I've been writing my fifth Dorset button book, Dorset Button Inspirations, and I thought it might be useful to share my process for writing a new book. First I get a brainwave idea. The one for this book was 'I wonder how many things I can come up with to use Dorset buttons for. 101 uses for Dorset buttons!' By the morning I had 104 and the beginnings of a new book. 

There is usually a gap of 2 years between books because that's how long a new book takes from conception to printing. The first stage is mainly played out in my head, with samples being made where I'm exploring a new technique or something I'm not sure of. I do most of my best thinking when I'm walking. It gives me time to play with ideas and new projects without having to make something over and over again. A project will normally spend at least a week being constantly made in my head, working over possible problems. I also write a lot of lists on my phone. Project ideas, to do lists, contents and materials. I may do a small amount of writing at this point, especially if I'm planning on making the project into a kit. 

During this stage I start mentioning to people that I'm writing a new book, and talk in broad terms about what the book's theme is going to be. At that point I'm usually asked when is it coming out, so I give a rough deadline, which gives me the impetus to start writing. 

The writing stage starts by making the project, and photographing each stitch and movement I make. This forms the basis of the pattern. I then crop and alter the photos so they're clear to look at. I also reduce the file size at this point, so the final PDF file isn't too huge. 


Once the photos are ready, I load them onto a template file for the book, so the formatting is the same throughout. I write each section for the project, and then write the photo captions under each photo. This means each section has a corrosponding set of photos telling you exactly what's happening in each section.

Once I'm reasonably happy with the write up I leave it overnight or longer. Then I come back and read through it again, editing anything I'm unhappy with. Then I send it to Sarah so she can proof read and flag up anything she thinks needs clarifying. Once I get it back I do the edits and add it to the master file, which will eventually become the book. 


Once the book is three quarters done I launch a Kickstrarter to raise funds for a print run. This is also a great way of seeing if people want a new book. If I reach my target early I know it's going to go down well. 

Once we have our funding, and the book is finished, proof read and edited, a PDF file gets sent to Dollins Printers in Whitchurch. About a week later I go and pick up my boxes full of my new book. At the smae time I send out the surveys for the Kickstarter, so I know what to dye for the materials rewards.

Then it's just a case of dyeing the yarn, ordering any extra materials, making up materials pack, packing books and sending them off to their new owners. Somethime between the finishing stage and the printing stage a new book idead will magically pop into my head and I start making lists and playing with ideas in my head for the next book.

My head is a very busy place! 


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