Believe it or not, this is gonna be a book.


I’m not doing a whole “Journey to a book” series like I did last time, but I thought you might like to hear a little bit about this one as it goes along.

My eyes have been rolling in different directions as I get everything together for an April 2 deadline. That’s the day that things are due for my second book with That Patchwork Place.

Here we have a manuscript, a photo list, an illustration list, author guidelines, my first book to refer back to, my upcoming schedule, suggestions for book design, cover design, and title, and a blurb. These are just some of the materials, not including, say, the blocks themselves.

Coordinating the manuscript, the photo list, and the illustration list seems like it would be easy, but what’s easy is getting off track when things are in three different places and tied together only by numbers. Heaven forbid you should change your mind and move a photo or an illustration to a different part of the manuscript, Then you have to renumber it and everything else that comes after it. Right now, some things are held in place on the lists with repositionable sticky tape, just in case!

I’m trying to get everything ready to go a few days early, because I’m off to another event the weekend after this, the Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Expo in San Mateo oops, Sacramento. Hope to see you there, if you’re in the neighborhood!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Back on March 9, when I brought this article series up to the time that
Easy Appliqué Blocks went to press last November, I promised I would write a little more about stuff that happens after that.

A lot happens. An author’s work is never done. Fortunately, this is happy work!

Since the book went to press, I’ve:

Downloaded cover images and back-cover copy from the Martingale website.

Designed and ordered postcards.



Sent postcards to contacts at distributors, catalogs, magazines, and quilt shops, plus friends, family, and the Martingale staff.

Studied Martingale’s Author Promotional Handbook.

Created a list of my Favorite Tools & Notions, available for download at Quilt Puppy or Martingale.

Created a separate list of my Favorite Tools & Notions just for quilt shops, with distributor stock numbers included… available for download at Quilt Puppy.

Updated my website.

Pitched to Martingale that we could make the Table of Contents, Introduction, and How to Use the CD available as a download — they thought it was a good idea too, and it’s available at Quilt Puppy or Martingale.

Organized and conducted a blog book tour.

Written interview answers for a couple stops on the tour.

Signed a bunch of Martingale bookplates and sent them out to friend quilt shops.

Purchased a MacBook laptop so I can demo the book’s CD.

Made travel plans for Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, May 15-17, 2009. (More info below)*

Been given the green light to do a Schoolhouse presentation at Market.

Written a short blurb for the Schoolhouse brochure.

Written copy for the Schoolhouse flier that’s handed out to attendees.

Put together packaging for the Schoolhouse handouts… Kay’s Favorite Tools & Notions, flier, postcard, and chocolate (that never hurts) in a white paper bag with a cute sticker.

Worked on my Schoolhouse presentation.

Gotten the green light for a book signing at the Checker Distributors booth.

Edited copy for the Checker handout.

Started an Amazon Connect blog… you can see it on the book’s detail page.


Stitched up another Scottie quilt (Martingale is borrowing the original for awhile).

And that’s not even everything! It’s just the major identifiable things. So, as you can see, a book needs a lot of support even after the production phase is done. Is this interesting to read about? Had you thought of this type of thing?

*Now here’s a little explanation here if you’re not familiar with the model of International Quilt Market.

This huge quilting-industry trade show happens twice a year. In the fall it’s always in Houston, and in the spring it travels. The attendees are largely shop owners, and the exhibitors are companies that create books, patterns, tools, notions, fabrics, etc. for quilt shops. The day before the show opens on the floor, there’s a day of breakout sessions for shop owners called “Schoolhouse.” These sessions are short presentations intended to introduce shop owners to new and interesting books and products.

Spring Market 2008 was in Portland, and I attended. At that time I already had the book contract and was working on the editing process with Robin. I attended a bunch of Schoolhouse sessions to find out what they were all about, and by the time I was ready to go home my head was brimming with ideas of what I would say to shop owners about Easy Appliqué Blocks if I had the chance. All the way home on the plane I wrote notes, and when I was done I had the whole outline for a Spring 2009 Schoolhouse presentation! Now, a year later, it’s almost time… wish me luck!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes officially comes out tomorrow!!!

This is the twenty-first in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print. We’re almost there!

