‘Creativity is our Business™’ is the tagline of the CHA Designer Section. CHA Designer Members are the connecting piece between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, providing professional services that markets, educates and inspires consumers. As business owners, CHA Designer Members are experts in their own craft mediums and experienced professionals in all aspects of marketing. CHA Designers are skilled in promoting new products, designs and some in creating new products and bringing those new products to market.
One of the important skills Designers bring to CHA and the crafting market is teaching, as demonstrated in the number of books they have authored. We asked Jo Packham, of Where Women Create and Where Women Cook, to share with us some of her experiences as an author and publisher:
“I have been writing and packaging books for more than 30 years, with over 1,000 titles in my library. Publishing and becoming published are very different today than they have been in the past and both are changing more rapidly, all due to the speed of technology. Today’s “Wanna-Be” author must be cognizant of the changes and able to adapt to what the publishers’ need.
First, you must find a way to submit to a publisher because many publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. Today, the best way to be noticed by a publisher and asked or accepted to write a book is to have a current well written blog. It will very quickly, inexpensively, and easily tell a publisher exactly what kind of work you do, what kind of writer you are, exhibit your attention to detail and solidify your level of professionalism.
Publishers no longer have big marketing budgets nor time to build an author’s reputation. Today, it is more important to a publisher that you can help with the successful marketing and sales of a book. A well known Blog/Blogger can do that. An established personality in any field can sell a respectable number of a fairly good books but a totally unknown author can usually only sell a few of even a really great book.
The most popular general category right now in publishing is food. Customers, young or old, are consumed with healthy eating. New, small entrepreneurs and storeowners are not just making or selling handmade cards or scrapbook supplies, hand-knitted sweaters or yarns, they are making and marketing organic home grown jellies, salsas, cup cakes, salts, spices, as well as herbal bath products and perfumes.
The food market is enormous, established, and “hungry” if you will, for new products, new ideas, and new areas for growth. They are not DIYers but we can teach them the “simple side” of what we do to package their goods creatively, market their products inexpensively, and grow in an additional successful direction.”
Many CHA Designer Section members are published authors.
Myléne Hillam from Australia has a similar story to tell:
“Creative people are tactile people and whilst many crafters are embracing digital technology to inspire them, there is still nothing like being able to thumb through the pages of a book. As the author of two jewelry-making titles (“Stylish Leather Jewelry” and “Findings Made Fabulous”), my experience with my publisher has been extremely positive – having an editor who understands my vision for the book makes the editing process run smoothly and the end result is a polished book with beautiful photography and styling. My best advice for getting a publisher interested in publishing your book concept is to have a unique idea or a fresh take on an older idea. It also pays to be just ahead of the trends because of the time it takes to get your original concept to a finished book.”
Mandy Collins agrees:
“Digital media has provided an option for more of us to ‘own more books’. As a crafter, I like the tactile feel of reading a book, there is something special about turning a page.
Collaborative books provided my first taste of publishing and are still a favorite. Blending a variety of creative styles widens the view for readers and shows there is something for everyone’s taste.
Try before you buy is an old marketing tool that over the last few years has become more important. This year I have teamed up with Catherine Matthews Scanlon to co-author a collection of free e-books to let people try our tutorial and creative styles.”
Cindy Shepard echoed that message:
“While I tend to refer to myself as a ‘self-taught’ artist, most of the credit goes to those artists before me who so willingly shared their love of art and their devotion to craft through the books I have enjoyed over the years.
I am an avid art book collector and still have “how-to” books from the 1970’s. It’s amazing how relevant some of them still are today. It has been fun to watch the progression of art and craft books over the last 40 years. They have evolved from basic “how-to” books to introducing new art movements and fabulous new products, plus lots of encouragement to help you lead a creative life.
When I author a book my main goal is to have a conversation with the reader, to help them explore the possibilities within them and expand and enhance their own personal style.”
As author and co-author of over 20 hard and soft cover books, Designer Member Tiffany Windsor is familiar with the publishing arena. Her newest title Creative Scarves is releasing in November. She completely agrees with the importance of the visibility of today’s creative blogger.
“I was contacted via email by a publisher who had a specific book topic in mind and found Cool2Craft through social media. We set up a phone call and talked for about an hour and decided it would be a good match to move forward. When we first started the conversation, she did not know my deep ties in the craft industry, so for me, it was a perfect example of how important social media is in building your brand. I didn’t have to go out and pitch a book concept, my brand speaks for itself and when this publisher was looking for an author for a specific title, they reached out to me. Definitely the easiest book deal I have ever made!”
The CHA Designer Members are a communications link between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, professional crafters and artists, and creative DIYers. The CHA Designer Section members provide professional services in a range of marketing fields, social media, developing tutorials and editorials that support delivering product knowledge and inspiration to create. To connect with CHA Designer Section Committee Members click here.