Tag Archives: AQS

My Book Proposal

Have you ever thought about writing a book? In particular, have you ever thought of writing a book on quilting or other crafting? I have. I’ve mentioned that I submitted a book proposal to publishers. My proposal was to write a book on medallion quilts. In fact I’ve submitted to three of the primary quilting/crafting publishers. None of the three offered me a contract for publication, so this is not a post about how to succeed with your proposal. It’s simply a discussion of the process I went through.

The intensity of my desire to publish has varied through time, and it still does. There are two primary motivations for me to publish the book I’ve proposed. First, I enjoy sharing what I know about medallions and want to help others learn to make their own quilts. The blog has a lot of information, but a book would be more complete and organized to find it more easily. Second, with this blog I’ve already published more about making medallions than almost anyone else, in blog or book format. While I want others to learn from it, I don’t want anyone to steal my work and publish it as their own.

On the other hand, creating a book is a time-intensive enterprise, and few authors make much money at it. I would not be doing it for fame or fortune.

Once I made the decision to proceed, I considered how to publish it. My friend Alan, who has published a number of books through traditional publishers, lobbied for self-publishing. Self-publishing can give an author greater control and a higher cut of the proceeds, but it also gives more responsibilities. Quilting books’ appearance is a big factor in their appeal. I’m a quilter, not a graphic designer. I wasn’t real interested in doing all the layout and design work. So I decided to submit to a traditional publisher.

All three publishers (C&T Publishing, AQS, and Martingale) have rigorous requirements for proposals. They all asked for a tremendous amount of information about me and about my book concept, as well as my intended means to market the book. Each has a different multi-page form, though the information requested overlaps substantially. This form from C&T Publishing is one example. Their form actually has changed since I submitted it a year ago, but the basic structure is the same.

It took weeks just to develop my first proposal, including the form, a table of contents, sample projects and chapters, and photos of quilts. That proposal was emailed as requested. (One of the proposals required real quilts be mailed, along with paper copies of everything. Really?!?)

One thing all publishers asked for was information about existing competitors on the market, and how my book would be similar and different from them. There are not many existing books out there, and I own or have seen almost all of them. This was an easy question to answer. (Would you like to see a summary of the other books? I could put them in a different post.)

Another item of overlap was my intentions for marketing the book. The form linked above for C&T has these questions:

Describe your online brand and engagement strategy:

Do you have a website on which you will be selling your book, and do you plan to sell your book directly to consumers at shows or teaching opportunities? If so, please indicate approximately how many books you anticipate selling directly to your consumers over the first year of publication.

How would you plan to promote your book in the first 3 months? First year? First 3 years?

Now an author has to have a “brand” and a built-in audience — they have to be famous before getting a book contract. That is a fairly recent phenomena. What it means is there is more room for the popular blogger to get a book contract than there is for the expert. (And it reminds me of a snake eating its tail…)

One of the three responses I received specifically noted the need for sales. That publisher said they need to project at least 10,000 books sold to take the chance on a book, and they didn’t foresee my book achieving that goal. They also said I had a solid proposal and a great blog site. I’m all for profitability, and I appreciated the honesty and compliments.

Another publisher encouraged me to submit the proposal elsewhere because they already had another medallion book in play. Apparently only ONE medallion book can come out every few years, regardless of the number of scrap quilt books, pre-cuts books, FMQ books, “modern” books, paper piecing books, and other pattern and technique books that come out every single year. LOTS of room for multiples of those!

The third publisher sent me an exceedingly short form letter with no personal comments. Ironically, this was the publisher that demanded the most, by way of requiring even quilts to be shipped to them to have the proposal considered.

I learned a lot while developing my proposals. Answering the questions on the forms, multiple times in multiple ways, helped me think through how I want to frame my book. I was forced to articulate my goals, wrote several chapters, and developed projects.

I also learned about publishers. I understand that publishers expect authors to carry most of the load on marketing. Authors need to create and schedule classes and guild presentations, flog their books at conventions (paying their own way generally), sell directly from their blogs and web pages, create short- and long-term plans to sell, schedule blog hops and reviews…

I’ve heard from other authors that their publishers did little if any real editing on their books.

