How to Write and Publish a Craft Book Part Two

Firstly I wanted to announce a winner of a BIG PRIZE from The Shape of Things to Come! Erika Michaels COME ON DOWN and claim a fabulous prize package!If you email your snail mail address to margot@margotpotter.com I will forward your info to the fine folks from Scrapbook Adhesives!

Secondly I promised a design here today which is MIA.  Why?  Because I was busy finalizing the details on my new book proposal... I have got to stop making promises!

Thirdly that leads us to my second installment in my How to Write and Publish a Craft Book Series!

(Sneak Peek of a Design Sample for New Book Proposal Copyright 2010 Margot Potter ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!)

Yesterday I finished the final sample design for my book proposal.  These designs are meant to show the publisher what my vision is for the book.  They may or they may not make the final cut, but they're a starting point.  It's important when you're creating sample designs that you not get too attached to them.  The editorial team may not dig what you're throwing down and you as a highly sensitive artist have to suck it up and accept that not every creation is going to change the universe.  You can almost always find another home for your ideas if they're good.

I finished my final design and fine tuned the title, introduction and chapter breakdowns.  There are five chapters in this book and since the topic is a little more complex than my past titles, there are fewer total designs.  I created ten samples with two designs representing each chapter.  This really gives a nice POV on my concept and should help the Pub Board decide on whether or not they'll buy my book.

There is a team of people that regularly review book proposals in every publishing house.  Once you've gotten the approval from editorial and worked with an acquisitions editor on creating a presentation of your idea, the acquisitions editor will present it to the Publishing Board.  They meet on a regular basis to review concepts.  A lot of the decisions revolve around the opinions of the sales team.  Why?  Because they're the ones in the front lines meeting the buyers.  If they don't think your idea will sell, they're not going to approve it.  So even if it's a fabulous idea...if they feel that they can't sell it, they can't sell it.  Even though it's a tough pill to swallow when your brilliant concept gets rejected, it would be a far more bitter pill to work your booty off on the book and watch it tank after publication.  I have a file of good ideas that are patiently waiting for the right time to be developed into full blown proposals.

Publishing is a business.  Things are tough these days for publishers which means they can't take the sort of calculated risks they could take a few years back.  Try to really be on point in terms of what is trending and what is emerging so that your title is really relevant, marketable and enticing to the sales team.  Do your research because if you can't convince them that your idea has merit, they're not going to buy it.  So go to book stores and review what's in the craft section with prominent placement.  Get craft and fashion magazines to see where color, style, texture, motif and other trends are heading.  Surf the internet and start looking for connective threads.  That's where you'll find a solid and marketable concept.  If your initial idea isn't gelling with the trends, keep reworking it until you're satisfied that it's relevant.

If the stars align, the acquisitions editor gets behind your idea, the Pub Board approves it and your title sells, you will be assigned an editor.  Be nice to your editor.  Don't cop an attitude.  If you can't play well with others, try self publishing.  Your editor is your lifeline and only connection to the publisher and if you piss them off, you're going to find it tough to get anyone to listen to your ideas.  The editor is probably not going to be the person who sold your book to the publishing board.  You don't get to choose them, though if you've worked well with someone in the past you can certainly request them again.  So when you send out your proposal, wave a magic wand over it and say a few magic words in the hopes that you get an editor who gets you and will get behind you as you forge the wilderness of creating and publishing your book.

I'm waiting to hear from the acquisitions editor on the proposal I've submitted.  She may want me to change up some of the project samples, she may want me to fine tune my idea, she may not like my idea!  If she does like it, she may need for me to present a targeted demographic breakdown and provide her with statistics for my blog, website and social networking sites.  Yes, you will be your own PR and Marketing department, so if you want to sell a craft book you'd best build up an online presence first.  That's a big factor in selling your concept.  The acquisitions editor is a very, very busy person.  It could be a month or more before she's ready to propose my idea.  So stay tuned...

8 comments:

GardenDesigner said...

Congrats and good luck!!

That has always been a dream of mine, and its so exciting to see someone actually pursuing it!!
I will be crossing my fingers for you!!

~Vanessa
RhinestoneContessa.com

perfidia said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise with us. I hope to, one day (soon), use this advice in getting my own book published.

Good luck with the new title....

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave.com in the Handcraft category today [26 Mar 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Margot Potter said...

It's so hard to figure out how this all works and I'm happy to share my experiences. This is only based on what I've learned over the past six books and every publisher is different and every author will have a unique experience. I think it's important to pay it forward.

Cheers,
Madge

whiteshark0121 said...

I love writing and reading books. I love the notion that people can make things up in their mind and then make them real on a page, for the pleasure or utility of someone else. One of my favorite mentor on learning how to write a book is Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Very cool! I'm such a huge craft book fan. I'm really enjoying this behind the scenes glimpse. Thanks so much for sharing, I'll be linking to this.

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [05 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

whiteshark0121 said...

I love writing and reading books. I love the notion that people can make things up in their mind and then make them real on a page, for the pleasure or utility of someone else. One of my favorite mentor on learning how to write a book is Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.