Thursday, January 29, 2015

Crazy Quilt Swatch Blanket - Sneak Peek from Crafting a Colorful Home + a Story

Photo by Rikki Snyder from Crafting a Colorful Home, Roost Books 2015
I'll begin with this - I have always been a "saver" - even before I lived in frugal New England. Good and bad I suppose but that is the way I am. Do you know the book by Donald Hall "String Too Short To Be Saved"? I have always loved it.

When I worked for Classic Elite, one of the big parts of my job was to develop and test new yarns. That always began with a swatch. After we decided to purchase the yarn and put it into the line, I would have to design sweaters for each yarn (along with my co-workers Cathy Payson, Linda Pratt, Lori Gayle, Pauline St. Germain, and Susan Mills). Mostly I would swatch at night while watching t.v. 

For me, the challenge of designing a piece of knitwear is in getting the swatch right - matching up a particular stitch pattern with a yarn. The swatch is what speaks to me and determines the type of garment to be made. After that, it is all a bunch of math. The designs would be sent to our fantastic team of test knitters. 

Because for me, a design is always about the swatch, I held onto my swatches for years and years and years. I moved them to this house 16 years ago, stuck them in a closet in a plastic bag and forgot about them. When the Crafting a Colorful Home book came about, I knew that I had now found a purpose for all those saved swatches. I would make a giant blanket out of them and I would call it my "lifetime" blanket or something along those lines. 

First off, I separated the swatches by color. For the past 20 years or so, I have been designing with saturated, bright colors and darker earthy tones. I had a bunch of off white, tan, brown, and other colored swatches that just would not fit the scheme of my decor or fit in with the other swatches. I called my friend Gail Callahan (aka The Kangaroo Dyer and designer and producer of the Color Grid) and asked her if I might be able to use her awesome dye studio to dye some swatches. Gail said "come on down" (she lives only 10 minutes from our farm) and one afternoon, Gail spent a couple hours with me dyeing swatches. Thank you Gail! (Note that I only used animal fibers - wool, mohair blends, no synthetics so I knew that the swatches would take the acid dyes nicely). Here is Gail with the finished newly colored swatches. 
 

Here are the swatches drying outside my studio.


I started piecing the Crazy Quilt Swatch Blanket together on July 18, 2013. I know this because Kevin Ford was shearing our sheep in a field behind someone else's house. I was helping. Between picking up fleeces, there is a lag time of about 5 minutes or so. I get bored very easily and so I decided to bring some swatches with me to start the blanket while I waited for the fleeces to be sheared. Here's Kevin shearing the sheep......


Here is the first section of the blanket on the grass outside the shearing enclosure.....


Once I started, it was hard to stop. I had two very large bags of swatches to work with. I kept sewing sections together, piecing the swatches in random fashion. Sometimes row to row, sometimes stitch to selvedge edge. 


I started with small sections, piecing them together not really knowing how it all would shake out. 

 

Oh, and I forgot to say - before piecing, I washed all the swatches so they were nice and clean. And because we have cats.

 

Once in a while I wanted to use a swatch but it didn't fit. I got out my sewing machine and in steeking fashion, zig zagged a straight line and chopped off the piece I didn't need. I showed you that on August 2, 2013 here.

Once in a while, there was a bit of moth damage to a swatch. I either embroidered over it or crocheted a small circle.......


or odd shape to sew on top of the hole. 


or just whipstitched it - which I really want to fix.


On some of the swatches I added a bit more embroidery to make them more fun. 


Many of the swatches were made during the design time for my books Kristin Knits and Color by Kristin. You may recognize some of the patterns. Maybe you have knit some of them? Some of the swatches go back to the pages of Vogue Knitting. (BTW, Thank you TRISHA for that write-up about Crafting a Colorful Home on the VK FB page!)


Some of the swatches are over 20 years old and the yarns have been long discontinued. Sadly, I know that many of the mills that made the yarns have also now gone out of business. 


I've got a lot of memories in this blanket - of a career I loved working for a small business, learning the ropes of business. 