That leaves open the question of what publishers do. This I know: they apply for ISBN and submit copyright documents. They do layout and graphic design. They generally will photograph the quilts and projects, but the author pays for shipping to get them there and back. (You’ve shipped quilts, right? Not cheap…) They generally will arrange permissions for photos of other quilts (like those owned by a museum.) They print the books and distribute them. And they take a majority of the proceeds for their efforts.

The only clear need I have here is for graphic design and page layout. Self-publishing with a company like Amazon provides ISBN, printing, and distribution. I can do permissions and photos. I can apply for registered copyright. I can learn layout…

My friend Alan is a smart guy. (I have really smart friends.) I’m not sorry I went through the whole process, including the rejections. But as it turns out, if I publish, I’m looking at self-publishing.






AQS Des Moines | Traditional Medallions AND a Giveaway!

It’s been a few days since I posted photos of the modern medallions I enjoyed at the AQS Des Moines quilt show. In the meantime, my husband Jim and I took a short trip to celebrate our anniversary, and we also enjoyed a day with our daughter and young grandson. Family vs. blogging? Family wins, every time.

But I’m back on track to celebrate some beautiful and interesting traditional medallions. They have great ideas for your Medallion Sew-Along borders. And stay with me to the bottom to find out how you can win one of THREE giveaways!

With no further ado, enjoy!

Enchanting Roses by Mary Rossi. Take a look at the last border — the beautiful swag is created with bars, not applique.

Baltimore Surrounded by Sally Noland. Simple diamonds and half-square triangles provide punch.

Miko Rules by Ann Reed. I love the fresh bright pastels. They make this fun, not murky and musty.

Aussie Medallion by Mary Shotwell. All this bordering is done with hourglasses and square-in-a-square. Simple, huh?

To see more quilts, and enter the giveaway, click here!

What is Modern Quilting?

Night Music by Cathie Haab, AQS Des Moines Modern Quilt Challenge 2013

The photo above is of my sister Cathie Haab, standing with her quilt entered in the AQS Des Moines Modern Quilt Challenge. Cathie is an enthusiastic, talented, and prolific quilter with a great sense of style. And “style” is what she pondered as she considered the Challenge, both before entering and while enjoying the quilts displayed at the show.

thefreedictionary.com defines “style” in a variety of ways. One definition says style is “The combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or performance characterizing a particular person, group, school, or era.”

After returning home from the show, Cathie learned that AQS will include modern quilts as a separate category of wallhanging in 2014. In other words, there will be machine quilted wallhangings, hand quilted wallhangings, and modern wallhangings. She considered what differentiates modern quilts so completely that they warrant their own category.

Please visit Cathie’s blog, Running Stitches, for her thoughts on modern quilting and its place within our craft.

AQS Des Moines | Modern Medallions

I wanted to share some photos from the AQS Des Moines show. There were beautiful, innovative quilts in all categories, much to inspire. If you haven’t been to a quilt show recently, I encourage you to go. As you know, seeing quilts in person is a completely different experience than flipping through pages and blogs of them online. I found them very inspirational, in varying ways.

The medallions at the show crossed all categories except perhaps art quilt. Bed quilts, wallhangings, traditional and modern, the format shows its flexibility.

Here are a few modern medallions. Enjoy!

Dots & Dashes by Judy Mercer Tescher. Note the concentration of dots in the upper right corner of red, and concentration of dashes as you move to the lower left.

Transition by Sandra Vetter. Similar movement to Dots & Dashes above. Yet they are very different from each other. Which do you like better?

Indian Summer by Mary Kay Price. Very fine edges define the space.

New Glory by Scott Hansen. This was part of a special exhibit honoring the military.

AQS Des Moines!

Today I’m heading to the AQS Des Moines show with my sister! We both have two classes scheduled, but mostly we’re looking forward to spending time together, immersed in our shared quilting world.

And even better: our other sister will join us in the evening and spend part of tomorrow with us! Rarely do the three of us get together in the same space. So this will be a special treat.

There will be more quilts on display than we can possibly take in, and more vendors with goodies than we can afford.

I’ll look for a few things to move farther on my Medallion Sew-Along projects. And I’ll also look for a few fun things to use for a giveaway here.

You can look for photos from the show and some giveaway information starting next week. If you’re going, I’d love to see your pictures, too!

If you leave a comment, I won’t be able to respond until Saturday. See you then!