[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [BKARTS] Hedi Kyle's Blizzard Book--instructions?
I thought I'd add my two cents to the conversation about teaching,
selling directions, and sharing. As someone who has put a lot of
energy into both writing and disseminating written directions as well
as teaching, I have sympathy all around. I guess the main thing I have
to say is writing directions as easy it seems. When I started making
the youtube tutorials, I couldn't believe how much easier it was to
stand in front of a camera and do what I do in a workshop than to
write out the directions and draw the pictures.
And the selling of material online is not as effortless as it might
sound, even after the material has been developed. I have sold ebooks
for download online for several years. I began with Paypal and now
have them all on lulu.com. As a seller of digital material through
Paypal, you can either email the buyer the file or have it be an
automatic download from a window that Paypal redirects the customer to
which is what I chose. I also sent an automatic message after I
received notification of payment by way of email from Paypal saying
that I should be contacted if there were any problems. Most people
were very nice, but some messages contained a surprising level of
hostility which I can only assume was the result of some resentment of
and frustration with the digital world in which we live and not a
personal attack on me. An angry all caps message first thing in the
morning is not the most pleasant start to one's day. Lulu takes more
of a commission from the sale but buyers have their own lulu account
where the downloads are stored indefinitely so they can always be
accessed by the buyer.
I thought I'd also share some of my perspective on selling ebooks.
Echoing the theme of nothing is as easy it seems is a similar
statement: most people aren't doing as well as it appears or if they
are, it is with a lot more effort than is visible. I consider that I
have a strong presence on the web, yet I sell less ebooks than one
would think. While I get a lot of visits to makingbooks.com, I give
away a lot of my material so that only the truly dedicated and
interested feel the need to purchase a book. My monthly email
newsletter again brings awareness but usually few sales. When I lament
to friends and family, suggestions are to take some of the free
material off the website or charge for a subscription to the
newsletter. I don't feel comfortable pulling back what I have already
offered for free so I do neither. I'm not sharing this to complain or
collect sympathy but just to illustrate that I think there is a
fundamental conflict for teachers. We teach because we want to share
and yet we also need to support ourselves.
When I first started makingbooks.com (ten years this year!), I
intended it to be a way to promote my teaching. Over the years my work
on the web has grown has grown (website, a blog, youtube videos, and
email newsletter) and makingbooks.com has taken on a life of its own
way beyond promoting my workshops.
I do believe that no effort is wasted and that we gain from all our
experiences. My newsletters, accompanied by the monthly blog posts,
have made me realize the joy of learning new things and exploring new
topics. As I work towards developing new directions in my teaching, I
am coming to see that curiosity is an important part of creativity and
we can express ourselves by looking outward at the world around us as
well as inward to our own feelings and thoughts.
On the more practical marketing side, I have started a new series of
digital materials called the Workshop Papers. They are improved
handouts from my workshops illustrated with photos of sample books and
sell for $2.95. I did my first one a few weeks ago and publicized it
in my newsletter. It has sold well. I think that the Workshop Papers
are appealing not just because of their lower price but because they
are not perceived as a digital file masquerading as a book. Many
people who love books have an instinctual grudge against ebooks. For
anyone who worries that the book is going away, my experience tells me
that it will happen slowly. Most people still want their books to be
I think teaching, making art, and making a living all require
flexibility and patience but life really wouldn't be as interesting if
we always knew where we were going.
in good spirit
NOW ONLINE, Volume 5, No. 2, Spring 2009 of The Bonefolder
Please note that attachments to listserv messages are not permitted,
and are automatically removed by the listserver.
For all your subscription questions, go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.