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

10-21-8. Nope… not quite the last round of edits yet. I had lobbied to be able to test the CD, so I was glad to have the opportunity to try out the CD, edit the text on it, and cross-reference the text on the CD with the text in the book.

eab-cd.gifAnd OMG, may I just say that the CD is equally as gorgeous as the book. Even though you’re running off the CD and not connected to the internet (unless you hit one of the links that takes you there) you’d swear you were on a lovely website! All of the pages are colorful and beautifully decorated, and it’s easy-peasy to navigate. Adrienne, the book’s illustrator and CD developer, did a fantastic job. The CD works on either PC or Mac.

There began a series of emails back and forth and back and forth on CD operation, CD text, book text, and book illustrations. I had to stay organized… where was I looking to answer this question/evaluate that revised illustration/ consider a final text edit? It might have been the first pages or an earlier email. Personally I have curse of the detail-oriented. Your mileage may vary, and your publisher/editor may not work this way. Lucky for me I enjoy the small stuff, and I managed to stay on top of it. This workflow suits me.

My advice to all you fellow book authors-to-be: Stay organized, keep everything, and have a solid backup system in place. You do not want to lose any emails or files during this process. If you don’t have an external hard drive and an automated backup in place, get it before you start a book!!

Nov 20, 2008. Got an email from Robin crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s… last-minute checks are all done!

November 21, 2008. I heard the book went to press… today!!! OMG. Gulp, gulp. And so the concept that came to me two and a half years ago is now being set in ink and on its way to becoming something real that you can hold in your hand, and use. It’s a monumental thought.

Until tomorrow,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs
Easy Appliqué Blocks available for order now!

P.S. if you’ve been following this series, you may be interested in a little more information… stuff that happens after a book has gone to press and before it comes out. I’ll put up a few more posts for those who are curious about that.

Being the twentieth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

After my tech editor Robin had a chance to go through my marked-up ‘first pages’ in depth, she emailed me with a list of questions. I had photographed all of the spreads before I sent them back (cheaper than making color copies, eh what) so I was able to pull up the pages and zoom in to the particular areas she had questions about, and give her my answers and suggestions. She assured me that everything was in great shape.

teddybear.gifHere’s a funny thing that emerged at that point. What do you call the part of a cut-out appliqué motif that is going to be turned under? You see it called ‘seam allowance’ a lot. I don’t care for that, because it’s not a seam like in patchwork, and I feel like quilters just call it that for lack of a better term. I’d been using the word ‘margin.’ One of the editors felt that ‘margin’ may be confusing, so I was given the task of choosing another term.

A couple of suggestions that came back were ‘turning allowance’ or ‘turned-under edge.’ I mulled this over, and decided on ‘turning allowance.’ After all… it makes perfect sense! It calls it what it is, and it falls in with ‘seam allowance’ in quilting parlance.

I then commenced a ‘margin hunt’ in the manuscript to find all of the instances of margin in this context, and changed them to turning allowance. Can we coin this as a new convention in quilting terminology please???

A couple days after that, I sent back the text for the CD and the answers to another round of editing questions (that’s right, another round, polishing the fruit at this point). Was this the last round of edits for me?? The book was getting close to going to print! I heard that everyone at Martingale was very excited about the CD.

Karen, the acquisitions editor, had indicated a long time ago that my acknowledgments should have my signature at the bottom. I took a blank piece of paper, signed my first name a bunch of times, picked my favorite one, scanned it, and sent it to Robin to forward to the book designer. How fun! [It came out perfect, looking for all the world as if I had signed that page.]

Here it is. Until next time,


Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 19

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Being the nineteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

August 29, 2008, 7:53 a.m. The DH is out of town. I’m in bed asleep and wake up to the vague notion that a doorbell has been rung. Groggily I get up, grope my way downstairs, and open the door in my pajamas to find the package lying on the doorstep. I climb back into bed with it. Did you know that UPS tyvek envelopes are sealed with some kind of super-gum-glue that cannot be torn asunder by the human hand?

I’m almooost into the package when the dog needs to go out. That taken care of, and now armed with a pair of scissors, I open the package, take out the pages, unfold, them, and take my first look at the cover.

Hallelujah! I can just about hear the heavenly choir. All is right with the world… I love it! As I turn page after page, I marvel at what the book designer has done. All of my hard work has been stylishly elevated into a thing of colorful beauty. These are mighty exciting times.

