Friday, December 14, 2018

Exceeding Expectations.




One of the ways I have 'survived' as a starving artist is to be very clear about what outcome I hope for, and what outcome I expect.  The two are - at times - wildly divergent.  I was disappointed so many times in my early years, hoping and expecting a show or project would be great.  When it wasn't a great outcome, I would second guess myself and be disappointed.  I learned to have high hopes but prepare for the 'worst' - whatever that meant in the context of the event.

So when I ploughed ahead with The Book, I had hope that it would be of value to people and that it would be well received.

What I expected?  That eventually it would pay for itself.

With my expectations firmly in the forefront of my mind I set up a system to track orders.  I had a small filing box and as the orders came in I filed them alphabetically so that if there were questions I could easily find the orders. 

As the number of orders grew I set up two filing folders: A-M and N-Z.

This morning I added a third folder.  A-E, F-M and N-Z.  I will also bring out a banker's box because those three folders will not fit into the small filing box.

I did not expect there to be very many orders via blurb until after the introductory offer was complete.  It has been with some amazement I have seen orders arrive in my blurb account.  Some people are obviously taking advantage of ordering through blurb to also order Magic in the Water.

I feel very humble this morning.  And extremely grateful to the weaving community for the support they are showing for this effort.




Thursday, December 13, 2018

Back in the Saddle



Orders are starting to taper off and I had no appointments today so I determined to finish setting up the AVL and at least weave one towel.

It's been ages since I've woven and as a result, I've lost muscle tone.  As with any physical activity, the best strategy is to begin slowly and re-build the strength I've lost over the past couple of months.

These towels are destined for the shows in 2019.  The first show is the Hospital Auxiliary conference in April.  Next is the ANWG conference.  Since I am taking a booth at the conference to sell The Book I figured I might as well have some tea towels.  These are in the Snail's Trails and Cat's Paws design, a perennial favourite of weavers.

I put 30 turns/yards on the beam with the goal of using up the cottolin in my stash.  And then I (ahem) acquired 5 kilos of single 16s linen.  The colours aren't great, but they will do for tea towels.  So whatever warp is left once the cottolin is used up will be woven with the linen. 

One towel is woven and there is one tiny thing that needs fixing - one dent has only 3 ends while the next has 5.  Now that I'm at the cut line I will fix that.  If I weren't ending this warp with linen I'd probably not bother to fix it at all, but the linen won't shift as much as the cottolin will.  Besides, that one dent that looks like a thread is missing (because it is) annoys and irritates me.  I don't want to have it bug me for the whole 30 yards.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lift Off!




What a roller coaster ride!

Poor Ruth finally managed to wrestle the website to the ground and get the PDF version of the book up and running and lo!  Here 'tis!

Both versions are now officially available from blurb.ca.  You can also get Magic in the Water - just scroll all the way down the page. 

The introductory offer is only available from me personally.  There has been some confusion so let me run through it one more time:

Purchase the print version of the book - from me directly - and you will receive in the new year a signed copy of the book.  You will also, upon payment, receive a link to collect the PDF from Dropbox.  Yes, the entire file, not just a sample.  Yes, I am actually giving it away, free, with the purchase of the print book.  Truly. 

BUT!  The introductory offer is just that - an introductory offer that will end on the winter solstice, Dec. 21, 2018.  (I am making this entirely clear because many of my blog posts get read for years to come and this offer is limited.)

How do you place the order?  Email me laura@laurafry.com and say you want to buy it and how you wish to pay for it.  I will either send a Paypal request for $92.40 (in Canada which includes shipping and GST) or $88.00 which includes shipping for outside of Canada (but within the United States).  If you want to pay with a VISA or Mastercard, we can make that happen, too.  I bill in Canadian dollars and your card service will do the conversion to US$ on your statement just like Paypal does.  For Canadians, I can also accept an e-transfer.

Once I have received payment I will share a link for PDF file for you to download and put onto whatever platform you wish.  I've been told it loads onto an iPad, both iBook and Kindle, without problems.  Or download to your desktop.  Or do both.  The file will eventually go away so I suggest that if you want to keep the PDF on your devices download sooner rather than later.

(The file will most likely be deleted as of midnight December 31 - to be determined.)

The sample print book was shipped today and I should receive it soon, hopefully in the next few days.  I will have to commit to a print run very soon in order to get the books here by the end of January, so I hope that if you want a book you order sooner rather than later.

The book can be purchased from blurb now, either print or PDF.  I'm hoping people overseas will find the PDF version helpful because they don't have to pay expensive shipping.

