How to handle multiple children book illustration projects without causing delays?

It is a common practice by almost every illustrator to work on more than one project at a time and that is purely for two reasons, making more clients and also increasing scope of income. But many times every illustrator realizes that multiple projects are creating a lot of problems specially in the timely delivery of work. When delays become very regular from illustrators side, the existing buyers also start looking for an alternative in terms of more efficient illustrator. This can also cause a bad name for you in the market as you may get bad reviews or your website may earn a reputation. Your professional image may be hampered and the result would be lesser and lesser people approaching you and less business. The main question is, how to avoid such an event?

The simple answer lies in basic time management and prioritizing the work. Whenever you accept a project, discuss the deadline with the author and make a simple entry into your project sheet and mention that you will need to make minimum of 2-3 (or any figure depending upon the deadline fixed) illustrations per month for this particular buyer.This number may go up to 10-12 also if the deadlines are very tight, but generally most of the Self publishing for kids  authors are happy with a figure of 3-4 in a month as they are also occupied with other engagements in life. This initial entry will also help you in breaking down the monthly requirement into weekly requirement .

Accordingly, you should keep in mind that there will be some modifications also in the art piece which you will submit, so always keep a buffer time for every buyer, don’t make the schedule so tight that you give no time for modifications, because in case if you receive a modification then every other project will start to get delayed.

Make sure that you have a check list which has entries such as, start date of book, deadline, buyers preferences, last modification, how many days were delayed in the last illustration etc etc. In case of delays which are unavoidable, please communicate the same to the author. A simple phone call or an E-mail will save you from bad relationships which may develop in the future. Communication is a very important aspect which is usually under utilized and lack of it at the required situation can create big issues.

As an illustrator, you must also make a habit of reviewing all the work done during the week, this will help you in ensuring that you have not left an important buyer or you have not missed out on a modification which was supposed to be sent on wednesday. You must also make an entry for complaints which you receive regarding the quality or style of illustration, from the author. You must work very seriously on these feed backs and complaints because these complaints will improve your standards and way of working. Don’t be afraid of difficult buyers, take them up as a challenge and make sure that the toughest ones praise you the most.

As a professional, work hard on all the above points and manage your time is such a way that you finish your work on time or before time and if you are not able to do that,then send an email explaining the cause of the delay. But if you have made a couple of delays already in respect of a particular buyer, then make sure that you never repeat the same again, till the time that Author’s book is complete.