Category Archives: Monday Marketing

Three Considerations when Looking for Quilt Show Venues

Location is the first consideration when planning a quilt show. You can read all five important ingredients for a quilt show here.

Your location will depend on where you live, and what is available to you. You can make almost any location work. Some may take a little more creativity, ingenuity, and even elbow grease.  However, before you can begin scouting for the appropriate location there are three factors  consider.

1.Indoors or out? Is your show going to be a one day outdoor event, or do you prefer an indoor venue?  This will affect where you locate.  An outdoor quilt show can be fun and successful, although you do need to have a contingency plan in the event of inclement weather.

There are several successful outdoor quilt shows held each year including: Eureka Montana Quilt Show, August 3, in Eureka Montana. Winters California Quilt Show, June 22, in Winters California, and of course,The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, held the second Saturday in July in Sisters Oregon.

2. Finances. How much can you afford to pay for the use of the facilities?  For small groups a free location is best,  as they don’t usually have a lot of money in their treasury. Some locations to consider for a free, or low-cost use are: school auditoriums if  the students are on a break. Churches, often have a dining hall or activity center they are willing to have used for a quilt show. Town halls, or community centers often have a large open space perfect for a quilt show. Some farmers and ranchers have large barns or shop buildings that are empty, or can easily be emptied, during certain parts of the year, they may consider allowing a quilt show in their barn. The Clarita Amish Auction held the second Saturday in September includes a quilt display (before the auction) in one of the barns. Once your finances are established, it’s easier to narrow the location search.

Sometimes quilt shows are held in huge convention centers.

Sometimes quilt shows are held in huge convention centers.

3. Accessibility. You want people to be able to get to your quilts to view them. Adequate parking is one consideration, if you use a farmer’s shop building, your customers need to be able to drive and park on his pasture, unless of course, the shop is located right next to the road. You want to avoid the need for people to park in the road, it’s not safe, and will deter some possible attendees from stopping.  A nearby parking lot is your best option, if available. You also want your venue to be accessible to those in wheelchairs, with walker or pushing strollers. If stairs must be climbed, you’ll need to install a ramp, a temporary one if necessary, for those needing one. Most public venues will be wheelchair accessible, it’s just something to keep in mind. You want your beautiful quilts accessible to everyone who wishes to see them.

Questions:

1. What is the most unusual location you’ve visited for a quilt show?

2. What is the most difficult obstacle your group has had to overcome to have a quilt show?

3. How far will you drive to attend a quilt show?

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Five Components of a Quilt Show

A few of the 103 quilt items on display

A few of the 103 quilt items on displ

“There’s nothing to having a quilt show. We just hang some quilts and people come look at them. ” Ever heard those words, or similar words when considering sponsoring a quilt, or craft show, or a book fair?

If you have, you can gently inform the speaker there are at least 5 items you must consider to help ensure you have have a good event.

1.  Location, there must be some place to display all your beautiful work. A location that can be secured if the show is more than one day, and one that will protect the quilts from the whims of mother nature. Finding a location for the quilt show is paramount.

2. Date and Time. When will you have the show? A date and time that works best can take a lot of discussion and consideration. In Oklahoma, we don’t schedule a quilt show on the same weekend as the OU/Texas or OU/OSU football games. Attendance will be low. Figure out the dates that will work best for your group. After you have a date, you’ll need to have the open and closing times for your show. How early will you open and how late will you stay? These vary from show to show and area.

3. Display Method – How will you display your different sized, and types of quilt and quilty items? Poll your members, someone will have the perfect idea of a display method that works best for your group.

4. Workers – Ah yes, the backbone of any group endeavor, people to actually do the work. Luckily most groups have enough members that the workload can be shared with no one having to hang the quilts, work the guest book, monitor the guests (no touching the quilts), do the advertising, design the programs, and any other jobs necessary. More people participating makes for a better show for everyone, guests and hosts.

5. Advertising – No one will see all your hard work and beautiful projects if they don’t know about them. Advertising will draw new people to your show, and introduce them to your group. It is vital for even the smallest show.

Our quilt group, The Material Girlz, had our first annual show in June. We had 103 items on display. Too many for our small space, but we were so excited to have a full show and not a half-empty room with too-few quilts. We learned much about putting on a show, and over the next five Mondays, I’ll explore a little more in-depth each of the five major components of having a successful show.

Has your quilt group ever sponsored a show? Share your favorite tips in the comments.

Networking, Partying for Quilters and Authors

get-ready-to-party

Finding readers for our blogs and meeting new people is often tricky. Why not have, or attend a party? After all, who doesn’t like a party? And, if the party will help you find new friends, readers, and customers, it’s the best kind. Plus, you don’t have to get all dressed up and drive to these parties. They’re held online. Sweet!