Of learning to chart and draw patterns using Adobe Illustrator.


Of typing patterns to be typeset by a typesetter in his basement before the days of desktop publishing.....

Of trips abroad to mills to procure yarn...


Of trade shows, awful airline flights - 2 things I really do not miss.

But one of the nice memories that I have from working on this blanket is the memory of the friends I have made through the yarn business. My co-workers and colleagues (you know who you are), our old boss Pat Chew who passed away a few years ago, of the fire that devastated our business in the late 1980's and all we learned to be able to keep the business afloat because of the kindness of vendors, customers, and a big old SBA disaster loan. 

When I am working on a book, I get rather frazzled (okay, not rather, extremely). I do this all alone and sometimes I just wish I had help. Luckily, my great friend Cathy Payson (who also used to work at CEY) asked if she could help with anything and I said YES. Cathy took the train from Boston where she lives and we spent a weekend sewing swatches together. 


We had the absolute best time, reliving crazy stories, sharing new ones, talking about people we knew through CEY and wondering how they were. It was a great couple days. 


Here is the progress we made. As the pieces grew we used the large table in my studio as a base to sew against. The blanket started getting heavier. To manage it all, we made 3 separate sections. Where there were gaps, we sorted through the stacks of swatches and picked ones that fit in the holes.


It was really quite a puzzle - but a good one. 

 

Cathy left and I kept sewing until the blanket was big enough for a double bed. I loved what I had made and envisioned how it would look in the future book.  Here it is outside on the fence - before the blanket's big moment. 


So there you go - the story behind the Crazy Quilt Swatch Blanket - my knitting life and work and personal life all rolled into one giant blanket. Maybe you might like to make one? See - there is a reason to make a swatch besides the obvious reason. 

You can purchase my book on my website here. I'm offering FREE Shipping, a Kristin Illustrated Bookplate, and some free Kristin photographed postcards.  My family and I really appreciate the support by direct sales of books to you. You can read a little more about that here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Storm Report + You Don't Do Paypal?

Here is Winston before the storm last night. 


I tried to snap a selfie with him - because he is such a pal and he loves me. Here's what I got. He just wanted to roll around and get attention. Love this huge dog!

 

Happy to tell you all that we got only about 8" of snow. I know others are digging out (or thinking about it). Sorry for you all, seriously - I know how hard it is. We are very relieved because 2 feet of snow makes everything harder - especially sheep farming. I looked at My Farmer the other day in the barn when he was flipping a ewe over to check to see if she had any milk because her lambs did not seem to be "thriving." He looked so tired. It is all taking a toll on him - this has been a really horrible, cold, icy winter - the worst weather since we moved here almost 16 years ago.

That mama that The Farmer had checked did indeed have only one teat producing milk. Sheep have two teats as opposed to cows which have 4 teats. We left her with one lamb and the weaker one is here in the kitchen. I'm not sure it will make it but we will try.

Today there was no school (Julia was thrilled). Because I work freelance, I had to keep going. "Pages" are due for a new book that comes out next summer and the publisher doesn't really care about snow and blizzards considering I work from home. So I persevered and am almost finished with that bit of a chunk of work.

My shipment of books from the warehouse didn't come last night (since when is UPS chicken when the snow has not yet started?) and of course, no books today. I hope for tomorrow! If you ordered after the 18th, your books will be shipped in the next batch. I ran out of tissue paper (also on order and delayed) so if your book arrives in Christmas wrapping paper, just smile, okay?

Seriously everyone - thank you so much for the orders that you are sending me and my family. Keeping me busy and that is totally great! 

If you don't do Paypal, like a few people have written - no problem. You can still support our family by ordering a book from me. Here is how:

Send a check for $27.95 written out to Kristin Nicholas and tell me you want a book, which bookplate (Flower or House), and how to sign it. (If you are in Massachusetts, make it for $29.70. Send the check to:

Kristin Nicholas
PO Box 212
Bernardston, MA 01337

and my friend Jim, the Bernardston Postmaster, will make sure I get it. If you want to give me a heads-up that the check is coming to the PO, send me an email at kristinnicholas AT gmail DOT com. 

