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,

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