10-26-2007, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
How to become a North Light Author
I'm very excited to be able to post this for everyone! In the event that you are ever interested in becoming an author for Northlight, here are our guidelines.
How to Submit a Book Idea and become an Author of a North Light Fine Art Book
North Light Books is always looking for talented artists who can share their techniques with our readers.
A. What Does North Light Look For?
1. We publish books about do-it-yourself fine art activities. We need ideas for books that will appeal to the person who likes to learn painting skills in ways that are easy to follow and fun.
2. We publish books with great examples of finished art. All of the artwork and step-by-step demonstrations in the book must be:
- of high quality in artistic technique, instructional value and reproductive quality (all photography in focus with proper exposure)
The response of the reader should be "Wow, I want to do that!"
3. We publish books on a basic skill level. North Light books must interest beginners who like to spend their leisure time making art. The finished art, techniques and processes presented should appear to be well within the reach of what the average reader can do. Emphasis should be on relatively easy, fast, fun methods. Reader response should be "Wow, I CAN do that!"
4. We publish books that teach primarily with pictures and easy-to-follow step-by-step demonstrations, not just with words. Illustrations should be clear, instructive, easy to follow and of professional quality. You must build your book around demonstrations with twelve to twenty steps per demonstration that the reader can easily learn from to complete similar paintings or techniques that look good based on your instruction. The reader must be able to see the whole process by scanning the sequence of illustrations without even having to read the captions. In other words, the captions should support the art.
5. We publish books that fit our format. Our books are usually:
- 8 1/2 x 11 inches
- 128 or 144 pages long (though some trade paperbacks may be shorter)
- full color (though some may be black and white)
North Light, not the author, determines whether a book is hardcover, paperback or paper over board, as well as selling price.
B. What You Must Be Able To Do As An Author
1. Create great art and step-by-step demonstrations suitable for reproduction. The art and instruction in the book must be of high quality. You may submit the illustrations to us in several ways depending on what is most suitable. We can work with high-resolution digital art, transparencies, 35mm slides or flat original art (drawings, sketches, etc.) that is flexible enough to curve around the drum of a scanner. However, you MUST submit digital files, transparencies or slides of the following:
- highly valuable finished art
- art that is not flexible enough to be curved around the drum of a scanner
- art that is larger than 19" x 25" or smaller than 3" x 5"
2. Shoot good digital art or slides of a step-by-step demonstration as you create it, or reproduce each step in a progression with flat art. This is a necessity for doing a North Light book. We have sets of guidelines showing you how best to do this. You must submit your materials as written in the guidelines. Most North Light fine art authors shoot or scan their own digital art or slides, or hire a professional to do so. However, we may consider working with authors who are willing to come to our studios for a photography session.
3. Write clear, how-to instructions for step-by-step demonstrations. This is also a necessity for doing a North Light book. If you can describe in words exactly what you are doing when you are painting—including what materials, tools, colors and techniques you are using—you most likely have the necessary writing skills. We are not looking for stylish or scholarly prose, lists of anecdotes or travelogues—just concise, easy-to-follow descriptions of how to create paintings or perform techniques that are clear enough for our readers to follow. If your writing is logical and correctly ordered, we can do the rest, such as grammar, spelling and punctuation. However, our editors work with you and your project on much more than the details.
4. Work with editors. Once a committee accepts your proposal, you continue to work with an editor who helps you with the following:
- providing you with guidelines for producing and submitting your materials (this may also be provided to you before your proposal is accepted)
- answering your questions about how you should proceed
- helping you develop a page-by-page plan of your book for you to follow (this may also be developed with you before your proposal is accepted)
- establishing a schedule of deadlines for submissions (you will be asked to send finished chapters for review)
- reviewing and editing your manuscript and art as you submit them
- providing feedback within a reasonable time frame (it is not always possible to provide immediate feedback, since our editors work on several projects at one time)
Most of our authors are artists, not seasoned authors. However, the beauty of writing a North Light book is that you don't have to get everything perfect the first time (unlike, say, a brain surgeon) because your editor will help you make your book the best it can be. Usually, we do heavily edit most fine art books in the interest of being most instructive for the reader. Your editor may cut text or ask you to provide more to ensure logic, accuracy, flow, etc. An editor may cut art or ask you to provide more to ensure good reproduction and instruction, North Light style, etc.
5. Follow a detailed outline, clear page plan and all agreed-to project information for the book. Before you write or photograph anything more for a book, we plan exactly what will go in it, arranged in a logical order, so everybody knows what is necessary to complete the work. This makes gathering and producing the material much easier for you. It also lets us know what is coming and how long the book will be before we start work. We need authors who can write the books we need and know we can sell.
6. Deliver material on time. It is essential that you deliver finished artwork and writing on time in order to receive your advance payments and so that we can have your book ready when we can best sell it. You must be able to keep yourself on schedule from the beginning. Good book writing requires organization, discipline and applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Your editor will work with you on mutually agreeable due dates for submissions. If you do not meet deadlines, we may decide to cancel your book, which means that you will have to return any advances you have received.
