My intention is not to discourage anyone from trying to get a book published. I just want to be "real" and let you know what all it involves, even with the stress of deadlines. It is well worth it! Your excitement and desire to see the finished book is what will keep you going!
There is tremendous pressure with writing a book. Especially doing a pattern book. There is so much more involved than doing a regular book. With a pattern book you not only have the table of contents, dedication, acknowledgments, "how to" sections (with explanations and diagrams, chapter headings, description of the design, etc) you also have to spend months designing clothing from scratch. I get an idea in my head and then do a sketch. (See photo below) Sometimes they don't always come out right. Most of the time they do, but if they don't, you either have to take it all out and start it over or change it up from your original concept. Occasionally, a "mistake" turns out to be better than what you envisioned! Then it takes me sometime hours to type up a pattern, making sure every little word, comma, and * is in place.
|Sketches for Positively Crochet - Before and After|
|Tunique Unique Pullover |
Colorful Crochet Lace
Then after a garment or accessory is finished, I find a model (usually my daughter, Jamie, or my DIL, Anca) and we have a little "photo shoot". I take pictures of only 1-3 items at a time and so this has to be done many different times on the other items. I have to have my own photos and I also take pictures so the photographer and the publisher know how the item is supposed to be worn or photographed. Believe me, sometimes they get something backwards in a book and you cringe at the thought of it being wrong in the book for all eternity! I take many different shots of 1 item and even pay people for this because it does take time.
I'm posting some of my own photos I took before sending them to the publisher.
|Scallop Shells Capelet from|
Crochet Young and Trendy(Worn here as a cowl)
Then it's a matter of getting the photos on the computer, cropping them, putting them on a page with a description. I then send it to the publisher/editor to kind of approve it. So far they've liked everything I do, but the positive feedback is important to me. After that, I have to find a pattern tester who will make the item to see if they can follow my instructions. I tell them not to ask me any questions unless it is absolutely necessary. And I tell them to make any notes on the pattern that is not clear or if they find where I left off things like "sew side seam" or "weave in loose ends". Sometimes a pattern tester doesn't get back to me for a while and they loose their notes or forget where they made changes. This is frustrating, because I may have already paid them. For Positively Crochet (published 2007) I hired 18 pattern testers. For Crochet That Fits (published 2008), my editor had wanted me to remake some things in other colors (first time that's happened) and since I didn't have time to remake them all, I had to hire contract crocheters to make the actual piece that would be photographed for the book. (you pay them more) I guess I hired a contract crocheter on 4-5 things in my last 2 books. But then I do all my finishing, like sewing the seams, adding an edging, etc.
|Cloverleaf Top - Positively Crochet|
|Très Chic Neck Warmer - in Colorful Crochet Lace|
( worn here as a Capelet)
After mailing the items I have to go over each written pattern (maybe 10-20 times each with fresh eyes everyday) looking for errors or anything that needs to be reworded. Of course there is also the author bio and author picture to be taken, and I have to have a list of all the yarn companies who donated yarn for the book (with their contact info) and even info on stores where I bought notions, such as handles, from places like Michaels, JoAnns, Hancock Fabric, Hobby Lobby).
To get the whole manuscript ready to send, I hired a friend who came over to my house to help me get it all together in the right format the publisher requested. On Positively Crochet it took us 4 days to get everything together, but on Crochet That Fits (since we knew more about what to do) it took us 4 hours. I still had to go over everything again with a fine tooth comb before actually emailing the whole manuscript. So even though Cindy (my friend) helped me get it all together, I didn't actually get it sent that day. It took me all night, all day the next day and all night again the next night till am getting it all perfected. I litterly stayed up all night for 4 nights in a row and had only 3 hours sleep each day getting it ready to send before the deadline.
|Cap Sleeve Top from Crochet That Fits|
Aftef I thought everything was finished, I found that we left off a pattern for a hat. Then I had all kinds of trouble trying to email it. Even though I tried to send it in 5 parts in zipped folders, they came back saying they were each too big for my editor's email program. They were too big because of the pictures. You have to insert your own photo with the actual pattern, so they'll know where it goes. You do this with all the diagrams too. So the pictures make the files huge. The contract also tells you to send the whole manuscript on a CD, and I also have to send a hard copy (paper copy) of the whole manuscript. I finally got the manuscript on a CD and my husband overnighted it for me.
In the meantime I was stressed wondering if I would meet my deadline. I had heard many talks at conferences from seasoned designers saying that "If you miss your deadline, the publisher will never work with you again!" so that's what was on my mind!. But it finally all got sent!
|La Vie en Rose Shall - in Colorful Crochet Lace|
The next step is that after the editor and tech editor have gone over the book, they will send it back to you to check on any corrections they have made. It usually comes back marked up, but try not to stress over this! It may not be as bad as you think. This is a very difficult process for me, because when the tech editor changes some of the wording, it's hard to know if it's correct, without me actually making the item over so I can follow along. Sometimes the tech editor makes mistakes and this is the most frustrating part of all! You just have to "let go" and "trust" that everything will be ok.
Update (2016): I wrote this years ago and things were different this time when I wrote Colorful Crochet Lace. F+W, the publisher on the other books, partnered with Interweave Press and some ways of going about things were different. They did not require me to put the manuscript on CD and I did not have to mail them a hard copy. They just wanted me to send it by email, which was great. Another thing that was different was that instead of me contacting the yarn companies to order the yarn, Interweave contacted them and had them send me the yarn. They also got together all the info on the yarn companies for the back of the book. I had to do that myself before. With the new book, they just had me email all the photos separately from the patterns, which made it easy. Of course I had each project numbered so they'd know how to identify the patterns with the photos.
|Toddler Capri Outfit - in Positively Crochet|
Pink Filigree Capelet
Well,those are just some of the things you go through when writing a crochet book, but I hope I have helped you in some way to know what to expect! There are a lot of headaches, but believe me, all the work and stress that goes into it is worth it! There's no other feeling like getting that book, "your baby", in the mail and actually holding it in your hands! Look for more blog posts on How to Get a Book Published.
Pink lacy Capelet below is from the booklet Crochet In Style. It has long fringe.