If you would like to see some more previews from Crafting a Colorful Home, check out the post over on WiseCraft today here. Thanks so much Blair!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thank You and Some Unrelated Sunday Ramblings

Thanks so much everyone for the book orders. This week I received a note on a book order from Marianne. She wrote "I hope that your book is a success and that the knitters and crafters have been able to help you, The Farmer, and Julia to maintain the farm and your lovely, colorful country home." This note really hit home with me this week as I packed orders. It actually made me cry. I reached out to you all and so many readers have ordered books. I think this is one of the most wonderful things that has come of the internet for our family. I have watched Kickstarter campaigns, and other crowd-funding campaigns and contributed to some that I truly believed in. I guess this was my own version of a Kickstarter and I am so thankful for all the orders. I know that the economy isn't great yet for most of us (will it ever be?) and that you could have just as easily ordered from somewhere else so Thank You!

I have processed all books ordered received on or before the 18th (last Sunday) and they will be going to the Post Office tomorrow. Jim, the Postmaster, has me in come during his lunchtime so that I do not hold up other customers - gotta love a small town! I have another shipment of books coming tomorrow evening (fingers crossed they get here before the storm) which will cover all orders in house with extra for any incoming orders. There is still time to order and receive the freebies that I am including. Check it out here.  

Here are some interesting things I have found this week.
• My friend and fellow author and blogger Jane Brocket, is offering Free PDF downloads of her Grand Provincial Tour Series. Jane is the author of many, many books. She had plans to go the self-publishing route with a travel series called "Brocket in My Pocket". After some problems which she outlines in this blog post, she has decided to give away the first 3 for free. They are guides of UK cities from her perspective - which is smart, literary, homey, crafty, quilty, and design based. Check them out on her blog here.

Photo Rikki Snyder
•When I designed our kitchen here at the farm, there were 2 pieces of furniture that had to be used. One of them was my grandmother's Seller's Cabinet. I painted it bright orange. It has a flour bin and I store baking supplies and other things in it. This week on the Houzz.com website, they featured a photo of Gram's cabinet and profile these very American hardworking pieces of furniture. Check it out here

Inside the left hand door, there is a flour bin that I still use.

Photo Rikki Snyder
Tucked on the inside of the door is a little tool for the housewife - a shopping list called "Daily Reminders." These were the days of calling the market and home delivery was an option. Very cool that this paper has survived. Does anyone else have one of these cabinets? I love mine to death and I am sure Gram would be happy it is still being used.


The rolled portion of my cabinet is broken. I have never had the patience to take it apart and fix it. Instead, I made curtains out of some antique embroidered sleeves from a man's garment and hung them on a curtain rod. 

Photo Rikki Snyder
• I listen to a lot of podcasts while I am working. Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge does a great one. She has just put a round-up of all her 100 episodes splitting them into categories. For those of you who enjoy podcasts but not be totally designed obsessed, this break down will make it easier to pick and choose which to listen to. Check it out here.

There is a blizzard warning. This afternoon they are predicting 12 to 24" of snow. UGH is all I can say. I'm bringing in wood like crazy. The Farmer is prepping the barns and making sure there is plenty of hay ready for the sheep. Julia is looking forward to time off school. Have a great Sunday everyone.

Friday, January 23, 2015

From the Barns

We have heat lamps in some of the pens where the lambs are a bit weak and not ready to be out with the rest of the flock. Frequently there will be lambs laying on both sides of the fences, sharing the heat from the lamps. We buy the lamps from Premier Sheep Supplies. They aren't cheap but the cages on the bottom of them keep the lambs away from the light bulbs. Sheep are rough creatures and even with this system, the bulbs still break. You can also use them for brooding chicks (although I just use 100 watt bulbs for the chicks). 


When a lamb is really down and out, but not bad enough to bring back to the house, we will have a heating under the lamb so they are getting heat on both sides. A little heat often brings back a weak lamb.

