Creating a dummy of a children's book you have created is a good way to get an idea of what your book should look like when it's complete - well, sans illustrations. You can create a dummy using scrapbook papers and really dress it up or you could just use plain paper and paste in the text, leaving blank the areas where you would wish illustrations to go. It's pretty simple to do and can add some dimension to your idea - it can bring new life to a project because lets face it, waiting for a book to be published (if you are going the traditional route) can take a long time. Even if you are going the non-traditional, self-publishing route it can take a while.
If you are not artistic or you just don't have the time to make your own illustrations, it can be time consuming to find someone who is. This is the point that I'm at right now... I could do the illustrations myself but I was hoping to have another perspective on the story and the images. I guess it's also a lack of confidence in my own ability to draw everything out. Plus, when I was considering going the traditional route of publication the author is asked not to source their own illustrations. That is something the larger publishing houses want to do on their own because they employ a number of illustrators to do that work - this all goes hand in hand with the fact that in traditional publishing (should you be lucky enough to get a traditional publishing contract) they work for you and with you on marketing your work. They want your book to sell just as much as you do, maybe even more so, because they are paying all the money out to publish your work. If they take over more creative control of you work, like the illustrations, then they may be able to boost sales and achieve a greater return on their initial investment. Hopefully the illustrations meet with your approval because if they don't you may no longer have a say as you have signed over some of your rights to your story. In a way it's not really all your story anymore if you go the traditional publishing route, so be careful and choose wisely. Make sure that you are comfortable and happy with your choice of publisher before you sign a contract. Do your research before you submit to a publisher - you can view their previous works and see if they are a good fit with the vision you have for your book. If they do not meet with your approval through your research, move on and see what the next one has to offer.
Below is a simple dummy outline of where I would like illustrations to go in my story, Danu...
(Cover Illustration 1)
***A Children’s Storybook/Picture book***
The world is changing. It’s growing and flowing and people are moving to live in places they never have before. People move so quickly that it seems they have no time to see the beauty that is nature.
Instead people today seem only to tear down nature. They cut down trees and pave over meadows that were once full of flowers.
(Illustration 3) *This could be the only image to have a "fairy" in it. The rest could just give the illusion through light, shadow, beauty or air of mystery.*
Forests are much smaller than they used to be. A world of beauty and wonder is disappearing – but you can help me protect it! My name is Fae and I need your help to save the land where my family and I live.
Long ago the world was covered in green. There were no houses (at least, not any houses that look like the ones you live in) no skyscrapers and no cars.
There were forests and jungles; Flowers, animals and sparkling waters as far as the eyes could see. My family called this place Danu, and it was beautiful.
Danu still exists but sadly many people don't believe in it anymore. People have forgotten what it means to care for nature and they no longer see the beauty that is so close to them. They have even stopped looking for me – they don’t even try anymore.
When you are walking in the forest or playing in a stream you are in Danu. The next time you go for a hike remember that if you are very quiet and kind to nature and to everything that lives in it – and if you believe – maybe, just maybe, you will see me or one of my friends.
You will know that we are nearby when you see the bright coloured flowers, lush green plants and trees that bloom and grow in the spring and summer.
In the fall we are in the changing colours of the leaves.
In winter we take shelter in the hollow of trees and dance when the snow flutters and falls on the breeze.
You can help me save the land of Danu by caring for nature. When you are at home you can recycle or grow a garden. My friends and I love roses and sunflowers and if you plant them we may come to visit.
When you go for a walk in the forest, play at the park or go camping make sure you don’t leave any garbage behind. It could hurt the animals or plants that call that place home.
The most important way you can help me is by telling your friends and family to care for nature too. Together you can all learn to recycle, reuse and create your own gardens. By doing so you will be helping to protect the forests, jungles, deserts, tundra and swamps of the world for many years to come.
You can also speak or think this simple wish the next time you are outside;
Friend of Fae I am, I may,
Save Danu for me and you.
Your words will carry through the air on the wings of butterflies and I will hear you and know that you are a friend of nature, a friend of Danu – a friend of mine.
The more people who do these things will mean that my home of Danu stays healthy and strong. I will continue to have a place to call home and you will forever have beautiful places to visit and care for.
Why just visit though! Danu is, after all, your home too.