Monday, April 30, 2012

Step 9 - Write Your Own Catalog Essay - Starter Questions here

Now that you have the Word file set up, its time to write the essay that might accompany your catalog. 

For an artist catalog, you might consider writing an autobiographical essay to help readers understand how your life has influenced your quilt making. Your essay may be in prose format or question and answer. Here are a few starter questions you might consider answering for an autobiographic essay:

  • Early Life – What year were you born? Who are your parents, siblings?
  • Education – Where have you studied? Did you formally study textiles?
  • What year did you learn to quilt? Who or what influenced your decision to quilt?  Did anyone in your family quilt?
  • How does quilting make you feel?
  • What do you hope to accomplish with your quilt making?
  • How would you describe your quilt making style?
  • How has your quilt making evolved over time?
  • What influence does your community or guild membership(s) have on your quilt making?
  • What other needle arts do you do?
  • How would you like the world to remember you as a quilter?
  • For more starter questions - you can purchase a copy of the Publish Your Quilt workbook.

If your catalog is about an exhibit or series of quilts, you might consider answering:
  • What inspired the series or exhibit?
  • How does the series fit into the body of your art work?
For a gallery or guild creating a catalog for of an exhibition, you might consider writing about:
  • What is the theme of the exhibition? What motivated the show? What do you hope to accomplish with the show and the range of artists included in the exhibit?
You can type write into your Word document and edit the essay later. Get a good draft going!  

Once you have a solid draft, you should have others to look at it and edit it. My mother used to edit all my manuscripts. She's a retired English teacher and did not spare her red ink marks! I have also used friends who will critically review my writing - this is not the time for someone to "be nice."  

Now, though, I use the services of a professional. You'll have to decide what type of editing you want: grammar, word usage, overall readability and flow, fact checking, etc.  You can find a professional editor in your price range on  Has anyone used this site for freelance assistance?

How are you doing with your catalog so far?  Do leave a comment below. Would love to hear from you! Enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Free eBook for Kindle Readers - Quilting Children's Picture Book

One of my books is available as an eBook for Kindle devices. You've been doing a lot to make your own quilt catalog, so as a gift, for a limited time only - April 27 - 29, 2012 - you can download a free eBook copy of Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria to your Kindle

Note: Though free at the time of posting, prices may change at any time. Please verify that the “Kindle Price” is $0.00. If you see a price for “Prime Members” or “read for free,” then the book is NOT free any longer.

Don’t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or you can download a Kindle Reading App for free for your computer or smartphone!  Enjoy!

Update:  Thank you!  This promotion has now ended. The response was overwhelming! Several thousand folks downloaded a free copy of Martha Ann's story.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Step 8 - Type Your Catalog Just as It Will Appear Printed

One secret to creating your own quilt catalog using print-on-demand is that you'll need to type and format your manuscript just as each page would appear printed.

By now you should have determined the trim or book size for your catalog. The notes you took in Step 5 to determine the interior layout of your catalog will be your road map. [In the workbook, there is a table illustrating two different layout structures and an area where you can sketch your own layouts]

Open the Word file you formatted in Step 7 and start typing your ....
  • Title Page. Center your title and subtitle as you would like to see it printed. Press Enter several times until you are onto the next page.
  • Copyright Page. Be sure to copyright your work by typing Copyright © Year Your Name.
  • Dedication Page.
  • blank page. IF you have a dedication page in your catalog, you might need a blank page following the dedication page. The text of a book typically starts on the right-hand side of a book. This blank page will force the text to start on the right-hand side. I usually type and highlight "This page left blank on purpose" to remind me to delete that sentence before I finish the manuscript completely.
Now - if you don't feel up to typing and formatting your Word document, you can simple type in your information and photos - again, you'll have to type in all the words that will be in your catalog - and hire someone to format your interior. The free way is to do it yourself. Print-on-demand companies usually offer services for a fee - just be careful of your budget!

