Children’s books may seem easy to do, but they’re one of the most costly and time-consuming types of books to self-publish. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publish your book, however. It just means you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge about the publishing process as possible.

The success of a children’s book depends a lot on the quality of its illustrations. If you’re not an illustrator, you’ll need to hire one before you get to the publishing stage. Without illustrations, your book isn’t complete.

How to Pick an Children’s Book Illustrator

The entire process of hiring an illustrator and getting your illustrations can take a long time—as long as a year. Start early. Search for someone local, if you can, because it’ll make the design and revisions process easier if you can meet in person. Plus, it allows you to support an artist in your community—who will be able to help support your writing in return.

If you don’t know where to find an illustrator, try a simple Google search for children’s book illustrators in your city. Once you find a list of potential illustrators, look at their portfolios. You’ll find a wide variety of talent, so choose an artist who best fits your style and book.

What You Need to Know About Working with an Illustrator

Whenever you work with an illustrator—or anyone else—on your book, be sure to have a written contract in place. This is important for both you and the illustrator, as it will spell out exactly what each of you is responsible for, what work will be done, how much it will cost, and what happens if one of you terminates the contract.

If you find someone whose illustrations you like and you contract them to do the interior of your book, you’ll want to consider having them design your cover, too. Having the same artist work on your cover and interior provides consistency in your artwork.