Monday, September 21, 2009

Crafty writers

My neighborhood is pretty rad. Coffee shops and bars are welcoming and comfortable, hidden gardens abound, and it's an easy walk to art stores, grocery stores, a farmer's market -- and the library. 

Have I mentioned how much I love the Multnomah County library? It's fantastic. Just yesterday I stopped by my local branch for a presentation by craft book authors Diane Gilleland, Susan Beal, and Alicia Paulson. I was inspired by all three authors and also by the size of the audience. Crafty creative types are everywhere in Portland!

The authors talked about how they got started writing craft books and gave advice and technical tips for aspiring authors.

A couple of highlights:
  • Diane, who wrote Kanzashi in Bloom and produces the CraftyPod podcast, pointed out that publishers want you to have a platform -- that is, people who already follow your work. Do you blog? Do you have a huge Facebook following? Have you gotten publicity for your craft work? Those details should go in your book proposal.
  • Susan, who blogs at West Coast Crafty and has written three books -- one without an agent and two with -- said that getting an agent was the best business decision of her life and that agents can increase book deals by more than the cost of their 15% commissions. 
  • Alicia, who wrote Stitched in Time and blogs at Posie Gets Cozy, suggested just focusing on the quality of your work and not trying to predict craft trends. One of those pieces of advice that seem really obvious, yet I wish more people would actually follow it. 
The library recorded the talk and will be posting as a podcast sometime in the next few weeks. Hopefully you'll be able to hear the speakers over the uproar of knowing laughter when someone asked the question, "How do you keep crafts from taking over your home?"

[Edit 10/13/2009: The podcast is up on the Multnomah County Library website now.]


  1. oh sweet - thanks for the brilliant succinct overview. i linked it on my blog (i'm new at this, so no fancy linky here). thanks again!

  2. Thanks so much for attending, Wendy, and for your thoughtful review. It was a pleasure speaking to everyone -- thank you!

  3. Alicia & Kendra -- thanks to you both for stopping by my blog.

  4. Sounds like you're living in a lovely part of town, can't wait to hear more.


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