More Copyright and a FREE Pattern

First book came in 2004. Proposed in 2002. I had been an editor with Quilt Magazine for 10 years and knew my way around designing, sewing, and publishing and figured I would be picked up immediately. Ha! I was rejected by the first publisher (C & T) and was so depressed. Then, after attending a local writing seminar where I heard - just pick yourself up and go to another publisher. This happens all the time to writers who later become SO famous (can you say J. K. Rowling?)

Royal Star appeared in 2 of our magazines

I wanted to feature quilts made with black. I wanted to call the book "Black By Popular Demand." They didn't like it, so we named it "Bold, Black and Beautiful." I didn't think it was so catchy, but the publisher holds the purse strings. They also didn't mind that the eventual cover quilt had graced a magazine cover.

Royal Star on book cover

The contract was fair - a standard document recognizing my rights to my Intellectual Property and that when the book no longer was in print, ALL RIGHTS revert back to me. However, I was more savvy by this time and I added a line to the contract:

"I retain ALL rights to the electronic files. They are NOT the property of American Quilter's Society and they do not have the right to publish the book files in any other format than print."

They signed off on it.  Everything went well. The book sold about 10,000 copies. I began touring and lecturing to guilds with these quilts. I was teaching workshops. I was paying bills and college tuitions and for weddings.

I had a variety of quilt designs, from dresden plate wedges disguised as butterflies:

Storybook Butterflies

To solid shot cottons edged in gold threads for a clean, fresh look. I re-purposed this 98 Dancing Squares for Windham Fabrics several years later because I OWNED ALL RIGHTS, and didn't have to ask: "Mother, may I?"

98 Dancing Squares

Read the blog post about four of these quilts and get the FREE pattern!

I bundled all the files onto a CD which looked just like the book. Everything navigated from a web browser and the patterns were easy to view and print in a pdf format. I was selling these. People loved being able to have the book where they could print what they wanted (especially for the foundation paper pieced quilts).

Foundation pieced Mariner's Compass

Then AQS acknowledged that the print run was over. All rights reverted to me, HOWEVER, I got a call from Meredith Schroeder (publisher) that their plan was to produce a digital copy of the book and offer it for sale. 

I said, "No, you're not." 

She said, "Yes, we are." 

"No, you're not - go read the contract!"

I got a call back the next day where she sheepishly admitted that she was wrong and that the electronic files belonged to me and not AQS! You can bet that AQS was going to make sure they wrote a tighter contract after that.

The book was published in 2004. Early 2005 I was on a teaching trip to California and 2 of my quilt suitcases were stolen from my hostess' car. That's another story, but I lost 25 quilts (10 from the book!) Another setback, but I was tough and carried on.

More next time on some other fun things about copyright and who owns your stuff!


  1. Good for you learning how to protect your rights!

  2. You were a fast learner! It's paid off for you, even though it was a lot of work.

  3. I am glad this was a better experience (except for the theft of the quilts).


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