When I turned in the manuscript, one of the additional things that I was invited to send were some suggestions for how I envisioned the book, including likes and dislikes regarding book design. I really appreciated this opportunity for personal input, while keeping in mind that final design approval would rest with the publishing company. This is what I wrote:

“Some words that depict how I would love to see the book turn out: friendly, warm, cute (or beautiful), colorful, appealing, a feast for the eyes. In general, my style is sort-of curvy and organic.

I’m a fan of decorative typefaces for headings, and white space is my friend. I love floral colors, and a decorated page.

Regarding the text typeface, something elegant and refined… Garamond is nice!”


I could hardly believe my good fortune when I laid eyes upon the cover. A very cool art-deco typeface, my blocks dancing about, and one of my very favorite colors in the background… orangey-red! (Witness my Pat Sloan Orange Pile post :).

And look at this darling Table of Contents!


I’m composing an excited email to Robin when I get one from her entitled
“I can’t stand the suspense!”

Did I get it? What did I think? I relate to her the story of how I was left bereft on Thursday afternoon, hollering across the parking lot “Where’s my manuscriiiiiiipt!??” My gentle, mild-mannered tech editor replies, “I would have strangled the driver and then tore apart his truck.” Fortunately the driver has earned his reprieve.

Now for more of the nuts and bolts…. back to the editing work.

These are only the first pages… there will be more rounds of pages and editing in-house, but this is my last chance to see the whole thing before it goes to press. Fortunately they’ve given me a couple weeks so that I can take the processing time that I need to work through it all.

I’m spread across three counties as I work off the marked-up copy-edited manuscript, the illustration plan, the photo plan, and various emails I’ve exchanged with Robin, to check and double-check absolutely everything.

I gave those first pages my best shot. I used those really cool official proofreading marks, I wrote notes in the margins, I struck things out, I drew arrows hither and thither. I also composed a side note to the designer and a side note to Robin. These side notes were like “punch lists,” pointing out this, that, and the other. My angel editor Robin is going to coordinate everything for me. I’m feeling really good about the shape that things are in at this point. Robin tells me that it’s normal for us all to see things that we didn’t see before, once it looks like a book. It’s all part of the process.

Robin emailed me the day the pages arrived back on her desk to reassure me that she did not consider this a heavily marked manuscript. Whew! Also wow, is this ever a learning experience. If I ever get to do this again (and I sure hope I do), I will know so much more what to expect.

Now waiting to hear back from Robin after she has a chance to go through the pages in depth.

Stay tuned,
Quilt Pppy Publications & Designs

Being the eighteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

lemonflower.gifAugust 28, 2008. According to the schedule, today’s the day that the first pages are supposed to arrive. It’s early afternoon and I just got an email from Robin, my tech editor at Martingale, saying that she looked them over and was surprised to see how colorful the design was, after imagining the blocks floating on a ground of white. Me too! I emailed her back… “but do you LIKE it.”

To my relief she replies that yes, she does. Brown has the package as “out for delivery” so I’m sure that I hear the truck every few seconds. I’m on at least pins if not needles too.

4:55 p.m. Brown came, and Brown went. The driver said he knew he was supposed to have something for me, but he couldn’t find it in the truck. “We’ll probably deliver it tomorrow,” he said, and drove away.


Stay tuned,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 17

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flowerbasket.gifBeing the seventeenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

When I sent in my proposal for Easy Appliqué Blocks I made sure they knew I didn’t know HOW to make the CD, just that there should be one. All along I had been envisioning a CD that would open up and show a bunch of folders that you would navigate through to find the pattern you wanted. Despite the fact that I write my own website in HTML and got under the hood in WordPress to change the look of my blog, I am soooo not a techie. ‘Folders’ was the extent of my imagination when it came to the organization of the CD.

Imagine my bewilderment when the preliminary CD site map came to me and it was talking about browsers and links. I didn’t quite get it at first. Robin took the time to walk me through it, and then, all of a sudden, the ol’ synapses fired up. This was suddenly so very cool! This CD is going to be incredible! It’s going to act very much like a website when you get into it, and it’s very easy to navigate to the pattern you want to print.