We'll start brainstorming your catalog essay in the next step. How's it going with your catalog? Leave a comment here - love to hear from you! Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Step 7 - Format your Microsoft Word file based on your catalog size

Welcome! By now you should have decided on your quilt catalog book or trim size. Two popular sizes are 7 x 10 inches and 8.5 x 8.5 inches. The Studio Quilt monograph series uses the 7 x 10 size. Salli McQuaid's quilt catalogs use the 8.5 x 8.5 size.

CreateSpace offers free Microsoft Word templates based on your catalog's trim size. You'll have to visit the Community text link> Resources > Formatting Your files > Documents and then look for Interior Templates. You may need to have joined CreateSpace to download one of the templates.

If you set up your own Word file, you can play with the following settings:
  • Paper size - make 7 x 10 inches or 8.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Font - I like the Georgia font - it is very readable
  • Font size - this is your personal preference... just make it readable, maybe 11 or 12
  • Margins: try experimenting with Top 1 inch, Bottom 1 inch, Inside .75 inches, outside .75 inches, and Gutter (this is that valley in the center of a book) .25 inches
  • Justification - I prefer left and right justification. This is where the text spreads across from left to right vs having a jagged right edge.
In the next step, we'll start to actually type your manuscript! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Step 6 - Make Your Catalog Title Work

Step 6 - Brainstorm a quilt or art catalog title that will market your book 24/7.

How do you go about buying a book? No, really. Take a moment to think about the different ways you buy a book today:

Traditional Bookstore
  • Seeing a stack of books on a table or end of aisle display
  • Roaming book stack isles and picking up a book with an interesting title or book cover
  • Hearing recommendation from book store employee
  • Reading a "top pick" card by the store's staff
Online Bookstore
  • Typing in specific title for a book
  • Typing in keywords for the type of book you're looking for
  • Seeing "featured book" or "also bought" book recommendation
  • Taking a moment to view the "Look Inside" or preview feature of a book
Online Search Engine
  • Typing in keywords for the type of book you're looking for
  • Clicking on a search engine ad or nature search result
  • Clicking on a link to a book review
And, if you have a smartphone, have you looked for a book using it?

There is little to no real chance that your quilt or art catalog will be stocked by a traditional bookstore. As a result, your title will have to work hard to attract potential buyers and readers online. What kind of keywords would you use to create your own book title? Actually, consider creating a title and subtitle to attract the widest potential audience.

What keywords would someone type to get to your art catalog? What is the theme you're trying to communicate in your book? What "target audience" are you trying to attract to your book?

May I share an example? Consider my book "This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces." How many potential readers would have located the book if I only had the title "This I Accomplish"? Would anyone even know what the book was about? Now, think about all the folks who might go to Google and put in "Harriet Powers" or "Bible Quilt" in the search engine. By adding these two phrases, this title works 24/7 to attract potential readers.

What are potentially popular keywords for a quilt catalog? Quilt, quilts, quilter, artist, art quilt, patchwork, and applique.

You can also visit two websites for help in locating just the right keyword for your catalog:
Take some time to brainstorm on your quilt catalog title and subtitle!

Quilt and Artist Catalogs - Examine the Titles and Subtitles

As you brainstorm your own quilt or artist catalog, take a moment to consider the following book titles and subtitles. Notice how the artist or quilter is positioned by the sub-title. Some of the subtitles describe the artist's studio, geographic location, or type of artwork.

How will you position your book's title and subtitle? Enjoy!

Quilt Guilds and other Sewing Group Book Titles

Here are a few books by or about quilting guilds. Consider the title and sub-titles here.
What would be the title of your quilting guild's book?!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Step 5 - Create the Framework for your Quilt Catalog

Today you get to create the framework for your own quilt or art catalog! Earlier you had an opportunity to consider the theme for your catalog. Will it be a broad overview of your quilt making or a focus on a series of specific quilts?

Let's create a 24 page catalog! A simple model to consider for your quilt catalog is to have 6 pages of text about your quilt making and at least 13 photos, assuming one photo per page. Here is a framework for you to consider.

