How to create a dummy book for children’s publishing

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Hello, dear viewers.  It has been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I do apologize.  I’ve had a new idea for a series of posts, which I hope you will enjoy.  A couple of (gulp) years ago, my dear friend Jess presented me with a children’s story she had written and asked me if I would illustrate it.  Now, people ask this of me once they find out I am an illustrator, and usually I tell them it is easier to get published by simply sending a manuscript out with a great cover letter to publishers.  (i.e. Illustrations are not necessary to the children’s story submissions process, unless of course, you are an author/illustrator.)

The reason I tell them this is that usually publishers like to pair their illustrators and writers.  If you send a manuscript with a sheaf of drawings, you will most likely be chucked into the dreaded “slush pile.”  However, if you take the time and effort to create a dummy book, you may luck out and get your book picked up by a publisher. I love my friend Jess, and because her story is really great, I said “yes” to creating a dummy with her.  She sweetly said for me to take my time and design it how I wanted.  

Oh Jess, you may have wanted to set up deadlines with me—unlimited time means I take a looong time.  Anyway, she has agreed that I can share the process here on the blog if it helps me finish the dummy book.  Today I have a picture of some storyboards I created in the beginning to get the flow of the story just right, along with an actual book I created to craft how the pictures would fit with the type.

For reference on how to create a dummy book I highly recommend Uri Shulevitz’s Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books.  Published in 1985, it is still the greatest resource I have found on creating a book for submission from start to finish.

I love questions and comments!  Fell free to leave feedback or queries in the comments section of this post, if you feel so inclined.


  1. That was a very fun and useful article. I didn’t know Uri Shulevit’s book yet… did some research and bought it eventually! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your advice and experiences! You have a very nice blog! ^_^


    1. Stephanie,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and I hope you get as much use and enjoyment out of that book as I have!
      Thank you for the kind words.
      Have a great day!


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