C. What You Should Submit For A Potential Book Idea
1. Submit at least twenty high-quality digital files, slides or transparencies of the artwork the reader would learn how to make in your book. We need to see at least twenty examples so we know your work is consistently good. It is important that you photograph or scan the work you provide just as you will for the book. This is especially important for authors who plan to photograph art themselves, so we can make sure the files or slides will be acceptable.
2. Submit a definition of your book with a detailed outline/table of contents. It is best if you can establish a very specific "handle" or "big idea" to focus the book and give it a definite direction from the start. You may already have this. Whether you already have an idea for a book or do not yet know what your "big idea" is, write short answers to the following questions to develop your idea further:
- What is your book about? What medium, techniques, subjects, point of view will it include?
- Who are your targeted readers? It must be suitable for beginners, but please define your audience further.
- How will the book teach the reader? In what form will you deliver the instruction? It must include step-by-step demonstrations, but it can also include projects or exercises for the reader to do; close-up details; case studies; artist profiles; before/after or good/bad comparisons; etc.
- What makes your book special and different? What will the readers find in your book that they cannot get in other books? This does not mean your book has to be startlingly new. Nevertheless, what features would it have to set it apart from other books?
- What makes you qualified to write this book?
Then make a detailed outline that shows you have thought your book through.
3. Submit a sample section or chapter (both art and writing) representative of the book.
Send all of the above to Pamela Wissman, Acquisitions Editor, North Light Books, F&W Publications, 4700 East Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236). Though North Light publishes many types of fine art books, I am currently most interested in proposals on the following topics (in no particular order):
- Drawing/Painting People (anatomy, figures, portraits, painting your family)
- Light-Filled Landscapes, Gardens and/or Village Scenes
- Nature Painting Basics
- Flower Painting
- Painting Animals (cats, dogs, birds and domestic animals)
- Big Reference Books on How to Paint
- How to Paint from Photos (in all mediums, particularly people and animals)
- Basic Drawing and Sketching
D. What's Next
I assess your material for appropriateness to our publishing program. If it appears suitable, I work with you to develop the outline and chapter-by-chapter description of the content of the book further. We will also finalize how to present the material, i.e. step-by-step demonstrations, details of finished work, etc.
At this point, I will ask you to create a sample step-by-step demonstration consisting of all the steps involved in making one of your projects, along with captions telling what happens in each step. This will tell me how we can best help you with the writing and with acquiring quality illustrations.
Once we have a good detailed outline, page plan and sample demonstration, I will propose your project to a review board for approval. If approved, you will then negotiate a contract with one of our business coordinators. The terms of the contract will spell out the advances you will receive, the royalty payments and the due dates for art and finished manuscript.
E. What's In It for You as a North Light Author
There are many good reasons for publishing a book with North Light. We create the finest art instruction books available today and are the leading publishers of art instruction books in the U.S. Our books are in nearly every bookstore and art supply store in the U.S. and Canada. Our book clubs, including the North Light Book Club (with over 50,000 members) and the Creative Painting Book Club (with over 30,000 members), as well as others, feature our books. Publications such as The Artist's Magazine and Watercolor Magic also offer them.
Creating a book takes time, effort and commitment. Nevertheless, it is worth it. Besides the obvious satisfaction and pride you will feel when you see your best work in print, there are other rewards.
1. It gets the word out and provides you with more credibility than anything else you can do. A book gives you more credibility than a videotape or teaching a class. A book gives you notoriety. Being the author of a book is a great way to publicize your work and to become known by a lot of fellow artists and instructors. A book with your name on it is good advertising!
2. You share your joys and discoveries with others. Not only do you share your joy in the process of making art, but you also make it possible for the reader to create beautiful things. There is no better way to enrich the joy of others than to share your discoveries and secrets in a well-written instruction book.
3. Publishing a book enhances your opportunities as a teacher. Authoring a book is a great way to reach potential students. If they like what you show them in your book, students will want to take your classes and see you work in person.
4. You make money. As the author and copyright holder, you will receive royalties on all sales of your book. Although you might not be able to retire early (or even quit your day job), periodically receiving a royalty check can be a nice supplement to your earnings.
F. How to Find Out More
If you have any other questions, please write to:
Pamela Wissman, Acquisitions Editor
North Light Books
4700 East Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati OH 45236
North Light is an imprint of F+W Publications
North Light Books
01-20-2012, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Re: How to become a North Light Author
Can I send you a copy of my book thru email?
What's your email address?
01-23-2012, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Re: How to become a North Light Author
Thanks for your interest in submitting a book proposal to North Light Books.
While i would not encourage sending a completed book for submission through email, you can submit an outline, sample art, and sample chapter directly to Pam Wissman at Pam.Wissman@fwmedia.com