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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Be Choosy in Finding the Right Illustrations: Author Interview with Kelly Louise Jarris

You’ve now published four picture books, but what made you decide to start writing the first one?

I have always written and had published articles here and there but once I had my children the love for kids books became more important. I decided to do a children’s book writing course in Melbourne that got the ball rolling and the motivation I needed to begin my first book.

You publish as an indie author, but you’re not an illustrator. How did you go about finding an illustrator? What advice can you give in going through that process.
I usually source the illustrators from chatting with other fellow author’s recommendations. I've built up such a wonderful network of publishers, established authors and book shop owners who I can now call friends. Word of mouth is really important.

With the process, I sometimes like to pay for one sample of work first just to see if it’s the style I’m after and to see if we would work well together. I’ve had instances where the folio has been amazing but the illustration sample is not what would work with that particular project. It’s important to get it right from the start to save time, money and stress. I’d also highly recommend getting a clear contract written with timeframes , cost and expectations so that it runs smoothly.

What do you know now about publishing you wished you had known

Find industry professionals who you can learn from, have your best interests at heart and want to see you shine. If you can find the right ones… They are invaluable.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
If you are doing this as an indie publisher, and are doing a rhyme book make sure to get an expert editor in rhyme to look at your work.

This may seem obvious to some but If you are submitting to traditional publishers, find out the type of books they publish and the themes they gravitate towards. What might not work for some may work for others.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Rejections are all part of the job. Never give up, keep submitting to publishers and keep writing.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me some details? 
The book is called The Postman’s My Mate and is about a little boy called Charlie who lives in the outback on a farm. The postman delivers him a very large parcel that he can’t open until his birthday. Charlie and his animal companions use their imagination to guess what’s in the box.

The book covers themes of friendship, recycling, diversity and imagination. This one is my all time favourite book to work on.

I love to give illustrators creative freedom as well and working with the very talented Natalie Herington has been fantastic. It’s all done In watercolour and her amazing landscapes and Australian animal characters are perfect. 

It should be released soon in 2024. Keep an eye out for it.  

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Kelly's wonderful books, here are some links to get you started.

And here's a bonus for my readers... Leave a short comment on this post saying which of  the covers you like best that are on this post (or what you like best about her books) and you'll be entered to win a free eBook of hers. We'll choose ONE winner next Tuesday!

Here's another opportunity for a free eBook, but the time frame is limited. Just click on this link to get a free picture/comic book:

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