Sunday, October 4, 2015

Final Steps for Your Dummy

With the Smart Dummies event the idea is to get a submission ready dummy, but there are a few other things you should probably have before submitting to a publisher. If I missed something, please let me know. This is just a brief list!

1. Final Images - Editors, Art Directors and Agents like to see 2-3 finished spreads (4-6 pages finished). Spreads being the consecutive pages you see when a book is open. Generally these are done in color. There are a few artists that work in black and white. This can be incorporated directly into your dummy. I will talk more about this later. 

2. The Portfolio - Before you get hired, Editors and Agents are going to want to see what you've done in the past. The amount of images you need for this varies depending who you ask. You should have at least 12-15 images to get your portfolio started. This will go as a link if you send an email.

Because we live in a digital age you will want to have your portfolio online. Make sure you have your contact information on your website! Patricia had some wonderful tips for creating your website portfolio earlier this month: You don't have to pay an arm and a leg for your website to start. Using a free website creator like weebly is perfectly acceptable (that's the first service I used).

3. A Cover Letter - You should work to craft a good cover letter to go along with your dummy. Always address your letter to a specific person. You should have a brief introduction (Who you are and why you are sending this dummy). The pitch that describes your story. And your qualifications for writing this book including education, related professional information, and any publications where your work has appeared. 

4. Your Manuscript - You will have the entire text of your manuscript in your dummy, but Editors and Agents will want your manuscript. If you have a wordless book, don't worry about the manuscript. At this point Picture Book manuscripts should be 500 words or less. 

5. Don't Work in a Bubble - This isn't something you put in a dummy, but more of something to make your work stronger. If you are the only one to see your work before sending it out, then you will be missing out on some valuable advice. I strongly suggest joining a critique group or doing a dummy trade with someone you trust.

Be sure to check the full guidelines of an Agent or Editor before you send anything out! Not following guidelines is a huge reason why people get their stories rejected! 


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