The Free Motion Quilting Project: Self Publishing Insanity

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Self Publishing Insanity

Does free motion quilting sometimes make you feel like this?

free motion quilting | Leah DaySelf publishing a book and DVD at the same time definitely makes me feel like this!

On Saturday when I showed you the sample I really thought I was in the home stretch.

Four days, 3 proofs, 6 hours on the ISBN website, 4 hours researching bar code information, and another 2 days trying to figure out what other ridiculous government numbers I really need in order to sell this book in bookstores, I'm finally, finally done.

Now I understand why so many people go with the major publishing houses for books - self publishing can be really stressful, unbelievably complicated, shockingly expensive, and a huge headache.

But that's not to say it's impossible!

Now that I've slashed my way through the forest of complexity, I've emerged on the other side of the book maze a little smarter and much better prepared to self publish again.

So why have I forced myself down the path of potential insanity, not to mention potential lifelong obscurity?

There are many reasons why I've decided to self publish. For one, I really like to have a lot of control over the finished book.

Since From Daisy to Paisley is going to be released at the same time as the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD, I had ultimate control over how both products looked and could even design the covers so they match.

It can be argued that an author would have this much control with a publishing house, but the limitations of time play a much bigger role.

For this book, I've worked to my own deadlines and goals. Yes, the book has taken longer than I wanted, but I never felt like I had a deadline breathing down my neck.

Maybe I'm weird, but I tend to work great with my own deadlines. If someone else sets the date and time, I'm a sweaty, pimply, stressed out mess until the project is complete, and even then I'm waiting on the edge of my seat for the person to email me and say what I did is terrible and I must do it over again completely.

Needless to say, my family doesn't like me much when I take on deadlines!

There is also an issue of copyright and marketing when it comes to going the traditional route. Under no circumstances will I ever take this blog down or delete the 210 designs I've shared so far. An official publisher might not like the idea of having all the designs available for free.

Marking also gets icky because I can easily market my book myself. This blog creates the traffic and drives the demand for the book - take it down and my marketing potential will be dead in the water.

This is why I've spent so much time hanging out on very boring, official government websites trying to figure out exactly what I need to self publish a book able to be sold in stores. No, I don't plan for Barnes & Noble to be carrying it by October, but I'd like to have the option for them too!

So the deadlines alone were incentive to do this entirely myself. The positives really do outweigh the negatives because working on this book finally forced me to find a decent graphic design software - Serif Draw Plus x4.

I'm so extremely proud of the graphics I've created for the book, including my first cartoon above! This was so much fun to create I might even start my own cartoon about quilting.

While this has been a very long, very complicated process, I can officially say it is almost over. I just placed the order for 500 books and the final proof.

I know there will be a few last minute changes, and a couple more ridiculous numbers to add before the final set of books can be printed, but at least it's nearly done.

So that's it for this What's Leah Working on Wednesday. To be truthful, I haven't managed to quilt much in the last week trying to finish up these projects, but I'm hoping that as soon as they're out of my hands I'll feel free and clear to head back into the studio for some serious free motion quilting fun!

UPDATE: Both products mentioned in this blog post are now available in updated versions in our Quilt Shop at

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Leah - bless you for all your hard work and your families patience - I've been watching your mini quilting videos for a while now and love what you do but can I say that this new series you've started has certainly opened my eyes in many respects.
    I'm currently working on my FMQ tester/developer panel - I'm loving it and now having just looked again at the Round Robin quilt, actually seriously thinking about what I'd do with regards the quilting - I'll let you know when I take the next step to start.

  2. Whew! Congrats!! love your site, your videos, and your work...glad you made your goal- and much success...Sandy

  3. Huge accomplishment! I wish you the best with this endeavor and have really appreciated being able to watch an expert at work on her craft. A Frank Sinatra song comes to mind..."I did it my way" Good for you!

  4. I am looking forward to buying your book! Keep up the great work, but please take time to have fun with your family!

  5. So where is the pre-order page, huh, huh?? LOL

  6. I love your work. I have learned so much from you. Thank you♥

  7. Way to go! Well done on your accomplishments thus far. Keep it up, but remeber to think about yourself as well.

  8. I agree with Jo! Congrats on all the hard work - now you can say you are published! I certainly need the reference book to all your great quilting ideas. Thanks Leah.

  9. I love how this 'quilting' project has led you to develop so many skills and so much knowledge!
    Who knew that this 'quilting' project would turn you into a self publisher so you could share your quilting experience with us in whatever method works for us!
    I can't wait to see the books!
    Well done!


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