Friday, May 09, 2014

Picture Book Dummy Part 2- Preparing the Dummy Book to Send to Publishers

Welcome to Part 2 of my series on Dummy Books!

Stay tuned for part three next week, where I will talk about researching editors and agents and sending your Dummy Book out into the world.

In case you missed it, here is where you can find part 1, where I talked about making your dummy book- perfecting the story, making the story board, drawing the sketches and taking them to final paintings. Today I am going to talk about making your dummy book into a PDF, printing it and getting it ready to send to agents and publishers.

Making your dummy book into a PDF

It's simple to make a dummy book in Adobe Indesign.

Here is a few simple steps to get you started.

In Indesign from the "File" menu, choose "New" and then "Document."

Then you can decide on a size. Make the size of the document the same size as your book will be. So for instance, if you decided your book will be 11 inches by 9 inches, make it that size. You can make your own page size by clicking on "Custom."

Set your document up to have spreads.

Once you are in the document, use the hot keys Command + D (on the Mac) or in the "File" menu click on "Place." Find your illustration file and place it on the page you would like it to go on, and move it around to center it. Continue doing this until you have filled up your entire book.

After you have placed all the illustrations where you want them to go, type in all the words where you would like them to be placed. If you have planned things out right from your storyboard to your sketches, there should be places for your text to go in each spread (see Part 1).

You can then choose "File" and then "Export" and export your file to a PDF.  

Printing Your Dummy Book

There are many options for printing your dummy book. 

You can print your book on an online printing and publishing site such DiggyPod or Blurb, along with dozens of others. Just google "print my book online."

You could also get your book printed at your local print and copy store such as Alphagraphics or FedEx Office. 

I prefer to print my own books on my printer. It looks just as nice if I use card stock so the ink doesn't bleed through. I like this option, because I may want to send my book out to more than one publisher or agent at a time, and it's the cheapest option for printing multiple books. 

I don't print the book at 100%, I just print it at a good mailable size. Then I get my book spiral bound with clear plastic covers at the local copy and mailing store. The most important thing to remember is that your dummy book should look clean and professional!

Also remember to keep your digital dummy book handy because many publishers and agents like you to send them everything via email.

Stay tuned for next week's post, Dummy Books Part 3- Sending Your Book to Agents and Publisher, where I will discuss what to put in your packages/emails to editors and agents. I will also talk about waiting, rejections and celebrations.


Iris Biran said...

Thank you for such useful tips! It has been very helpful since I'm working traditionally on a dummy now.
I guess Indesign is an expensive software for purchase, so would like to ask if it's worth trying to do this on Potoshop?

Shawna Tenney said...

Iris- Thanks for your comment! It will be hard to do it in Photoshop. You can make individual PDFs, but you would have to link them together in a program like Acrobat. Instead, I suggest googling "alternatives to Adobe InDesign." My husband found one you can download for free called Scribus- I'm not sure how great it is, but it's something! There are also a lot of other alternatives that will cost varying amounts of money, but you can check them out and see what you think will work best. Good luck!

Iris Biran said...

Thank you very much!

Jeanne Bowman said...

Dear Shawna,

I finally got to check out Brunhilda's Backwards Day from the Library and I LOVED it. The story was wonderful and I loved the rhyme she said when she wanted to do a spell and that cat's expressions MURDERED me. It was wonderful. Thank you for making such a wonderful book!

I have a question about the postcards you said to include in your package. Do they have art from the book? Or is it art from other projects? Do you include a couple of cards with the same art on them so that they can pass them around to other people or is each card different? I just finished illustrating a dummy book and would like to begin putting together a submission to publishers. Thank you in advance for all of your help!

Valeria Wicker said...

Hi Shawana, you can can create a PDF presentation right from Photoshop as well. Go to File>Automate> PDF presentation. From there adjust the setting as desired and when you add your files, don't forget to make sure your images are in order :)

Jeni said...

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seo a5 said...

The only serious free option for desktop publishing right now is Scribus ( It’s software, not web-based. I’ve used it a few times and it’s pretty decent. Of course, I also have QuarkXPress, which I prefer. Hope that helps!