Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ah, the joys of publishing

In the continuing saga of Chrissy-madly-prepares-for-TNNA-at-the-last-minute, I've been formatting patterns like crazy over the past few days. Not only am I formatting the new patterns, I'm also going over my old patterns to make sure that everything's nice and consistent. It's very interesting to look at patterns I wrote a couple of years ago - even though design is a creative endeavor, you certainly do improve with practice! My big challenge now is putting together my style guide, which is something I should've done a long time ago. I will be punished by the fact that I'll have to go over all of my patterns yet again when it's done and make sure they all comply.

Normally when you publish a pattern in a magazine, you get general guidelines to follow. Some pubs are more specific than others, and almost all of them have an editor to review your pattern and, in addition to tech editing the math, they'll review the wording, punctuation, capitalization and formatting for consistency. They probably have a couple different people who do this. When you're self-publishing, you get to do all this fun stuff yourself (or enlist kind people to help you out with it, or preferably both!).

Looking over my patterns, it's quite impressive to behold the smorgasboard of variations in little things. For example, do I say "row 1" or "Row 1"? Do I state that "11 sts remain" or simply "11 sts"? Or go for the gold and say "11 sts total remain across all ndls"? Do I say "Weave in ends", or "Weave in all ends", or "Weave in all yarn ends", or "Weave in all yarn ends on WS of work"... Get the picture? The benefit of a style guide is that you can spell all this stuff out so that every pattern says stuff the exact same way. It didn't matter so much when I just had a handful of patterns in a handful of shops, but now that I'm exhibiting at TNNA are have a yarn company distributor (more on that exciting news later), I've got to really step up my game!

Wow - I leave for Long Beach in just two days. I'm trying to keep that panicked feeling in the pit of my stomach at bay, but it's tough! I don't know if I'm more worried about exhibiting, or about all the networking and meeting of new people in the industry that I've set myself up to do. I'm a pretty classic introvert, so stuff like this is really hard on me. Fortunately, I'll be seeing some people I really like and don't get to see very often, so that will make up for some of the discomfort. I'll also have my wing-woman, Donna, to help keep me sane. I am so incredibly glad she'll be there - she's definitely a calming influence!

I don't know if I'll have time to post from the actual show this time, since it seems like every spare minute is booked with some social gathering or other. The previous couple of shows I had plenty of downtime because I didn't have a booth and I didn't know that many people to socialize with. It feels like I've finally arrived - with my AKD position along with my pattern line and print work in Interweave over the past year, people are starting to recognize my name, I think, and things are starting to happen. I just hope I'm ready!

On a final note - Staples has just introduced an awesome line of 100% recycled printing paper. They had a 100% recycled copy paper before that I was using for all my patterns, but their new paper is thicker and brighter, and I just love it. If you purchase paper at all, please buy some. I want them to keep it on the market!!!

4 Comments:

Blogger Connie said...

Interesting reading, Chrissy. As someone who's trying to self publish too, I enjoy reading about your experiences. Have fun at Long Beach! :) I'm sure it'll be a great and productive time for you.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Have a great time at TNNA! I'll be praying for you because that's what I do. :) Don't worry your skill and friendliness will come through. You are a talented designer and have a bright future ahead of you!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Janet Szabo said...

I bought a case of that 100% recycled paper at Staples yesterday and I love it, too! Thanks for the heads-up about it.

Have fun at TNNA, and be sure to let me know what happens!

3:29 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Good Luck!

7:47 AM  

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