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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do you have a book in you?


I think there is a lot of interest among our blogging group on how you go about getting a book deal. Right off the top of my head, I can think of two other people who are in the process of writing a book ... Heather Powers and Kerry Bogert (a second book). I know that a lot of you have questions about how it's done.

For me, it started like this. Some of my online blogging community, including Mary Jane Dodd, suggested that I write a book. I said, "Who? Me?" I'm thinking ... they've got to be kidding! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the torch firing of enamel was really special. The immersion process developed and taught to me by Joseph Spencer, coupled with my understanding of the affects of the flame on oxide pigments in glazes and enamels ... was special. It's affordable, versatile, portable, easy to master ... So, when you realize that what you have to say is worth it for someone to read, you do the following.

Look at the websites of the publishers ... Lark Books, Watson-Guptil, Quarry, North Light. I went to North Light. Their books are works of art in and of themselves. The publishers' websites will tell you what they're looking for in a submission.

What I submitted to Tonia Davenport, a North Light Acquisitions Editor, was a Book Concept. A book concept, which I lovingly referred to as my "Oxyclean Commercial," is the pitch ... the focus of the book, what will make your book unique, is there a unique way that you approach your work, a unique technique. Put yourself in the place of the book publisher. Think to yourself, "How will the book publisher pitch my book to booksellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.?" "Why will people want to buy my book?" Think "the inside flap of the book."

I prepared a bio and artists statement. I talked about my education, teaching experience, the focus of my work, what challenges I enjoy, what skills I possess that will bring this book to fruition. Here's where I want to tell many of you that you DO possess the skills to do this. Don't be thinking ... "I've never taught ... I have trouble writing ... I can't do this, I can't do that ..." But, there are things you can do that I can't ... those are the things you'll focus on. However, you do need to be able to get your thoughts across to the Acquisitions Editor. You'll get help editing the book, but initially you need to be able to express yourself. Get help if you need it.

I prepared a Table of Contents of what I expected the book to cover. I came up with 5 jewelry projects where I briefly explained the techniques I would introduce. I sent a copy of the Belle Armoire Jewelry article to show that I had the ability to explain how to create a piece of jewelry or how to explain a technique. I submitted 20 digital imagines of my work.

When I had lunch last week with North Light's Editorial Director, I told her that people were mentioning their interest in writing a book. She said, "Great!" I said, "People think they have to have all of the projects for the book finished before they submit." She said, "No, in fact, it's the opposite. It's a fluid process. We want to work with the artist on this."

So, there you have it! The secret formula ... which really isn't so secret because it makes so much sense. Define your concept for the book ... talk to others about it who can help you solidify your thoughts about your concept. I'd be happy to be a sounding board if you need one.

Don't get overwhelmed. Just get started!

15 comments:

Kerry said...

This is so aptly timed Barbara!! I spent an hour yesterday at the end of one of my classes sitting with a few of my students while they picked my brain about how to get a book deal. Two of them insisting I should do an e-course on getting published. I am not quite ready to do that yet though! So many people have a lot of fantastic ideas and unique approaches to their work that would be so so valuable to readers, they just don't know where to begin. I agree 100% with you on this... people just have to go for it!!

sharon said...

Great post Barbara! Thank you for your generousity in sharing your knowledge with us, a true sign of a proffesional.
Congrat's on that book deal, looking forward to it!

TesoriTrovati said...

Why yes, yes I do!

Thank you for this Barbara. Your anecdotal evidence supports all that I have learned from Heather and Kerry about this. It would be exciting to write a book, and you have broken this down into some manageable steps. I am sure that I will be picking your brain on all of this in the near future.

Thank you for sharing this information and your inspiration today.

Enjoy the day!
Erin

P.S. I also think that it would be a really interesting and fulfilling career to be an editor like Tonia. That would be right up my alley!

Judy said...

Thanks Barbara,such an encouraging post! I can't wait for your book, all your hard work and perseverance will be in print, so exciting!

Christine said...

Thank you so much for this post, Barbara. I DO have a book in me, I know it. My biggest problem has been in figuring out how to organize my thoughts about it into something professional and coherent so it would open the door with an Acquisitions Editor. I think I know what I am going to do later on today...

SharonP said...

Thank you Barbara, for opening the door to a seemingly frightening attempt, and making it a not so scary possibility. Will have to outline some ideas...:)

eve said...

Well i know that i really want a copy of your book when it comes out, i can't wait.

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Barbara, you're right, I need to make Maddie a special neclace! Thank you for the wonderful post. I would love to write a book, maybe a collaborative effort someday. You really explained it well, and showed how it is "do-able", fabulous. Your generosity flows easily, and people love you for that! Hugs, Riki

stregata said...

Thank you for sharing this - love your generosity!
Really can't wait for your book to come out.

romantic decay said...

You are always so generous. I'm looking forward to your book and some serious playtime when it arrives.

Cindy said...

Barbara, you sure are a shot of inspiration! Thanks for sharing your personal experience, you make it sound so easy! :-)

Pretty Things said...

Excellent information!

steufel said...

Barabara, thcs for your insights and I will definitly buy your book as soon as it is published!

Christine Damm said...

Barbara, thanks so much for the amazing post-- so much information and even better-- encouragement! I was going to write you about this but wanted to give you some "down time" after the photography frenzy. I've been making notes in my sketchbook and now I know what to do with them. You are the best!

Karin said...

Barbara,
Excellent advice! As a jewelry book acquisition editor and a published author myself, I can say that you've explained the process very well. Sometimes artists become overwhelmed with the proposal stage, and just talking it through with an editor can make all the difference. Can't wait to see your book, and congratulations in advance!