Here are some cute close-ups of some of the lambs that are between a day and a week old. 



Can you tell the difference in the breeds of the lambs? Look carefully at their faces and ears. This year we used the following ram breeds: Polypay, Dorset, Cheviot, Dorper and a cross bred ram of our own breeding. The ewe flock is primarily Romney and Border Leicesters crossed over the years with the ram breeds above. 



When people ask me about sheep farming, I frequently tell them that it is science. Working with nature, animals, food, and the environment produces good healthy lambs. There is a huge learning curve even 30 years in. Julia and I call The Farmer our "sheep geek" because he is obsessed with researching and learning more and more about sheep and trying new techniques. 

This lamb is probably about a month old. He and a couple ewes are eating snow. 


This lamb with the big ears is a Dorset cross. We used a ram from Pennsylvania whose sire was from Australia. The farm which we bought the ram from imported the semen from Australia and use AI (artificial insemination) to breed their flock. High tech sheep breeding. So that ram's progeny have an Australian grandpa. Cool huh? I love the big long ears. The lambs this year are his first and we will see how they do on our land.


On the book front, I am receiving a large shipment of books from the warehouse this evening so I will be packing and shipping on Monday and all next week. If I can do it, I should have all orders out next week. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much for all the orders everyone.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lambing is Full Speed Ahead + Thank You!

I'll do the thank you first. You guys are fabulous. Thank you for all the Crafting a Colorful Home book orders. Today was the first day I was allowed to ship the books (it is release day). I have been packing books for days. I am shipping the books in the order that they arrived. Right now I am waiting on some more books coming in from the warehouse - so please be patient! And know how much you all have helped us here by buying signed books from me and my family. Seriously, so many thanks. Keep the orders coming because I have lots more of Crafting A Colorful Home on the way to me for shipping to you. Here is the link for ordering directly from me. And here is the link to the article I wrote about how a book is made. Thank you all! My readers are the best!

Lamb photos tonight for you all. The babies are literally popping out - about 5 a day but one day there were 20 born! This usually happens the third week after the first lambs begin arriving. We put the rams in with the ewe flocks August 1st and so technically, babies should have begun arriving January 1st (gestation is 5 months). But as with any birth, some babies arrived ahead of schedule. 


The cold and snow and ice has made it very difficult for The Farmer and the helpers. I particularly do not like walking on ice and the "cramp-ons" I got for my boots do not fit my super warm boots. Have not had any time to find larger ones so I wait until sand and salt has been put down to walk on the ice. 

This lamb is part Cheviot -I can tell by the ears.
We have a young woman interning with us this lambing season. Elissa works on a veggie farm in the summer and she wanted to learn about livestock farming. I think she is getting quite the education. Our friend Terri is also helping out but she is down with a nasty cold now. It is a long stretch of ups and downs but that is what farming (and life) is. 

Lambs frequently snuggle together to keep warm.
All three of these Mamas lambed within an hour of each other. The last one to lamb was trying to steal one of the babies from another mother. 



These two are twins from a black mama. Aren't their markings sweet? We aren't having many black lambs this year. Color is a genetic thing so it must be that the rams we are using now do not have the colored gene.


I'll post more tomorrow if time allows. And again -- thank you for the book orders. 

If you have any questions about lambing, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday What's Up


Popping in on a Saturday to share a few things..... Things never stop for weekends on a farm. Lambing is in full swing - 20 born on Thursday alone. I'll add some more photos of lambs at the end of this post.

I'm on the latest Webs Podcast being interviewed by Kathy Elkins. You can listen to it here. Thank you Webs for helping me get the word out about my new book Crafting a Colorful Home. Check out my website for ordering with free freight and a specially designed bookplate.

Craftsy has launched a Flash Sale until Sunday Evening 1/18. Get up to 50% off all classes over at Craftsy - including my Stitch It With Wool: Crewel Embroidery. Use this link - http://www.craftsy.com/ext/KristinNicholas_holiday to claim your discount. There are over 35 new classes including a new one by Myra Wood on Embroidery with Beads.

