How to Get Your Craft Book Published: Advice from Authors

August 14, 2015 in News

If you’ve ever wanted to write a craft book, I’ve gathered some great advice from publishers, as well as some words of wisdom from successful authors! Read on for tips on how to break into the publishing business, and decide if writing a craft book is right for you.

 

Casey York
Do you have any tips for someone else who is wanting to submit a craft book proposal?

First, do your research on the publisher(s) you plan to submit to. I approached the proposal writing process as if I were applying for a job—you want to demonstrate that your idea is a good fit for a particular publisher, and in order to do that you have to do your homework.

You also will want to explain how your proposed book will stand out in the marketplace. How is your idea unique and what will make consumers want to buy your book? I think the process of answering this question can actually help you to develop your ideas, and I kept it in mind from the very beginning of compiling my proposal and designing my projects. Also, be flexible. Publishers know their industry well, so if they give you advice on how to tweak your idea, take it.

Finally, polish your writing. Your proposal or query letter will be the first impression you make and you want it to be a good one. Publishers are looking at your writing skills in addition to your designs, and your proposal will serve as one sample of your writing, so revise your work a few times to make sure it represents you the way you want it to.

Casey York, Stash Books author

 

How did you handle the long wait from the time you created the projects until the book was released and you could finally talk about it?

The wait from the time all the projects have been created and sent to the publisher to the time you can actually mention the book’s name, what it is about, or even a sneak peek is unbelievably hard. You want to be able to share with everyone what you are working on every night and weekend, and you can’t. I was recruiting my kids and even my husband to critique my work just so I could show someone. As soon as I would finish a project, I would run into the living room late at night, grab my husband, and say, “Come look! Come look! Tell me what you think!” Once the projects are sent to the publisher, it is a little easier to keep quiet… out of sight, out of mind. That is until the design layout of the book comes, and then it starts all over again. But it is not that long after that you can start talking about it.

Angela Yosten, Stash Books author

 

Did you work with a traditional publisher, or go the self-publishing route? What have you learned through the process?

We chose to self-publish mainly because we wanted to work on our own timeline and have complete creative control. Every step was a learning process. We researched copyrights, binding options, writing styles, distribution methods, you name it.

Establishing the pattern company while still running a fabric store did not leave much room for exploring the book idea, but we finally set a deadline for ourselves. It was a very fun and challenging process, and we like to do things fast. From idea to self-publishing, it all came together within nine months! After we decided to go the self-publishing route (very nerve-wracking to say the least), our concept, then we each submitted lots of designs to consider. After selecting our designs, we picked the fabrics for our samples, wrote instructions, did the photography, edited, tested, and edited some more. We have just finished the process, so it still feels like we’re in that dream!

It’s Sew Emma Designers: Kim, Jocelyn, Sarah and Debbie

 

Is writing a book similar to designing a new fabric line?

Yes and not really. They are similar in the devotion I develop to each through out the process, but the language is all together different. The language of a fabric collection is almost entirely visual apart from the narrative style I attach to it with the collection name, then print and color names, and so on. I try to propel the story of the collection through those names. I think of a book as a literal conversation between myself and the reader, and in my category of sewing and how-to, it is of course also educational. The book as well has a visual element, which is in part the projects that I develop, but also the photography, how the pages feel, what the fonts look like, and all these things are speaking to the reader as well through the subconscious. So it’s important to me to get them right, so I am making my “story” unique and inspiring the reader.

Anna Maria Horner, designer and author

 

What are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts about writing a book with multiple contributors?

Trish: One of the most challenging elements is that everyone has such a different way of writing & explaining their process. Sometimes it can be hard to understand what is going on, and this may simply be due to a difference in how my mind works compared to the contributor’s. Or it’s simply a type of project I’ve never made before. Also, if you realize that we usually don’t actually make the projects ourselves (unless we *really* don’t understand the project, or a certain step; then I will make a sample to make sure I know what’s going on), it can be challenging to mentally walk through all the steps to make sure we don’t miss anything, and that we can translate it all for the reader. As for the rewarding parts – as I mention above,one big thing is seeing the diverse range of project ideas. It continually blows me away what people can think of to make with one yard of fabric. I also love the “community” that each book creates among its contributors.

Rebecca: When I think back to working on the first One-Yard Wonders book, I think the original challenge was how to tackle the project and solicit 101 unique, compelling, original sewing ideas. It quickly became apparent that there are amazing, original sewers out there and no shortage of ideas! Once we established how to reach out to other sewers through blogs, etsy, facebook, craft forums, etc., the word really started to spread, and we quickly realized just how rewarding it was to put together both One-Yard Wonders and Fabric-by-Fabric. We can’t say thank you enough to all the contributors for their remarkably unique projects in these books. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! It has been a pleasure working with each and every one of you!

– Authors Trish Hoskins and Rebecca Yaker

 

From your end, what was the process of writing “Quilt it With Love”?

 

Once we signed our contract with Lark Crafts, we continued to collect and organize our thoughts, personal stories, patterns, tips, quilting instructions and thank you notes from recipients. We learned how to draw pattern illustrations and instructions on Microsoft Word (not an easy task for us), clarify our pattern directions and basic instructions even when we thought they were already clear, survived the rewrites and finally experienced a welcome sigh of relief when we finished the book in April of 2012.

Deadlines came quickly and although we always met our deadlines (in fact we were usually early), the days before were VERY long and quite stressful. We never felt like the wait was long – in fact it was just the opposite. We were writing the book and meeting deadlines while continuing our full time work with Project Linus, orchestrating our National Conference, running our local chapter along with taking care of our family obligations and there just never seemed to be enough hours in the day. But, we did it!

Mary Balagna and Carol Babbitt, Project Linus founders and Lark Crafts authors

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