I did have some comments about the site map (aka flow chart) and over-achiever that I am, I recreated the whole thing, with boxes and arrows. This helped me get my mind around it. I sent my version back to Robin. After looking at it, she could tell that Adrienne (the book’s illustrator and the person developing the CD) and I were on the same page. Robin liked my added suggestions on how to organize the blocks. Some of my arrows were not needed, thankfully, as some pages can just be closed and you’ll be back where you were, instead of clicking back.

The next step (gulp) is to see the book one more time before it goes to press. Right now, during August 2008, the book designer is hard at work turning the Word document into a beautiful colorful book all laid out with the photos and illustrations where they’re supposed to be. When next I see it, it will be what they call “first pages” (sometimes called “galley proofs.”) Can’t wait! Stay tuned.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

P.S. Mark your calendars for the Easy Appliqué Blocks blog Book-A-Round, March 27 through April 5! For more information, click the logo in the right-hand sidebar.

A journey to a book ~ Part 16

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Being the sixteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

About a week after I sent the me-edited copy-edited manuscript back, there was one more round of edits by email. Not the whole manuscript… remember, we’re only circulating one copy on paper from now on… but Robin had a few more finishing touches to chew over with me and she just wrote them out in an email.

Here’s how she started out… “Kay, I have to say that you are an excellent writer. It is a joy to see how you craft your words.” Nice! By this time Robin and I have both discovered the same trait in each other… the attention to detail and the thought behind every word. She has told me how she appreciates that I look carefully at everything she sends. How could an author not?

The next step is to work on the CD site map. What does that mean you may ask. As did I. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 15

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Being the fifteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

It’s June 2008. The manuscript for Easy Appliqué Blocks now leaves tech editor Robin’s hands and goes to the copy editor. The copy editor’s job is to look at everything in terms of grammar, spelling, consistency, logic, and the Martingale style guide. There will be no more editing by email. From this point on it’s all done on paper. (This avoids having too many versions floating around, and it sounds like they learned this the hard way :).

I received the copy-edited version by snail mail, settled in with a cup of tea, and gave it a thorough read. In a few places I stumbled over rough patches where added detail plus removal of commas made things seem to rush headlong. Some sentences weren’t what I’d like, and there were still some not-quite-right things about the illustrations. All normal at this point. I rolled up my sleeves and got to polishing!

There’s actually a lot of humorous stuff going on by now. For example, there’s the word “fine.” I started out talking about fine thread for appliqué. The question comes back, what is meant by fine thread? Thin? High quality? I change it to skinny. Skinny is not going to fly so it’s changed to fine, thin thread. Needles can’t be skinny either so the copy editor changes it to thin. I don’t like thin so I change it to slender. We’ll see what it ends up being!

The copy editor capitalizes sharps but I put that really cool slash through the S and make a note that it’s a type of needle, not a brand name. And then there’s the West Highland white terrier, which I give the ol’ triple underline treatment and explain that the West Highland White Terrier is a breed name. [Note: I lost on both counts, the first to the Martingale style manual and the second to the dictionary LOL. You’ll see the canine workaround in the book.]

The copy editor says that appliquér needs to be spelled appliquer, but that bothers me totally. That just looks like applikwer. Why is it that you can write appliquéing but not appliquér? I write a long impassioned plea on the manuscript to keep the accent. We’ll see.

heart-and-buds.gifI dug out my guidelines for proofreading marks and had a high old time of it marking up the paper manuscript. It took me back to my high-school journalism days, when I used to LOVE working on the Chapel Hill High newspaper. I even get to use ‘stet’ a few times.

That reminds me… Robin sent me a link to the Yarn Harlot’s blog where this very well-known knitting author wrote about the publishing process. Hilarious! For a good laugh about stetting, read her posts of January 24 and 25, 2008.

I put it off as long as I could. I had to take care of my author photo, as I’d received a nudge from the author liaison. I begged Gregory Case to take me in, and he gave me an appointment for a sitting. I drove “over the hill” to San Jose and emerged unscathed from the photo session, and with a pretty decent photo. See the first in this series if you haven’t already done so.

I sent the marked-up post-copy-edit paper manuscript back to Robin on July 2, 2008, a couple days before my deadline. Stay tuned!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the fourteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

My tech editor Robin had suggested a few photos to go with the introductory material about fabrics, tools, and notions. Great! She asked me what I would include and I send her my preferred list. They didn’t have everything in-house so I promised to send some spools of my favorite thread and a pair of my favorite scissors.

