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Srsly, way to git 'er done!!!

I would think you'd have a solid target market out there happy to hear about (and, hopefully BUY!) your book. I know my son and his intentional farm community would be down for that! :)

And I think a kickstarter sort of fundraiser is a wise way to test the waters.

Do you think a single 'big book' would be the absolute best way to go? Have you considered creating a series of smaller books, instead?

Blessings as you sort this!!!

 
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Any tips for writing an author bio?  This part's turning out to be really difficult. 
 
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There's a lot of advice out there such as this blog. At the end of the day it's just a short third-person statement of your experience and background that offers an insight into who you are and why you are qualified. I would add one extra bit of advice. Don't be afraid to put some of your personality in there. Some of the best and most memorable ones I have read had just a touch of humor to them that spoke of the real author.
 
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There's been a lot of offers to help in this thread.  Anyone still interested.

I have a couple of little sections that need an extra pair of eyes.  There's one section in particular where I'm having trouble with permaculture

Crazy idea: what if I set up a private forum on permies and people interested in helping edit can participate. 
 
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r ranson wrote:There's been a lot of offers to help in this thread.  Anyone still interested.

I have a couple of little sections that need an extra pair of eyes.  There's one section in particular where I'm having trouble with permaculture. 

Crazy idea: what if I set up a private forum on permies and people interested in helping edit can participate.



Extra eyes are insanely helpful in the process in my experience. I am not sure how much time I can dedicate to helping, but where I can, I will be happy to do so. Setting up something specific to working on a project like this is wise, if it is allowable. It lets you work out the kinks on multiple sections at a time without getting things all jumbled up.

 
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r ranson wrote:I have the text finished for the first booklet.  I'll be sending it off for the first round of editing soon.  I think there are some places that need some major work and I bet there are things that can be improved that I didn't even think about.  On the whole, I'm very happy with how quickly this has gone. 

It was difficult to stop writing because I've only put about 10% of what I know on the topic.  I could double the word count just talking about soil preparation methods.  I have to stop somewhere.  Besides, everything I don't include in this book is extra value to add to the big book when I amalgamate all the little ones together.

Some things I'm thinking about:

There aren't any books on this topic.  There are books about growing that briefly talk about fibre production.  There are books on crafting that talk briefly about growing fibre.  Of the three books in publication right now that are about creating linen fabric, the most recent has 2 paragraphs on how to grow linen.  The others have a small chapter on it but focus mostly on the history and use of linen.   Does this mean that there is zero interest in this topic so no one has written on it?  Or maybe there is no interest in this topic because no one has written much about it?  Either way, when I look at the questions publishers ask, they all want to know who my audience is.  I'm thinking homesteaders and crafters as the primary audience, with people who are seeking practical solutions for a sustainable future as the secondary audience.  I wonder if I'm right.
...



The second teacher I studied permaculture under was Connie van Dyke - she taught through the local community college, and billed it as "No-Work Gardening."  She also taught a class on fiber arts called "Sheep to Sock."  She's in Portland, OR, and might be a good person to vouch for just how popular those classes can be. 

I now know several people in the Okanogan and the Puget Sound islands who grow their own fiber (alpaca, sheep, cashmere goat, angora rabbit).  Lots more think it sounds idyllic, but aren't ready for the work yet.  There's a fiber arts / wool collective that is organizing to put together a larger mill so that larger-scale wool growers can have their stuff processed locally.

When I think about growing my own fiber, I think about:
- shepherds
- being a good shepherd and the BEST SWEATER EVER
- a lawn without sheep is like a wrapper without chocolate (what's the point?)
- sheepishly simple fiber farming
- natural shepherding
- lots of quotes from Granny Aching in Terry Pratchett's series featuring Tiffany.

- for my own crafts, plant fibers are easier to catch and shear after several months' neglect.

I would enjoy reading a well-illustrated book about raising and breeding fiber animals, even though I may never do this on my own.  I have done or helped with various parts in the process (farm-sit for shepherds, help herd and dose sheep, card, spin, knit, hand-weave) but I don't find the time to do most of them at present.  So I might be more of a library customer.