Speaking of Craftsy, my friend Marly Bird interviewed John Levisay, the CEO of Craftsy on her YarnThing Podcast on Thursday. Interesting interview with a visionary guy. I know I loved taping the Stitch It With Wool: Crewel Embroidery Class I did for them. All their classes are fantastically produced and you own them for life. Look - I even figured out how to embed the interview here! Wow.

Listen to internet radio with MarlyBird on BlogTalkRadio


To finish for today, here are some more photos from the lambing barns. Have a great weekend everyone!




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mad for Plaid - Vogue Knitting Winter 2014/15 Shawl Design

Thanks everyone for all the book love! I have such fantastic readers. It is amazing to see orders come in from names I remember from past orders. Truly - you all are the best. I'm still hoping for more.

Here is a bit of color for you all today on this winter day. I designed this easy to knit plaid shawl for the folks at Vogue Knitting. It is in their new Winter 2014/15 issue. Here's a close-up of it before I sent it out. (Obviously, I didn't realize I was going to post this on the blog, otherwise I would have tried a little harder with the styling.)



It is knit of my favorite mohair La Gran from Classic Elite Yarns. When the VK editors asked me to do a plaid, I wanted to make it relatively easy to knit with not too many bobbins - it is done in the intarsia technique because Fair Isle doesn't work for plaid designs. The slim vertical lines are worked after knitting in chain stitch. The nice thing about this project is that it is very lightweight and the finished shawl just floats in the air. The gauge is 3 1/2 sts per inch (I think? - sorry - do not have a copy of the mag handy) and the shawl could be cut down in width to make a scarf. Here are their photos on a beautiful red headed model. Love these pics. You can see a preview of the other projects here on their site.


It is being featured on their European COVER of their magazine which is called Designer Knitting. It is called this in Europe because they do not have the worldwide rights to
the "Vogue" name.



Speaking of Vogue Knitting, their big VKLive shindig is coming up in NYC in a couple weeks - January 16 to 18. I cannot go and teach because we will be knee deep in lambs but I will be there in spirit!  Have a great day everyone!

Friday, January 09, 2015

How A Book is Made + How You Can Help My Family

Yesterday I announced that I will be selling signed copies of my new book Crafting a Colorful Home: A Room by Room Guide to Personalizing Your Space with Color on my website and shared how the book came about. I am selling books along with offering FREE SHIPPING, an illustrated BOOKPLATE and a set of 5 assorted POSTCARDS to all those who order books from me. I love to sell signed copies of books because it helps me generate some money to help support our family and farm. (Click here to order.) I promised an explanation of why it helps when readers buy directly from me so here goes.....


Writing station in the kitchen ©Rikki Snyder
Writing a book is a real labor of love. You put your heart and soul into it, give your life away to it, and then you just hope people will read it and buy it. I'm sure some of you would like to know how writing a book works. Recently there has been some good discussion about this on the internet by other authors and I feel that it is time for me to share my experiences - as an author and illustrator of eleven needlework and craft books. 

For me, it goes like this. I work on a book proposal and talk it over with my agent Linda to see if she thinks any publisher might be interested. (I have not always had an agent but in 2012, I decided that I needed help in placing my books with different publishers and I also needed to know that I was not "screwing myself" by signing a bad deal. It was a really grown up moment for me when I realized this. Yes - I was 54 years old but some of us are slow learners.) My agent Linda looks over the proposal and gives me advice on what to change, how to make it more appealing, finding a different direction or telling me that the idea is basically not salable. I find the Book Proposal stage of any book incredibly helpful. By the time I am done with the proposal, I can tell if I am even going to want to write the book.

