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.