Hmmm… my scissors have puppy teeth marks in them and the only unstarted spools of thread I had were in dull uninteresting colors. I ordered a few pretty colors of thread on-line and had them sent directly to Robin to organize for the photographer. And, whilst at the E.E. Schenck warehouse party during Spring Market in Portland, I had thrown a new pair of scissors into my cart ‘just in case,’ so I dispatched those to Robin as well.

Stay tuned!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

P.S. My favorite tools and notions for hand and machine appliqué aren’t mentioned in the book, so I’ve created an information sheet.


Click to download a pdf copy.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 13

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Being the thirteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

It’s still May 2008. Numbered steps are appearing everywhere! The second edit has arrived by email, somewhat cleaned up from the last time I saw it but with a few more suggestions and questions. A good number of the bright aqua and shaded gray notes are thankfully not for me, but for the graphic designer down the road. Whew! But those numbered steps! And detail, detail, detail! So many specifics! And side-mentions turning into whole topics! The manuscript is not only being fleshed out, it’s gaining weight.

crossed-tulips.gifAgain my “tips” mentality rears its head. I thump it back down. After all, they’re the experts with all of the experience, and I knew from the beginning that I would need to remain flexible, so I worked with Robin to compromise on things to our mutual satisfaction. And truly, this is what an editor does… clarify, clarify, break down, polish, clarify. The numbered steps are fine most places, and she resists the urge to number a certain section that’s really IMO too conversational for numbers.

This appliqué information is really going to be quite a good and detailed resource! Freezer-paper-on-top, back-basting, and an overview of raw-edge fusible machine appliqué. Something for everyone.

Round 2 hot pink revisions back to Robin. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the twelfth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

May 2008. Now the editing work begins in earnest. In the olden days, editing was done on paper with those proofreading marks like “stet,” which means oops — leave it like it is (not to be confused with “stat,” which means quick like a bunny). Okay so we’ll still use “stet” later but nowadays the first rounds are done on the computer. Robin emailed me back my Word manuscript marked up in bright turquoise. I took a deep breath and started reading through.

I am one fortunate author. Instead of a bloodbath, what I found were compliments first of all, then questions and suggestions for revisions. It’s not so much a matter of “Ve vill do it THISS way” but more that my editor was guiding me towards better wordings and added detail, and letting me compose them myself.

Robin said that my basic structure was sound, and she could tell that I’d put a lot of thought into the organization of the material about hand and machine appliqué. Still there was some rearranging to be done here and there, and the fleshing out of things.

birdhouse.gifA funny thing happened on the way to the book. It was one of those self-discovery things. Robin and I had these back-and-forth email conversations about whether the information on methods of appliqué was “tips” or “instructions.” I kept saying they were tips, and Robin kept saying they were instructions. Finally I looked within myself, and realized that I could let go of the approach that I was just giving tips. Robin said she considered this a “how-to” book. They were instructions! After all, I’d stated in my proposal that I would love to have my tips expanded, with lots more illustrations, and that’s just what was happening!

One of the most wonderful things about this process was that Robin encouraged me to stand up for what I believed in strongly. If I truly wasn’t comfortable with something, I was not supposed to keep it inside, but to let her know, and we would work together to find a solution. Even though I had graduated in my mind from tips to instructions, it was important to me that I still came from the point of view of “this is how I do it” instead of “it must be done this way,” and she has respected that in the editing process. Instead of seeing my voice as a writer disappearing under the editorial pen, I felt like I was working in a truly collaborative environment. Robin told me to let her know every single one of my thoughts so that she would better understand where I was coming from.

I put that encouragement to liberal use on the illustrations. Since pdf is actually the native file type of Illustrator, I was able to open up the illustration file and mark it up on the computer. There was a lot of pick-up art added to the drawings I had sent, and most of them needed to be tweaked to match what was being said in the text. In this initial format the art was a bit all over the place. In a few places I was bold enough to plead, what happened to my nice illustrations??

