I’m on holiday this week, though we returned from our road trip a couple of days early, each of us plagued by some variation of a wicked head and/or chest cold. The upside is that I can tell you about an awesome book giveaway, and also I can take way more naps and drink way more tea than I could if we were away from home.
Oh My Handmade Goodness has paired a copy of Make It Mighty Ugly with a set of twelve notebooks, which is pretty much the perfect giveaway pairing ever (enter on their Facebook page!). Especially if you’re going to do a Year of Making, eh?
Speaking of #yearofmaking, my interview with Miriam Felton in the latest Compulsory Podcast episode seems to be convincing people that it’s a good idea to start one. Of course I agree. (If this is the first you’re hearing of it, #yearofmaking is a commitment to make something – anything – every day for a year. Nothing huge or daunting. Could be dinner [from the freezer]. Could be a row of knitting. Could be a masterpiece. Whatever. Just something, even a tiny bit, every day. Share a photo – crappy photos most welcome – with the tag #yearofmaking so you can keep track and others can follow along. My first #yearofmaking is coming to an end, and it was a surprisingly transformative project. For real. I’m going to do it again in 2015.)
I’ve received the manuscript for the #yearofmaking ebook back from my editor, and I’m still aiming to have it ready before the end of 2014. It’ll have a bunch of worksheets and wee bits of advice to help you figure out what you love to make, and to help you keep track of what you make over the course of the year. Also, it’ll have some tips and advice for how to ensure that a year-long commitment isn’t a stressful commitment, but rather a fun and satisfying one.
Ok, time for more tea.
Miriam Felton is a knitwear designer and all-around maker living in Salt Lake City. She has been self-publishing since 2004 and now teaches and designs full time.
In 2013, she committed to what she called a Year of Making – every day that year, she documented something she made by sharing a photo of it online, with the hashtag #yearofmaking. To get herself going, she further committed to make all of her new clothing that year.
Miriam continued into a second year of making in 2014, without the clothing constraint, and on a whim last January 1st, I decided to do it, too. Many others have joined in over the course of the year, but I had never managed to talk to Miriam about this project. Until now.
- Miriam’s website
- Miriam on Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry and Pinterest
- Social Print Studio and their Memory Box
- Bullet Journal
- If you’re doing a year of making, or you want to start one, use the #yearofmaking hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to tag your photos of daily making, and to follow along.
- To be notified when my Year of Making ebook is available, subscribe to my newsletter, and/or follow me on Twitter or Instagram.
I remember when Etsy launched. Pretty much, I mean. Because obviously I don’t remember the exact moment, but I do remember the huge news of it. And I remember thinking, “What kind of stupid name is that?” And I remember being all, “Holy crap, this is amazing.”
I’ve been to Etsy HQ in Brooklyn. I sat on a panel there once. I spoke at an Etsy conference in Portland once. But though I have worked with many, many sellers of goods over the last decade, until last month I had never sold any goods online, myself. I have always worked on the editorial side of the crafts industry.
In the time since Etsy came around, the e-commerce landscape has changed dramatically. It’s no longer brain-breakingly difficult to set up an online store – not only because Etsy’s still around, and also Shopify and BigCartel and any number of other options, but also because there are plugins to get the job done in a relatively straightforward manner on platforms like WordPress.
When I decided in October that I wanted to sell personalized, signed copies of my book, I didn’t really even consider using Etsy. I didn’t already have a shop there, so there was no audience there for me to build on, and I’m a DIY web person, so I barely challenged my assumption that the obvious way to proceed would be to build a shop on my own website.
I installed the free plugin, and I paid for a few extensions for it that would make my shop better and my life easier, and I got it all set up.
And then I didn’t really like it. I felt like if I was a potential signed-book buyer, I wouldn’t really be impressed by this author’s online shop. It didn’t quite look right.
And as the author, I wanted it to look better. But I didn’t really feel like I had time to do that task justice and still have books available in time for holiday delivery.
So the morning I was ready to launch my not-quite-great shop, I went over to Etsy to see if maybe that might be a better solution, at least for now.
Holy smokes, you guys. I had my Etsy shop set up and ready to go in like an hour.
And so then I launched both shops, and decided to see which one is a better solution for me on the back end, and which one is more popular with customers.
I launched the shops not quite two weeks ago. Since then, I’ve made one sale of one product on my website, and five sales of a total of seven products on Etsy.
For one of the Etsy sales, I needed to make a partial refund due to some confusion I created. I thought it would take me a while to figure out how to do that. It took me approximately fifteen seconds to get it done.
Etsy’s seller app on my phone makes a delightful ka-ching when I make a sale. The delightfulness of this is neither to be dismissed as useless nor underestimated for its significant degree of happy-making.