I set the proposal up in Adobe Indesign, adding my own photos and illustrations so that it looks appealing to a publisher. Once the proposal is ready, Linda sends it out into the publishing world and then she waits to see if any publisher is interested. Sometimes my proposals bomb. Sometimes they morph into a different project, and sometimes a publisher will take the book just as I have thought it through. Linda negotiates a contract and an advance for me. I sign, they sign, and then I get to work with an editor. My advances have been anywhere between $3,500 and $15,000. I'm thinking some of you might be a bit surprised by this amount considering the long period of time that it takes to write a book. Authoring is not the road to riches but it has its own rewards. I really wish advances were more but for me, they haven't been.


My past books Photo by Rikki Snyder
Upon signing the contract, a check for HALF the advance is sent to Linda. She takes a 15% commission and sends me the remainder of the advance. With that money, I have to fund all the projects, make them, write the book and instructions, pay taxes, live, and send in the completed manuscript on time. The time frame is anywhere between six months and a year and sometimes longer, depending on what season the book is going to be published in. I always try extremely hard to make my delivery deadlines to maintain my reputation with publishers.

After the editor goes through the manuscript, there are always changes, re-writes, tweaks, additions, subtractions, etc. There is a lot of work with an editor and assistant editor and a lot of reading and re-reading and re-writing. A photography date is chosen. Photography is so important for the visually centered books I do. I usually am able to request the photographer I would like to work with although they are not always accepted. For Crafting a Colorful Home, I chose Rikki Snyder, the photographer who introduced me and my home to the Houzz.com world in September of 2012. The next photo is Rikki during the shoot. She is tiny but a powerful, creative, and talented force and I LOVE working with her! 


For Crafting A Colorful Home, Rikki and I planned two different shoots of 4 days each in September and October of 2013 (yes, that long ago - I told you books take a long time!). Before each shoot, I had to clean like a mad woman and get the house ready for its big moment. Our shoot days are long - from very early morning to sundown. They are creative days, full of moving furniture, objects, looking at computer and camera screens, cooking and baking for the photographer and whoever else comes to help - sometimes I ask a friend to come, sometimes the photographer brings an assistant.  (We were lucky to have Sarah Zimmerman come for one of the shoot weeks. Sarah is also a photographer and the woman who introduced me to Rikki.)

The photos are edited and processed by the photographer and go to the editor. (I do not pay for the photography - the publisher does although on some book deals the photography cost is the responsibility of the author). The pages start to get designed and laid out by a Book Designer. A Copy Editor goes through the manuscript and I have to respond to all the queries and do more re-writes. The lay-outs and designs are finalized (I get to see them and put in my 2 cents although there is no guarantee the publisher includes my thoughts in changes.) 

In the midst of this, the cover is designed with the photos that have been sent to the publisher. I have nothing to do with that and only get to see the final pick that the publisher has made. I always cross my fingers that I will like it. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Covers are a very big deal and publishers with their sales teams and marketing departments obsess over the right look for the book. After all, it is the cover that makes you pick up the book in a bookstore or perhaps purchase it on-line, right? What do you think about the cover of Crafting A Colorful Home?

 

While this other stuff is going on, I am working on the illustrations for the book. These are my responsibility and I do not get paid extra to do them usually although sometimes I am lucky and there is extra money in the book budget to pay me. (I have illustrated other books for flat fees for other publishers too - I love that kind of work!). First, I do rough illos (that is what they are called in bookland) and then once the editor okays them, I fix and change anything that needs to be done. I transfer the line drawings to paper and paint them in gouache. Then I scan them to my computer and send the digital files to the editor. 

Kristin Nicholas Drawing Photo ©Rikki Snyder
The book is then laid out by the book designer. That must be like a giant jigsaw puzzle - picking the photos, matching them to the relevant type, cropping the photos, fitting in with the page count which has been established in the beginning so the publisher knows how much it all is going to cost to print. You probably have not ever thought about the size of pages, weight of paper, number of pages, book dust jacket (or none which seems to be the way it is going these days) which all determine the shipping and selling costs. 

The pages are printed out in black and white and sent to me along with a color PDF. I have to re-read and make any corrections to the manuscript. At this point, I can only make minimal corrections. This is the last time I see the book. (For Crafting A Colorful Home, it was the beginning of April 2014.)

