Pitching a Book Proposal and Becoming a Published Artist
Business Saturday: Pitching a Book Proposal
with Melinda Barta, author, jewelry artist, and former editor of Beadwork magazine
Q: What made you feel confident you had an idea suitable for a book when you put together your first jewelry book proposal, Custom Cool Jewelry?
A: I knew my idea was unique because, though I’ve seen many beautiful books with complete jewelry designs, I couldn’t find one that focused on making cool components (pendants, charms, and clasps). Also, like me, most beaders do more than just bead. So, I made my book multimedia, teaching readers how to combine jewelry and other craft techniques, including glass etching, stamping, embossing, stitching, and even working with shrink plastic and resins.
Q: What did you do to make your book proposal stand out?
A: A picture—or in my case a box of samples—is worth a thousand words. When the idea for the book surfaced, I began making samples just for fun and to test my ideas. By packaging my best results in a box that I decoupaged, I was able to visually express the color palette and overall feel I envisioned for the book (saturated colors, ornate flourishes), plus it drove home the idea of being multimedia.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone thinking of pitching a book to a publisher?
A: Do your homework. Before approaching a publisher, be sure your idea is unique and tell them why your book should be published. If a book with a similar theme and style is already on the market, check its ranking on www.amazon.com to see how well the subject matter sells.
Q: What can one expect once a proposal has been accepted?
A: Be ready to work! Developing projects for an entire book, writing detailed instructions, and, later, reviewing edits is a very large, yet certainly rewarding, endeavor that can take more than a year. Once you finish the manuscript, you’ll hand your baby over to the publisher and see the magic unfold. Watching photographers, stylists, designers, and editors transform your work into a beautiful book is an amazing experience.
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