Getting Your Name Out There.

That is the topic at flaminghot this week.   How do you get your name out there?  The answer?  Any way you can.

Every year I set goals and they seem to have a theme as to what I want to achieve.  A couple years ago my goals seemed to point towards name recognition.  It was a good time to focus on that since I was at home with two small children and couldn’t get out and about to travel to shows.  I focused on online methods.

Some of the things I did to work towards the goal of name recognition were:

  1. Blogging
  2. Posting on forums
  3. Putting web site info on everything possible
  4. Writing articles for magazines
  5. Writing online tutorials
  6. Selling on eBay
  7. Print Ads
  8. Interviews on other sites

Those things are nothing really exciting, and to me seem pretty obvious.  The true trick though, is being creative in all of those things.  Here is the same list with a little added emphasis:

  1. Blogging.  Don’t just blog.  Have personality.  Add something of value that people will want to come back for time and time again.
  2. Posting on forums.  Show pictures and again, have personality and add something of value.
  3. Putting web site info on everything possible.  Choose your web site name wisely and create a logo that will become recognizable.  Keep it simple.
  4. Writing articles for magazines.  Show/tell something new and exciting.
  5. Writing online tutorials.  Give away information freely.
  6. Selling on eBay.  Sell your best work and it will drive people to your site.  Mediocre work may bring a little extra cash but eBay is as much about getting you out there as it is making money.
  7. Print Ads.  If you can afford it, put a killer bead photo out there with a catchy logo.  Print ads in magazines give you credibility and people will start to remember your name.
  8. Interviews on other sites.  Seek sites/blogs that do interviews and see if they want to interview you.  Give them a reason why you would be interesting.

See?  Go that extra step.  These days with imports and competition, the thing that is going to work is you being unique…not just in your work but in your marketing too.

What it Takes to Write a Tutorial Book.

Tutorial BeadsHere’s a glimpse of what it takes to write a book with tutorials and lots of images…at least, the way I do it. Since I did all of the writing and photography myself, that is, no outside photographer or assistant to take pictures while I made the beads, I had to do a separate bead on mandrel for each step. It takes some planning and you find yourself writing in your head as you make the beads for the photos but that has started to become second nature. I often find myself throughout the day composing blog entries or book sections in my head.

Because I’ve worked with the tools so much and had already written so many tutorials for CattWalk and answered so many help questions via email, I thought the book would be a breeze. I did set out to make it include more than what I had already published on line for them but as I was writing I realized how thorough I had already been. That pushed me to come up with additional uses for the tools and even more have popped into my head since then. The possibilities are never-ending.

But I digress. Writing the book…

It couldn’t be a repeat of what was already on line so I started from scratch. It was fun to write the tool theory and introduction and the actual tutorials, like I said, were second nature to me. What I didn’t anticipate was how time consuming the process was. If I knew now what I didn’t know then (is that how you say that?) I would have been making the actual beads for the eye candy pictures for a year before the book was due. Dang, Julie Ferguson (the layout person) wanted beads! We all agreed that we wanted lots of pretty pictures but I had no idea. I mean, I can make a lot of beads. But I can’t make a lot of beads that are different…and good…good enough to go in a book. I have a few styles that I do that I really like but not enough for a variety for every tool I tutorialized! That was a stretch. I think I made and photographed beads for 2 months straight. So that is one of my lessons learned.

My advice to anyone that wants to write a book is give yourself plenty of time. You will learn stuff about yourself, your working habits and where you are with your art…at least I did. I’d say a good period, if you want to still have a life and be calm about it, is probably a good year of consistent but not always full time work on it. And do little parts of it all along. Don’t do the writing all at once and then the beads all at once and then the photos all at once…there’s a good chance you’ll get burned out at one stage or another and that’s no fun.

So, tonight I take the beads off the mandrels that have been sitting there for months, just in case I had to re-photograph anything. My studio sure is going to have an empty spot where that jar of tutorial bead mandrels used to sit. It’s almost sad do it. Isn’t that weird? It’s like selling an old car that is falling apart and you know you’ll never use it again but it’s hard to let go of. I don’t even feel this way about my good beads that I sell.

Ahhhh. Closure.

Can you believe it? The Book’s in the Mail.

Whoop Whoop! The email has been sent to get the book into the hands of the editor and publisher for final review. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me, although I’m still making beads for the photos because unlike with my writing, I never feel satisfied with the bead designs. They can always be better, or more innovative or more of something. So, I’ll probably keep making them until they send the manuscript to the printer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get a cover photo to you by the end of the weekend! My hands are starting to sweat!

I haven’t been talking about it much because I started to bore myself by saying, “I’m working on the book, it’s coming soon.” I read another blog-like site and I noticed things like, “I’m working on this but more about it later…” or “big things are going on but I’ll tell you later” and found that it really ticked me off. (Just like they do with the news and give you a teaser and make you watch the whole dang show).

While at one time it was intriguing to read that, and would get me to come back, I noticed that I started rolling my eyes and being annoyed. Then I thought, oh no, that is what I’ve done with talking about the book? So I stopped writing about it until now. Maybe I shouldn’t even be saying this.