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How craft books are made

I have seen hundreds of craft books over the last couple of years and have startedCraft publishers Serch Press to wonder what happens before the finished book arrives in the shops.  I had many questions about how publishers come up with ideas for books, what stages are involved in the process, how they can predict what will be popular 2 years ahead of time etc.  Fortunately popular craft publisher Search Press invited me to come and spend the day with them to find out how it all works.

The Search Press Team--->



For those of you who haven’t come across Search Press before they are a family run craft publisher based in Tunbridge Wells in Kent.  Founded in the 70’s by Charlotte De La Bedoyere the company is now in the hands of her son Martin.  They publish around 100 new titles a year as well as distributing titles from other publishers and have 26 employees.  I was very impressed by their beautiful offices and friendly welcoming staff who were happy to take the time to explain how everything works despite the fact it was the day before The London Book Fair so they were very busy.   

I got a guided tour of the premises which includesSearch Press Offices in Tunbridge Wells, Kent a huge warehouse full of tens of thousands of books (heaven), the studio where their authors come and craft whilst photos are taken for the book, the meetings rooms which they open up to local crafters & artists to use free of charge and the large open plan office where all the staff work (some bring their dogs in too). 

The clever thing about their offices is that the seating of the staff follows the progress of a book during the publishing process, so the book starts with staff one side of the room and by publication has worked its way across the room.   The basic stages to producing a book are:




The concept of the book comes about in 1 of 2 ways, either the author approaches Search Press with an idea for a book or Search Press approach a person and ask them to write a book for them on a specific subject.  More information about this below in our mini interview with editorial director Roz Dace.


The author comes into the Search Press offices bringing samples and sits down with the editors to plan exactly what will be in the book.  A flat plan is drawn up, the content for every page mapped out, so the author knows exactly what is expected of them.


The author comes and spends a few days in the Search Press studios making up the projects for the books whilst the photographers take photos of every step and the editors write up the step by step instructions. 


The content of the book and the photos are put together and a proof sent to the author so they can check they are happy with the wording, layout etc.

Search Press editorial team

The Editorial Team




The book is sent to the design team to sort out the layout, enhance pictures etc, another proof is then sent to the author at this stage.


PDFs of the book are sent to production; they then send it onto the printers and plan the printing/shipping schedule for the book.


Whilst the book is being printed and shipped the PR team are at working sending out details to potential stockists as well as to the press to generate advance publicity for the book. 

Warehouse full of craft books

The Search Press Warehouse - Books Galore!



Sales & Distribution

Once the books arrive in the UK they are sent out to stockists and reviewers as well as listed on the Search Press website and featured in their mail order catalogue.

The whole process takes approximately two years from start to finish, they are currently planning new books for 2014!  So I had to sit down with editorial director Roz Dace and find out how they can predict trends so far ahead, and for you budding authors out there what they look for in an author/book pitch.

Roz Dace Search Press commissioning editor

Firstly Roz what qualities do you look for in an author?                                                        

We love people who teach because they are very good at explaining what they do; the same can be said of bloggers who are also used to breaking down their craft into simple steps so others can follow it.  We also want people who are very good technically, quality is very important.  Plus of course we want new innovative ideas.   Authors who are proactive and good at self promoting are always a bonus too.

How would a prospective author go about pitching an idea to you?

We have a great guide on our website which tells you exactly how to pitch a proposal to us and how the process works. 


You are currently planning books for 2014, how can you predict what will be popular in 2 years time?

Intuition is a key part of my job, being able to spot a new trend as it is emerging so that by the time it is popular we have a book ready.  We look in several places for inspiration: seeing what is popular at shows and in the shops, magazines, the internet and reader feedback.

We are also very keen on expanding our current series, such as thepopular  20 to Make Series, so we are always looking out for ideas which would fit well with those.

What do you have coming up that you can tell us about?

The next book in the 20 to make series is a good enough to eat title: Chocolate Animals, and we are launching a new Love to Sew series with two books: Hanging Hearts and Pincushions, which we are very excited about.

Search Press craft books - How books are made

  Find out more about Search Press by visiting

Written by Fiona Pullen