A signed contract between the Publisher/Author and Illustrator is the very first thing that should be in place before delving into illustrating a children’s book. When you work with a Publisher, they will provide their own contract and terms tailored for your project. But when working with self-published Authors, it is even more important to have a contract. Most first time Authors aren’t familiar with working with Illustrators, and a contract both educates the Author and protects both parties from things going pear shaped.
I’ve been fine tuning my contract (or Illustration Commission Agreement) ever since my first book, and it is still a work in progress, always being adjusted to match the project I’m working on. Feel free to download a copy of my contract (by clicking on the image) and use it as a launching pad for your own contract. The main details I include are :
- • Name and Contact Details of both the Author and Illustrator
- • Title of the work
- • The number of illustrations to be commissioned
- • 1) Commission and Grant of Rights : this section describes that the Illustrator is selling the rights to USE the artwork to the Author… they are not selling the original artwork specifically, and it goes on to state that original artwork belongs to the illustrator.
- • 2) Sale & Purchase of Artwork : States clearly how much money the illustrator will be paid as well as exactly what the illustrator is selling to the Author. It is good to be specific about what currency you are to be paid in, especially when working with international clients.
- • 3) Royalties : establishes how much the Illustrator is to be paid in royalties for various types of sale of the book.
- • 4) Project schedule & delivery : including dates here both helps the author know when to expect the art and give you space during that time, and also gives you a deadline to be accountable to.
- • 5) Illustrator’s Copies : establishes how many free copies of the printed book you will be provided, typically between 10-20.
- • 6) Copyright : states very clearly that the copyright of the illustrations still belongs to the illustrator.
- • 7) Credit : How you as the illustrator wish to be credited in the book
- • 8) Promotion : says the Author can use your illustrations to promote their book free of charge.
- • 9) Failure to Deliver and 10) Cancellation : in the unfortunate event that the book is cancelled or you are unable to finish, these sections set out how much you will be compensated for the work you have completed, as well as what the author can expect from you if you do not deliver what you’ve agreed upon.
- • 11-16) Legal Stuff : covers a lot of legal jargon that is also important. Some of the points it covers are establishing that you are the sole creator of the artwork, stating you will not create competitive works, the Author has control over when/if they publish their book and details on assigning the agreement to another person.
- • Signatures of both the Author and Illustrator
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