The making of Knitting Lingerie Style-part 1
During 2005 -06′, much of my time was spent designing, knitting and writing for my book Knitting Lingerie Style.
This was my first book and as such the first time I’ve had to think in terms of what kinds of things to include in a compilation of designs rather than in single, stand-alone patterns. I also learned that there are as many types of book deals as there are publishing companies and when shopping a book proposal around it can pay to be discriminating.
I had submitted a proposal previously for a book of plus sized knits to a different publishing company, one fairly well known for knitting and craft books and one with which several high profile knitters whom I know personally had worked with.
Being a newbie, I didn’t know what to expect if a proposal was accepted and was surprised to find out what this particular publishing company offered a first time author, which essentially was nothing in the way of payment until way down the road. No sales or production advance ( meaning that all of the work previous to publication would be done on my nickel – a very expensive proposition for me were I to hire knitters or ask other designers to contribute, not to mention the countless hours I would put in myself ). All remuneration would come after the book was published and sold, most likely a year or longer after turning in the completed manuscript. This amounts to essentially my taking on a very large project on spec; a somewhat frightening proposition. I’d been told by an experienced author friend to expect at least a production advance of a couple of thousand dollars to be offered, and if it were not to proceed with caution if at all.
I also asked the editor if I would be welcome at the photo shoot, and as it turns out they do not allow designers to be present for the photography of their own book. This idea absolutely made me twitch as I’ve seen firsthand what a disaster photo shoots can be and I know that bad photography can kill perfectly lovely garments dead.
I was more than somewhat relieved when I received a rejection notice along with my proposal back in the mail, but on the heels of that was a phone call from the very same publisher. The editor told me that the reason for the rejection was that they already had a plus-sized knits book in the works, but would I be interested in working with them on a book of “romantic knits”? She then asked that I submit another proposal featuring the new topic.
I dragged my heels on this for weeks, as putting together a proposal is a time consuming project in itself. One must submit some sample designs and swatches, write up a table of contents and a sample chapter, then essentially defend your concept and tell the publisher why you feel that this book will sell. You’re to do the research and find any comparable books already out there and include those as well. Since my enthusiasm for this company had already dimmed, this was just one of the things I was never going to get around to.
And a darn good thing it was, too. Not a month later Melanie Falick, an editor at STC books and former long time editor at Interweave Knits called me and asked if I were interested in doing a book with her. As it turned out, the terms offered were far more favorable to me as an author ( even as a newbie ) , and I was delighted to be able to work with Melanie as I consider her to be one of the best editors in the business. I was walking on air!
Next time, the writing and designing processes themselves.