Now, if you’ve been a seller of handmade goods for a long time, I know you may be smirking at the naïve author going on about how great Etsy is. I’m well aware that longtime Etsy sellers have had more than one bone to pick with the service, and a lot of the complaints I’ve heard have been both very real and very appropriate. But I’m not naïve, despite being a noob. It’s quite possible that down the line I’ll decide Etsy is no longer the best solution for me, but not for now.
For now, Etsy most certainly is a great solution for me. For now, I see the fees I pay Etsy the same way Abby Glassenberg sees them – as a pretty darned inexpensive way to reach people. And I see the Etsy platform as one that lends credibility and ease of use to my brand-new shop. Like Abby says in her post, Etsy is a household name. My name is not a household name. My (small) sales numbers support my suspicion that people trust Etsy more than they trust me (or, at least that they trust the Etsy platform more than they trust my own platform).
I don’t know why I’ve been surprised by how simple and robust Etsy is, but I sure am glad I’m using it.
Of course I’d really and truly suck as a seller of things if I didn’t remind you that Thursday is the last day in 2014 to order a personalized signed copy of Make It Mighty Ugly, or a personalized signed bookplate. Lucky that orders placed by Thursday should have no trouble arriving at their destination in time for gift-giving.
- I’ll be signing books at Urban Craft Uprising on Saturday afternoon.
- I did a wee interview with UCU, in fact.
- Etsy is kind of blowing my mind, it’s so awesome. Far more straightforward than running my own shop on this site. I’ll keep them both going for now, but at the moment it looks like Etsy may win in the new year.
- I still have some Wonder Woman stationery for sending out with signed bookplates.
- And with signed books, I’m including a wee Mighty Ugly starter kit (see photo above), with some fabric scraps and doodads for making an ugly creature (as found on page 67 of the book). Because you’re special. And also because the people you’re giving a signed book to as a gift soon are special. And also because I’m a bit overrun with craft scraps.
- I will be on holiday after December 13th, and won’t be sending out anything after that date, until early January. So what I’m saying is, there’s a bit of a deadline for December orders of signed stuff.
Kate Atherley has a knack for explaining things clearly. For the last decade, she’s applied that knack to knitting, working as a designer, teacher and technical editor. And now, she’s written a book that takes all of her experience and boils it down for all designers to benefit from.
I edited Pattern Writing for Knit Designers, and I loved working with Kate. But more than that, I’m just so excited that this book is out in the world. It’s for everyone from utter pattern-writing beginners to seasoned pros. Kate breaks down the sections of a knitting pattern (they’re the same for crochet, obviously), she addresses common issues related to naming stitches and sizing designs, and she highlights advice from other professionals and from avid knitters.
This book is thorough. And comprehensive. I think it could very well make the entire world of knitting better.
Speaking of editing, I’m currently booking contracts into early 2015. If you have a book, ebook, or craft pattern project you’d like to discuss, shoot me an email!
Meighan O’Toole is a digital media strategist who is passionate about connecting people to objects, art, and ideas that better their personal or professional lives, and she derives great meaning in her own life from fostering those connections. In today’s episode, we talk about Meighan’s compulsion to share, and about the connections, conversations and relationships that result from sharing.
- Meighan’s website, and the What’s Your Story podcast
- Meighan on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
- My Love for You art blog
- Stanford researcher explores why cliques thrive in some high schools more than others
- TEDxVictoria – Alexandra Samuel: Ten Reasons to Stop Apologizing for your Online Life
I spent ages setting up the new shop on my website, only to decide that what I really need to do is update the look of the whole site, which is a bigger project for another time. And so when I decided that, I also decided to open up shop on Etsy. Because why not.
I’ve stocked these shops with copies of Make It Mighty Ugly that I will sign for you, for your friends and family, and for anyone else you’d like to give a signed book to (including that art teacher in high school who said you were doing it wrong, and your neighbour who’s always so desperately interested in all the projects you do).
I’ve also put bookplates in there, for people who already have a copy of the book but would like to have it signed (a signed bookplate is a sticker, signed by me, that fits perfectly on the title page of the book).
And for kicks, I’ve also listed signed prints of Be Explicit, since I had those made up, so why not. One of those would be a great gift for a writer or editor you really like.
Shipping both within Canada and to the U.S. ain’t cheap, but I hope you’ll think it’s worth it for some signed bookish treats. I’ll certainly include an extra wee treat or two in your package, because obviously. In fact, until I run out, I’m writing quick notes on Wonder Woman stationery. Again, obviously.
If you have questions about any of this, let me know!