Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Selling Your Handmade Books- What level are you at?

I am now a contributor to the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team blog! My posts will be published each Tuesday, starting today... (ok, a little late on this one).

My main focus on the posts will be how to sell your handmade books online, locally, in stores, and in art galleries.

This first post is meant to help you get a bit organized by making a big decision. There are a few major decisions that need to be made when you start to sell your books. Even if you're a long time seller, and haven't yet made these decisions, making them now can help your business.  This post covers the first big decision and next week I'll cover decisions two and three, which, even if you're already established, are important things to think about and do.

Big Decision #1

What level of involvement are you at currently, and what level would you like to be on when it comes to selling your books?

There are three levels of involvement:
  • Hobby Level - You love making books and want to continue but materials can sometimes be pricey. At the hobby level, you really just want to make back enough money to cover costs and help pay for future materials for more books. All your money goes directly back into the books and your creative ventures.
  • Side Income Level - Since you're in need of a bit of extra income and you really don't want to sacrifice making books to get a second job, you've turned to selling your handmade books in hopes that you can do what you love and still contribute money to the monthly cash inflow.
  • Full Time Level - You love making books and want to make it your full time job. Part of your sales income will go back to materials for books, with most of the income going toward your spending budget to pay off bills and living costs.
Once you've decided which level you are currently on and which level you would like to be on, you'll have an idea of where you're going. This is the first step in making any goal a reality.

If you want to take a step up to the next level, there are many things to be done. Over the next few months I'll be sharing ideas, resources and opportunities for you to create goals and sell your handmade books on the level you want to be on.

Already know where you're at and what you want from your business? If you'd like to get ahead on next week's big decisions, go ahead and calculate the time it takes you to make a book, list a book, package a book and mail it. Do it for a few books and keep the numbers on hand as you read next week's post. I'll be talking about time, pricing and inventory.

I look forward to providing you with motivation and the know how to making your business work for you! 

(ooh, that sounded so big-conference-motivational-speechy)

~Karleigh Jae

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nokiaoo.com Scam

Edit: Near the end of this post are some email security tips, which can help prevent scams like the following from being perpetuated.

Edit II: Due to the popularity of this post, there are now at the end of the post two links to books that help in recognizing scams. For full disclosure, I haven't read either book, but they come with positive reviews at Amazon.com. May be helpful for safely staying away from other scams.

I received an email this morning from a fellow book artist which I'm sure she doesn't know about. It was for a great deal on a website and I had my husband take a look. This was his reply to it, which he just posted on his blog:
Just a warning as this looks like a new one, being that there is next to no word on it when I search for it. I did find an inquiry on Hoax-Slayer's Facebook page from someone who received the same email.
The following email came from the email account of someone my wife knows. No word yet on if that person sent it, or somehow her account was hacked.
Email subject line: "Share Surprise!"
Body of email:
"A friend of mine bought a laptop at a online store [a link to the website was here], he has received it and it has very good quality,this online store also sells TV,cellphone, and etc....
Recently this online store is making their promotion, they can offer very good discounts, and this promotion will be available for 30 days! If you like, please log on their website and have a try! I am sure you will get lots of surprises there, please always remember to share good deals with friends!

That whole email sounds scammy to me (english a bit off, clearly not written from a friend, and it ends in "Greetings!"). Flag one. When going to the site you see an actual site. Looks nice, seemingly well made, and low low prices. Ridiculously low. Flag number two. Click on the "About Us" and the english used is clearly from a non-native english speaker. Flag three. Claim that "all our products are produced from Korea." Flag four. Click on the "How to Payment" [sic] link and you get this line: "You can use online bank to pay, or go to your local bank or any other bank to pay. It is very easy and the bank worker also can help you." Flag Five. They provide info for paying via Western Union. Flag Six. Or pay via PayPal, but you must email them to get info for paying via PayPal "Because there are many frauds in Nigeria that use fake paypal to pay in order to deceive our products,so if you want to use paypal payment please enquire customer service MSN or email for paypal account." That's a direct quote. Flag Seven.

