I am a bit of an addict when it comes to buying books and magazines, especially when it comes to crafting. I have never taken a class to learn any particular craft, but rather, I learned everything I know from reading. I love the idea of having a reference at my disposal at any time. This particular book I'm reviewing is different from most craft books or zines in that it talks about the ins and outs of crafting game like selling online, in craft stores, at craft shows and expos, and how to be an overall crafty sellout... but in good way.
Crafty Superstar by Grace Dobush was released last year in 2009, which means much of the information and resources given in the book are still extremely relevant and up to date. Now will it still be the case in a year or so; that remains to be seen. This book is an attempt to answer the question of "now what?" that many crafters ask themselves after they see a certain bit of popularity grow in their handmade goods. It gives different scenarios for the part time crafter to the more entrepreneurial full time crafter. One particularly handy section is in Chapter 3 where, Dobush talks about the different avenues of selling you goods, such as creating a personal website, Etsy.com, consignment stores, craft shows, etc. For each avenue she specifically talks about the pros and cons of each, how each one typically works, and a bit of extra advice for each one so that you can optimize exposure and ultimately sales.
There are checklists and great color photos galore throughout this book, but what seemed most useful is the information given in Appendix A-I. There, Dobush lists popular craft blogs, craft friendly publications, listings of small business resources (most of which are free), and even major indie craft shows throughout the North America. It is here she also includes a breakdown on the sketchy and sometimes controversial topic of pricing your handmade goodies.
One of the most compelling things I found about this book was Dobush's acknowledgement of what today's crafter goes through. She talks about how to deal with bad online customers, haters blasting you in cyberspace, rejection from juried craft shows, snubs from cheap buyers and copycats. While making these acknowledgements on a personal level, she still makes sure to recognize the legalities and necessary bookkeeping of a new and budding independent craft business.
While this is not the first "how to" book on selling that I've picked up, it is the first that I've thought to be both practical and relevant to my selling style. One very dated book I picked up several years back stated that one should take as many opportunities as possible to get out there and sell, so at the time I did. I signed up for several bazaars and church craft shows, and then figured out that they were a big waste of time, money and effort, mostly because I wasn't selling to my target market. One of the things I like about this book is that while it points out that you should love what you make, you should still not forget who you are making it for, how much is your target market is willing to spend, and especially WHERE to get a hold of your target market.
Now, grant it, the majority of this info is available for free if you look hard enough and spend hours and hours delving in for your self, but the beauty of this little book is that, Dobush has done all of the hard work for you and with the help of many other successful crafters which are quoted in the book. For the many crafters out there that are ready to take their handmade game to the next level, then this book is for you.
B.Link says: Get It!
Crafty Superstar by North Light Books
By Grace Dobush