On Writing Books – Part Two

This is a follow-up to last week’s post: On Writing Books. I mentioned that years ago, I had a contract to write a book about paper lamp shades. The project was terminated after I had completed my entire outline and turned in a few chapters. Needless to say, this was a huge disappointment, but by this time I had two books under my belt with Storey Publishing. So I decided to propose that Storey pick up the tab for a book about paper and light. Ta da! Paper Illuminated was published in 2001.

Paper Illuminated

Paper Illuminated

Now just so you don’t think that all of my book ideas turn to gold, there was a fourth book that I pitched to Storey. The idea was a book geared towards children, featuring paper projects from cultures around the world (think piñatas from Mexico, lanterns from Japan, paper cuts from Poland, etc.). I still think this would make a good book!
Fast forward a few years… I took a good long break from writing books, but started writing a column called Unique Techniques for Hand Papermaking Magazine. I continue to write this column twice a year, featuring artists who are practicing obscure or interesting papermaking techniques.
The current issue of Hand Papermaking Magazine, a biannual publication.

The current issue of Hand Papermaking Magazine, a biannual publication.

A few years ago, an editor at Rockport Publishing contacted me about writing a how-to book on making sustainable papers. I decided to pass on that project for several reasons. A year or so later, I submitted work to 1,000 Artists’ Books. After a favorable response to my submission, I asked the photo editor to put me in touch with her editor. I wanted to assemble a 1,000 Pieces of Paper book. And lo and behold, the editor was that same editor from Rockport (which meant I had a foot in the door).
I explained my idea (think paper cuts, pop-ups, folded paper, origami, handmade paper, tesselations, I knew that I could come up with 1,000 images). She didn’t go for it, but she did have another idea… Playing With Paper!
My latest book, Playing With Paper

My latest book, Playing With Paper

So, after a 10-year hiatus, I was writing a book again. It came out in January 2013, and I’m pleased to announce that I’m currently working on my fifth book, Playing With Pop-Ups, which has a publication date of April 2014.
I’m curious to know what you think makes a good how-to book. Please leave a comment below.

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I’m Helen Hiebert!

THE SUNDAY PAPER brings you stories and examples of people doing exciting, innovative, and beautiful things with paper, as well as link to interesting paperfacts from around the globe. Read all about it here!

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