So how does the publisher route work?
Please note, this is from research and speaking with people in the industry. I haven't published a book through a publisher.
Basically once the story is accepted:
- The publisher assigns an editor.
- The publisher assigns an illustrator.
- The publisher works with the illustrator from storyboarding through to final illustrations. Some well established writers may have input into the visuals style and illustration style but that's more unusual.
- The publisher assigns a book designer and works with the book designer on the titles, text layout and fonts.
- The publisher prints the book, manages the stock inventory and delivers it to the bookstores.
- Traditionally, the publisher also promotes and markets the book. However today, with the internet, authors and illustrators are doing more of this. They're building strong online personas, generating community interest in their titles and offering to do in-store readings and signings directly with local bookstores.
There are advantages of going through a publisher.
- knowhow of the industry and process. If you just want to write, then this can leave you to focus on what you love to do.
- access to experienced editors, illustrators and book designers (at no cost).
- market knowledge such as what's already on the market, if there's similar picture books already out and if you're interested in commercial viability - what sells. Although sometimes publishers can get it wrong too.
This post explains it well also: http://www.underdown.org/picture-books-illustrations.htm