I have been meaning to write this blog post for a while, but the world has gone crazy the past few weeks AKA COVID-19 lockdown. Finally, I am finding some time to share with you the journey of my very first book 'Macrame for the modern home'.
Let's start from the beginning, Feb 2019.
I receive an email from the publishing company Search Press asking if I was interested in doing a macrame book. Search Press specialises on craft books and they saw a niche in the market with macrame.
You can imagine my jaw dropping to the floor and then my smile getting bigger and bigger. I never imagined that one day I'll be publishing a book, it was one of those dreams that I didn't dare to dream.
I replied saying that (of course) I was interested and to send more details. I also asked them, how did they found me. Apparently I was keep popping up on Google. That was one of the best compliments I ever received LOL. After 3 years on social media, 'regularly' writing my blog, writing tutorials for magazines and participating to Kirstie's Handmade Christmas TV show, all the efforts seems to have paid off! All the hard work behind the scene were definitely worth it.
From that email, there were several more, a contract to sign and finally in May we were set to go. I went to Search Press HQ to meet the team and finalize the details. The book was going to be about macrame and natural dyeing, my two passions, and all the projects would be for the modern home. Moreover, I only wanted to use recycled cotton string to make this book as eco friendly as possible and also encourage others to use eco-friendly materials.
During our first meeting, we agreed on the briefing, looks and feel of the overall book, projects and a timeline. The deadline was set at the beginning of September, all the photos would be taken mid-September and the whole booked including the writing, ready by the first week of October. The publishing day sometimes in April 2020.
At the beginning of June, I started working on the projects in the book, 16 in total.
I spend 3 months making, I reduced the other work, especially my live workshops so I could concentrate on the book, which included making, taking the step-by-step photos for each project, and writing the tutorials. On top of that, there were all the other sections of the book that had to be written including the step by step for the natural dyeing, the knots and patterns. English is not my first language so the written part took a lot of effort. My kids spent lots of time at summer camps and with family as summer holiday meant not much time on my own to work. I'll always be grateful to my husband and mother in law for their help during last summer.
Finally, all the projects were done and in mid-September, I drove to Search Press studio to spend 2 days photographing all the step-by-step photos for the knots and the natural dyeing process. On the second day, I had a meeting with the photographer and the stylist to discuss all the styled shoots for the book. I already made a mood board for them explaining how I wanted each piece to be photographed. Having an interior design background I knew in my head how each piece should be used. I also wanted to show how versatile macrame is and how the pieces can be used for different occasions or in a different way. Therefore the photographer and the stylist had to create different scenes for each photo. Luckily I had two amazing people working with me and the result was even better than I imagined. Working on the front cover was the most difficult thing but luckily I had an idea of which pieces I wanted to show: my large wall hanging and a naturally dyed piece, so after a few shots we got the perfect photo to use. We also had to take some photo of me. I am not very natural in front of the camera, but once again the team was fantastic and in about 1 hour we took all the photos we needed of me.
It was exhausting but I was so happy, the last part was making sure the patterns and tutorials made sense and the text was flowing and mistake-free.
Before we sent everything for printing, I got a pre-copy of the book in digital format and printed, before going ahead with no turning back.
I took great care looking at each page and the only thing I wanted to tweak was some colours and fonts on the front and back of the book. Once these were finalized my baby was off. Extremely exciting and scary at the same time.
In February 2020 the book was ready for pre-ordering and I started promoting it & planning the book launch for the 1st of April, the publishing day. In March, we got the confirmation that the book would arrive earlier, mid-March. I was ecstatic as I was so worried about any delays.
I sent the book launch invitations, copies to some of my favourite people on IG and even bought a new dress. Then the UK, like the rest of the world, got hit by the COVID-19 and everything changed. I had to cancel all my workshops, my book launch and suddenly everyone was in lockdown. For a whole week I was so anxious about how the future would look like. However, I am a positive person and it didn't take long for me to react and look at the bright side. Many people, suddenly had the luxury of time and many people grabbed this opportunity to learn macrame. I started selling signed copy of my book on my website, that originally I was going to take with me at the book launch.
The book is now sold out on Amazon and all the photos of people around the world making projects from MY book started popping up on social media! It brings me so much joy seeing other people making and loving macrame. I don't know if 'Macrame for the modern home' would have been as popular in a the normal world, pre COVID-19, but it's so special to see people discovering the therapeutic side of macrame and how it can help with anxiety, creative flow, keeping happy and sane during this challenging time.
Someone told me that launching my first book during COVID-19 is special, what I know for sure is that it's unforgettable!
I would like to thanks everyone who helped me make this book, the Search Press team, my family and friends, my followers & students and anyone who bought my book. Thank you for your support and for making my dream a beautiful reality.
You can order a signed copy of the book here.
Sending lots of love