Working with a Self-Publishing Author

Important clauses for an agreement with an Author

Traditionally, publishing commissions are managed by a publisher with limited contact with other parties such as the author. Increasingly, however,  authors are self-publishing on digital platforms or in print, and are turning to illustrators to produce artwork for their books.

Because authors often have a limited understanding of the complexities of book publishing, it’s important to be clear about the process, time commitment (especially for children’s books), financial arrangements and written agreement (contract) before any artwork is started.

The author needs to understand that the artwork created by an illustrator is solely for reproduction in the author’s book; in other words, that the artwork is not ‘owned’ by the author for them to use how they wish, and that any physical artwork remains the property of the illustrator. This must be outlined in a written agreement.

We’ve produced this resource to advise on the key elements that should be included in any contract with a self-publishing author (note this is not legal advice). It is recommended that you discuss the points included here with the author before finalising the agreement.

The AOI would like to make resources accessible to all members. If you would like an alternative format please ask.


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