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Thursday
May102012

Market Yourself by Tara Swiger

Market Yourself: A Marketing System for Smart + Creative Businesses


Cooperative Press, May 2012
Available as print or digital (PDF and ereader)

Full disclosure: I am part of the Cooperative Press team (although not involved with this book) and received an advance PDF copy.

In this book, we're going to take the noun marketing (which has a bad reputation for being slimy), and turn it into a verb, marketing, something do-able in a non-gross way.

I'm a speed-reader. It's not unusual for me to read 2 or 3 books per week, and what I love most about e-readers is that I can immediately pick up another book and start reading instead of having to wait until I get to a bookstore or get a book delivered in the mail. When I got the PDF of Market Yourself, I looked at the page count (169 pages) and figured I'd finish it in a day by reading it on my bus commute to and from my day job.

I was wrong. A week later, I'm still reading it, because I keep stopping and taking notes, printing out pages, and working through worksheets. What you need to do is straightforward (know who your "Right People" are, for example), but it can feel overwhelming. That's where this book went from being interesting to being gripping for me: Tara breaks all this down in a friendly, conversational way and provides worksheets and helpful tips (like "16 Questions To Help You Write A Douche-Free Bio" by Kelly Parkinson). There's still a lot of work that you need to do - this is not a book to pick up if you don't want to have to do some serious thinking - and it is laid out in a clear, helpful way. It's like knowing that you are going on a hike, and picking up this book means you have a checklist for the equipment you need, a map that shows you where you are and where you are going, and you know there will be clearly marked signs along the trail. That's a lot better than looking into the woods alone and wondering how to get through to the other side.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have another worksheet to fill out (Worksheet: Your Business Card), especially since I plan on going to Rhinebeck this year and need some new ones to hand out!

Tuesday
May082012

Reading List 

bookstack

One of the items on my to-do list for this blog is to write a few more book reviews, with a focus on books I find helpful for running a small business, especially the business of knit/crochet design. 

If I post a "recommended reading" list, what are sort books you would be the most interested in knowing about? Is it important for you to know if the book is available as an e-book? 

Monday
Apr302012

Paper

I've been playing with the Paper app, and having fun! It's been easy to learn, so while it doesn't have as much fine control as some other apps, and a limited color palette, I can see using it for quick, casual sketches.

Monday
Apr232012

#marketingfail

Yarn "merchandising"

Display of Cascade 220 Wool at a local craft store today. Kirsten Hipsky suggested on Twitter that "the yarn is performing zee forbidden palm-frond fan dance" - ha! I do like the idea that the yarn is being presented seductive and mysterious, but at the moment I was just annoyed because I'd gone to the store specifically to buy Cascade 220 Wool and hadn't planned on having to push my way through a fake jungle to get to it. 

Sunday
Apr222012

Inspiration Everywhere 

One of my latest projects: wild yeast sourdough starter. I'm using the instructions from Donna Currie's Sourdough Starter-Along over at Slice, and I'm on Day 6 (technically, this has been going for 7 days, but I had to fridge it for a day while I was away). 

It's burbling away contentedly and actually smells like bread, which I am counting as success. To allow air circulation, I'm using a paper towel held down by a canning ring (although I'm going to switch to a plastic screw-top lid later today, so that the lactic acid can start developing). Because I've been sketching out ideas to submit to Defarge Does Chaucer (one of the follow-ups to the fabulous book What Would Mme Defarge Knit, edited by Heather O. of the also fabulous CraftLit podcast), I've been daydreaming about medieval illuminated manuscripts, The Door in the Wall (which I read over and over again as a kid), The Chronicles of Prydain (ditto), the A Song of Ice and Fire series (which I am re-reading), etc. etc. I walked into the kitchen this morning, looked at the jar of sourdough starter, and giggled. It looks like it's wearing a wimple and headrail