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Peek Behind the Scenes: my Book Proposal!

My new book, Modern Baby Crochet, was released last week… and I’m so excited about it!

Modern Baby Crochet

The seed of a book is planted when you write a book proposal and submit it to a publishing company. I thought it would be fun to share some of what goes into writing a book proposal… who knows, you may want to write one yourself!

Getting Started

I knew that I wanted to do a crochet book full of nursery patterns… but you need more than that for a book proposal. A publishing company will expect you to explain what makes your book exciting and different from all of the other ones on the market.

crochet argyle afghan

I had a look at the books on the market, and saw that there was a place for a book full of modern nursery decorations, particularly using ‘non-standard’ nursery colors like greys, rainbows, neon brights and neutrals.

The process of submitting a proposal varies by publisher, but Martingale (the publisher of my last 3 books) makes it easy: a proposal packet is available for download on their website!

Other Things to Think About

Although the particular questions you are asked to answer vary by the publishing company, here are some basic questions you can expect to see.

  • What makes you qualified as a designer? What other work have you done?
  • How is your proposed book different from what’s already on the market?
  • Can you demonstrate that there’s a market for the book you want to write?
  • Do you have enough projects for a book? Are you including reference material beyond the project instructions?
  • What’s your timeline?

Filling out this type of information for my proposal was easier because I’ve written two (successful) books. But, even though I didn’t need to convince the publishing company that I was capable, I still needed to carefully articulate the concept behind this book and explain why it would be fabulous!

Samples Sell!

No matter how amazing your idea is, your proposal might get passed up if it isn’t obvious to the publisher that your idea is fabulous.

It’s important to include as much information about your proposed designs as possible, including sketches and maybe even samples.

Since I typically design stuffed animals, I thought it was important to include (miniature) samples of a few of my nursery designs.

I made a little afghan:

mini rainbow afghan

Which, as you can see by my hand in the picture, is only about a foot long. However, even a tiny piece helped to convey my idea for a rainbow-colored granny square afghan:

rainbow granny square afghan

I also crocheted a very tiny circle:

small crochet sample

… that showed the start of the pattern for my Monochromatic Spiral Rug:

baby rug

Obviously, the size isn’t too important… but it is key to use the samples to demonstrate stitch detail that might not be illustrated in a sketch or written description. For the rug, I was interested in showing the join of the rounds, the non-circular overall shape and the slight spiral of the rounds.

This tiny cutie showed off the basic triangular shape…

triangle toy

… that would turn into the Crinkly Triangle Toy!

Then the hard part… waiting!

After you’ve followed the publisher’s instructions very carefully and submitted your proposals and samples, expect to wait a month or two to hear back from the publishing company. The decision is usually made by an acquisitions team that might only meet every month or so to discuss new submissions.

In my experience, if the publishing company likes your concept but thinks it needs a little tweak, they’ll contact you to discuss instead of tossing your proposal out right away.

published by Martingale Publishing

This is what happened with my first book, Cuddly Crochet. I had proposed a book of stuffed animals, and they asked if I’d be interested in adding some baby items. And I was happy to!

6 Responses to “Peek Behind the Scenes: my Book Proposal!”

  1. Stacey, I love the projects on your new book cover. So modern and sweet at the same time. It has been a dream of mine to “get published”, so, I appreciate the information you provided.

    My best to you and good luck with your newest book!

    Sheila
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/sheilalikestoknit

  2. Thank you for this post. I had never really thought about what went into a book being published before.
    I have seen your other books and enjoyed them. I also gt tired of the same old thing for babies.

  3. Jann Webb says:

    Congrats! I was bummed that there was no mail today for MLK Day since I think my copy should be here any day now. Can’t wait!!

  4. DeeAnna says:

    I am so excited and can’t wait to get my copy!!! I’m looking forward to making all the projects, especially the rug! :-D

  5. Shauna says:

    I got my copy of your new book yesterday! It’s great, congrats! I can’t wait to make some of the items in it…. also, thanks for this inside look at how you submitted your book idea, very interesting and informative! It’s a dream of mine to get good enough at crochet and develop some ideas I have so that one day I can write crochet books as well! :)

  6. […] gave readers a Behind the Scenes glimpse into her book proposal process for Modern Baby […]

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