1. Listen to Podcasts
There are really so many informative podcasts out there. I personally like "3 Point Perspective" and "The Illustration Department". They can provide great career tips relating to publishing, submissions, handling clients and growing your business.
2. Sign up to Newsletters
Read about the latest book releases and discover interviews to dive into the creative process. Be informed of new publishers popping into the scene, source contests, and grants. I like to subscribe to Publisher's Weekly- Children's Book Edition and some Canadian specific resources as I'm currently based in Toronto.
3. Follow Publishers, Agents and Illustrators on Social Media
A quick and easy visual sampling of market trends. The algorithms can help to suggest similar accounts and allow you to organically build a more comprehensive contact list. This is also a great way to discover calls for submissions and funding opportunities. Perhaps your interactions can also direct some attention to your own portfolio too. Look into the names and resources your favourite illustrators are sharing too.
4. Subscribe to Magazines that specialize in discussing Children's Publishing
I like to read Canadian Children's Book News Magazine which gives a concise overview of recent releases along with synopsis, theme, and publisher information. It is an invaluable resource to see what kind of topics and illustration styles are being published and by whom. Consider sourcing country-specific publications to tap into regional markets.
5. Attend Conferences or Listen to Online Lectures
It's been wonderful to discover free conferences and online lectures available to anyone with an interest. Society of Illustrator's youtube channel has several helpful career talks. I'm also excited to participate in DVCon this year to gain some publishing insights! Just lurk around on youtube with some keywords and get lost in the recommendations - I have even come across videos produced by agents on how to create a winning submission. Type in your favourite illustrator's name and see if they have recorded any interviews.
6. Join Associations
If you are currently unrepresented by an agent, I think joining a professional association such as the AOI or SCWBI is an essential resource to equip you with basic industry knowledge. Gain insights into pricing, contracts, your rights, and the expected workflow. With this industry knowledge, you can head into negotiating fair jobs with much more confidence and professionalism.
Thank you so much for reading! I would love to hear how you stay informed. Come say hi on instagram: @natalie.illustration