Page 1 - Title page
Page 2 - Copyright page
Page 3 - Dedication page
Page 4 - leave this page blank so that it forces the text on page 5 to be on the right-hand side of the book.
Pages 5 - 10 - Create an essay about your quilt making and or inspiration for your art work. In a later post, we'll talk about ideas for such an essay.
Pages 11 - 23 - Feature photographs of your quilts or artwork.
Page 24 - Your artist resume

See - when you sketch the framework for your art catalog, it is not that intimidating!

Why is the framework exercise important? I think it will help you to gather the needed photographs for your catalog. Equally as important, this exercise will eventually help you decide on a retail price for your book.

The catalog we'll create is a full-color one. Color printing is more expensive than black and white printing. As a result, you have to be mindful of page count. The more pages, the higher the cost to print the book and the higher the retail price. We'll cover things to consider when selecting a retail price later.

For now, spend some time creating the framework for your 24 page art catalog! [For those who have the workbook, there is a framework for a 36 page catalog.] Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Step 4: Consider the components of a book - Pick your catalog size

When you were a kid, did you ever get some blank paper, fold it and staple the paper in the center fold to make a "book."? At its most basic, a book is a collection of folded pieces of pages. Mathematically, the book pages are divided by 4.

When I was researching my first book, Black Threads, I had no idea, thankfully, that it would actually become a published book. I was just having fun collecting the data, answering historical questions. When eventually I submitted a book query to McFarland Publishing to see if they would be interested in publishing the manuscript, I was shocked to get a positive letter in response the very next week! I was even more shocked to read that my 58,096 word manuscript was too short! I needed at least 90,000 words! Yikes! I'm glad that I did not initially know what I didn't know. I might have been too intimidated to "write a book."

Take a moment to look at your favorite books and really consider the book components. What other components would you add to this list?
  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication page
  • Table of Contents
  • Body of the book: Introduction, chapters, page numbers, photos. Notice how a new chapter usually starts on the right-hand side of the page!
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography or recommended reading list
  • About the author page

Without even putting pen to paper - you likely already have three pages of your book in your mind! The Title page, the copyright page and the dedication page (smile)!

A common book size or trim size for a catalog is 7 x 10 inches or 8.5 x 8.5 inches. Today we start to create your quilt or art catalog. Consider what size you want your catalog to be. You can see the different trim sizes that CreateSpace offers by clicking here - and selecting the Printing Options tab. Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Step 3 - Which elements of the publishing experience are important to you?

The process for publishing any book involves many steps and costs considerations. The art quilt catalog that we'll talk about can be done inexpensively. We'll cover potential costs in a different post, but here let's review the major elements to consider when selecting a print-on-demand vendor. You'll have to decide which elements are most important to you and how to approach each:
  • Who owns your manuscript?
  • Who owns the ISBN? ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a unique identifier for the book. Look on the back cover of any book - the ISBN is above the bar code. It is essential to have an ISBN for online or traditional bookstores to sell your catalog.
  • Who secures (and pays for) any permissions, such as permissions to publish a photo?
  • Who edits the manuscript?
  • Who designs the interior book layout?
  • Who creates the book cover?
  • Who prints the physical book?
  • Who distributes the book or makes it available for potential book sellers? It is not enough to have printed copies of your quilt catalog. You need it available for bookstores and others to buy it. How does the print-on-demand service you are considering make the printed book available? Who is it available to: just their website? to major online sites? to physical bookstores? to libraries? just in the US or also Canada, UK, Japan and other countries?
  • Who markets the book?
Don’t be discouraged – anyone who has ever published has to touch each of these steps! You should read the Terms and Conditions for any print-on-demand company you are interested in.
As a self-published author, I have found it critical to have my work on to reach the widest potential audience. Additionally, most folks have a credit card of file with the major online bookstores, so it convenient to purchase there. So, if the print-on-demand company does not make my book available to Amazon and other online bookstores, then they are off my list.
What are the important elements for you? Take a moment to post your comment. Enjoy!