Launching the Book: 3 Years Later

Filed in Industry Insight by on August 10, 2013 5 Comments

Approximately three years ago, I was headed to the same destination for the same event that I’m going to today: Stitches Midwest. But that experience was very different than my trip this year. Instead of traveling alone, I was traveling with my husband and my parents. My folks are in their 80’s and although they have traveled quite a bit, it is different than traveling by myself or with Arlis. Three years ago I had a much greater sense of anticipation, because this was the show where my first book (possibly only book) would be released to the public. So it was the first time that I got to see a complete, bound copy.
I had a number of motivations for writing the book, a variety of expectations of what would happen as a result and a fair number of anxieties. Three years later seems like a good point to look back, reflect and share some insights into the process of launching a knitting book. Would your experience be the same? I doubt it! But it does provide a point of reference, which in most cases is a useful thing.
My book, Entrée to Entrelac was about 20 years in development.  Needless to say, I was not actively working on the manuscript that entire time, but it was formed and continually manipulated about 20 years prior to its publication. Concentrated development was about 2 years in length from the time I signed a contract until its launch at Stitches Midwest. Keep in mind I was still actively working in the other aspects of my business, so working on the book was not a 40 hr/week sort of activity. Other authors have different experiences, but not having a super short deadline allowed us to review and refine the concept of the book as we went along and in the end, I think this was a very good thing for me.
I anticipated that writing a book would be a ton of work. As I often said afterward, I sorely underestimated. I also knew that in the end, I would not make much money on the book itself, especially when looking at the time invested. And even after three years of royalties, that expectation is still accurate. I just knew I needed to share my vision of the innumerable ways that entrelac could be used to create beautiful projects that were beyond the typical scarf, shawl or blanket.
Photo courtesy XRX, Inc – Alexis Xenakis
 My hope was that writing a book would provide me with more opportunities to teach, because teaching is what I love and what I really want to spend most (if not all) of my time doing. And that, too, happened much as expected. Once the book was released, I rarely had to market myself as a teacher.  Shops and guilds would call, looking to have me come teach. And that was really my ultimate plan in writing and launching a knitting book.
Three years later the hub-bub has died down. I still do several book signings/demos at each show. I am still teaching a pretty full schedule. I might be recognized by knitters a little more often. But the questions continue to be asked:
  • What are you working on now?
  • When is your next book coming out?
  •  Do you have another book you are working on?

I am still not sure if I have another book in me. As with most things, there were pros and cons regarding all aspects of the process. And although I always have ideas I want and am willing to share, I am not sure what, when or how that is going to come about. But when I think about the “ride” for the past 3 years, I do smile — and I have to be happy about that!!

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