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dummy book--size??

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My first post, so first of all hello to everyone!

I've been reading a lot of the threads & have learned a LOT here, so thanks to everyone for all the great info you're willing to share.

My question is, how do you choose a size for your dummy book? I've been looking through the PBs at Barnes & Noble, etc, and they're a WIDE variety of sizes & orientations. Obviously there is no standard.

So, I want to start working on story boards for a PB so submit, but how do I choose which size? Or--does it not matter, since the publisher would change everything anyway if they accepted your story? In which case, are the sketches/illustrations you're doing for the dummy basically throw-aways.....and if so, should you limit how much time you spend on them? I'm starting to see that you shouldn't send finished artwork but instead solid sketches with maybe a few taken further, right?

So confused.....  :sheep (I like, there's a lot of smilies to choose from here!!)
#1 - April 17, 2010, 11:01 AM

Official Shenaniganizer
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I've seen lots of advice that say do it in the finished trim size you imagine it in, but then I saw on an editor blog to never do a dummy larger than 8.5x11, so I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. But the advice to keep it to 8.5x11 or under makes technical sense when trying to reproduce your sketches (I did some slightly larger then realized my scanner was inadequate, as well as my printer). That editor blog says that anything larger than that is also cumbersome for the person you send it to. So I now just keep to the basic height/width ratio and orientation I want while keeping the dummy within 8.5x11. Anything too large or oversize you are also asking for the publisher to put extra risk in production costs on a new author. As you said, the finished size is likely to change anyway.

Salina, I'm not sure your advice about targeting size for a specific publisher is sound for everyone. You have long established history with the select houses you publish with. A new author/illustrator may need to send to many houses before getting an acceptance.

Welcome and Good Luck, Iceartist!!
#2 - April 18, 2010, 10:16 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken


Thanks so much!

I'm also realizing that the sketches you send in are indeed pretty much 'throw away' ones since the size will likely change. I guess that's just the way it goes.
#3 - April 19, 2010, 06:54 AM

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Size and proportions of a book both shape the reader's experience of it, just as do page layout, size of illustrations, how you handle text, etc. etc. So don't just consider what's typically done for a particular kind of book, or by a particular publisher. Think about the differences between tall/narrow books, square books, short/wide books, etc. Think about the ways in which the shape of the pages will affect your illustrations...
#4 - April 19, 2010, 08:25 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:


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