When I taught basket weaving classes at libraries, or even a fairy house class (build a little miniature house from leaves, flowers, twigs, moss, etc - like a gingerbread house but outdoors) - people would come to class and say
"I've always wanted to do this, but I never tried it until now." 
There are books about it - they would have collected all, or most, of the Fairy house books.  But they did not give themselves permission to just go build one in their own backyard.
You could see that as kind of sad - or you could see it as hopeful, that someone who loved beauty from afar through many busy years, finally has the time to settle down with a class group and practice what they love.

I think what you are doing is important. 
So many people love fiber arts, and you are right, there are lots of books on how to process fiber.  This is more than that - it is more wholesome/holistic/a better story, without being more advanced or more difficult. 
It sounds like people could take your book and do the parts they enjoy, while outsourcing the other parts - like raise the sheep, but have the wool washed and carded at a local mill, then do the dying themselves using plants grown by a friend, then sell the dyed wool to knitters or spinners, or a Waldorf school for felt dollies, or whatever.

There are lots of cookbooks.  You are doing something more like a gardener's guide to seasonal meals. 
I think people who buy cookbooks and people who garden would both be interested in that book.



Some people are telling you that self-publishing makes more money.  If you want to lay out a book with illustrations, print it, and sell physical copies, it can often be done through a local printer.  Selling it is the trick.
In my experience, it really depends a lot more on how good you are at marketing - and how many of your books you can sell. 
Selling 2000 books at $2 per book profit is $4000.  Selling 40 books at $5 per book profit is $200. 
Which is more money?  (If the work that went into each were the same, which it usually isn't.) 

Some of my favorite things about working with a publisher include
- having a team to handle some aspects of the details that I would not enjoy.  Like shipping, and marketing to bookstores. 
- having a professional team that knows about book sales informing the suggestions about cover art, length, format, and so on.
- the extra attention they put into layout and editing with me, to achieve that quality.
- royalty checks that appear as a pleasant surprise, without a lot of conscious effort on my part.  (They would be less surprising if I was counting on them...)

Some things that you might not like:
- I was in negotiations with 3 different publishers before producing a book with this one.  Publishers turn out to be people, too, and can fall through on deals, or have a change of circumstances that makes them unwilling to take a chance on a book deal.
- From a final draft I was ready to self-publish, with all its illustrations laid out, it took over a year working with the publisher to see the book released.  They produce their catalogs 6 months or more in advance, for pre-orders from stores and book trade.  If a book misses its predicted publishing date by more than a week they lose a lot of sales.  Which means they want the book to be substantially complete and "on rails" to make that deadline, a full year out.
- My own creative personality has a much easier time finishing a project when it's on its own time frame.  If I've already been paid for a creative project, I can get paralysed about finishing it.  So it was important for me to have substantial completion - something an editor could work with even if I froze up - before submiting the manuscript.  Others hate working on spec, and work with a will knowing the product will sell/ has already sold. 


Word Count:
Although some publications may pay by the word, readers don't necessarily want long books more than short ones.  (Long books are more expensive due to printing and shipping costs, and perhaps also to self-limiting demand).
I am prone to write long; it takes effort for me to write briefly.
Many of my readers are hands-on folks who prefer a briefer lesson.

I think you're on the right track, separating chapters or sections into articles.  Give both you, and your reader, a structure within which it's possible to give more detail without being overwhelmed.

Giving the best 10% of what you know, down into essential elements that will be most helpful to readers, sounds like a really good working goal.

-Erica
 
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This self-publishing is fascinating stuff.  Not sure I like it as much as writing, but it's amazing how much publishers do.  I think they definitely earn their slice of the pie.

But I'm also enjoying the mental exercise.

So book printers have price jumps at certain sizes depending on their machinery.  Go one millimetre over or under a certain size range, and you can be paying a few dollars more per book. 

Same too with boxes for shipping.

So I found a size range for the book and I took it to the box company.  They are going to take it to the manufacturer to see what size is standard (and therefore more affordable).  Complex to the max.

On top of that, some printers use recycled paper as standard, others only new paper.  Some can easily insert colour pages into a b&w book for only a few cents extra per book, whereas others have machines that require the whole book be processed as a full-colour book even if all but one page is b&w.

Full colour costs at least 3 times as much as b&w. 

It is well worth shopping around.  I'm also thinking that it would be really good to have a male person and a female person ask for quotes from the same company to see what kind of response they get.  It is not always the same.  For those companies, I'm not interested.

