Monday, February 06, 2006

Fame and Glory or Folly and...?

Breaking the whole one-post-per-day rule I have imposed upon my self I post again. If you are just coming in today, read the post below this one first. Trust me. I initially wrote this post as a comment on the last one, but it is so intrinsic to my dilemma that it deserves its own space.

In response to my last post my friend Bill wrote: "That very much depends on whether you want to be able to say on your resume that you are a published author, and that your artistry is on record. It might just be worth it in terms of increased exposure and sales..."

And that is exactly what my husband Dave says, and it comes under the category of "less tangible". And if it were a big coffee-table expose of my achievements and artistry LOL), well that would be a nobrainer (and not bloody likely). But let's be honest, this is going to be a little craft "how-to" book.

Am I really going to gain "artistic" cred from having it published? We all know what an effort it will be to do it, will the kind of cred that comes from it (even if it is very well-done) be worth it? And that is a serious question. I will be sinking an incredible amount of time into this endeavor almost to the exclusion of the rest of my business--shows, commissions, new projects and techniques. Of course I will be learning as I validate the techniques I write up, but I won't be intentionally trying anything new.

But if not now, when. I know if not me, who (anyone else). Seize my moment and see where it goes, or don't do it because I know the publisher has set this up to entice me and take advantage of me. How long has it been since I was last seduced? I can answer that--last spring when I bought the gutter covers from the guy who promised me that they would keep out the Georgia long-leaf pine needles and water oak leaves and my gutters would run free forever. I was screwed then too. In that scenario there was no upside--unless you count that it is easier to clean the clogged gutter tops than it is to clean the clogged gutters. Both require a ladder. The only upside here really is Fame and Glory.

Do you feel lucky, punk? Is there enough Fame and Glory? What would YOU do? If you have time, post a comment and give me your opinion (anonymous posting is allowed, but I would appreciate a name).


Barbara Muth said...

Oh Brenda,

I think this is one of those things that if I was offered it, I would do it, no matter the cost to me in time and tears. Why? Because if I didn't I would always wonder "what if?"

On the other hand (and usually I have about five hands) I would think about how many hours I expect to go into the book, double that and assume that that's the number of kiln hours I would be missing. How much income will you lose because of writing the book? Can you afford to indulge yourself for the purpose of writing the book?

On the other hand (see?) I think about the unexpected doors and windows this could open, television appearances for once. Authoring a how-to book, no mater how skilled you are or are not at making the thing the book is about, instantly transforms you into an expert.

On the other hand, there is fan mail. Are you going to hire an assistant to answer all of those emails "now what kind of kiln should I buy?" "Now how many layers of glass should I use?" "I got these funky bubbles, how do I fix them?" tee hee (Some days the help-me mail annoys me. My husband thinks of it all as a huge compliment...)

I have to go back, on the fifth hand, to what I said at first. It's a rule I live by. Never leave an opening for a what if regret later down the line. The rule works well for me. I wouldn't have married my husband if it weren't for the what if rule....

Doug Farrar said...

Go for it. Then make sure that you hang a copy of it in your booth. It will increase sales. People like a published person. A friend of mine in the insurance business published a book about estate planning for women. At first it didn't mean much, but she gave away a few copies to her clients and to a few friends and then had a booth at the her State Fair showing her book. Now she gets so much business she had to hire additional people to help her.

It makes you a professional and people like to buy from a professional. Think about your walk around the one of a kind show. How many people had their pictures up of magazines they had been published in. Few could have said I have published a book. They sale because of the publicity.

Go for it!!!

Good Luck

andrea land said...

First of all....I am a bad friend. I just got back this evening from a six-day show in Tucson. Before that I had to get all my samples (30 pieces of jewelry) and marketing materials ready AND shipped for the beadmakers' booth at BMAC, and I had a large ASAP gallery order for heart pendants. None of this is an excuse for not being in touch, but it is a reason.

Anyway.....your book! Several years ago my old boss at Disney tried to hire me to write a book on Corvettes. We had several meetings and I was ready to do it, until I received the contract. I didn't need a lawyer to tell me it was a dismal deal. As I recall, he offered to pay me $3K and that was all the money I'd ever see, AND I was responsible for all my own expenses for writing the book, the biggest of which would have been professional photography. So I said no, and I have never been sorry. However, and this is a big However, I have never desired, not even for one second, to be known as a Corvette connoisseur.

Even in the digital age books are still very powerful. Monyman is right -- you will get business and attention and credibility you can't get any other way. In Tucson I sold the bead I have in 1000 Glass Beads to a self-described collector. Two days later he brought his case of beads back to my booth with my bead in it to show me how it would be displayed. The whole exchange was incredibly flattering. At almost every show, people ask me to sign the books I have beads in. This will happen to you a thousandfold if you write this book. You will also get lots of email asking you questions, lots of requests to teach, and some jealousy from your colleagues. That's my prediction, anyway.

I would do it. But I don't think you can keep up your current show and production schedule and write a book too. Since you are in your planning stages for the year, I think it'd be best to figure out the book issue before you sign up for additional art fairs. Maybe this year you do BMAC and One of a Kind, fill the orders you get from BMAC and orders from current customers, work on your book, and that's it.

Based on my own very limited experience, it seems important to me that your written agreement spell out what expenses Lark will pay for and what you will pay for as you write the book. Maybe (hopefully) it already does.

The other thing I want to mention is that if you teach the specifics of the techniques you are using, you WILL be copied. And at least some of your readers will try to sell the copies they make. But from the pictures you posted a few days ago, it's clear that you are letting your work evolve, and if you continue to do that you will stay one step ahead of the copiers!

Bill Paley said...

Listen to Andrea above; I think she's got the jist of it. If you can complete a page or two of work a day, it should be finished pretty quickly, and I would think it would be worth the effort...

I wrote a few small items during the late 70s and early 80s, all for the RPG environment. It was an area of interest. A few folks have related to me well due to that, and most of my best friends came through the joys of RPGing, including your husband. You can have no clue at this point what doors will open up due to your book, or who will enter your life. I would suggest that, after attempting negotiation with the publisher, you accept the commission...