Earlier this fall, I announced the upcoming publication of two new books about binding: Binding Crazy Angles, and Get It Done Now! Are you wondering where the books are? Here’s an update!
If you just want to know where the books are: both titles should arrive late this week and will begin shipping the week of December 2. If you want to know why, keep reading!
Get It Done Now! The Journey to a 2nd Edition
When I decided to update my book Get It Done Now! into a 2nd edition, it was in the middle of March 2019. As I flipped through the book, I realized I would need to retake every single photograph, expand on the content, and add in additional chapters. You may not know this, but GIDN was actually a class handout that got to be too expensive to have printed (full-color, about 34 pages). I learned that I could cut my printing costs in half if I slapped a cover on it and assigned an ISBN (that’s an International Standard Book Number). So that’s pretty much what I did; I didn’t fuss too much about making it a “real” book; to me, it was just a souped-up photocopy.
Over the years, with so much great feedback coming in and such high demand for my class, I thought I should do a little better and try to turn it into a real book. What really sealed the deal though, is that instead of recommending two rulers (the Easy Angle ruler and a small 2½” ruler), I decided to design my own. That would cut the costs for my students, and eliminate the need to have two tools hanging around.
And yes, I realize there are other binding tools on the market, but the vast majority of them focus on just cutting the binding, and little attention is paid to using the tool to increase the chances of success in attaching and finishing the binding properly.
Prior to this, I had designed & had made three acrylic ruler sets. In the past though, I just turned over dimensions and rough drawings and let the tool makers do the rest. This time, I wanted to design the tool myself in Illustrator.
This went pretty well, and the initial prototypes were fine. This process took from mid-March to about mid-July. I thought we were ready to go! But while using the tool and taking photos, I realized that the numbers marking the measurements on the right side would cause confusion. The 2½” mark needed to be at the top, and then the numbers should decrease from there. So I reached back to the production team and gave them a new file. I told them I could just approve a photo instead of waiting for a hard copy of the tool to come back. I thought this would save time (famous last words).
Meanwhile, I continued taking photos and laying out the book, and eventually put the book out for preorder. I thought I could quickly retake any photos where the tool was close up and it would be fine. So I approved the photo of the tool and ordered my first production run. This was in early August.
Well! When the box of tools arrived, guess what I had done? I thought I had reordered the numbers properly, but instead of just reversing the order, I mixed up the 1″ line with the 1½” line. If I thought the previous tool was confusing, this was certainly a doozy. I’m not the one who discovered the mistake though; my friend Cheryl was at the studio, and when I proudly handed her the tool, she said, “Do you know your numbers aren’t in the correct order?” And indeed – that’s the proof I approved, so the issue with the tools was completely my fault.
There was also another issue with the tool, which was a rookie mistake. When I created the cut line for the tool, I started the cut line in the the middle of two sides, instead of starting and ending in a corner. This created an issue for the laser, which caused rough lines and a bit of a “hiccup” when it stopped and restarted. So that’s how I ended up scrapping an entire order of tools and starting over. Obviously, I can’t put a tool out into the world with either of those issues, let alone both.
At that point, I knew I wouldn’t be able to have the book (and the tool) ready for September to ship in October, so I changed the ship date to November. I worked very hard to make sure the book was ready in time for Fall Market and Festival, where not only was I debuting the book, but teaching two classes using the new book and tool. Talk about pressure!
I insisted on a physical copy of the tool this time before I would approve it, and once it arrived, I was taking photos like a maniac and editing those to replace some of the ones in the book. Mind you, I didn’t replace every single image; just the ones where the tool markings mattered. So if you’ve read this far and you get a copy of my book, that’s a little Easter egg for you to find!
I managed to squeak in copies of the book for Houston, but I had to overnight them to the show. What you may not realize in this process is, every time there’s a change to the book, I have to go through a new proofing and approval process, which involves getting a physical copy of the book to approve. This takes 3-5 days each time, and at the end, it’s about a 3 day period for the approved book to be ready for printing. Only when the book is fully approved am I able to order copies.
While I was at the show, I ran into a company that represents independent publishers, and I got my book in front of them. They actually pointed out a couple of issues with the cover of my book, which meant another change, and once again going back through the proofing and approval process. The cover looks a LOT better now, but it created another delay.
Something you may not realize: my books are printed through Kindle Direct Publishing, which is an Amazon company. At that final approval step, they make the book available through the Amazon store, which is how I am able to order copies. So if you see the book live on Amazon, it means I am able to order copies of my book now!
Overall though, I think the book is better for it, but I need to learn the lesson that there is no saving time when skipping a physical approval step. And another set of eyeballs is always helpful.
The Journey to Binding Crazy Angles
Any time I’ve taught my Binding by Machine class, inevitably someone will ask about binding a hexagon or scallops or some other odd shape. It’s not that I don’t know how, but when you’re teaching one thing and someone asks you to teach something else, it can disrupt the flow of the class. But I recognized that there’s a gap out there in terms of teaching people how to bind these odd angles.
I first learned binding techniques in a book called The Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide, and another called Happy Endings. Both books spend about 8 pages between them talking about mitering and turning corners for angles and scallops. I also watched several YouTube videos (Marci Baker’s videos are the best, but there are some dooozies of videos out there too. Most of the binding videos I’ve watched have left me hurling pincushions at the computer screen). I just knew I could do this topic more justice.
So while I was working on the second edition of GIDN and developing a tool, I thought I would also create a book for the rest of the techniques. What I quickly realized is that BCA is heavily dependent upon the binding tool too, and some of the content in BCA comes directly out of GIDN. So they ended up following the same timeline, and let me tell you – writing two books simultaneously is tough work! (I actually wrote 4 books this summer, but who’s counting? That’s another story for another day.)
The same cover issues I had with GIDN had to be resolved for BCA, and it also needed a final round of editing.
BCA I think was always targeted for a November launch, but it’s going to come in right around the same time as GIDN. It’s in the final approval stage now, so it will be about 2-3 days before I can order this book. I think if you look it up on Amazon, it will say “out of print” – that’s because I published it to get copies to Houston, and then unpublished it so I could make the cover change.
So Who Has the Books In-Hand?
Technically, no one has either book with the most recent cover. These changes were just made, and GIDN went live on the 21st.
There are students from my fall classes who have copies of one or both of the books (if they took both classes), and there’s also the person who stole a copy of GIDN right off my display table at Houston while I was talking to a client.
Is it possible now for someone to go onto Amazon and order a copy of GIDN right now? Yes. I have no control over that; the book has to be available in order for me to order copies. So seeing the book live is a good thing; it means I can buy it too.
I know this may be upsetting to those of you who pre-ordered the book, to think that someone on Amazon can get the book more quickly. However, think of it this way: they won’t be able to get a signed copy, and they can’t order my tool on Amazon.
As always, thanks for understanding what goes on behind the scenes of what it takes to get something from idea to execution!