Suzy thought I should post this for your amusement, commiseration or horror - take your pick. :-) (Gudrun, this doesn't apply to you, as you both write and illustrate your own).
As you know, I just finished up the dreaded Christmas book which was commissioned by a self-publishing author. The *day* that I mailed off the artwork, I got a query from my Children's Illustrator page from another man who was seeking to self publish one of his stories. I've apparently deleted his initial message but essentially he said that he was wanting to publish a story he'd written, loved my illustrations, unfortunately had no money BUT I would get a free copy! It would be good for my portfolio, and I had nothing to lose....
I forwarded the unfortunate email to my agents who were horrified (the timing was especially bad. Our experience with the last book.... even though it was a sort of paying job, there were issues....) This was the response:
As Tara's illustration agent, I would like to reply to your letter. You said. "I am impressed by your work, especially the children. I know this is not a great offer for an established artist, but you loose nothing in the deal and extend your portfolio."
Do you have any idea how long it takes an artist of Tara's caliber to produce such beautiful artwork? You said she has nothing to lose. I beg to differ with you. She loses time--a great deal of time. Tara has plenty of paying projects to keep her more than busy and to extend her portfolio. Your "offer" devalues her work and time. My advice to you is to have a friend or family member (maybe even a child) illustrate your book.
Poor guy. I'm sure he had no idea. How do we educate the world?
See? Even thinking about self-publishing can be dangerous!