Shipping is a huge stumbling block.  I am so lucky that I have printers in town so I can pick up the books when complete.  That probably saves me a dollar per book.  Same with shipping boxes.  I tried to order some from the USA, but the shipping cost was nearly 100% ($300 order, $270-ish shipping).  Buying local has proven to be essential to make this project work.

 
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Hi there.
For a few years I have been coming here to Permies for my hobby time, but when wearing my professional hat I'm a translator/writer/editor in a few niche areas (mostly forestry/ag, science, medicine, but also environmental, anthropology, and a few off-the-wall subjects I enjoy- nearly all of what I do is academic publishing or corporate reports, though, very rarely books and when they are they're medical textbooks). I know that e-publishing (selling on Amazon in an e-format and offering print-on-demand) seems to be the way to go for most new authors who don't want to pay for a print run, but the visibility is minimal and you are unlikely to sell a single copy. On the other hand, there is something nice about a physical book and if you move in circles where you could conceivably sell the book (fiber fairs? farmers markets?) that might be a good way. I am almost certain I've read that No-Work Garden book mentioned, it is funny how these things get around among people who like these things.

I can't help too much in terms of suggesting companies, but I would be willing to take a look at anything that needs another pair of eyes or attention from some really anal-retentive person who enjoys moving commas around (uh, that would be me).

(And just since you don't know me from Adam, and you'd be right to wonder who the hell I am offering help.... I'm an American who has been urban homesteading in southern Brazil for 12 years. I've got some swanky writing credentials [even an official seal!] but i'm more proud of the kale I get from my TERRIBLE clay soil, the bumblebees who visit my yard, and the crazy things I concoct in my kitchen.)   

This is my garden a few years ago. My husband was trying to measure the volunteer sunflower, which eventually hit over 12 feet and was covered with little sunflowers. The birds loved us. 

tereza
 
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Hello tereza, thanks for posting.

I've invited you to a private forum I set up for working on the book(s) and getting ready for the kickstarter.

Later on, this private forum will also be a good place for kickstarter supporters to learn news about future projects. 
 
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look what came today.  Pre-promotional postcards.

Now it's official. 

I'm going to take some down to the post office later this week to see how much postage is to different parts of the world.
linen-postcard.jpg
[Thumbnail for linen-postcard.jpg]
 
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I had a lot of fun at a local fibre festive this weekend.  I was there for other reasons, but I also got to talk to a lot of people about my book.  I'm feeling confident that I can sell a thousand copies.  Might be I spent too much time in the sun.  When I first started this adventure, I thought that six would be a likely number.

A few shops have expressed an interest in carrying the book. 

The biggest challenge is that I want to print it locally.  But things are coming together well.  If I can pre-sell enough copies, then I can do a print run.  I think this might just work out.
 
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Oh... so yesterday I was talking to one of the largest yarn shops in Canada on the phone and I accidentally mentioned my book. 

The owner told me that he has about two customers a week wanting to learn about this and asking for books.  The books that are on the market on this topic are too expensive and too broad.  He wants something focused on exactly the aspects I focused on. 

We also talked about different publishers.  Who makes the best books.  Who is kindest to the authors.  Who is not kind or respectful to the shop owners. 

I think this last one is hugely important.  The shopkeep interacts with the public to sell the book and they need to be happy with the person who sold them the book.  There is an industry standard markup for books, and a lot of self-published authors don't take this into account.

Now I have urgent need to get my info sheet together so I can sell to shops. 
 
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how EXCITING!  Wow!!
I think you're right, there is value throughout the whole chain and it`s important to pay attention to each part.
I used to be really active in Ravelry -- now that I live in a place with no local yarn stores and have since put other demands on my time, not so much. But I do recall there were groups and forums in there, that might be an interesting place to look for info in terms of who is using what for publishing, and maybe other aspects related to fibercrafting.
 
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I got my ISBN number today.  It's so pretty!  I'm going to type it out and put it on my wall.  Maybe even frame it!

I'm so lucky to get a pretty ISBN. 

Kind of in shock too.  I've been putting this step off for so long because having my own ISBN was a mental marker that the whole book thing is real. 

Next up the kickstarter to pre-sell the book and test the world to see if anyone else wants a book like this.
 
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Thank you, everyone, for all your encouragement and advice.  I couldn't have done it without the support of the community here at permies.com

Although technically, I still haven't done it - but we are so close.  It's like the promise of hot chocolate after shovelling a long driveway so that we could get the tractor unstuck in an East Coast winter.  Oh, those were the days.




