Book art

by Chelsea Lane

Question: This has really been bugging me. I'm not writing a child's book. I'm trying to write a serious authentic Adult Novel taking place in a fictional world like the Hobbit but I wonder how I'd incorporate pictures into it if I can? or not? Like the hobbit where it has pictures, shows the map of the land and language instead of "showing" it can I do that?? I feel like its pretty necessary and will give a more of a creative helpful insight to the readers. How do I do that draw it myself? then copy it in somewhere. Do I need an Illustrator?

Answer: I can't say this is my area of expertise, but here's the little I know...

You should probably sell the book based on the words alone. That's what publishers want from a writer: great words and a great story. If you get a publisher interested, you can then discuss your concept for illustrations and they can evaluate the idea. Illustrated books cost more to publish (especially if colour is involved, or higher grades of paper), so they will have to consider their budget vs. how strongly they believe in the book.

Usually, one should not submit illustrations with a query or sample chapters. However, if you are a talented artist, you might attach sample illustrations to the complete manuscript, once you have been asked to submit it. This is especially true for maps, since an illustrator would need to see how you have imagined your story world.

I wouldn't hire your own illustrator. It is very likely that the publisher will want to choose an illustrator themselves rather than work with the illustrator you choose. You also don't want to get into issues over who has copyright over certain designs, etc.

You might consider writing to authors who have written illustrated books and can give you better advice. Apart from children's books, one often sees Young Adult novels that are semi-illustrated (Leviathon by Scott Westerfeld is an example). Many authors are surprisingly approachable, especially if you can present yourself as a fan.

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