I added my revisions and comments in hot pink. Now, with the hot pink from me, the bright aqua from Robin, and the grey highlighting from Karen, this thing looks like a hot mess. Back to Robin by email, and the next step was to wait to hear from her again. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the eleventh in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

Just in time for Quilt Market in May 2008, I got Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt back from the printers and flew to Portland with it in my hot little hand. It was a fabulous trip. I networked until my networker was worn out.

doves.gifOne of the very best things that happened was that I met Karen, my acquisitions editor for Easy Appliqué Blocks, at the Martingale booth. She introduced me to a bunch of the sales and marketing staff… it was a blur! I told her how thrilled I was that this was all happening and she said they were happy to have my book.

That was an amazing moment. I tried to take it all in… I could actually step into the Martingale booth and say, I’m one of your new authors. Surreal!

The day before Market opens, there’s a series of breakout sessions for shop owners called “Schoolhouse.” These are little 15 or 30-minute presentations about all of the latest and greatest gadgets, books, tools, you name it, in the quilting industry. I attended as many as I could, always thinking in the back of my mind that in a year’s time that could be me up there giving a presentation about Easy Appliqué Blocks!

The day I flew home from Portland I had some time before I had to leave for the airport, so I got out my little notebook and wrote nonstop. My head was brimming with ideas. That’s the great thing about immersion trips like these… you gain so much inspiration and things just connect up in your brain. I got all my notes down as fast as they were coming from the right side of my brain. You guessed it… one of the topics was a full presentation for Schoolhouse 2009! I was all hopped up about it and hoped that Martingale would let me do it when the time came.

Stay tuned!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 10

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Being the tenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

Yikes! The journey is speeding up. I just did a quick count of the weeks until the release of Easy Appliqué Blocks (9) and then looked at the remaining material for this blog series. This does not compute! There’s so much more to say. I’m going to have to ramp up the series to about two posts a week. For those of you more interested in the appliqué topics, I’ll do my best to bring you some juicy ones during this time as well.

Previously, on a journey to a book… I’ve submitted the proposal, gotten the acceptance call, signed the contract, submitted a writing and coding sample, received feedback about my writing and coding, completed and submitted the draft manuscript, and sent in all of my computer illustration files.

On April 11, 2008, I received a phone call from the Martingale technical editor who had been assigned to my book, Easy Appliqué Blocks. Robin and I had the best conversation! She’s about the nicest person in the world and I felt just great after talking with her. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated hearing her approach to editing an author. She told me that it was important to her to understand where I was coming from, my philosophies, and I could tell that it was going to be wonderful working with her.

mouse.gifDuring our conversation Robin got the editing process started by asking me to think about a few things like giving suggestions for fine details. Well, there aren’t many in these simple blocks but hey, a mouse has to have whiskers and a cherry needs a stem. Since embroidery is barely present in my skill set, I was relieved to hear that the publishing house has a library of “pick-up art” to cover the embroidery stitches.

Robin also told me that after a preliminary page count the book was coming in a few pages short so they were looking at adding some quilts back in! (Ha! I KNEW it!)

This is the way it’s done… the number of pages is decided in advance, depending what the publishers feel is the appropriate length for the content. Mine is going to be 64 pages. Books are printed in signatures, I’m guessing 4 signatures of 8 pages in this case. That’s why they can’t just lop off a few pages.

Little did Robin know that I had already made a couple more quilts using the blocks. I emailed her photos of them and she said to send ‘em on in. First I had to quick-like-a-bunny quilt one of them since she said that’s what they preferred to photograph more than a top, then back the original sample quilt went to Martingale plus the two additional quilts. I also had to write the captions for them.

These quilts are going into a little gallery of examples for inspiration, with callouts giving block size, sashing and border measurements, etc., so that readers can make something similiar if they like.

There was also room for a couple of virtual examples, so Robin set me loose on that. It was like candy for me working in Illustrator, putting blocks together in simple settings to create fun little wall quilt drawings.

I got everything done and sent in that Robin and I had talked about in our initial conversation. The next step would be to wait to hear from Robin again with the first round of serious edits. Stay tuned!

Happy New Year,
Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the ninth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

tree.gifOn March 11, 2008, I received an email from the lead illustrator at Martingale. She said that after looking at my patterns, she could tell that they had been drawn electronically, and they looked very clean. She asked if I could send her a sample file from the manuscript so that she could check it out.

I sent her an Illustrator file and she quickly replied that my files were “completely usable” and that I should send them all to her.

