This is one of the most common problems which is faced by almost all authors. But before we go on the solution part, lets also understand what are the factors which can cause such delays. Usually an author should try to give a deadline in such a manner so that he/she still has some cushion time after the declared deadline and this may or may not be conveyed to the illustrator. Although illustrators around the world want that their work should be submitted within the agreed time frame but problems may arise because of delayed feedback by the author, poor understanding of the concept of the character by the illustrator , delayed payments or multiple modifications. Although some factors are certainly avoidable but few remain throughout the book project and take a bigger form with the author thinking that selecting the illustrator was a wrong decision and at times even thinking of aborting the book.
A thorough research of the style of the illustrator is strongly recommended and even if the author does not have an art background, the illustrators work can always be reviewed by others who have a good character designing understanding. The effort done at this stage can save a lot of time at a later stage and both sides must be sincere i their efforts. The author must describe his/her requirements very very clearly and may also get a sample made by the illustrator for a right price.
No one wants to work for no fee, and the author must also understand that an illustrator may not give best work if a free sample is desired and quality always comes at a cost.
prevention is better than cure and a little extra effort and prevention while choosing the right illustrator can go a long way in avoiding any delays caused at an advanced stage of the children book project.