Submitting a PDF book dummy
This is a companion post to Make a PDF book dummy the free, easy way. That article talked about how to use the free page layout program Scribus to make a dummy. This will discuss how to submit or show a PDF book dummy to a publisher or agent.
Do make sure your target publisher or agent wants PDF book dummies and follow submission guidelines as to sending solicited or unsolicited work.
Do confirm that your email can accommodate the file size. For an emailable dummy, choose a low resolution when you export as PDF. 72 dpi is an appropriate size for the Web.
Do keep a high-resolution file of the dummy for printing. 300 dpi is print quality.
Do use Dropbox or a similar storage system if the file is too big for your email, and send the editor or agent the link. Or, you could put it on your Web site on a password-protected page and send the link and password. However, emaiing is best as it’s simpler for the recipient.
Do send your text ms along with the dummy, either as part of the PDF dummy at the end, or as a separate Word attachment. (This is a judgment call.)
If you have a book accepted that you will illustrate, the publisher will give you a layout to work with. They may want you to send revised PDF dummies as you go along. You can use Scribus for those, too.
With the accepted book, once the finished art is done, you will deliver each illustration as either original art or a high-res digital file, not as a dummy or book, though you will work with the layout, the publisher creates the final book.
Here are some things NOT to do when submitting a PDF book dummy.
Don’t use a fancy typeface or make a finished-looking product.
Don’t show more than 1-2 color pieces in your dummy. Most pages should be in black and white. Publishers like to have a lot of input. Don’t include a cover image unless asked, since the publisher will especially want to give feedback on the cover.
Don’t post your dummy on your site for the world to see or email it willy-nilly to friends. Take basic precautions by only sending when asked or expected. It’s OK to show some of it in your portfolio, maybe a few pages to show sequential art, and color work.
Remember that the editor can see the color pieces on-screen, but might print it out all in black and white (even at 72 dpi, it will print OK, but if you are submitting a print dummy, use the 300 dpi version). It is helpful to show color pieces on your site, either in your portfolio or on a password-protected page if you wish; you can send the editor/agent the password.
Good luck submitting your PDF book dummy!