Children love stories. Their imaginations are so wild and unfettered that they would enjoy listening to stories told to them orally. In almost all cases, too, children love to view pictures of the stories told to them. For this reason, almost all children’s books are illustrated, often with colored pictures, to assist their comprehension of the story. If you have written a story for children and you want to send it to a publisher, you will need to send the text of your story, as well as a mockup of your story. In this article, you will learn how to create a mockup for a children’s book.
- Story text. Prepare the full text of your story. Type or print it on bond paper with enough margins. Most publishers will require you to submit original manuscripts in double spacing. Make sure you inquire from the publisher about the format of the manuscript.
- Pages. Decide on how many pages you want your children’s book to have. Make sure that the total number of pages is a multiple of 4. Children usually don’t have long attention spans, so try to balance the length of the story and the number of pages. You will be including pictures and illustrations in your children’s book, and these will tend to increase children’s attention spans; yet, maintain a reasonable balance between the length of your story and the number of pages.
- Dummy book. Prepare a dummy book. If you want to have a 32-page story book, prepare sheets of bond paper (letter size paper will be okay). The number of sheets should be half the total number of pages. So, if you want 32 pages, prepare 16 sheets of bond paper. Bind one edge of the sheets by either stapling them or by gluing them. You will now have a dummy book containing blank pages.
- Content of dummy book. The top front of your dummy book is for the cover page. For your convenience, you can write page numbers at the corners of each page. Page 1, of course, is for the cover page. Leave pages 2 and 3 blank, as these are usually for the front matter for the book (i.e., copyright notices, forewords, introductions, table of contents, etc.). If you wish to have back matter (i.e., content at the end of the book, such as an index or a glossary), reserve several pages for that. The remaining unused pages will be for the story and its illustrations.
- Cut and paste. Print out a copy of your story’s text. Use a font size that is easy to read and large enough for children to be able to read easily. Cut out the lines and arrange them in sequence across the remaining pages of your dummy book. Be careful when you break up long sentences into several pages; make sure that the division will not sacrifice comprehension. While arranging your story text, you will also have the opportunity to detect some weak areas in the story itself or in the division of the story text.
Once your mockup is ready and to your liking, you can send it along with your typed or printed manuscript to your publisher.