What a great scam. Built an entire site to enhance confidence, and because of it will likely nail a lot of people before word gets out on it. Then when word gets out, they'll now doubt port the site to a new domain and do it all over again.

Edit: A few email security tips learned from Popular Mechanics ("Securing Web Mail", 4/2009, p. 120):

Don't answer your security questions truthfully. If you do, many of the answers could often be found on the internet, even via something like your Facebook profile page.

Once sent, email can be intercepted. Info in them may also be used to hack your account if you are not careful about the info given in it. Gmail allows encryption of emails. To turn it on go to Settings: General, and scroll down to "Browser connection." Select "Always use https," the "s" standing for secure, or encrypted. Gmail will load slower, but your messages won't be so easily intercepted.

Hushmail.com supposedly offers even greater security for email.

If you use your phone for email, if it has passwords stored on it, and it was stolen, it could be related to your email account woes.

Edit: With the popularity of this post, I thought I'd offer two suggestions for books on scam recognition:
The Truth About Avoiding Scams
Scams & Swindles... How to Recognize And Avoid Rip-Offs In The Internet Age

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aging Maps

Aging the map for the front cover of Lori's Books.

I've been playing with aging the paper. I didn't want to use tea like I usually do to stain pages since the tea is acidic and I didn't want to put something acidic on a photo album that is completely archival. :)

So I used acrylics mixing cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, ultramarine blue and just a touch of ivory black to create a sort of burnt umber and then put a thin layer of that on the map.

The water colors...no idea what colors I used. They're the two far end colors that have been on my palette for years but they turned out nicely.

I'm sorry the photo of it is on it's side.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Arts Collaborative Project

BEST (the bookbinding etsy street team) is doing a collaborative book arts project. We're doing 4 books and the pages will be done by different book artists. I'll blog more about this as the project goes on and I'll show the process in my design work for doing the pages.

This image below is meant for those working on the project. Hopefully my little illustration will give a good idea of what you are to start with. Click on it to see it larger.

Updates on Lori's Cord Bound Books

So....the books will be finished before all the videos are posted. :) But this video below shows the big map decision process. Lori sent a few maps to be used for the covers and endpapers. The Turks and Caicos were little pin points of islands on the map and not very visable so I reached out to my fellow bookbinders around the world and they sent me a few maps for the covers that show the Turks and Caicos pretty well.

The video shows the map endpaper options as well as the start of the gold book which has since been worked on and really is just waiting on the end papers and map for the cover to be placed in. You'll notice in the video that only the front cover has been glued down and the spine has yet to be done.

You can see all the map options as well as my final design process when it comes to the stamps along with the maps. Lori had also sent another map but it's printed on photographic paper which is rather thick and does not crease well. I'm still debating on whether or not to use that and just put a border paper around it to sort of frame it. That map isn't shown in the video.

I'm leaning toward the map that the book is sitting on top of for the endpapers on the gold book. We'll see what I finally decide on though. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Saw Ramallah

It's been over a week since I've posted. This last week was hectic and I didn't want to add blogging to the long list of to-dos. Last Monday (or was it Sunday?) we all got sick. In some ways it was nice that it happened all at once instead of dragging out for days or weeks but at the same time, it was difficult to take care of each other when we're all feeling down.

During my recovery days, I was able to finish up a book I've been reading through Interlibrary loan. I LOVE interlibrary loan! The fact that the bookmobile drives to our little town and brings us any book we request makes me so happy.

The book I read was on my massive reading list. While in college, I wrote down books and movies that my professors suggested I read or watch. One of my geography teachers suggested I read a book by Mourid Barghouti, who is a poet. The book is written in prose and it's absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed reading it because it wasn't an "I hate Israel" type of book but more of an "I'm a human being and this is how my life has gone" type of a book. He's a Palestinian who was in Cairo during the 6 day war between Palestine and Israel. He's not allowed back into his country for thirty years and has to travel around on temporary visas and passports. He's sort of countryless in way because he can't go back to Palestine and the rest of the world shuns him because of political controversies. He draws you into his world and culture and problems by using universal themes that everyone can understand and connect to. He also writes about tragedy and death in a respectful way and shows how much disrespect the world in general has for such things. It really is an amazing book.

