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When self publishing a children's book, whether you need an illustrator will depend on the genre that your children's book fits into. Picture story books and books for babies and toddlers are highly illustrated, as they are intended for children at the pre-reading stage who will use the pictures to familiarize themselves with the story being told. If you are writing for this market, you will need illustrations for your self published children's book if it is to look professional. A professional look is essential if your book is to be able to compete with others in its genre.
Even books for younger readers have illustrations. When you write for older readers and young adult books, it is important to have illustrated book covers. With trade publishing, publishers usually have their own illustrators available to illustrate your book. Publishers will likely have a bank of artists who draw in different styles so you
can find someone who matches the vision you have for your children's book. Many self-publishing firms will also provide this service.