After this step, I really do not hear much from the publisher at all. Sometimes I will be asked to help look for people I know and admire to supply "cover quotes" for the book. Some publishers send marketing questionnaires to help their publicity departments market the book better. It is a whole lot of dead time and gives me time to plan future projects and try to catch up on all the other stuff that has fallen by the wayside.

After the final read-through, my agent will put in for the second half of the advance although sometimes it is done sooner. That is usually the last money I will see for any book because I usually do not earn any more money past my advance. (The only book I have earned past my advance is Color By Kristin although I know the folks at Classic Elite probably are still collecting royalties on the first books I wrote while I worked there - Knitting the New Classics and Knitting Today's Classics). As you can see, craft book publishing is not the road to riches. I clearly need to find other ways to make a living!


Bookshelves in my kitchen. Pillows by me and patterns available on my website. Photo by Rikki Snyder

Many years ago, I saw a television interview with the author Janet Evanovich. I had never heard of her before but because it was on network t.v. and she was a big time best-selling author, I paid attention. I was impressed with Janet's story because she had her entire family working for her, selling signed copies of her books, building a website, packing them in her basement, etc. These were the days before Amazon and on-line shopping was not very common. I decided I would copy her and have a website built so that I could sell my books too. 

Because craft book writing is not the smartest way to try to make a living, I thought I should try to supplement my advance by reselling the books and earning the spread between wholesale and retail. For my first few books, this plan worked great and I was able to sell a few hundred extra books which turned into a nice chunk of change which was very helpful for our family. My direct sales of my books has dropped off significantly since 2009 because buyers are now more comfortable with ordering from Amazon - clicking a few buttons and done - voila. (I also have not had a lot of books coming out.) That customer comfort with Amazon is also the reason so many bookstores are going out.

Jon Katz, the "dog and animal" author frequently writes about how publishing is changing and how he is trying to find new ways to make money writing. I gather that at one time he made a very nice living writing books about dogs. I have followed his blog for many years. He has a subscription on his blog and is publishing ebooks.  He also works with a local bookseller in his tiny town of Cambridge, NY and they have been selling thousands of his latest book. I think he is single handedly keeping that little bookshop alive. What a story! 

I love what Jon is doing, but for me, because craft books do not sell nearly as many copies as dog books, I have to try to generate the book sales for myself. What does that mean to me and my family financially? Here's the thing - like I said before, I have not earned any royalties past my advance on any of the books I have authored except one. Chances of me earning any more money past my advance on Crafting a Colorful Home are slim - although as always, I am really hopeful. What's an author to do? Sell them herself. Sign them, wrap them, pack them, address the packages, and take them to the post office to send to you! I have a chance of making a little less than 40% of the retail regular cost of each book sold at regular price and the money will go directly into my family's income. Pretty much a no-brainer. 

That is where you guys come in. Order a book from me and know that you are helping me keep doing what you come here for - farming, photography, cooking, authoring, crafting, colorizing, inspiration, stories and more.

I am sure some of you are thinking the question - "What happens when I buy from Amazon or some other bookseller?" The answer is that those sales go towards my advance. I have to pay off my advance before I see anymore money from the publisher. I will earn about 25 cents per book towards paying off the advance on each book that gets sold by another bookseller. Also, most bookstores purchase books and have the option to return them forever. It doesn't seem to matter how many years ago they were published - the publishers still take the books back and that offsets in the negative any advance. I know because I have books that are out of print and I still see those negative amounts on my royalty statements that come in twice a year.  

For those of you looking to delve more into this subject, here are some good articles. Diane Gilleland's article from her Craftypod blog is entitled Is it Worth It To Write a Craft Book? You can read it here. Abby Glassenberg has an excellent series on Publishing Craft Books on her blog While She Naps. Read them here.

Bottom line is - I want to sell a lot of these books. Can you help me/us out? Click here to order from me - free shipping $27.95
OR
Click here to order from Amazon for $20.88, you add on the freight, and I will receive a few cents via my afffiliate link. 

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