Homegrown Linen; transforming flaxseed into fibre



A big shout out to Tracy Wandling and her amazing illustrations.




the next step is to pre-sell enough copies to pay for the printing.   Kickstarter seems the best platform for this as they focus on creative activities and have a great reputation for vetting their creators.  More information on this soon.
 
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for thumbnail image

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Exciting! I'm looking forward to the kickstarter
 
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Tonight I'm thinking about why am I self-publishing? 

This afternoon I dried apples that we harvested from trees we planted from seed.  I rubbed dry cure on pork belly that will be ready in 10 days to go into the smoker fueled by apple tree prunings from that same tree we grew from a seed, so that I can have bacon to eat for the next few months.  I'm remembering the time we bought half a hog hole so I could learn how to cut it up into it's little freezer size chunks.  I raise manglewurzels to feed to my sheep so that they can cloth me in wool.  I'm curious how things are made.  I want to learn what is involved in making them.

Publishing this book is no different.  I want to know what all the steps are. 

I no longer make my own beer because it was too difficult and the local brewer has far better-tasting brew.  But I did brew a few batches of beer, malting my grain, griding it, steeping, fermenting, bottling, drinking... I forgot to mention growing the barley.  I wanted to know.  Maybe in the future I will seek out a publisher that meets my ethos.

I'm also uncertain about my audience.  The books all say "imagine an individual that represents your audience".  What does that person look like?  What do they wear?  where do they get their groceries?  All I can imagine is myself 15 years ago.  I wrote this book for the me that was.  I wanted to read this book so much it hurt.  But I've never been... how do you say it nicely?  ... I've never been typical.  Maybe the total audience of my book is one.  I don't know.  I feel driven to find out if anyone else wants to read my book.  This kickstarter will show.  If we make it, and let's face it, most publishing projects don't, then I know that it's not just me.  Other people care about this topic. 

That would make me tremendously happy!

 
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Hi Raven,  I love this post.

I think there are a lot of people out there who will care about this topic.  But perhaps even more who will care about your lifestyle and pursuits.  This post would make the most awesome script for a pitch video.  Hint.  Are you thinking of offering swag (in addition to the book itself)?  Hint.

Looking forward to the campaign.
 
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Thank you Kerry.

The Kickstarter kickstarter is now live and the book is available to pre-purchase now.





It's been a lot of nights sleep lost over this - wondering if we're doing the right thing.  I think we are.  So many books on Kickstarter don't get more than 1% funded and yet we've only been live for a couple of hours and already we're almost 10% funded.  That's wonderful!

we have a thread for chatting about the kickstarter here if you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please come and join the conversation. 


Thank you again to everyone in this thread.  We wouldn't be here without your words of encouragement.

 
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I love having found this.  So glad you went through with it!  I, too, am working on something.  For others, as a way to get you past chapter three, starting working on chapter 10 and come back to it.  Don't worry about whether you are putting enough information in the book for everyone, perhaps you are writing for the beginner.  Any new information you get will lead to a "revised" or "advanced" version later.  At least that is what I am telling myself. 

I would love to hear more about the process of self-publishing.  How do you begin to promote your book?  Who did you send the postcards to?  How do you go about getting an isbn number?  How to work with a local printer?
 
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Sherri Lynn wrote:I would love to hear more about the process of self-publishing.  How do you begin to promote your book?  Who did you send the postcards to?  How do you go about getting an isbn number?  How to work with a local printer?



Oh gosh.  Where to start?

Looking back on the last few months, I can see just how much work publishers do.  Traditionally publishers, not the hybrid ones where you pay them to be published.  Traditional publishers most definitely earn their fee.  I wonder what would have happened if I wasn't so shy and actually went through with the application and pitched my idea to a publisher.  I narrowed it down to two publishers I thought would like my subject and I went to the library and borrowed every single book by those two publishers they had.  I have two other possible publishers and started borrowing those books as well.  The librarian was curious why I was interested in such a wide variety of topics since my normal topics include yarn, farming, and crafts.  Apparently, she bases her reading list on my book choices - which is kind of weird but it got us talking.  I came away from the conversation with a few books on self-publishing and a strange idea that somehow I could publish.

