Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beauty Secrets: First Draft Complete

The first draft of "Beauty Secrets: 150 Years of History in One Quilt Pattern" is complete, and so far, the catalog looks like it will meet all my expectations. Right now, it's looking like a 40-page, full-color printed publication, which will include all of the quilts I plan to exhibit at the Benton County Museum from August 5th to October 1st. plus a few extra quilts that will not be exhibited.

I am self-publishing the catalog through Blurb, a print-on-demand publishing company that allows individuals to print one book at a time, or hundreds of copies. Blurb is a favorite among visual artists because of the variety of book formats, flexibility in page layout, and print quality. It works well for me because I can order small numbers of printed copies for preview before making the catalog available to the public. Blurb's services include free design software with templates, and online sales.

Having worked in print media in the past, it's always a disappointment to receive a final printed copy and find errors or things that could be done better. With a print-on-demand service, it's not a big problem. I can make changes to the book at any time, and can order drafts for proofing as I fine-tune.

One of the most important elements of the Beauty Secrets catalog will be the photography, and as soon as I see the first draft in print I'll be able to make all the necessary adjustments. Originally, I was going to work with a professional photographer, but ended up doing the photography myself to avoid travel and keep the costs down.

Earlier this year, I went through the same process with the "Small Wonders: Doll Quilts by Andrea Balosky" catalog, and pretty much nailed it down after two drafts. The catalog continues to be available, even though the exhibit only ran for a month. Doing that project gave me the confidence to do all the photography and layout for this catalog, too. I'm sure I'll work with traditional book publishers some day, but until then, I'll probably do my own books this way.

So, I'm hoping to make the catalog available shortly before the exhibit opens in August, and will post updates through my website, blog, and Facebook.


  1. Bill, you are so capable of photographing the quilts. I'm glad you decided to do it. This will be fantastic!!

  2. What a great work. This is more than a catalogue, it's an education.

  3. The photos look great to me. Is this a hardcover book?

  4. Awesome.. you've a gift in photography too! I'm thinking more of an art book!

  5. I'm hoping the print version looks as good as it does on my computer, but sometimes there are variances - so that's why I produce drafts for proofing. My college education was in photography, so that's part of the reason why I've been able to figure out how to do the photography. We didn't have Photoshop back then, though, but I've self-taught myself over the last 12+ years.

    Liz, I was thinking of making it a softcover, but will decide for sure when I see the draft. I may end up going with the hardcover if I feel that's what it needs to be. We'll see. :)

    It will be like an art book, but with some text, which will contextualize the quilts, quilt history, and how the pattern evolved as history unfolded.

  6. Your eye in finding these beauties, and your expertise in sharing their history in "one full swepp" is a wonder. May "Beauty Secrets" fly off the shelf!

  7. Blurb is great, and catalog looks great. Now, I think AQS should hire you to write a book for them.