Do you have a great idea for a book? We want to hear about it! At North Light Books, an imprint under the publisher, F+W Media, we are always looking for new ideas for inspiring and instructional mixed-media art books, jewelry making technique books, creative process books and, occasionally, categories we haven’t even considered before! Our books are well known not only for having top-notch instruction, but for truly looking outstanding as well because our art editors are creatives, too, and they are as passionate about our categories as you are. Learn how to publish an art book now!
How do you know if your book idea is a good fit for us?
A lot goes into a successful book, but here are few key things we feel goes into a great book.
Appeal for the creative enthusiast. We want ideas for books that will appeal to the person who likes to spend their leisure time making art or creating things simply because the urge to create is always with them day in and day out. The projects and art that go into a book must be visually appealing and inspiring. Work must be of high quality, and should make the person flipping through the pages say, “Wow, I want to do that!”
Satisfies the desire to increase a skill. Books for our audience typically appeal to both beginners and intermediate level artists/designers with basic skills and knowledge. The techniques and processes presented should be well within the reach of the average reader. Emphasis should be on methods that are relatively easy, fun, and rewarding.
Full of projects, techniques or concepts readers can use. Typically, our books feature 20–25 projects or concepts that the reader can do or try out. The reader should be able to successfully learn something new with each project or technique and be able to create something that they love from what they learn. Generally, this is accomplished with great photos that provide clear instruction for each step.
What’s in it for you?
Creating a book takes a bit of time, a lot of effort, and real commitment, but the rewards are worth it. Besides the obvious satisfaction and pride you will feel when you see your best work in print, there are other rewards:
You can share your joys and discoveries with others. A big part of the excitement of being a published author is sharing your work with others. You make beautiful things you can display, wear, give as gifts, or sell. There is no better way to enrich the joy of others than to share a part of yourself in a well-written instruction book.
It helps get the word out! Being the author of a book is a great way to become known by a lot of fellow artists and designers. Join our current list of well-known North Light authors. A little publicity always helps, and a book with your name on it is the best kind of calling card!
Being published enhances your opportunities as a teacher. If you teach or want to teach, authoring a book is a great way to reach potential students. If they like what you show them in your book, students will want to take your classes and seminars to see you work in person. This, in turn, also provides opportunities to promote and sell your products, and it also gives you some street credit that can bring you even more teaching opportunities at new venues.
You make money. (Note that this is at the end of the list.) You might not be able to retire early (or even quit your day job), but the advance on royalties and the royalty payments you earn as your book sells can be a nice supplement to you earnings. (We all need help funding our creative habits, right?)
What skills do you need to create a book?
We need our authors to have several skills to work with us to create a successful book.
Create great projects and work with us on acquiring great photographs. Not only must the projects in your book be of high quality, the photography must be excellent as well. Because many potential authors do not have the necessary equipment, time, or skill to take images of high enough quality for print use, we offer the following arrangement: If we contract with you to publish a book, F+W Media will bring you to Cincinnati for a photo shoot (typically one-week long), where we will pay for all photographic expenses, as well as for your lodging and transportation.
Write clear, instructive direction. If you can accurately communicate in words what you are doing while creating a project, you will most likely have the necessary writing skills. We’re not looking for scholarly prose; just easy-to-follow descriptions of how you create projects that are clear enough for our readers to follow. If your writing is logical and correctly ordered, our editors apply a magic wand over your manuscript to correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. No worries.
Provide the content for a book layout plan. Before you write or create anything for a book, you will need to discuss with your editor the number and range of projects you want to include. In doing this, it is important to provide a complete list of all the materials you use to create your projects or do your techniques. Your editor will use this information to work with you to plan the content layout of the book.
Deliver material on time. It’s very important to deliver finished projects, materials lists and writing to us on time so we can stick to our publishing schedule. (We run a large book-making machine and having things come in late is like throwing a rock into the gears.) Having a clear plan for the book from the beginning will expedite your photo shoot and help to keep you on schedule. We will work with you on a mutually agreeable due date.
What should you submit for a proposal?
A complete proposal package allows us to get a full understanding of the book you want to create. Please include the following in your submission:
1. Book theme: The most important thing we need to know about your book idea is its unique angle—your approach to your art-making or jewelry-making that is special and different. This very specific “handle” or theme will focus the book and give it a definite direction from the start.
2. Ten to twenty jpgs of your work that is similar to what you envision being in the book. Note the techniques or materials used if it’s not obvious in the images.
3. Short answers to the following questions:
- What subject matter, approaches to the subject matter, and point of view will it include?
- Who is the book for? Please specifically define your audience based on skill level and demographic.
- How does the book work? How will it teach the reader or inspire her? In what form will the instruction be delivered—i.e., with step-by-step demonstrations, projects or exercises for the reader to do, close-up details, case studies, artist profiles, before-after or good-bad comparisons, etc.?
- What makes your book special and different? What will the readers find in your book that they can’t get in other books? This doesn’t mean it has to be startlingly new, but what features would it have that would set it apart from other books? (Big Tip: Go to the bookstore and research the competition—know what is already out there and what you can do to stand apart.)
- What qualifies you to write this book? Tell us your background and the experiences and accomplishments in your field that qualify you to be the author of a successful book. This also includes examples of how you might be able to help promote the book. We are always interested in the author’s existing promotion platform, including a blog or Web site, forums and other creative community involvement.
4. Submit an outline or table of contents. A sample section or chapter that will be representative of the book and your writing style is helpful as well, but not mandatory.
Where do I send my submission?
Start by e-mailing your proposal.
If we decide we’d like to see physical examples of your work, we may ask you to ship samples to our office:Tonia Jenny, Acquisitions Editor North Light Books, Mixed Media 10151 Carver Road Suite 200 Blue Ash, OH 45242
If we determine your book concept will fit our publishing plan, we work with you to develop a refined outline of the book’s contents. We also decide how we will present the material (such as with step-by-step direction). Once we have a good outline and samples of your work, we propose the book concept to a review board for final approval. If approved, we then negotiate a contract. Your acquisitions editor can give you more information about this process when your idea gets to this point.
Thanks for your interest in working with North Light Books. We look forward to hearing your ideas!