Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sew Over It Giveaway

As you may have seen over on The Sewing Directory Sew Over It in London are opening a new sewing café, in Islington. They will be selling fabrics, haberdashery, patterns and kits as well as running their popular sewing classes.

Their store will be opening on the 15th of November. The store will be at 37 Myddelton Street and will be open Tuesday-Friday 1-6pm and Saturday & Sunday 12-5pm.

Sew Over It would like your help to spread the word about the launch of their new shop, and in exchange they are offering the fabulous prize bundle below to one lucky winner.

The prize consists of: 
 - 3m of fabric (of the winner’s choice from the shop/online store)
 - All 6 of Sew Over It’s dressmaking patterns 
 - Magnetic pin dish - Dressmaking scissors
 - Customising jar 

To Enter 

Spread the word about Sew Over It’s new Islington store on your blog, website, or social media and post a link below in the comments to where you have mentioned it. You can find more details of the shop launch on the Sew Over It blog here, or my website here. 

You could share those links, or details/images from those posts in your post/social media update.

Make sure you comment below to tell us where you’ve shared the details so I can enter you into the giveaway.  Only entries on the blog will be counted.

T & C’s

The giveaway ends at midnight on the 14th November 2014. A winner will be chosen at random and contacted for their address. UK entrants only.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

52 books challenge completed!

As you may have spotted from looking at the tabs across the top of this blog for the last couple of years I have been attempting to read 52 books in a year.  I decided to set myself this challenge at the start of 2013 because I had gone from loving books and reading several per month (or often several per week) to hardly reading any books.

As soon as I started working on the idea of The Sewing Directory it took over my life, I was working 7 days a week and just had no time for any reading.  I had also had a baby a year before I started the directory so by the time the business was launched I had my hands full!

When I blogged about doing this challenge several people said they wanted to join in.  The first year we did it via Twitter but this year we have a lovely Facebook group which has become an online book club.  The other members have encouraged me out of my comfort zone to try authors I never would have normally.
One of the books I tried thanks to others in the group recommending it.  I loved it, it was very moving.

Last year I didn't quite make it to the 52 books, I managed 44.  This year a good 10 weeks before the end of the year I passed 52 books!  In fact I've managed 54 so far and I'm now aiming for over 60.  I feel so proud to have gotten there, especially as not only did I write my own book this year, but I also moved house which was a pretty big ordeal taking a lot of my time and energy.

I don't quite know how I managed to fit it all in!  I think actually part of the reason I've read a lot more is because I've been run down and ill a lot of the year.  Then when too ill to work I read instead.  I've also travelled a lot, by train, so I've read several Kindle books. So next year it would be nice to just read because I'm taking time off for fun, not because of illness. I should make that my goal for 2015.  52 books read whilst healthy...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Who is in the book?

In this post I wanted to tell you about the lovely knowledgeable people who contributed to my book.  I do not claim to be an expert at all things business related so although I have shared my knowledge, and researched lots of topics in depth to cover in the book I wanted to get the experts to add their top tips in. I want to give you as much useful information as possible to help with your business.

At first I wasn't sure about having other people involved, I knew lots of other books did it and I wanted mine to be different.  But then once I started writing I realised that it's good to have a different point of view, or input from someone who has had a different experience of business or who works in a different part of the industry from me. 

Many of my contributors are from within the craft industry such as Tilly sharing her blogging tips, Harriet from Not on The High Street giving advice on making your products stand out on online marketplaces and Kristin from Sew Mama Sew sharing her knowledge on building an online community.

But also I wanted people from outside of the industry who are experts in their own niche subject, such as Ruth former head of SEO at Moz who gave advice on search engine optimisation,  Rebecca the MD and CEO of sharing tips on web design and PR consultant Fran sharing advice on marketing your creative business.

The one thing all the contributors have in common is that I think they all do something well, something which will help those of you running your own businesses.  

Also crafter extraordinaire Perri Lewis (blogger, Guardian craft writer, creative director of Mastered and craft author) has written the foreword for the book.

You can find out about the all the book contributors and read Perri's foreword here.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Promoting the book

You might think that once you have submitted your book to the publishers that the work is over.  If only!  Once the book is written and sent off to be printed you then have to focus on promoting the book.  You want to make sure that once the book is on sale people are talking about it, and will want to buy it.  The publishers do of course promote the book, but if both the author and publishers work together to promote it then you can reach many more people than just leaving it all to the publishers.

I started by building up a list of reviewers, please who would blog about the book or feature it in their magazine and tell their readers about it.  I'm lucky that in the years I've been running The Sewing Directory I've made a lot of friends who volunteered to review the book for me so I quickly built up a big list of reviewers.

SEO series for Craft Business

With the magazines it was a little harder, I wanted to offer them some content to use to promote the book because they are always looking for features.  So by writing for them and giving them free content they are more likely to feature the book. Plus I wanted to have more than just a few lines in a book review section.

The time consuming aspect is that every publication wants something different, and often something that is not just a book excerpt but written especially for them.  So I did spend several days at the start of the summer writing up features which you will see in magazines over the next few months.  They include a 6 part series of SEO for Craft Business which is both in their magazine and on their site (part 1 and part 2), a feature on content marketing and one on free apps to use for your business in Craft Focus, a 2 part feature for Sewing World on selling at craft fairs and some Ask the Expert features for Craftseller.   Plus the CHA-UK will be running some excerpts on their site and have a special discount for their members here.

My first review - in the September issue of Workbox

Review copies of my book have just started being sent out, hopefully I should receive a copy next week, the first time I will have actually seen it as a book and not just a pdf.  My first ever review has just been published in the September issue of Workbox, a needlecraft magazine.

I also got some lovely feedback from freelance journalist Sarah Moolla who writes for several of Immediate Media's craft publications including Craftseller.

She said

'Your book is fantastically useful - informative, clear and well-laid out and right up our readers' street. Very well done to you!'

Which was lovely to hear.  After spending so long writing a book I feel quite nervous about what people will think about it.  After pouring my heart and soul into it I really really want people to not only like it but find it useful.  So I am looking forward to seeing what other people say about it. 

Last but not least on the book PR was planning my launch party! Jenna who runs Exeter Sewing Machine Company kindly offered to host my launch party at her large sewing shop in Exeter.  Through running my sewing group in Exeter I know there is a really vibrant craft community there so I jumped at the chance.

We decided to hold it in mid November.  The book is due to go on sale end of October but just on the very remove off chance that the books arrive in the UK later than expected we wanted to leave a little leaway.  I suggested a Friday evening so we can offer people a drink and they won't have to get up early for work the next day!  I wanted people to be able to come by after work and then have a nice relaxing evening filled with cake, wine and networking with other creatives.   They will have copies of the book available at a discount, plus I can sign them for you.  We will also be having a raffle, and 10% off fabric purchases during the event too so you can stock up whilst you are there.  It would be too tempting to be surrounded by all their lovely fabrics and not be able to buy!

I do hope some of you can make it to the book launch.  If you can it would be great if you could comment below so we can make sure we have enough refreshments for everyone.  Or you can join the Facebook event here.

In the next post I will tell you about the lovely people who have contributed their expert tips to the book, and why I asked them to contribute.

If you'd like to pre-order the book you can find it on Amazon here (with pre-order price guarantee) or on the Search Press website here. 

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