It’s been a while since I’ve written a long newsy blog post but it’s been for good reason, I’ve been busy writing something else… My very first decorating book!
We are a little while off pre-selling this bad boy (official release date is 1st March!) but I wanted to share the story of how this whole book came about before I start pressuring you all to buy it 😉
This is hands down the longest, largest project I’ve ever worked on. It has been full of highs as well as some significant and trying lows. This all started back in 2014 but I hardly told a soul… Looking back now I realise that’s because the first book publishing opportunity ended on a bad note and clearly I had some sort of gut instinct telling me this or I would have been shouting it from the rooftops…
Never in a million years did I expect to be the author of a decorating book by the age of 30. In fact, when I first spoke to a publisher about writing a book I even said “I always dreamed of writing a book one day” and literally meant 10 years from now! I guess the universe had other plans for me and brought that goal forward significantly. I won’t bore you with the details of the first year of the book journey because it was a long and difficult process that resulted in exiting from the contract and starting from scratch with a new publisher. Everything happens for a reason though and thanks to a number of lovely people in the industry I landed a publishing deal with Hardie Grant in February 2016.
How Did This Come About?
My vision for the book was for it to be a timeless classic full of decorating advice that follows a formula anyone can follow and something you could refer to for years and still be inspired by. This meant I wasn’t going to use photography. I’m an avid reader and have the largest collection of decorating books you could ever come across but one thing that bothers me is that some of my favourite books while the content is relevant and useful, the imagery is dated and uninspiring after a couple of years. So if I wasn’t using photography, how would I still have an engaging and useful interiors book…?
Illustrations tell such a different story to photography. They are evocative, expressive and not to mention, gorgeous to look at. My aim for the book is to spark creativity for the reader and inspire them to start a decorating project and watch their style evolve. I was worried that photography would mean readers would get caught up looking at the images and trying to find the exact same lamp/sofa/cushion for their own homes rather than using it as an opportunity to develop their skills. Illustrations allow for interpretation and they are also a timeless visual. Umm hello look at the cover, it’s beeeeautiful! (Biased much?!)
I had already started working on the book without giving much thought to who would actually illustrate the book… Luckily during a decorating workshop I was running in Roma QLD I got chatting to Maddison Rogers, who was helping out in the store during the workshop. I mentioned my book project to her and she casually mentioned she can illustrate. One thing led to another and before we knew it we were mapping out every single illustration in the book against my content plan. Maddison is based in Queensland so we worked a lot via email and hours and hours of phone calls pus a couple of flights up to see her work in the flesh to get the illustrations just right. Maddison took my vision and ran with it. Very rarely did we have to make any changes.
What’s Inside The Book?
The whole framework for the book was based around the 5 elements of decorating I teach at the decorating workshops I’ve been running for a number of years now. It was relatively easy to come up with the table of contents based on the workshops and then I expanded on each topic from there. The book starts off detailing the 5 elements of decorating and then moves room by room through the home showing you exactly how to apply the elements to each room yourself.
I will be sharing some photos of the inside of the book in the weeks leading up to the launch on March 1st so check back soon for a behind the scenes sneak peek.
Was it difficult writing a book?
I never thought I was much of a writer. I wrote countless essays at university but always left it to the last minute and took full advantage of the +/- 10% word count rule (hint, I was always in the minus 10%!). Yet writing the content for this book was not a difficult task. I certainly had moments of procrastinating but overall I quite enjoyed writing all 30,000 words. I think when you’re writing about a topic you are passionate about it comes easily. I will admit proof reading my work was a real struggle. I much preferred writing than re-reading so I enlisted the help of my very patient and clever mother who read the manuscript at least three times in full marking up her changes and advice as she read before I submitted it to the publishers. (Don’t worry, I thanked her in the book so she knows how grateful I am!)
Yes the book has my name on it but it took more than just me to get this book on shelves! Obviously the book wouldn’t be anything without the help of Maddison Rogers and her illustrative skills. There were a number of other special people who helped keep me focused and motivated to get it written and I have thanked them profusely in person and in the book.
Having now gone through the publishing process with two different publishers I can’t speak highly enough of the team at Hardie Grant. It’s a difficult thing handing over your manuscript and illustrations and entrusting your vision to come to life with a team you hardly know but the team I worked with understood what I wanted the book to be and brought it to life 100 times better than I could ever have envisaged. So many of my friends who have seen the front cover can’t believe how much it epitomises my entire being: my design aesthetic, my portfolio of work, my personal style and every photo I post on Instagram.
You’ve probably lost interest in the story now so I’ll wrap it up for now. A lot of people find the book publishing process fascinating (I certainly did) so I will share more soon.. I’ve been busy working on a super cute video to show you more of the book as well as a range of products with Little Branch and Maison Blanche. I won’t spoil the surprise yet but they are looking very very lovely so stay tuned!
If you’ve scrolled straight to the bottom, the book is released to all good book stores on 1st March. It will be available for pre-sale via this link very soon. You can enter your email address to be notified the second we are pre-selling!