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Time between booking an illustrator to publication

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Hey everyone! Just received a message from my publisher that we have an artist on board for my upcoming picture book! I'm excited but I was told we wouldn't have initial sketches until June 2022, final art by January 2023 and then go to print in spring of 2024. This feels like a long time to me but this is my first book so I wanted to ask is this a typical time frame or is this long? Thanks for your help!
#1 - July 15, 2021, 02:16 PM

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A lot depends on the illustrator your publisher has chosen. If the illustrator is really busy and already has a lot of projects they've agreed to do, then it could easily take as long as the timeline you've laid out.

But I agree. It does seem like a long time to wait for your first book. I'm sorry.  :green
#2 - July 15, 2021, 04:30 PM

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:congratulations Nicholas!!! That's wonderful news and timelines vary quite a bit. Usually it's at least a year but if the artist has other projects in development it can be much longer. I remember Verla Kay (the founder of this board) telling us that she had to wait something like 5+ years for one of her books. I've waited on avg. 2-3 yrs for illustrated work, much less for photo PBs. :hanginthere
#3 - July 15, 2021, 04:31 PM
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It feels long, but is not particularly long in my experience so there's no reason to worry. Availability of illustrator and how they illustrate affects the timeline. It's worth the wait to get just the right person to bring your words to life. Keep busy with other projects and you never know, you may even have another book out by the time this one enters the world. (That's how you sometimes see some authors bringing out three or four books in the same year.) Congratulations!
#4 - July 15, 2021, 04:47 PM
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What they said, and Happy Sales to You!
#5 - July 15, 2021, 09:15 PM
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Congrats, Nicholas! :congrats

I'm sorry you have to wait so long for your first book to come out...but I agree with everyone else who said picture books always take a while and your publisher could have pushed the release date back to sign the perfect illustrator. One of my friends had a very well known illustrator for her first book, and it pushed the timeline back so much, the second book she sold was out in the world first.

On the bright side, this will give you lots of time to write and revise (and hopefully sell) additional picture books before marketing your first. And you can find a great debut group and have plenty of time to brainstorm launch plans, changes to your website, etc.
#6 - July 15, 2021, 11:30 PM

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Hi Nicholas, that's normal (although timelines can also be longer or shorter than this). :) I'm in the same boat with several books! A lot depends on the availability of the illustrator, as well as the time needed to actually complete the illustrations.
#7 - July 16, 2021, 11:00 AM
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Feels long but sounds about right. I think the pandemic slowed this very slow process down even more than usual.
#8 - July 16, 2021, 04:55 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
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This is not at all unusual. These days, two years is probably the fastest you can reasonably expect --a year for the illustrator to work, a few months for production, and nine months (yes!) to get advance promotion and sales efforts lined up (this includes the lead time required by B&N and Amazon). If the illustrator has any other projects already committed, you add more time, which as others have said can be years. The pandemic may have added a month or two to this, but it's not a significant factor.
#9 - July 17, 2021, 07:20 AM
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Thank you all so much for your input and for your congratulations! At first I felt a bit disheartened but I'm feeling excited about the prospect of creating more in the interim knowing I do have something coming out down the line. I appreciate all your feedback so much!
#10 - July 17, 2021, 03:09 PM

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Hi!
I am going to have a final contract with my publisher by the end of the week and my timeline for illustrations is shorter. Sketches will be done by December this year and final illustrations including cover Feb/March 2022. My book will be ready fall of 2022.
Carolyn
#11 - July 22, 2021, 05:35 AM

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