Book Dummy or Book, Dummy!

I was a dummy. Actually I made a dummy. A book dummy. As a picture book author, you have to be aware of how your words will flow on a page and a book dummy is a great way to assist you.

Diane Hess, executive editor of Scholastic Press said, “A book dummy shows that you have a sense of how your picture book will be paced. This can be achieved through a thirty-two-page sketch dummy.”


When I created my first book, No Chicken For Joe, a book dummy helped me visualize the pagination and pacing of my words.

Although I am no illustrator, I sketched in pencil some general characters and scenes. It was important to me not to have too many words on each page, while keeping a cadence and rhythm to the story. Although it is not a rhyming book, I felt there needed to be a continuity of sorts.

As Meredith Mundy, executive editor of Sterling Children’s Books said, “I’d much prefer to see a project in rough form…”


If I WERE an illustrator, I would take two of the pages and make them finished pieces so the publisher could see what the final art would look like. Sketches don’t really convey a finished style which is what they want to see. The book dummy very clearly show’s the author’s vision for the book.


Here is a great .pdf on book dummys.

I am no longer a dummy about book dummys!


Heart-pounding Belly-twisting Nervousness

There is nothing like an impending critique to get your blood pumping.  As a new member of a children’s book writing association, I signed up for an open critique session with a group of my peers.

For my first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  What I found was a group of helpful earnest people who really want to spur one another on to finding their own personal greatness.  My initial heart-pounding turned to heart warming as I listened to authors share their unpublished stories.  
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