4 Things to Think About When Buying Custom Illustration Services

Writers don’t always agree with the sentiment that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, there are times that books need pictures to help the words convey information to their readers. Many people need to buy illustrations before printing a book. Fiction authors may need to purchase custom illustrations to add to the substance of their stories. Non-fiction writers may need custom illustrations to help readers better understand their meanings. Companies may need to buy images for promotional and training purposes.  Before a buyer approaches an illustrator, they should already have made decisions about the following things:

1. What is the Purpose of the Illustration?

Why is an illustration needed for the book? What function does the author want the illustration to fulfill? For example, is the illustration being used as a tool for storytelling, such as in a graphic novel or children’s picture book? Is the illustration offering additional information to the readers, such as a map in a fantasy novel? Is the book helping readers visualize a concept in the book, such as a labeled diagram? Understanding the function of the illustration will better allow the buyer to explain their needs to an illustrator and help the illustrator deliver an image that is the best fit for the job it is doing.

A custom Illustration created for a self-publishing author

2. Color, Grayscale, or Black and White?

Color adds to the costs of publishing a book, but sometimes it is necessary. The author should consider the genre of their book and what kind of illustrations are typical for similar books.

Children’s picture books are typically in color. Pie charts and line graphs are easiest to read in color, but they may sometimes be done acceptably in grayscale. Simple diagrams within a non-fiction book are often acceptable in black and white.

The author should consider the costs that the illustration will add to printing a book and the benefits of that illustration to the readers.

3. Who Owns the Image Rights?

Many buyers approaching an illustrator haven’t considered rights of ownership. Typically, an artist owns the work they produce. They can sell usage to the buyer, or they can sell the rights of ownership. Often, buying ownership is more expensive, and in some cases, it may not be necessary.

A buyer who has written a children’s book should buy ownership rights to the characters the illustrator creates if they want to use it in marketing and merchandising. A non-fiction author who buys a diagram may buy only usage rights to the image if they don’t need to reproduce it outside of their book or use that image in their marketing. Typically, if an image is being used a single time to clarify information in a book, usage rights are adequate. If the buyer does not purchase the ownership rights, the illustrator can use and sell that image to someone else.

If there is an expectation of using the images purchased for marketing, trademarking, or merchandising, the buyer should purchase the creation. Rights of ownership should be clearly stated in any agreement or contract signed between the buyer and seller.

4. What Else Should be Considered?

Most agreements between buyers and illustrators indicate delivery times and ownership rights, but there are other things that buyers should consider in their negotiations. For example, how many revisions is the illustrator willing to do? Is the buyer obligated to purchase the finished illustration even if they determine it is unsuitable for their needs? If the buyer chooses not to buy the finished picture, is there a fee for the artist’s time and work put into the illustration? Can the artist use the image in their sampling if the buyer has purchased ownership of the work?  Is there any reason that a non-disclosure agreement might be needed?

Buying custom illustration services can feel overwhelming, especially the first time one needs to do so.

InstantPublisher offers a wide range of self-publishing services, including custom illustrations to help authors and publishers. Their skilled illustrators are experienced and easy to work with.InstantPublisher understands the unique needs of their customers, and they are equipped to meet the individual needs of anyone who is considering self-publishing a book. Custom illustrations are just a phone call away—dial 1 800 259 2592 for an InstantPublisher representative. Or, if you prefer,  fill out the online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com for more information about all the self-publishing services they offer.

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