The library is an amazing source of information.  If I ever want to learn something new, I head to the library.  However, when it comes to self-publishing, my library has an epic amount of crappy books on the topic.  And one really good book.  Self Publishing in Canada by Susanne Anderson is so good that I went and bought myself a copy because the library has this nasty habit of wanting their books back after a month.  There are a lot of things about publishing that are very different in Canada.  For starters, the ISBN number is free for us provided a certain percentage of the people involved and the printer is in Canada. 

Going back to the publisher thing.  When I was reading books with an eye of choosing a publisher, I was overwhelmed by two things.  Even publishers have spelling mistakes in their books.  And more importantly, every single author brought their own audience with them.  The publishers choose people who they knew will help sell the book after it is finished.  Here's part of the application for one of the publishers I considered.

What help can you be in the promotion of the book? Organizational connections? Mailing lists? Workshops? Tours? Conferences which you are likely to attend? (We are primarily interested in publishing authors who are prepared to help substantially with the promotion of their own books.)



It's that question that I couldn't answer

Would anyone want to read a book that combines gardening with yarn?

I'm still in awe that the answer is yes.  Actually, there are quite a few people in the textile industry who are equally shocked - who tried to comfort me that it was okay if I only got two people pledging, one of them my dad.  Now, after seeing the response on my Kickstarter, these same people are negotiating a deal for distribution rights.  Pretty nifty stuff.

I'm glad I'm self-publishing for the same reason, I'm glad I grew my own barley so I could brew my own homegrown beer.  I'm not sure I'm going to brew any more homegrown beer as it was an... um... acquired taste.  I liked it, but I wouldn't serve my homegrown homebrew to guests.  I wanted to know every aspect of growing, malting, brewing and drinking homegrown beer.  Now I know what it's like, I have a deeper appreciation for my local brewery - who brews a very popular seasonal lager that tastes suspiciously like my homegrown beer only with hops instead of the nettles I used.



How do you begin to promote your book?



I suspect promotion began with the first post of this thread.  The people here helped give me the courage to write and in a way, they became invested in the outcome of the book.  I'm very grateful to them because, without this thread, it would take another 15 years before I wrote anything. 

Who did you send the postcards to?



A few friends.

Mostly I am using them as notepaper and to hand out to strangers and friends.  Someone wanted to know details of a sheep I have for sale, so I wrote them down on the back of the card, and my contact details, then they turned over the card and see the picture and ask about the book.  This has been a tremendous success.

The other day I went to buy some loose leaf tea for Holiday gifts and the woman there commented on my sweater in the way that only a knitter can.  We got talking about yarn and tea.  At the end of my shopping trip, I had given out postcards to 10 different random strangers who expressed interest in my book with another fistful that the sweater commenting lady promised to share with her knitting group.

How do you go about getting an isbn number? 



It depends on what country you're in.  In Canada, the government hands them out like candy at Halloween.  Of course, we have to fill in a form asking permission to get access to the forum to ask for the ISBN number.  This takes up to a couple of weeks.

How to work with a local printer?



I started by fining a list of everyone who printed books in town.  I quickly discovered that there are two types of companies the actual printers and the vanity publishers.  Once I had an idea of page count, size of the book, and colour vs. black and white pages, I contacted every printer I could find and asked them for quotes.  I sorted through not just on price, but more on the level and quality of service.  Were their quotes just text in an email or did they give me numbered sales orders on a PDF?  How much time were they willing to invest in me and my book?  How well did they answer questions?  How fast were their responses?  Were they willing to let me save money by picking up the books from the printer instead of having them shipped to my address?  Were they okay with me using my own ISBN?  Can they create a barcode? Do they provide a proof before the print run? 

Just as important to me, what were their answers to questions about eco-friendly options?  For this one, I phoned and asked "my readers care about the environmental impact of this book.  What can you tell me about your printing that will impress them?"  One of them stumbled and said, "oh, yes, we have LED lights in part of the office.  that's very green".  I didn't choose that one. 
 
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Thanks so much for the info.  Love the postcards as notecards or business cards idea.  On a side note, I was just looking at the stinging nettle beer recipe.  However, I also just over-seeded the pig pasture with barley, as they moved on to the next rotation. . .I need to get back to finishing my book.  Just taking a breather as I try to get over this flu bug.  I will have to look up getting isbn numbers in the U.S.
 
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