It has been really hard for me to think about anything other than launching this project.  Now that it is, I need to focus on some other things.

As you know I've been weaving samples for Tien Chiu's on line colour course   One of the things that happened while I was down south was a meeting with Tien about my continuing involvement in that Big Project.  It's all very exciting and very VERY challenging. 

I've been threatening to 'retire' for some years now and begun easing into a sort of 'semi' retirement, but staying involved helping someone younger than me with more energy than I have, but not enough time to do all that needs doing?  I think that makes really good sense for the future.


The Going and the Coming of the Light



I was born and raised here near the 54th parallel and as such I have spent my life watching the sun come and go in the sky.  Over the years the winter solstice has become a much more important day in the year to me than any other.  The winter solstice is when the sun stops its slow slide to the horizon and begins its gentle journey back up, bringing with it our longer daylight hours.

Humans seem to be bound to the sun and the moon in ways that we can't really articulate.  Fire no doubt felt magical to early humans.  It brought heat but also...light.

Recently I had a conversation with someone about being supportive.  My life has benefited in so many ways by others helping and being supportive of me.  At one point I was feeling guilty after picking the brains of another weaver and apologized because I had no money to pay for her time.

She looked at me - hard - and said "Pass it on."

Her words sounded prophetic to me, as though I had suddenly found my calling.  Pass it on.  Be generous.  Do not hoard your talents, your knowledge.  Pass it on.

When she said those words to me there was no internet - or at least not for the public.  When I did join the internet and chat groups, I made a point of helping.  In some ways I gave many hours away, hours that I could have spent making money for myself.  But I remembered those words.  So, when I was taking a break from trying to earn money, I would give back.

Writing a book, two books, meant expenses above and beyond my time.  While I would love to give the books away, I can't afford to do that.  So yes, I am charging a price for them, but I have tried to make it as low as I can so that more people can afford it, not so low it will take 10 or 12 years to pay off those expenses.

As part of the introductory offer, I am giving a free PDF.  And that is truly a gift of thanks from me to those people who are willing to purchase the book pretty much sight unseen.

Ruth has been sweating bullets trying to get the PDF only option live on blurb and reports that she's nearly got it ready.

I hope that the book is useful/helpful to others who may be struggling.  I hope that people can light their candle from mine.

10 days to the solstice.  And the returning of the light.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Community


The sample print copy of the book should be ready tomorrow (be still my heart!) and hopefully it will arrive in a few days.

In the meantime, members of the weaving community are beginning to read their PDF files and write reviews, sharing on their social media (cockles of my heart most definitely warmed!)

Tien Chiu did a blog post this morning reviewing the book

I have now prepared an ad for the book and if anyone is interested in placing the ad in their guild newsletters, email me and I will send a Word document that can be used as is, or the information can be used as appropriate.

The PDF that is being shared as part of the introductory offer includes the back cover of the book with two cover blurbs - one from Janet Dawson, the other from Syne Mitchell.

On the technology front - the introductory offer PDF is available through Dropbox but two people have not been able to access the file that way so I have a work around.  If this is the case for you, email me.

In this age of the internet and social media, the ability to self-publish, I am relying heavily on the internet to get the word out.

If you have questions?  Email me.

If you sent an email and have not yet heard back from me?  Email me. (I have not yet answered the three emails from overseas because I'm waiting until I can get the book and an accurate quote on shipping.)

The answer to pretty much every question about the introductory offer?  Email me.

Otherwise, blurb.ca 

Ruth is still working on the PDF file for blurb, but that should be available in the next few days.

ps - the introductory offer is good until Dec. 21 - the solstice and the returning of the sun




