FriYAY Friends

FriYAY Friends: An Interview with Jenny Wilding Cardon

Christa's version of Plumb Lines from The Ultimate Guide of Machine Quilting with its honorable mention ribbon at MQX 2017. Pattern by Angela Walters. 

Christa's version of Plumb Lines from The Ultimate Guide of Machine Quilting with its honorable mention ribbon at MQX 2017. Pattern by Angela Walters. 

Happy FriYAY, y'all!!

Can you believe that the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop starts Monday?? Yeah, me either. There's still time to Amazon Prime your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters so you can jump right in with us! Be sure to tag your stitches with #MachineQuiltingBlogHop so we can see! 

We've talked with Christa and Angela (and have more from them coming!), but I realized that we'd all love to know more about the publishing world behind a wonderful book like theirs. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Martingale and their lovely content editor, Jenny Wilding Cardon, to give us the inside scoop on crafty publishing!

Jenny Wilding Cardon

Jenny Wilding Cardon

1) Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your interests, your hobbies, etc. How did you join the publishing world and what is your role at Martingale?

First, thank you for having me (and Martingale) here at your blog! I’m Jenny, and I’m the content editor for Martingale. I choose topics and write for Martingale’s Stitch This! blog. I also post to Martingale’s Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages, and I create content for our YouTube page as well.

I’ve been with the company for more than 15 years, starting as a copywriter in Martingale’s home office near Seattle. When my husband and I decided to move to Utah, the publisher at the time asked if I’d like to try “telecommuting.” Back in 1999 that was a fancy new-fangled word! But since then I’ve been working for Martingale full-time from home, with the exception of two years, during which I became a full-time mom to my boys, Jack and Charlie. Martingale is a wonderful, creative place to work—I’m inspired by something new every day! I’ve also written two books for Martingale: The Little Box of Baby Quilts (2007) and ReSew (2011).

2) How does a quilting or craft book get started? What are some things Martingale loves to see in their books?

Sometimes one of our acquisitions editors will approach a designer about writing a book; other times, designers come to us with a proposal. We love hearing ideas both ways! Our goal is to create beautiful books with lush, close-up photography so you can see every detail of a project, and to provide instructions that will take a maker from start to finish smoothly and easily.

Whether we’re considering a project-based or a technique-based book for publication, it’s important for a book to have a strong hook—a new twist on an old favorite, a different approach to a technique, or fresh projects and topics that are ahead of the trend.


3) Once a book idea is launched, what is the process of writing, editing, and design that leads to publication? 

Now this I have some experience with! Once a contract is signed, an author is given an allotted number of months to create a manuscript and projects. Once the manuscript is submitted, a close partnership begins between the author and our editorial team—book design, photography, technical editing, cover design, and even the title of the book are all important parts of bringing a book to life in a way that will connect with and inspire the makers who buy it.   

4) How is creative community important to a book publisher? How does Martingale strengthen the creative community?

Without the creative community, there is no Martingale. Our authors come from the creative community, our customers come from the creative community, and our staff is part of the creative community. The creative community is our tribe! In our 40-year history, we’ve never connected more closely with people who enjoy our books as we have with the arrival of social media. It’s wonderful—and the inspiration goes both ways. We inspire them, and they inspire us!

A strong creative community needs bridges to connect makers of all kinds, and we hope we help make those connections through our books. And because books, along with social media, blogs, and brick-and-mortar meetups are a way to make first contact with people who are curious about quilting and sewing, we provide a fun, inspiring, and trusted introduction to the maker world.

A closeup of Plumb Lines (photo from @christaquilts on Instagram)

A closeup of Plumb Lines (photo from @christaquilts on Instagram)

5) What advice do you have for a creative person who aspires to write a book? 

Develop that hook. Each author needs a big idea that plays to her or his strengths. What’s your BIG idea? What is unique about your style, or your approach to a technique? And what kind of strengths will you bring to your book after publication—are you savvy at social media, are you a great teacher, a strong public speaker? Think about your strengths and how they can benefit your book throughout the process, and then use those strengths in partnership with us! You can download a book-proposal packet at our website,

Christa's Butterfly Whole Cloth Quilt

Christa's Butterfly Whole Cloth Quilt

Thank you so much, Jenny! You've helped us understand how a wonderful book like The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting comes into being, and you've given us some food for thought about what our "hooks" might be. Thank you!

Y'all be sure to click all the links up in the first question to explore all of Martingale's online presence, and you can find Jenny on Instagram @visible.mending. You can find me on Instagram @stringandstory, and you can get all the #machinequiltingbloghop details by clicking on the badge below. Also, if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, the second edition will go out tomorrow, and you don't want to miss out!

Happy weekending!


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