Is there a voice from within nagging you to publish a craft or mixed-media book? Whether you have a passion for sharing what you know with others, or you’d like to know more about selling what you make to earn extra cash you’ll find an unbelievable amount of information in the 2015 Crafter’s Market.
In the book, there’s an article I wrote about putting together a book proposal. If you’ve been toying with the idea but maybe you aren’t sure if it’s the right thing for you, here’s an excerpt that might help you determine if submitting a proposal to a publisher is right for you.
A book is a wonderful way to leave your mark in the world. It’s a great marketing tool that can act as a calling card to get you through new doors that might otherwise have been closed to you. A book can give you credibility. And while it’s rare for the money earned from the sales of a book to be a primary source of income, it really can be a wonderful supplement. (If nothing else, book sales can go a long way to further support the purchases needed to continue crafting.)
There are some questions though, that you might want to ask yourself before you dive into crafting a top-notch, how-to craft book proposal.
- Are you passionate about sharing what you know with others, or do you tend to guard your best technique secrets in fear of competition? A craft book’s primary purpose is to allow others to learn and grow in the same way that you have found your groove and it can be rewarding helping others on their journeys.
- Does your craft have enough breadth to justify an entire book, or is it maybe more suitable for an in-depth magazine article (another great option)? Most craft books run at least 128 pages, so consider whether or not you have enough projects and techniques to fill those pages.
- Do you have the time to dedicate to writing a book? It can take many hours to not only create the projects to fill the book, but to write all of the instruction, as well. Consider what this production might look like to you in terms of fitting it into your current life. It can take forty to one hundred hours to develop the projects and another hundred or so hours to do the writing.
- How capable are you of promoting and selling your book once it’s published? If this last question isn’t as important to you, you might want to consider self-publishing because it’s absolutely going to be important to the publisher you pitch your book idea to. It’s becoming more and more imperative that a potential author have a strong platform and a strong system in place to promote the book evident at the get-go.
Having answered the above questions and being confident a book proposal is something you’d like to develop, where’s the best place to start? With a little research.
- What current books exist on the market that are similar to your idea? (There may be more than you realize.) Look at your favorite craft books, or at ones that you find you like at the bookstore, and check to see what the imprint(s) is/are, as well as the publisher(s). Knowing which publishers publish which type of books can help point you in a direction to go when it comes to contacting a publisher.
- If none exist, which come the closest? Also, if none exist, what might be the reason(s)?
Many first-time authors are certain that they are the first person to present their creative idea, but this is not often the case. There’s often a lot of room in the boat for more than one book on a topic; just be certain about what else is out there so that you can be clear how your book is different and still needed. The acquisitions editor is going to do this research, so be prepared.
The article goes on to explain the best strategy for putting together and submitting your proposal once you’re sure it’s what you want to do. There are many more articles in this book by many industry experts to help you answer other types of questions such as who to contact to participate in craft shows, how to price what you make, what’s the best way to market yourself, how to get published in magazines and much, much more.