Sunday, December 9, 2018

Figuring It Out


Confession time. I'm a wee bit of a Luddite and don't really know or understand the technology, even though I think it's great - it's still a bit 'magical' to me! However I have been told that some people have not downloaded the complimentary PDF for the introductory offer of The Intentional Weaver but have been reading it on line. Which is all well and good, but that file will go away after the introductory offer closes so people really need to download the file to their desktop or whatever platform they want it on. Last night I went back to Dropbox and there is a 'download' button and when I poked it (again - I'd done it a couple of days ago but I wanted to make sure of it) the file downloaded in about 1 minute. Yes, it's a large file - about 39 mb.
Thank you to all who have expressed interest. It was a bit nerve wracking to complete this project because one never really knows how it will go!
The printer should be shipping my 'proof' copy on Dec. 11 and as soon as I approve it they will queue my book for printing. They say about 5-6 weeks so hopefully Canada Post will co-operate and I will be able to mail them out just as soon as I receive the shipment.
Decks have been cleared (so to speak) and systems put in place to process the shipping of the books.
If you want a copy on the introductory offer, and have emailed me but not received either a Paypal request or other communication, email me again. I have a couple of people who have not emailed but reached out in other ways which I have set aside until I have more time to deal with those but I have responded to all other emails that I have received. However last night someone mentioned on my Facebook time line that they had not heard anything so I asked if they would try again. This time the request did come through and has been dealt with.
As soon as I receive payment I send out the link to the PDF. There are a few reasons I have taken this approach.
1. Someone asked very nicely if they bought a print copy, could they please have a PDF so that they could use their computer and the search function of their system to find topics quickly. While there is a detailed Table of Contents, it does not have live links and there is no index (because of the very detailed TOC.)
With offering both print and PDF options via blurb *** it seemed like a nice way to introduce people to the book.
2. With the time lag between ordering and receiving the book, the receipt of the PDF is a stop gap until the 'real' book arrives.
3. People wanted something they could give for Christmas. The file can be downloaded onto a thumb drive, wrapped and the recipient will have something to open. :)
There are also a few reasons for having the PDF only option.
1. It's cheaper. No paper to pay for, no printing service to pay for. No shipping to pay for.
2. Some people are very happy to load books onto their portable devices - iPad, etc., don't want more physical books to store.
3. Overseas customers could just buy the PDF and save expensive international shipping. However, several people have requested a 'real' book and seem willing to pay the shipping.
As soon as I get the sample book I will package, measure and weigh it and get a quote on shipping. It looks like it MIGHT qualify for small packet air rates, but I don't want to quote that until I can confirm it. And it won't be much longer - still well within the special offer time frame.
So far I have three requests from outside North America. I will attempt to get quotes to those three as soon as I can.
In the meantime I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has ordered this introductory offering. I hope you find something of interest. If you do, I hope you will share that information with your friends. When someone self publishes, one of the things they need to do is the marketing. I will be doing a small 'ad' this week (busy with guild sale this weekend) and will be happy to forward to anyone who wants to put the 'ad' into their guild's newsletter or share on their social media.
***for those wanting just the PDF, it should be available via blurb in the next few days - Ruth is working on some technology issues

Friday, December 7, 2018

Forward March!



After being stuck in technology 'hell' for the better part of a week, we seem to have battled our way through the 'worst' of it.  This quote from Churchill helped me carry on, because there was simply no point to flinging myself to the ground and flailing.  The only way was forward, even if it felt at times more like a 'creep' than a 'march'.

Talked with Ruth today who is still up to her ears helping Tien get her on-line class up and running but she promises to go poke at the PDF file on blurb by Monday.  I wanted to offer a PDF version for those people overseas who would be faced with a huge shipping charge for a print book but could maybe just work with the cheaper option of downloading the PDF.  So - I promise - it's coming!

Over the week I've worked out a system to deal with the fact that the print copies won't get mailed out for a while.  I needed a fool-proof system to make sure everyone who has paid gets a copy sent whenever I get them from the printer. 

At this point I'm waiting for the sample copy to approve before they roll the presses.  It's not a cheap book to produce as there is colour on approximately 150 out of the 198 pages, including the awesome cover Ruth designed.  But I felt if I was going to do this, it needed to be done 'properly'.  And unlike people like Mary Black or Margaret Atwater, we have relatively cheap colour printing in this the 21st century.  So colour it is.

Given the median age of most weavers, the font size is decent - no squinting (hopefully!).  The font is also one designed by a woman (name is forgotten but perhaps Ruth will chime in), which tickles my fancy, too.

So the status of the orders is this:  if you have paid you should have by now received a link to view the PDF.  My four testers said they were able to download the file and load it onto several different platforms, so hopefully everyone will be able to complete that.

I am about to file all the paid orders alphabetically to make answering any queries easier - I should be able to put fingers on the print out quickly that way.

There are a few more people who have contacted me that I need to touch base with.  If you are one of them, jog my memory if you don't hear from me soon.  My inbox sometimes does weird things and I may have either not received your email or my inbox filed it someplace where I didn't notice.  Believe me, even though I cleaned out my inbox as much as possible, I've had a boatload of emails over the past few days and things might have slipped past my radar.

For those of you who took a leap of faith and ordered, thank you so much.  If you like what you see I hope you will share with your friends. 

I will be putting together a promotional hand out over the next few days and would be happy to send once I get it done.  Whatever made me think I could launch a book one weekend then immediately do another sale the following weekend? 

Optimist...