Saturday, July 30, 2005

Beading for a Book Tour

For about the last month or so I've retaken up my jewelry habit in order to help fund my upcoming book tour. As some of you may know, I sell sterling silver charm bracelets, necklaces and such through Well, I also hand-craft other beaded jewelry, and my friend Tracey is encouraging me to do so by joining her at farmers' markets and other crafty events.

Today was my second day out with her. I followed Tracey and her sister-in-law, Janet, to Sherrard, Illinois. Sherrard is a village of 700 (that's what the population sign says). Nice little town (VERY little) with nice people. But not many were in the mood to buy jewelry. Tracey sells gorgeous beaded bracelets (which you can see and buy at Both of us (and sis Janet) make lovely things, but we ended up selling less than $100 total (together) after SEVEN hours. Yikes. Fortunately, unlike the day we did the farmers' market in Moline a couple Saturdays ago, it was a nice day. Two weeks ago it was about 100 degrees and humid with a heat index of 4,000. I only made a whopping $33 that day.

The kooky thing is that even though I've spent many evenings beading and creating, the things that I have sold the most of have been the sterling silver rings. Which I only buy wholesale and do nothing else with. I don't bead them or make them extra pretty. I just take them out of their bag and put them on the table. I sold all but two of my stock today. SO WHAT THE HECK AM I WASTING MY TIME BEADING LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN FOR? Well, at least something sold. I like what I make. I have a lot of Halloween-themed items because I like spooky stuff (big surprise) so I imagine that come fall, those things will sell like hot cakes.

If anyone has any tips on how to do better at these crafty shows, please let me know. Tracey and Janet and I will be at the Moline farmers' market next Saturday if any of you want to check out our stuff.

The good thing about today was that I spent it in good company outside in the shade (very important) and was able to make more jewelry for the next time. So I'm set until next week, when I'm sure people will be clamoring to buy my stuff!

For those of you wondering why this woman--who is writing books, publishing magazines, updating a Web site, helping organize a cemetery event and who knows what else--is spending time making and selling jewelry, the answer is simple. Money. In order to go on my book tour this month, I need to have some money on stand-by. Since I am self-publishing, it's up to ME to make this book sell. So while I was selling a ring here and there today, I was marketing my book. I had bookmarks out for people and encouraged them to visit my site. "Look for me in local bookstores! I'll be doing signings!" You gotta work it when you can. I was also recruiting volunteers for the cemetery event at Oakdale. If there's one thing I've found about doing my own thing (regarding writing, giving classes, etc.) it's that you have to always be marketing yourself. And you must do it in an honest and down-to-earth way. Reach out to people. Connect with them. That's what my book is about really. People connecting with other people--whether those people are dead or alive.

Well, I've got to check into some gravestone rubbing kits I want to sell during the cemetery event at Oakdale.

Keep on keepin' on,

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Epitaphs Magazine has gone global!

Yes, friends, we have hit the big time. Within the past few months, the little magazine that is about to be published went international. Not only do we have subscribers from all over the U.S., we also have subscribers in England, Canada and now France! How exciting!

Spreading the good word about cemeteries,


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Writers' Institute Rocks!

Today I have returned from my trip to Madison,Wisconsin and the Writers' Institute refreshed, renewed and excited. Anything seems possible now! Actually, anything IS possible. And it was before my trip. This conference and the people I met proved to me for certain that I am on the right track. I felt it already, but it is so nice to have such positive reinforcement.

I met some fabulous people at the conference. If Linda, Paul, Carleen or Pam happen upon this blog, it was such a pleasure to meet all of you! You'll be hearing from me!

For anyone, especially those in the Midwest, who are looking for a writing conference to attend and have no idea how to go about it, I highly recommend the Writers' Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It's a great town, a great facility and phenomenal speakers and instructors. The participants are also wonderful. Everyone is incredibly supportive and friendly. There's no snobbery, which is something I was worried about before I attended last year. I admit it, artists are weird. Writers can be quite weird. Writing is a solitary endeavor, and to take yourself away from your cocoon of writing and then wander into the world outside that cocoon can be daunting. I've known some people who think they're the bee's knees and won't give a fellow writer the time of day ... unless they feel there's something for them to gain by it. But that's not why most writers write. We write to connect with people. Being snobby and thinking you're the awesomest of the awesomest awesome is lame. To those people I say, "Come back to this planet and don't be so uptight." There is plenty of room for more awesome people. Besides, some of the folks who think they are better than chocolate can really be sucky writers. We're all learning endlessly. It's a beautiful thing.

So in a nut shell, this is a fab conference. This was the first time I've ever talked to agents. And it was not even scary!

I have so much I could talk about from this weekend, but I have to unpack and also get ready for the Avril Lavigne concert tonight. I'm going with my friends Leita and Deanna (Leita is 10, and Deanna is her mom and wife of one of my bestest friends). I just talked to Tim, and he said Leita is all excited and has her eye makeup on. It's going to be a blast.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


Monday, July 18, 2005

Ahoy! The galley has arrived!

It's Monday, July 18, 2005, and I finally received the first galley for my book. It's exciting and daunting. This is one of the last times I'll look at the book before it goes to the printer. That means it's sooooo close to its final form. But it also means close scrutiny over the pages. Lots of things to check over and verify. Fine-tooth comb time.

Being a published author is NOT for sissies.

Back to the proofing ...


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Makin' Jewelry

It's Sunday on a hot, steamy, ack weekend. It is an "ack" weekend because it IS so hot. I'm not a heat person. I prefer fall with its lovely falling leaves smell and cool breezes. I like jeans and sweaters. Even on the hottest days I prefer my capri jeans to a pair of shorts. Shorts tend to ride up, and that is not cool at all. Give me a nice crisp fall day, and I'm happy.

So, needless to say, this ridiculous 95-degree plus weather (complete with dangerous draught) is not my cup of tea. And I like tea! I enjoy heating up a kettle full of water to make myself some darjeeling with honey and cream. I've noticed that extreme heart makes people cranky. Can't blame them. Who wants to sweat in places they don't normally sweat?

Speaking of sweat, during 95-degree weather with blazing sun, I went to the local Farmer's Market and set up shop with my pal Tracey. She had told me I could share a booth with her to sell my jewelry. She sells jewelry, too. But her's is different. She's all about colorful beads and such, and I'm all about the sterling silver charms. More people showed up than I thought would, but we didn't sell a ton of stuff. But a few bucks is a few bucks--especially since this money is going toward my upcoming book tour.

So I spent this morning taking photos of the jewely I didn't sell so I can post it on eBay. I've got some cool stuff, if I do say so myself. An adorable Harry Potter-themed charm bracelet, gardener's bracelets, memories of grandmother, and more. The are in sterling silver. I also have sterling silver necklaces (22 inches, also in sterling silver), including a pirate ("Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Goonies"), Grandmother, a little ghost, a ribbon (like the popular ribbons seen on cars), a slot machine (for Las Vegas and riverboat gambling fans!), and much more.

I hope to have things posted soon. Right now I have a "Pirates of the Caribbean" themed pin posted. Look up user name "elfaba1" if you are interested.

Well, while I should be posting eBay items or editing the magazine, I think I need a nap more so thatn the other two things. Long weekend so far, and I really want to see "Charlie and the Chocolte Factory" and "Dark Water."

But now, since I've put in hours of work on my projects already this weekend, I need a little cat nap.

Hope all is well around the world with you!