YEAH! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

She said that generally they do redraw everything from scratch, because even when an author can supply electronic files, oftentimes they require so much tweaking that it’s just easier to start over. I felt pretty darn good that my files were up to snuff. I’d been a little worried that after the patterns were drawn over by someone else, they’d lose a little bit of that essence of “me.”

Okay so since I hadn’t been planning on sending the computer files, they were a little messy. I had upgraded my programs at the first of the year so some files were in CS and some were in CS3. I went through everything and removed extraneous layers, made sure there weren’t any embarrassingly named layers, and pulled them all into CS3 before burning everything to a CD and shipping it off to the lead illustrator.

Still waiting to hear from my technical editor. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the eighth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.


Before I get started on the next installment, I have to post the cover! I just received information on how to get it from the Martingale website and I am so excited!!! I absolutely love it.



Now back to the saga…

December 2007 through February 2008

A manuscript doesn’t look like a book.

When I make my own books I work in Adobe InDesign, where I write and lay out at the same time. It’s a visual, intuitive way to work, and I can see things take shape as I go.

What I’m working on now is a long Word document with no illustrations, no photos, just a bunch of coding where the illustrations and photos are going to be. It’s hard to picture the end result. I mutter to myself, “This is the way it’s done,” and press on.

The author guidelines warn that it may be easier to number the illustrations after you’ve finished the manuscript. I try, but I fail. By the time I’m done I think I’ve revised the numbering about eight times. I’m poring over everything in my usual attention-to-detail (it’s a curse) over-achiever manner to make sure that the illustrations are in the right order, they’re numbered correctly, and coded into the manuscript the right way. And then there’s ditto for the separate photo list. Of course my book concept has to be a little “different” than most quilting books so the guidelines don’t cover my scenario perfectly. The author liaison at Martingale is an angel as she fields questions for me and quickly lets me know the answers.

For the illustration list (and remember, they only want print-outs), I created an InDesign file and plunked in all of the Illustrator block-pattern thumbnails (which are considered illustrations for coding purposes) plus all of the instructional illustrations, numbered and in order, so I could print them out to send with the manuscript. On a few of the illustrations I balked, because I am no good at drawing body parts. I asked whether I could request photos for that section. The answer came back that illustrations are better because they’re more flexible if changes are needed during production. Okay. Where hands are involved I staged the shots and sent photos instead, pleading help from the in-house illustration staff.

purse.gifI created another file for the photo list, using my crummy home shots of the stitched blocks as placeholders. (Take photos of all your stuff before you send it in. Remember, Martingale has my blocks, so it’s a good thing I had the presence of mind to photograph each one before they went in with the submission.)

I plugged away at the text, pulling my notes for freezer-paper-on-top and back-basting hand appliqué into the manuscript and fleshing them out. For raw-edge fusible-web machine appliqué, I started from scratch on an overview. I also needed to pen an author bio and start thinking about a photo of me. Gack. (Okay, it turned out fine, see Post #1 in the series.)

After it was all finished to the best of my ability, I sent everything in. I’m done done done! (Yeah right.) The next step is to be assigned a technical editor and wait to hear from that person. Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 7

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Being the seventh in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Cardinal block by Kay MackenzieSince I had met my first deadline deadline early, it was actually on deadline day, December 7, 2007, that I received the feedback about my writing sample. I was happy to hear that I had done a good job with the coding. And, Karen said she found my writing style to be “very easy to read and straightforward, which is a good thing!” and that I looked to be in excellent shape. Whew! The first time around with these things, you never know, do you?

The main thing I did wrong was to use stacked heads… in other words, a heading and then a subheading with nuttin’ between them. There has to be some text after the main heading. I fixed those up and made sure I didn’t do that again!

The next deadline for Martingale was to submit the entire manuscript, illustration list, and photo list by March 7, 2008.

Along with all of this, plus the holidays, I managed to get Teapots 2 to Appliqué done and to the printers in time to have it for my home guild’s quilt show at the end of February 2008. As soon was the show was over I was hard at work on another little pattern booklet, Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt.

Stay tuned!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 6

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Being the sixth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Since the plan was to not include any projects in Easy Appliqué Blocks, Martingale returned my sample quilt. Now I needed to stitch up those eight blocks independently to complete the stack of 50. I also started working on my writing sample and Table of Contents. They had sent me the set of Author Guidelines, which included information on how the manuscript was to be coded. I actually loved coding the manuscript! It’s a way of indicating what’s a heading, what’s a subheading, what’s a caption, what’s a box, where the photos and illustrations go, etc. Fun! (If you’re a little nerdy like me.)

