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FAQsBook Illustration for self publishing authorsDon Berry graphic design samplesBerrytoonsDon Berry bio - An Artist's JourneyContact Don Berry


Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I make contact? How do we begin?

1. Begin by reading these FAQs and looking at book illustration samples to determine if my range of illustration and design styles is suitable for your project.

2. If all that is workable for you, send an email to me with a brief description of your needs, and, if a storybook project, attach your finished manuscript. If you have specific design or illustration ideas that you want incorporated, tell me about them also.

3. Within a day or two you will receive an email to acknowledge receipt of your inquiry and to let you know when to expect a response with prices and suggestions. For smaller projects, that first email may include the quote and a schedule for completion.

My quote for a storybook will include a text-only layout (emailed to you as a PDF attachment) showing where illustrations will be placed, and a brief, written description of each illustration. If you have supplied ideas about what text you want on each page, and what each illustration should be, I will lay out the book with your ideas in mind. We can adjust the layout as you wish to get the book you want.

4. Smaller illustration or design projects that will be done in a month or less require a 50% deposit to reserve a slot in my schedule and to begin work. Longer projects can be paid in thirds with the second payment due when I'm halfway through. The balance is due promptly upon completion, and your competed, publishing quality files will not be released until final payment is received.

When can you start on my project?

My schedule for storybook projects can sometimes be full for a few to several months, although sometimes I can be available right away. If you just need a cover or another single item of graphic design or illustration, I can usually get started promptly.

What does your service include?

I provide a complete design and illustration service including the preparation of high-resolution PDF book interior and cover files to meet the specifications of your publishing service. A storybook project will include the full cover (front and back), and the illustration, design and formatting of the complete book. The PDF files I prepare are ready to submit to your service for printing.

If your project is only a book cover or a limited number of illustrations or pieces of graphic design, I will provide the artwork in whatever file format you need.

All work is done digitally from start to finish, so I provide digital files rather than artwork on paper or canvas.

What does it cost?

My total fee for complete storybook projects (all illustration, design and final prep for full cover and interior pages) have ranged from $2,500-8,000, but most fall in the $2,500-4,000 range. The price depends on book dimensions, number of pages, and how many and what kind of illustrations are needed. I must see a finished manuscript to set a fee for your book project. At this time, for the typical self publishing author, I ask for no commission or royalty on book sales, so my fee is a one-time expense for the self publisher.

The prices below are typical but may change depending on the needs of your project. Very complex, detailed art will call for a higher price. That is why I must see your manuscript and specifications to arrive at a price for your project.

  • A typical color page illustration is $100-200 depending on the needs of the project. Larger, 2-page spread illustrations are typically $250-350. Small spot illustrations are a minimum of $50 each.
  • Covers begin at $500 if part of a complete storybook project, or $750 and up for covers only, or for covers of books with limited interior art.
  • Design, formatting and PDF preparation is $15/page for storybooks (picture books) that I am also illustrating. (If you are providing all the art and only need me to prepare your book for publication, the fee is usually $30/page, but can vary up or down depending on the needs of your project.)
  • Novels and other books that are mainly text are priced based on the needs of the project.
  • Other design or illustration projects are priced based on the specifications of the work required.

Do you also print and sell my book?

As a self-publishing author, you must use a publishing or printing service to print your book and help you sell it.

Many of the authors I work with use the services of Amazon's self-publishing service, CreateSpace. They offer about the best deal you'll find for a high quality paperback book. Another good option is, or if you want to specifically target a Christian audience, check out Xulon Press. There are many other publishing services on the internet that cater to the self-publisher. It's a good idea to visit their websites to find the mix of services and rates that suit your needs and budget.

Each service will have specifications as to what sizes and types of books they can print, so it's important to first do some research to find the service that can do what you want done. That way we can be confident that the book I design for you will meet the specifications of your publishing service. Otherwise, it can mean extra time and expense to re-format a book we've already begun or completed.

As a courtesy, I place a link on my sample pages when your book is available on amazon or some other website, but I recieve no royalty on sales of your book.

Will you proofread and edit my manuscript?

All text is the author's responsibility and should be proofed and edited before coming to me. I can not start working on a book that has only a rough, unedited manuscript, however, as the book progresses I can correct typos you spot or make other minor adjustments as you direct so that the final product is letter perfect.

Do I get a chance to review the work?

Yes. This illustration service is designed to include the author in the creative process. When work on a project begins, I create a web site where you can review your design project or your book project as it progresses, page by page. Suggestions, corrections, and other feedback can be offered at any time via email.

Will you illustrate anything?

I may feel I'm not be the right illustrator for your project or I may feel it's not ready for professional treatment. Don't bother sending politically or sexually charged, violent or hateful material.

What software and hardware do you use for illustration?

My workstation includes a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet and a 24" ASUS ProArt monitor for accurate color. I use Adobe CS6 Design Premium Suite and Corel Painter12. My computer is an i7 2600 quad-core PC running Windows 10 Pro.

How do I pay?

A check or money order (US Dollars) payable to:

Don Berry / 2544 E. Linden St. / Tucson AZ 85716-3046.

You can also pay with your PayPal account or with your visa or mastercard by clicking on the PayPal button on my Payment Page.

How long does it take?

A typical 32-page picture book will take 8-10 weeks to complete. After I review your manuscript I can better determine a schedule for your specific project.

Other design projects can usually be scheduled to meet your deadlines.

What if I need to call you as we work together?

E-mail is my preferred way of communicating with you, but if you need to call me during the course of the project, my number is 520-326-5148. It would be best if we first agree, via email, on a time for you to call so that I can be prepared and available.

What about copyrights and royalties?

For the typical self-publishing author this is a one-time fee that includes rights to the artwork for any and all uses related to the self-published book and it's promotion and marketing, and no artist royalties or other fees will apply. However, I must be identified as the illustrator on the cover and on the title page. If you wish to use the artwork for some other purpose entirely, that must be negotiated as a separate project and other fees may apply. I will not use artwork done for you for anything other than self-promotion.

Note: In traditional publishing, the author typically has no say about how or by whom the book is illustrated and designed. As a self-publisher, you make all those decisions and receive all income from sales, but must pay all the bills.