thought of. But it makes so much sense.

I write a lot of stories for clients, but that’s usually the end of my involvement.

Well, I do provide a list of illustrators and book designers to work with after they have a completed manuscript. But I usually don’t go beyond that.

I provide the list because I know most people new to the writing arena and those who have their stories ghostwritten aren’t aware of the next steps. They need help.

The DIY Beginning – Start with the Story

The first step to self-publishing a picture book is writing the story or having it ghostwritten.

Once that’s done, the author hires an illustrator who creates the interior illustrations, and usually the front and back covers.

Number of Illustrations, What Size, and the Layout

At this point, the author needs to discuss with the illustrator how the book is to be laid out.

Does the author want an illustration on each page? On every other page?

Keep in mind that having an illustration on every other page cuts the number of interior illustrations needed in half. This cuts the cost for interior illustrations in half. This is a huge factor and the decision is usually based on the budget of the author.

Once that’s decided, the illustrator and author decide if full-page or half-page illustrations should be used, or a quarter-page, or a combination.

From the article I mentioned early, it’s best to let the illustrator layout the pages for the text and illustrations. It creates a much more professional and engaging finished product.

If you look at books like The Berenstain Bears or “D.W The Picky Eater” by Marc Brown, or even Sophia Mouse, which is a simple chapter book, the text can be anywhere on the page. But it needs to work with the illustrations.

You want to be able to easily read the text. It shouldn’t blend into the illustration.

This is why it’s a good idea to have your illustrator create the layout before actually creating the illustrations. This way the illustrations fit the space allotted for them.

A great way for you to determine how you want your picture book to look is to do some research. Find books that you like and let your illustrator know what look you’d like to go for.

A number of illustrators who are on the list I provide my clients include the text in the illustrations.

Your Illustrations are Done

Once the illustrations are done, the illustrator will give you a PDF file that you will send off to the book designer and/or book formatter.

If your illustrator JUST provides the illustrations, you will need to hand over the manuscript and the illustrations separately. The book designer will put it together, asking you where you want the text (on which pages and where on the pages).

It’s much easier if you work with an illustrator who includes the text in the illustrations.

When done, the book formatter or designer will give you print-ready files for ebook upload and print upload to sites like Amazon (retailer) or IngramSpark (aggregator).

You will take the print-ready files and upload them to whatever retailer or book distributor you intend to use.

This is the Do-It-Yourself way.

An Alternative

If the above seems like too much work, you do have an option: hire a self-publishing company to do it all for you.

Author be aware!

There are A LOT of companies out there that just want your money. So, BUYER BEWARE.

Research, research, research self-publishing companies before handing over your money.

Once you find a reputable company, they will take your manuscript and illustrations and put the book together for you.

Some of these companies even offer interior illustrations, making your life even easier.

Just be sure the self-publishing company handles children’s picture books. This is very important.

One company that looks reputable is I’m hoping to get the chance to work with them one of these days so I’ll be able to let you know how it goes.

Also, keep in mind that the convenience comes at a price. You’ll need a hefty budget.

AGAIN, be careful.

To read the article I referred to, click the link:

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.


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Oct 21

Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Picture Book? Are Illustrations Included?

Ghostwriting and Illustrations

It seems lately, a lot of people who want to have a children’s picture book ghostwritten for them aren’t quite sure what they get for their money.

I’m often surprised when a potential client asks if the price quoted includes illustrations.

Another query I’m getting a number of lately is about writing and illustration packages.

I’ve decided to address both these issues in this article, so I’ll be able to link to it when I’m queried.

1. What do you get when you hire a ghostwriter to write a children’s book for you whether it be a picture book, chapter book, middle grade book, or young-adult book?

According to Oxford Dictionary, a ghostwriter is “a person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author.”

The keyword here is, ‘write.’

A ghostwriter is a professional writer who will create a story, essay, speech, movie scrip, or other form of content. The ghostwriter usually remains anonymous. She’s ‘a ghost’ and the client will be listed as the author of the book or other content.

Going back to the Oxford Dictionary, an illustrator is “a person who draws or creates pictures for magazines, books, advertising, etc.”

It’s the illustrator who creates the illustrations for the book, not the writer.

So, if you’re thinking of hiring a ghostwriter for a picture book, the ghost will WRITE the story for you.

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll be responsible to research and hire an illustrator to create the illustrations for the story. Although, I offer my clients a list of illustrators.

If you’re traditionally publishing, the publishing house that gives you a contract will have the illustrations created for you.

Thinking about it … I’ve decided the problem some have is the term “write a picture book.”

When thinking of a ‘picture book,’ most people think of a finished product – a story and illustrations. I can see where the confusion comes into play. Hopefully, this article adds some clarity to the topic.

I’ve actually decided to add some information pertaining to this on my Ghostwriting Page on the site.

2. Do picture book ghostwriters offer story and illustration packages?

Not all ghostwriters offer packages.

But, since I’m asked about it more often now, I just started offering packages of story and illustrations.

These packages include front and back book covers and text layout. You’ll be given a PDF of the complete story. This PDF can be given to any service that will format it into a print-ready file.

Services that do this include:

– IngramSpark
– Bookbaby
– The Book Designer
– Dog Ear Publishing
– Golden Box Books
– Word-2-Kindle
– You can also find freelancers to format your book

Once you have the print-ready file, you can upload it to sites like Smashwords, Amazon (for print), Amazon KDP, Createspace (for print) for publication and distribution.

Need help getting your print-ready file uploaded for publication, I can help you with that also.

If you are interested in this type of project, just let me know and we can discuss it.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

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