There were several favorite parts but one thing I really liked was an image of a fig tree that he remembered as a child. It was planted in the courtyard of his families house and he referred back to it throughout the book. He spoke about how it would rain figs and he'd eat to his heart's content when he was young and when he was abroad he broke down and payed a dollar for fig from a grocer, because he was craving the taste of it again and he was embarrassed that he did that when he remembered that fig tree back home. It reminded me of the peach tree in my grandparent's backyard and how I use to pick the peaches with my family and we'd can them and for a week straight we could have peaches for breakfast with milk and a little sugar. The peach tree had to be cut down because it grew old and diseased. I really miss that tree.

If you're interested in the book, you can actually read the first chapter online from Mourid Barghouti's website.

One of my favorite parts in the first chapter:
I said once to a friend: "When Palestine is no longer a chain worn with an evening dress, an ornament or a memory or a golden Qur’an, when we walk on Palestinian dust, and wipe it off our shirt collars and off our shoes, hurrying to conduct our daily affairs—our passing, normal, boring affairs—when we grumble about the heat in Palestine and the dullness of staying there too long, then we will really have come close to it." 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Custom Books, Instyle Weddings and Sleeping Beauty

I've been working on a few custom orders this week. Lori's cordbound wedding books should be finished this next week and I'll have videos/photos of that to post as I know some of you would like to see them.

A quick view of the things I've been working on:

I did a photo album for a recent bride and she wanted two small wedding albums to match so she could give them to her parents and her husband's parents. They were just smaller versions of hers and I got to use my woodburner to do the wedding date on the straps.

This baby album was a custom order that I finished today. It's now listed in my shop as a possible custom order purchase. All these books will be one of a kind but the listing is for a similar book. I love. Love, this book. I think it's because it has all my favorite things: BFK pages, spacers so you can add stuff, leather embossed hinges, lokta paper AND the fun elephant paper. It really makes me want to start a book for my kids but, I have no where to put it so that will have to wait.

This is also a tapes bound book which I'm teaching for the last class in Ephraim, UT. I hope the students in my class are all excited to learn this because it's really a fun book to make and you can do so many different things with it.

AND....TA DA! Here is my photo album in the INSTYLE WEDDING Winter 2010's issue! Hooray!

That's my name in the lower left in the big orange circle with my etsy shop address. I went grocery shopping today and the lines were really long and I looked over at the magazine rack and saw this issue. I picked it up and skimmed through it seeing only wedding dresses (seriously, 95% of the magazine) and I saw a few pages with cakes and invitations on them. I put the magazine back and put my groceries on the conveyor belt. I still had a bit of waiting time and my three year old was busy looking at cinderella cell phones by the check stand (why don't they have anything for boys at the checkout?) I picked the magazine up again and went quickly to the page that my album was on. I was so excited to see it in print! 

Today, I also watched Sleeping Beauty with my son Jadon and this is the first time he actually made it through the whole movie. He usually stops watching when she touches the spindle. I realized that it's because he doesn't really know what's going on and it's a bunch of goblins and running for your life kind of scenes. So, I sat and explained what was going on through the last half. He picked up on the weirdest things like how the sword isn't just a regular sword but it's a sword of truth. And he also kept asking where the wicked witches bird was when it wasn't on screen. That bird was a VERY important part of the show. Seriously, if the bird hadn't warned the wicked witch, then no one would have known Prince Philip was getting away and he would have reached Princess Arora and they'd be alive and well again but so would the evil lady. And we would have never had the fight scene with the evil witch turned dragon that had all the powers of hell and I would never have gotten to hear Jadon say "What happened to the dragon, did it die?"  without me telling him what happend. I think that's the only moment during the second half that he understood. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mom, look. There's a Mean Guy!

