As you all know, creating this project of 365 designs has been a very big project, taking my twice as much time (2 years rather than 1) than I expect, and expanding in so many different ways that even I've started to feel overwhelmed by it.
Well, the project itself - this blog and videos - that's not overwhelming.
It's how to take the designs and videos and turn them into books or DVDs. It is both overwhelming and, well, straight up difficult, to try to figure out what I should do with everything.
It might sound crazy, but when I started the project last August, I was really surprised when readers began asking for books. I figured it was all online and free, why would anyone want to pay for it!?
But the requests turned into demands and by September I was working on my first book and DVD. Since I was only starting out, had limited time and resources, I produced the book as an ebook and burned the DVD using my home video editing software.
I ended up producing two sets: Volume 1 and Volume 2 last fall and these featured the first 40 designs from the project in chronological order (these sets were discontinued in June). At the time, chronological order was the best thing to organize by because I didn't have huge quantities of different skill levels to choose from.
Over time, as the project grew, I started to see the wisdom in organizing the designs by difficulty level instead so that we could easily search through and find designs that were possible to master at any skill level.
This spawned Free Motion Quilting Basics for Beginners, the dvd focused, not on filler designs, but on all the little details on creating a quilt like setting up your machine, choosing thread, basting, etc.
But the request for books and DVDs of more filler designs continued to come in. I knew we really should come out with a new DVD to replace Volume 1 and 2 when I watched the DVDs in the spring and realized how much my writing and filming quality had improved over the last 8 months.
I also knew from listening to readers that we really needed a set focused just on beginner level filler designs. Thus, From Daisy to Paisley, the mini book of 50 beginner level designs, and Beginner Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs was created this past summer and launched in September.
I went to great lengths to ensure high quality for both the book and DVD and went to great lengths to ensure that they could be carried in regular bookstores. Not that they are being carried yet. As I have quickly found, publishing and printing is one thing, distributing is something entirely different.
But as you can tell, understanding how to share these designs in a format other than this blog has not been easy. The truth is:
I don't have some grand design or master plan!
I'm just making this up as I go along!
I'm just making this up as I go along!
I planned to create a total of 4 more mini books and / or DVDs which would focus on Intermediate designs, Advanced Designs, Pivoting Designs, and Center Fill designs specifically.
I still like the idea of creating a collection of books, each featuring 50 designs exclusively, but here's the thing:
Everyone keeps asking for 1 book featuring ALL the designs.
And here's the other thing:
Creating the books and DVDs are an EXTREME amount work, they drive me completely insane, and I can't continue to do it this way.
I LOVE this project. I LOVE posting the designs for free. I LOVE designing. I LOVE sharing it with all of you.
But I really, really hate the hours of tedious computer work needed to create the books and DVDs. Whatever I decide to do from here on out will have to involve more help, maybe in the form of hired assistants, because this is just too much for one person to handle.
So what should I do?
Still produce 4 more sets books and DVDs featuring 50 designs?
This would probably be more economical since I can keep the book cost under $20 that way and still go into nice detail on each design.
But this would involve writing 5 books and creating 5 DVDs, something so time consuming and stressful, I would probably have to stop posting and stop quilting for 6 months in order to do it (something I really don't want to do).
Wait to publish the book of all 365 designs?
This makes more sense on a time and work scale, but the final book will be both big and expensive. I had planned to create a full sized book (8.5 x 11) with one to two whole pages devoted to each individual design, totally up to over 700 pages. This will probably end up costing between $79 - $99.
Such a book would be very expensive to print and thus, be very expensive to resell and ship. It would also end up looking a lot more like a college textbook, but it would cover absolutely EVERYTHING on free motion quilting I've learned over the last 2 years.
Even this creates issues and I start "what if-ing" myself to death. What if I just do one page per design? What if I put two designs per page? What if it wasn't that big?
What if I just do a book of photos, like From Daisy to Paisley, more as a reference guide?
This would be cheaper to publish and print, which means it could possibly retail for under $50.
Argh! The questions and options are positively ENDLESS!
And the problem is, I really can't make up my mind about what to do. Sorry, I know that sounds really wishy-washy and pathetic, but I honestly don't know what to do.
I know I would like to see a book of just pivoting designs and just center fill designs because they are my favorites. I love playing with them and I'd really enjoy designing and creating quilts that specifically highlight their coolness.
I also would like to see two versions of the Big book, as I call it. One that would serve as a desk reference and be small with just photos, and one that would be huge and thick and filled with absolutely every scrap of knowledge and inspiration I can cram into it.
But does anyone else feel this way? Should I ultimately write the books I want to write, or the books that will sell?
And should pure profit be the only consideration? Since it's my time, shouldn't I focus on the books I actually want to write, and the designs that truly want to play with!?
I think I just answered that question myself. I refuse to shackle myself to tasks I find intolerable just for the possibility of making a living with it. I'd rather be a bit broke and be doing something I really enjoy and love.
So please, if you have a minute to spare, take a bit of time to consider this problem, and offer your advice.
Scroll through the design pages and take a minute to try to visualize just how many 365 is. I know I didn't have a full perspective on it when I started.
If published in one single book, that book will have to be AT LEAST 365 pages, if not closer to 400. Keep in mind time and print costs.
But also consider alternatives. I'm extremely open to publishing the big book as an Ebook, where print costs will not effect the cost of the book, and shipping will not be a factor.
Looking at this list of different possibilities I know that there is no single path to take. More than anything else, I simply want to here your opinions, based on what you really want and need in your studio for free motion quilting.