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It's great following on Twitter the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign to credit illustrators and seeing how we're making some progress. (See picturesmeanbusiness.com if you want to catch up.) But we're still hitting major hitches: writers, publishers, journalists and reviewers whom you'd think would support crediting illustrators - some of who've even heard of the campaign and expressed interest - keep letting us down. Writers and publicists launch new cover art with no mention of the illustrator. Illustrators of highly illustrated books are left off the cover. Articles show lavish book art without mentioning who created it, the list goes on.



Why? What's the problem? I don't think most people are doing it deliberately, they're just being thoughtless, or can't be bothered. What I love about children's book world - but what also can trip us up - is that its people are mostly very NICE. They love book-themed cupcakes and photos of puppies and being, well, nice to each other. Everyone can coast on a wave of niceness, never addressing the major issues that have illustrators flailing while often maintaining their rictus grins.

I want to do something that's not exactly nice. But maybe taking a stand will bring attention to the problem:

From now on, I'm not going to buy any new illustrated children's books unless the illustrator's name is somewhere on the front cover. Join me, if you like! By 'illustrated', I'm going to set the standard as 'at least one illustration per chapter'.

'But... but... that doesn't give us any time to make changes!' a publicist might object. 'Books might be send to print a year in advance of publication!' Well, I'll make a concession for one year: I'll buy the book PROVIDING the bookseller puts a Post-it note on the front cover, letting me know the name of the illustrator.



'But... that's kind of ugly!' the publicist might object. Well, yes, it is. Better just to put the illustrator's name on the cover then, right? A quick redesign of a dust jacket might work, before you change the cover to include the illustrator for the second print run.

Publishers: if you don't think the fact a book is illustrated adds any value to a book, or that making people aware of this draws in potential customers, don't bother spending the money to get your book illustrated. And then watch as the illustrated books soar ahead of your books in sales and those other books draw in the so-called reluctant readers, gladdening the hearts of parents and teachers.

(Find out more at picturesmeanbusiness.com and browse the #PicturesMeanBusiness hash tag on Twitter.)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 5th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
Totally agree!
You're right Sarah! I'm with you!
Illustrations enrich books so much... Illustrators should get the recognition and respect they deserve!
jabberworks
Aug. 20th, 2015 09:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally agree!
Cheers! :)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 18th, 2015 01:02 pm (UTC)
Just don't forget that sometimes authors illustrate their own books. Please don't dismiss books that just have a single name on the cover thinking that must be the author, it could be both!
jabberworks
Aug. 20th, 2015 09:51 pm (UTC)
Of course I won't forget; I have several books like that! :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )