Home-Spun Coasters: The Perfect Homemade Gift

Originally posted January 25, 2012

 

I’m a medievalist. I love history. I love learning how to make things the way they were made before everything was pre-made for you and sold in stores. Before the industrial revolution, most people spun their own thread and yarn which they then knitted, crocheted, or, if the yarn is fine and smooth enough, strung into a hand loom and wove into cloth. Up until the 19th century, these methods were the dominate ways most people produced the textiles used in everyday life. Spinning wheels emerged in the Renaissance, but they were expensive and not portable. So the drop spindle, our method for yarn and thread production since humans started creating textiles, remained the tool of choice.

Spinning with a drop spindle takes some practice. I’m just a beginner, so I won’t explain how to spin. Instead, I discovered the perfect gift that blends these timeless techniques and applies them into a useful gift anyone can appreciate-all the more so because so much of the process is done by hand.

 

Materials You Will Need:

Approx 4-6 oz of wool roving spun into 1 skein of hand-spun yarn (any quality; avoid merino wool as this is a coarser project)

Food coloring & Vinegar (optional)

Medium size crochet needle

drop spindle

Step 1: spin the skein of thread.

Step 2: wind off the skein and secure with thread or yarn in figure 8 pattern

Step 3: In a medium sauce pan, boil 1-2 quarts of water. If a dyed yarn is desired, add food coloring. Use from 18-25 total drops of food coloring for a vibrant color. Think Easter egg dying and you have about the right amount. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of vinegar to the boiling water to set the dye.

Step 4: remove from heat. Add skein. With a fork or chopstick, beat skein vigorously in the pot for about 2 minutes. Drain. Refill pan with ice and tap water and beat vigorously. If you have added color to the yarn, rinse until dye no longer runs off.

Step 5: beat skein against wall; dry overnight on doorknob.

Step 6: Crochet using single and double crochet into a round coaster 4-5 inches in diameter.

Promo: As Scotland Decides Its Fate Today

Boudicca audio cover

Richard Mann narrates Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni for the upcoming audio edition.

Richard Mann narrates Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Scotland decides its fate today, I invite you to journey back in time to discover how the Caledonii, Brigantes, and Votadini tribes of Scotland and their dealing with the Roman invasions of Britannia two thousand years ago also helped decide the fate of the British islands ever since.

It’s all part of Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni, the must-have creative non-fiction history book and audio book of the year!

In the USA in audio edition at http://tinyurl.com/AudibleBoudicca-USA and in the UK at http://tinyurl.com/UKBoudiccaAudible or on iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/itunesBoudicca-RM. Second grade reading level; audio edition suitable for ages 5+. Download the kindle edition http://viewBook.at/Boudiccakindle and get BOTH the audio and kindle edition for less than $7/£5.

Educators: get a FREE audio copy for your class in exchange for your review. Email peersofbeinan@gmail.com to request your free audio copy from audible narrated by Richard Mann.

Repost: An Example of a Smart Book Promotion

This post on the CreateSpace Community is very helpful for independent authors looking for a smarter way to promote.

————————————

My friend Cathy Livingstone wrote a clever (and useful) book called Bubbe, Mimi & Gigi: The Best Grandmother Name Book Ever. The guide recently received a glowing review ingrandparents section of About.com, which described it as “a perfect gift for a grandmother-to-be and an especially cool way to let a mom know that she’s about to become a grandmom.”

 

Wow! That’s about as good as it gets. The grandparents section called it a perfect gift? Talk about target marketing!

 

Cathy published the book on her own, so how did this wonderful review come to be?

 

It happened because Cathy made it happen. I love that!

 

Here’s what she did:

 

1) She searched online for a book reviewer in her genre
2) She sent the reviewer a personalized email query
3) The reviewer replied and said she would consider it
4) Cathy sent the reviewer a book
5) The reviewer wrote a review

 

See how effective marketing can be if you’re smart (and organized) about it? When efforts to promote a book go nowhere, it’s often because the author isn’t reaching out to the right audience with the right message. By searching for reviewers in her genre, Cathy was able to connect with a woman who was interested in hearing what she had to say. That’s half the battle right there.

 

Another reason book promotion efforts go nowhere is because the author isn’t assertive enough. Cathy sent the reviewer a book without knowing whether or not it would result in a review. Another smart move.

 

Cathy was smart about her book promotion, and look at the result. You can do it too!

 

-Maria

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more atwww.mariamurnane.com.

Reblog: Is Your Ebook Priced To Sell?

This blog post from 15 September by Molly Greene of BookDaily.com explores the complicated issue of e-book pricing.

 

———————

Whether you’re a self-published author with titles on Amazon or selling a non-fiction book on your website, product pricing is a major component of your marketing plan and income projections. I’m guessing you’ve spent a lot of time considering price point tactics. But let’s face it, the cost of ebooks – both theory and advice – is all over the board. What’s an author to do?

Just before the recent release of my second novel, I went looking for guidance that would help me build a workable pricing and book promotion strategy into my business plan for next year. What I found was surprising: it seems free ebook giveaways are out of favor, and authors who select the 2.99 price point for a well-written novel might be leaving cash on the table. And there’s more. Let’s break it down.

Per Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre, the move away from $1.99 is clear

Publisher’s Weekly ran an article about Kobo Writing Life (KWL) that included a great sound bite about ebook pricing trends from Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations. Per Lefebvre, the $1.99 price point is “dead … not just for us, but also, it seems, on other platforms,” pointing out that 99¢ KWL titles sell twice as many copies as those at $1.99, and that “$2.99 sells more than four times more.” Authors most often start at $2.99 “and walk the prices up,” he said. About 80% of the KWL titles that sell consistently are priced in the $2.99–$5.99 range, and he also pointed to “a bit of a lift in the $7.99–$9.99 price range.”

When you’re deciding on a promotional plan, remember that KWL allows authors to give away titles for free. Authors can distribute to Kobo via Smashwords or publish directly on the KWL platform. For more info, read my Kobo post.

Note this important takeaway: “A low price point may be a hook, but it’s the quality of a work that attracts readers, not the price.”

Per Smashwords’ Mark Coker, authors may be underpricing

Smashwords CEO Mark Coker’s May 2013 Booklovers Convention presentation revealed important points gleaned from his platform’s data. In the presentation he ponders the question, “… is $3.99 the new $2.99?” noting there are “fewer titles to compete against at $3.99, and authors appear to pay no penalty in terms of sales volume.” Per Coker, “I see untapped opportunity [at the $3.99 price point], where indies may be able to raise prices but not suffer unit decline.” He concludes “some authors are underpricing.” Smashwords data also reveals …
• $.99 remains popular, but shows a big drop compared to their 2012 study.
• $.99 to $1.99 underperforms in terms of earnings. (Per Coker, $1.99 is “a black hole.”)
• $2.99 is the most common price point with indies.
• $2.99 to $6.99 is the sweet spot for maximum earnings.
• Indies have virtually abandoned the $9.99 price point compared to 2012’s study.

Note this important takeaway: “Data-driven publishing decisions are irrelevant without a great book. Write the greatest masterpiece you can, and then review the data for ideas that at best might enable you to add incremental improvements to reader enjoyment, accessibility, and word-of-mouth.”

Per author Cheryl Bradshaw, ditch “free” and go with 99 cent promotions

So what’s up with free ebook giveaways? According to author Cheryl Bradshaw, it’s time to leave Amazon’s KDP Select program. “At some point Amazon started changing their algorithms,” she says. “This meant when a book came off the free list, instead of seeing a huge spike (a lower book ranking) as well as a nice increase in book sales, it wasn’t happening … to the extent I’d grown accustomed to, [and] recently I’ve been seeing a meager spike, fewer sales. Maybe short-term, maybe forever, but for me it means it’s time to try something different. In my opinion, a .99 promotion (not all the time, just as a sale) is the sweet spot right now.”

Per Joe Konrath, the case for $3.99 is strong

In February 2013 Joe Konrath wrote, “I have my novels priced at $3.99, my novellas and short story collections at $2.99, my trilogy sets at $9.99, and short stories at 99 cents.”

Link here to read the entire article: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

Bottom line: There is no one “right” pricing strategy

Miral Sattar, CEO of BiblioCrunch, outlined a trio of author’s pricing strategies in an article published by PBS online. In her final words she notes, “The important thing to remember is no pricing strategy will work if your book isn’t in its best shape. This means having a well-edited, error-free book, an eye-catching cover, and selecting the right categories for discovery.”

Link here to read the article: How to Set the Right Price for Your Self-Published Book

Based on the information above, my conclusion regarding sales strategy might not be earth-shattering news, but here it is, and this will be my strategy in the coming year: • Avoid the $1.99 price point entirely!
• Price previously released (backlist) ebooks at $3.99.
• Scheduling regular .99 cent promotions can help maintain sales of the entire line.
• Pricing newly-released titles higher for a limited period after their initial launch can work well for authors with a loyal readership.
• Most importantly, no pricing strategy will sell a poorly-written, proofed and edited book.

About the Author:
Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and novelist with a preference for reading, writing, and rural life. Her novels include Mark of the Loon and her new release,Rapunzel; nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and Buy Your Own Roses and other essays (coming in 2014). She blogs about her life and self-publishing topics at molly-greene.com.

Repost: It’s the Doubt (Abraham Hicks)

Today’s re-post from Abraham Hicks is called “It’s the Doubt.”

You have to understand that it´s the DOUBT,

that you are trying to find your way out of,

Not the accomplishment of whatever it is, 

that you doubt you can accomplish!

Did you hear that??

The work is to work your way out of the feeling of doubt,

NOT into the feeling of having whatever it is that you´re feeling doubtful about!

That´s so big!

- Abraham Hicks

 

 

Repost: Don’t Struggle (Abraham Hicks)

Another nice post from Abraham Hicks:  “Don’t Struggle”

 

If it is a struggle, you are going about it the hard way.

This is the thing we want you to understand.

The path of least resistance is a fun path.

The path of least resistance feels good.

The path of least resistance is clarity.

The path of least resistance is ease.”

- Abraham Hicks

Repost: What’s Your Job (Abraham Hicks)

The following is re-posted from http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote262.html?awt_l=MxTFA&awt_m=432J_8GKLcJARSt  by Abraham Hicks

 

Whats Your Job ?

“So what’s your job?

Easy does it.

So what’s your job?

Trusting.

So what’s your job?

Relaxing and be easy about it.

What’s your job?

ALLOWING, allowing.

Can you feel the absence of effort in allowing?

What does allowing mean?

Allowing – allowing means it’s DONE, it’s BEING GIVEN, 

and I’m ALLOWING it to be given, and in my receiving of it, I’m giving back !!”

- Abraham Hicks