Books + Magazines

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart

January 23, 2008

Have you ever dreamed of owning a book authored by y-o-u? Sharing your voice is important, I believe that each of us has a special gift, something truly unique and beautiful to share with others. A book (or a blog in my case) can be the channel in which to showcase that gift. Perhaps you are a motivator, an anthropologist, or a secretary with some humorous stories to share. Maybe you have an interesting story to tell about your family, a character trapped in your head that you’d love to give life to, a children’s book that’s ‘this’ close to being the next Harry Potter but you just don’t know it yet. How will you know if you don’t take the first step? Do you take amazing photos, have excellent ideas around floral arranging or wedding planning? Perhaps you’re a great cook, you sew really well, or live an eco-friendly lifestyle and have terrific tips to share. Have you opened your own store, lost a loved one, or pushed through fears to accomplish a dream? The reason why this intro is so long and question-filled is to stimulate you. Maybe one of these questions made you pause. Pay attention to the pause, it could mean something great is brewing inside and that you just may need to listen to it. We all have something important to share.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
Once you have your ideas together on paper, you can go the traditional route and submit your story through various publishing companies. One of my favorites is Chronicle Books because I’ve heard nothing but positive things about them from the many writers I know who they’ve published. Since you spend at least 18 months working on a book with your publisher, you’ll need to like them and most importantly, trust them and their vision for your book. Product packaging and marketing along with earning actual money from your hard work is also of importance and I’ve heard that Chronicle excels in these areas too. (Learn more about submissions here.) Chronicle Books and major publishing houses aside, perhaps you’ve heard of self-publishing. Have you considered the less traditional route as an option?

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
When it comes to self-publishing, where do you turn? How does it work? What’s in it for you? I can’t answer these questions, but I can point you to a decor8 reader that I admire because she just went this route and is already finding success with it over at Blurb. Her name is Kerry Pitt-Hart, you may know her from the etsy store Lush Bella or from these posts on decor8.

Kerry is an accomplished Photographer, Jewelry Designer, and Museum Educator and since January 11th, a new author. She has an Etsy store too. So much for wearing one hat in life, Kerry is involved in many things that she loves because each one brings her joy and satisfies her desire to explore and learn. I’ve included some images of her first book called I Spy, a mostly visual gem that also inspires imagination because alongside her photos of arrangements she includes a short somewhat poetic story or questions that ask the reader to get involved.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
I recently asked Kerry a few questions about I Spy so I thought I’d share her comments with you today.

decor8: What made you want to author a book?

KPH: Honestly…I get bored easily, though strangely at the same time, I can spend hours stringing and sewing extremely tiny beads onto pieces of lace. I’m kind of an anomaly, I guess. But I also like to write, and the thought of being able to write and design a book on my own was the perfect cure for the boredom I had at the time.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
decor8: How did you develop the concept?

KPH: It came to me when I received a message from Caitlin, who I met on Flickr. Before this, the book I was working on was a compilation of all the object photographs I’ve made up to the present, but she said something about my work that really struck a chord, and inspired some of the activities in the book. She said that my work reminded her of the grown up version of the i-spy books. So I set to work thinking of activities like the writing activity for “Follow Me II”, which is the arrangement of the scattered paper lithographs of Victorian-era butterflies arranged in a graceful curve fluttering after circles and dots. I also arranged some photographs side-by-side on the same page asking the reader to pick out the differences between them.

decor8: All of your little objects must have a history, do you reference that somewhere in the book?

KPH: Yes, in the back of the book are lists of the objects I used in each arrangement, so the reader can look up an object they may be unfamiliar with. I also tried to include where I found the object, like the spool of red and white thread that I unraveled from a length of polka-dot silk I picked up at a sidewalk sale next door to Momi Toby’s in Hayes Valley (San Francisco) several years ago.

decor8: Overall, how easy was it to use Blurb?

KPH: The software that you download is rather intuitive to use, though on my older Mac it kept crashing. However, realizing that it’s still in beta version I just worked through it and saved often. I was going to self-publish through Apple’s iPhoto, but it proved to be too cost-prohibitive for the number of pages I had. I also went with Blurb because of the fact that they’re out of San Francisco, have an online bookstore where you can sell what you publish, and because you decide what your “royalty” is. Plus, you can announce your book once you’ve published it by sending a message directly from their site where people can download a preview of the first several pages. I feel like a spokesperson for Blurb, but I think everyone should try it if they haven’t already.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
You can purchase her book here online and if you’d like to learn about self publishing straight from Kerry you can ask her by commenting below or you may visit Blurb online and refer to their FAQ page or visit Blurb forums. But if you’re anything like me, I prefer asking those who have experienced something for themselves so feel free to comment below with your questions.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
After viewing her arrangements, I have a question for Kerry. What do you do with your arrangements after you’ve photographed them? Do you place them inside of a shadowbox and sell them as works of art? You certainly could. I envision Kerry’s work in a gallery or a storefront, her originals alongside her prints along with I Spy. If I had a space for this, I would ask Kerry to do a book signing along with a show – this would be such an interesting and unique exhibit don’t you think? Someone invite Kerry! :)

(images from kerry pitt-hart)


  • Reply Stephanie January 23, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I covet her work SO much! I haven’t bought a print from her yet because I can’t choose! I definitely think I need to treat myself to her book. It’s AMAZING!!!!