Today in the store, I was in the tools section trying to find a nice sturdy rope for nursery at church (no, I'm not using it on the kids. It's really for leading the kids from one classroom to the next without losing them down the stairs or hallway or the men's restroom.)

Anyway...As I was looking for a rope in the tools section, Jadon, who was sitting in the grocery cart said, "Mom, look. There's a mean guy." I was only half way listening to him as I was doing price comparison and so he said it again, even louder. "Mom, The mean guy is right there!" Which got my full attention. I looked over as he was saying it a third time and pointing to a man standing just two feet from the cart. What could I do? I just smiled and he smiled back and said, "I'm not mean, I just look mean." He really looked like a sweet old man, not a mean guy. Poor Jadon didn't quite understand that we don't call people mean, especially when we don't even know them. Later on the car ride home Jadon said, "He wasn't a mean guy, he was good." I wish the man could have been there then to hear him say that. 

In honor of the "mean guy" I did an etsy search for handmade "mean guys" and here are my favorite results:

This "mean guy" was handmade by Joelle McAndrew

I think the villian really looks a little nice with his cute little smile. Just like the man in the store. 

Bad Vegetables by Shaun Peterson at Shaunpaint

These are probably real mean guys. Definitely some bad vegetables. I wonder if they have nice smiles though under the scowls.

Has your child every said anything a little inappropriate in public before?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

World Book Day and Tea Stained Pages

I really don't get it. Today is WORLD book day for the UK and Ireland. The rest of the world celebrates it on April 23. WHAT!? How can it be "World book day" and only parts of the world celebrate it? No worries, this just means we get to celebrate it twice. Maybe we should just celebrate books during the time between the two dates. 50 Days of celebrating BOOKS!

Sounds good to me.

On another note...

This was the second week of the class I've been teaching down at Snow College in Ephraim, UT. We didn't get through all our books but we did have a good class and everyone had the wonderful opportunity to learn how it is to cut book board by hand and they made a circle accordion that we're using for pop up books next week. Next week we'll be finishing the books that we didn't finish today (Flowerfold and pocket accordion with signatures) and we'll play with pop up ideas as well as make leather longstitch books. Lots to fit in but we can do it!

I just put some new books in the shop. They have tea stained pages, not archival but they look awesome. I actually tore all the pages down before staining them, soaked them in 4 cups of water that had 19 tea bags in it. That's right. 19. And then I dipped the paper in that dark dark water and put them on a baking sheet. I fit 5 or 6 signatures at a time on a baking sheet and I placed them in the oven to dry quickly at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I left them in for 2-4 minutes depending on how wet I got them. They turned out some really nice looking pages and made for really great books. Check them out in my shop.

Well, I'm off to bed so I can wake up with the kids at 6:30 AM. Yep.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Such a Mess

I've been changing some things on my blog. If you've been watching for the last 12 hours...it's changed quite frequently and a lot. It's back to the original template and I've added and rearranged some things. I still can't figure out how to get rid of the "read more" button on the bottom as you can see the full text on all the posts as is.

I've added a new feature though on the sidebar--------------> drop down menus!

It's time to be mom and bookbinder now so I'll have to come back to this later tonight.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Custom Orders and Sneaking

I was able to work a little bit on custom orders today. I received the final maps for Lori's Cord bound books and so those will be underway this week which means more videos of cordbinding coming up. I wasn't able to finish everything I've wanted to do today but I got sucked into the world of blogging and reading other people's wonderful posts about this and that. It's amazing how fast the time goes when I'm reading about new things. I'm almost finished with a wonderful book and I'm suppose to return it tomorrow so I might have to stay up a little longer tonight to finish that. I'll post about that tomorrow for your book review enjoyment. Tonight I made hot fudge pudding cake with Jadon after Ethan went to bed. I love making things with him because when he sneaks finger licks of batter he tells me that he "sneaked" and he knows the exact moment to ask for the spatula at the end of use so he can lick it off. While we were waiting for that to bake we watched videos on vimeo. This one below was his favorite and I'm sure he'll ask to watch it again tomorrow.

My Father's Garden from Mirko Faienza on Vimeo.