During this time I sent a couple questions.. The first was, did we name specific products? The answer was no, they preferred not to name specific products or fabrics. Not a problem, just needed to know.

Second, per their author guidelines, did they really want me to send just printouts of all of my patterns and illustrations? Surely they would want me to send them my computer files…??

The answer came back no. Just send printouts, and their illustrators would take it from there. I was puzzled. That was going to be a lot of work for them, and actually I was a little apprehensive that the patterns would lose some little essence of “me” when re-rendered. But, I knew going into this that I would not have control, so I rolled with it.

teddybear.gifBefore my December 7 deadline, I sent in the eight blocks, the writing sample, printouts of the illustrations that corresponded, and the Table of Contents. I also had to send my date of birth for the Library of Congress. ( How exciting! Well, I already have an authority record actually, but it’s pretty cool to think about.) Plus a copy of my schedule. I pulled together all of the show dates for the next year when I would be busy with my booth, plus one measly vacation (that never happened) and Shop Hop, etc. I thought it mighty considerate of the company to ask for my schedule so that they could work around it.

The next step would be to receive feedback from Karen about the sample chapter and my coding skills. Stay tuned!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the fifth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

I received the contract for the book and read it over carefully. I sort-of knew what to look for, living in a writerly family with a science journalist and book author for a husband. I knew that receiving advances was not standard in the quilt-book trade (at least not for neophyte writers) so that was not a surprise. That’s right kids… you’ll work on a book for 2-3 years without seeing a penny :) . You better be in it for the love of this type of work.

Everything in the contract looked good but I did have a few questions for Karen, so I gave her a call.

In the contract, the book was described as a block book with no projects included. I told Karen, “You just made my life a whole lot easier!” No quilt instructions would mean less work for me.

lemonflower.gifI confirmed with her that the order of the blocks could stay alphabetical by the simple titles I had given them, and that I didn’t have to number the pieces like it said in the guidelines. Since the blocks were very simple in nature, with just a few pieces, I could leave them unnumbered.

I also asked Karen whether things were confidential at this point. The answer was “sorta.” I could definitely tell family and friends, but it would be better to hold off on sweeping announcements until later. Also, she counseled me not to go into the “companion CD” aspect until such time as I got the go-ahead from the Marketing division, both so that the idea wouldn’t be scooped and so that the company would have a chance to work out the details of the CD production. (I’ve since received the green light on that.)

An important question was whether Martingale had feelings about me continuing to publish my own books. I had made it clear in my proposal that the appliqué tips were based on text that had appeared in my previously self-published books, and just wanted to make sure things could go on. Karen told me that was okay… they just wouldn’t want me to publish anything that was the same or substantially similar. No problem.

It was a great conversation, and it enabled me to move ahead with signing the contract. I noticed that the tentative working title had been changed to Easy Appliqué Blocks. I was very grateful for that, because “The Little Book of Big Appliqué” was just not flying. My friends would ask me, “How’s the Big Book of Little Appliqué coming? Or is it the Book of Little Appliqué… The Little Big Book of Appliqué… what the heck is it?” It got so that I couldn’t even say it right. On top of that, I noticed that Martingale was already publishing a boxed set of patterns called “The Little Box of Baby Quilts.” Easy Appliqué Blocks was sounding real good.

The next step would be for me to submit a sample chapter and a complete Table of Contents by December 7, 2007. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 4

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Being the 4th in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

After sending in the proposal for “The Little Book of Big Appliqué” to Martingale & Company in July 2007, I started working on Teapots 2 to Appliqué. The work involved in putting out my own books is a quite a bit different — but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

As I worked on the teapot designs, a month went by, two months, three months, and I really tried not to obsess over it. On October 17, 2007, I was at my computer when I received a phone call from Karen, acquisitions editor for Martingale & Company. She told me that they had decided to proceed with my book, CD and all!

kingqueen.gifHow lucky am I, to have my very first proposal accepted by my first choice of publisher. Thank you Martingale & Company!

Karen told me she would be sending me the contract and author guidelines, and after I received them I could call her with any questions that I had. I hung up the phone and did the happy dance. :)

Stay tuned,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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