Guest post by Angela Lan, author of #OOTD Sew & Style: Make Your Dream Wardrobe with Angela
Hi! I’m Angela Lan, a 14 year-old fashion designer and blogger. I’m also the author of the newly released teen fashion design/sewing book #OOTD Sew & Style: Make Your Dream Wardrobe with Angela. Today on LAPL’s teen blog I’m answering one of my most commonly asked questions: how did you get a book deal/how did you become an author?
I think it all started with an idea, one that stemmed from my own experiences. When I first started making my own clothes, I was still a relatively beginning and young sewer. I mostly read books and watched Youtube videos, and while I wanted to dive into the world of self-made fashion, there was no "go-to" book or resource that could teach me the basics of sewing while creating clothes at the same time. There were the kid sewing books that taught me how to make potholders and pillows, but I wanted to make, well, clothes. Something that I could wear on a daily basis and show off. Then there were the beginner garment sewing books that were geared towards adults, so none of the included patterns were in my size and the instructions too complicated for my 11 year old self. Years later, I realized that the huge variety of sewing books still lacks a complete, step-by-step "design and sew your own clothes from scratch while learning how to sew" kind of book targeted towards teens.
Getting my book published was purely chance. In the fall of 2013, I met Alex Anderson, a best selling author of over 30 sewing books at a local quilt store. The owner of the store knew I was interested in writing a book so when Alex dropped by the store one day and I happened to be there, he introduced me to her. Many months later, after I started homeschooling and my blog, in May of 2014, I sent her a book proposal asking for her advice and opinion, and she forwarded to her publisher, who is now my publisher as well. That summer I got an email from C+T Publishing saying they loved my idea and would want to work with me on making my idea a reality.
I think the most invigorating part of getting a book deal would have to be knowing I'm published for my writing and ideas, opposed to having lots of followers. My blog had barely any readers, maybe 5 and one of them was my mom so realizing that people believed in me and were willing to take the risk of not selling a ton of books or that the book would sell for its content without an existing fanbase of thousands really pushed me to work harder and made me extremely grateful for the opportunity.
This past two years was spent on writing and creating this book. I can safely say that so much more goes behind the scenes of each publication that you don't really realize until you experience it yourself. From meetings, to taking draft photos, to drawing, to sourcing materials, to making mockups to drafting patterns to planning shoots... even now when I try to name all the countless tasks I had to do I can't really think of any, but know for sure the process was my entire life at one point. All I can hope is that everyone enjoys reading it and that teens find it helpful.
I hope this provides some insight to the many ways books get published and you found this post interesting. I will be at LA Public Library on June 5 from 2-3 p.m. talking more about my experience in fashion, book writing, and how to find your personal style.
Looking forward to see you there!