  • Reply laurie January 23, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    thank you holly for posting this wonderful interview and congratulations kerry! you’re so talented and i am so happy that we’ve reconnected after all these years! xo

  • Reply Courtney January 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I love this idea. Kudos to Kerry for her creativity and for taking the initiative to make this project happen. Thank you decor8 for featuring this…it definitely gets my ideas flowin’!

  • Reply Meg January 23, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    yay for self publishing! i did my first project last year — available through

  • Reply nice-etc January 23, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    hahah I think she should have a book signing at her home (that we all would somehow magically be able to get to) and allow us to look carefully through all the drawers and boxes and nooks that she must have filled with treasures! …For some reason it seems like they can only belong to her..

    wonderful interview!!

    -caitlin ;)

  • Reply Lisa Hunter January 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    This is very cool.

    I wouldn’t recommend self-publishing to most people, though, because there’s a HUGE amount of behind-the-scenes work to get books into stores and let buyers know about them. Unless the book is just a keepsake for yourself, you’d need to be really entrepreneurial, which someone like Kerry already is. Bravo.

  • Reply Deepa January 23, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Holly, You are doing a great job with features like this. I didn’t even know about Blurb and that one can make a professional-looking book for personal use. I am so excited about this possibility. Your “house tours” were also fantastic – like images from one of the Jeu de Paume books at Kinokuniya!! You put a lot of effort into each post and it really shows. Thank you!

  • Reply lush January 23, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    now that i’ve recovered from a heightened state of mental activity, and my heart rate has slowed to its normal beat, i’m able to comment and to thank everyone for their kind words. they mean so much to me…you can hardly know.

    holly, to answer your question about what happens to all the objects once i’ve photographed them. “embrace” is still on the table. in fact, as i look around me now, almost every flat surface in the house is covered with piles of bits and bobs and stacks of books and boxes, which is why my dear husband is mentioned in the dedication.

    gareth, if you’re reading this, i try and try to reduce the unceasing clutter you live with, but i can’t seem to get a handle on it.

    however, when i do get around to organizing and clearing, which isn’t very often, they go back into boxes of all shapes and sizes.

    holly, you brought up something that i actually have in the works, which is eventually offering the actual objects themselves along with the prints. i just haven’t found a suitable way to contain them yet.

    i’m going to go lie down now.

    really, i can’t begin to tell you all how much this means to me.


  • Reply oldflowers4me January 23, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    i woke up and made myself my morning coffee – and then to see lush bella’s note to me- she said come over and have a little look here- aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh- lush my darling friend from across the ocean- im so proud of you- this is so fantastic-i hope 1 day to meet- oh im making a pot of jasmine tea- want to share-im just icing some lilac fairy cakes-lush- you have shown me some very beautiful things- opened my eyes to divine things- singing and skipping la la la love jo. im so happy for you-

  • Reply Veronica TM January 23, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    yay! thank you for featuring kerry! i love all her creations. what an inspiration.

  • Reply julieann January 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    great post holly! I love when you blog about these creative outlets, it only gets the juices flowing! Yet another outlet for our creative minds. Congrats Kerry, just Fabulous : )

  • Reply design snitch January 24, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Such a GREAT post, Holly! I know a lot of people might have their “what if” moment after reading this! I wanted to recommend a great book if anyone is wanting to write but just can’t get started… “How to Write and Publish Your Own Ebook in as Little as 7 days” by Joe Vitale and Jim Edwards is an incredible tool that really works. I was skeptical because it was SO hyped online, but it really did lay out a great (and fast) way to pull that book out of you. It’s like a submersion course in brainstorming and writing. Your publishing info and interview here was wonderful- I always wondered where to go or how to start with this- thanks!

  • Reply Nikkita January 24, 2008 at 1:58 am

    This is the best post I’ve seen in a long time. How wonderful to see such lovely work and to be also inspired to do something of my own! I love her collections and what a great idea to showcase them like that.

  • Reply karey m. January 24, 2008 at 8:59 am

    how is it that everything you highlight is just beyond-perfect? i could just live in this blog! thanks for daily giddiness you bring…

    and self-publishing is so great. it’s what i used to do in my pre-girlies life! for creatives with strong outlets for marketing and sales…a dream.

  • Reply Liz January 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I will join the chorus here: Such a wonderful interview with an awesome artist. SO cool to see her book, I have been an admirer of Kerry’s work for a while now. Thanks for all the self publishing info – great piece, thanks Holly!

  • Reply Barney Davey January 25, 2008 at 6:06 am

    What a great blog! I’m self-published myself and a fellow blogger at: My mission has been to help visual artists learn how to utilize the print market to help them enjoy more income from their creative output. Your encouragment here is right in line with that thinking.

  • Reply alice January 25, 2008 at 8:19 am

    i love this idea. i want to make my own now too!

  • Reply plumpudding January 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Holly, I’ve been checking in on your blog for a year now and am always inspired. Thanks for the great artist interviews, especially! Kerry’s work and photographs are lovely. I’m also glad to hear good things about Blurb, as I recently found it and suggested using it for children’s-related projects ( and, but have yet to actually use it myself! Thanks for a fun and inspiring read.

  • Reply Amy Nieto January 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    yay kerry! I haven’t been checking ANY of my blog subscriptions in almost five weeks and I had no idea Kerry published her wonderful images! Thanks Holly for featuring her :D :D :D yay for pretty things!

    (yes, i am the amy she mentions in the dedication. ^__^ *blushes*)

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