A crafts book deal

 25 April 2013

After years of running craft workshops, Momtaz Begum-Hossain decided to publish a guide to creating Bollywood-inspired accessories and decor. She described the process of getting her ideas into print.

Writing a crafts book

"If you’re a craftsperson, you’ve obviously got knowledge in a particular area, and there’s always somebody who needs knowledge.

"That’s why I think crafts books are a really good thing for crafters to get into. I thought, 'I want to make something that hasn’t been done before.'

Having seen so many books, I felt there was a niche to do things that were simple – things that are really easy, that anyone could do.

"My book is called Bollywood Crafts because I’m a huge fan of Bollywood movies. I love the colour and the look of them – I just love everything about them.

"If you write about something you’re really passionate about, that’s what’s going to bring your project together."

Looking for a publisher

"I had this concept of crafts projects that were inspired by Bollywood movies, and I really felt it could work. I thought, 'I’m going to write a proposal for this, and I’m going to send it to some publishers.'

"I got rejected from eight publishers. I wanted to show people they could do different things. The book has a bit of sewing in it, a bit of painting, a bit of printing – all different things.

"I thought, 'I’m going to write a proposal for this, and I’m going to send it to some publishers.'"

"The publishers who rejected me said that wouldn’t work because you couldn’t 'shelve' it. If you had a bookshop, where would you put it? You can’t have mixed craft books, they said.

"I didn’t believe that. I just thought, 'I don’t think there are people out there who just want something about one thing. They want to read about everything.'

"So I carried on until I found a publisher who was on the same wavelength as me.

“The first time I met them, they gave me a schedule. They said, ‘We’ll do this as long as you get it in by a particular date.’

"I then had about three or four months to work solidly on it. I put all my other projects to one side, and just did it all day. The exact process took about a year."

Promoting your crafts book

“When the book came out, I had really nice feedback from people who’d seen it, and I felt a big sense of achievement.

"I’ve been able to use it in crafts workshops. I’ve been teaching crafts groups as well, and we’ve been using and working with ideas from the book.

"Crafts books are specialist books. You never read about them getting in the top ten or anything like that. My books will never sell to that level.

"I’m just striving to keep writing. I hope one day I will make a book that appeals to such a mass audience that it will be respected as a really good craft book.”

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