What kind of party does all that? A Linky Party. No, it’s not a party with different chain links. It’s a party with blog links. A  place where bloggers can meet, share information about their blog, and find other blogs of similar interests. All this sharing creates more traffic and new readers for everyone.

Linky parties are sometimes called a Blog Carnival, Blog Hop, even a Meme. Whatever they’re called, they’re fun and help you meet new readers and friends.

There are link parties for every type of blog. Since I’m a writer (mostly inspirational, faith-based writing) and a quilter, writing,  inspirational and quilting posts those are the parties that most interest me.

Here are a couple of writing linkies. Unfortunately  there doesn’t seem to be one blog or website to serve as a landing-place for other author or inspirational blogs that also host parties. If you have, or know of a blog with a linky party for writers in general and/or inspirational writers, please leave the URL in the comments section.

First up on the Linky tour is Lisa Jo, also known as, The Gypsy Mama,  Lisa sponsors Five Minute Friday, a party for bloggers write on the prompt she provides for five minutes, no over-thinking, no editing, posts on their blog, and link up with her. Lisa Jo is both an inspirational blogger, and an author blogger. Her prompts generally lead to inspirational posts.

Next up is Madison Woods  and her Friday Fictioneers. For this party, bloggers write something based on a photo Madison posts. Did I mention it’s fiction?

Another writing party is the Six Sentence Sunday, held by  Carol Shenold  on her website. For Six Sentence Sunday she invites authors to leave six sentences from their work, on their own blog, and then leave their blog address in her comments section. The six sentences can come from a recently published book the author is promoting, or six sentences from a WIP (work in progress). Bloggers’ choice.

Crafting and sewing blog parties seem to be all over the internet. There are at least three blogs, The Blog Guide Book, The Well Crafted Home blog, and Carol’s Homework; Today’s Assignment, Be Inspired, that list linky party blogs on their blogs.

Two of the blogs listed are:  Sumo’s Sweet Stuff and Free Pretty Things for You. Sumo’s Sweet Stuff has, Market Yourself Monday. A blog party for  crafters to link up their latest projects, attract new visitors to their site, and visit other blogs to get some inspiration! Free Pretty Things for You has, Whatever You Want Wednesday, a party for DIYers and Crafters to post, well, whatever they want. There are a few rules, every party has its own guidelines.

If you can’t find a party, blog hop, carnival, or meme you like, why not start your own? Liz the Party Girl, and her husband, Doug the Master of Ceremonies work together on their blog It’s a Blog Party: Celebrating Blogland, have an entire series on linky parties.

Have you tried a Linky party? Feel free to share your party experience with us as well as any parties you support or sponsor.

Stop the Presses! Another “party”.  Ok, “stop the presses” is cliche, and that was the prompt yesterday at Joe Bunting’s blog, The Right Practice.  Since writers, like everyone else, need practice, he posts a prompt/story idea six times a week for his readers to use for fifteen minutes of writing.Yesterday’s prompt was to write using cliches.

Results of the exercise can be posted in the comments section, which will attract readers to your blog, or you can just comment with a link to your blog. Either way it’s a win-win (isn’t that another cliche?) you get to practice writing, thus improving your writing skills, and your attract readers to your blog, and build your blog community.

EverGreen or Deciduous?

It’s Spring in Oklahoma, which means the Deciduous trees  have all leafed out, giving out landscape a full lush look, adding to the greenery of the Cedar trees.

Deciduous trees are those that who lose their leaves, in the autumn, after the leaves have turned the landscape colorful with their new orange, red, yellow, and brown before dropping off and leaving the tree bare for the winter.

Both types of trees are needed. We enjoy the benefits of both. The Cedar trees, the evergreens stay green through the cold, dismal winter, giving us a bright spot to view.

Our writing is the same. Some of our stories and articles are like the Deciduous, they have their time, and like the Deciduous trees come back, for use. Seasonal stories and articles can be used each season. Articles tied to events can be revived on the anniversary of the event.

It can be yearly, articles relating to the events of December 7 (Pearl Harbor), September 11 (Twin Towers), and April 19 (Murrah Building bomb) are often used every year as the anniversary approaches. Calendar dates can also trigger posts, Memorial Day will be next month. You may want to consider if, and what post you’ll write  for the day, and those who served.

Other date-related stories are used on significant anniversaries, the fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, hundredth, and so on. For example, Arizona was admitted into the Union of the United States in 1912, the first foreign feature film was shown in the United States. If you’re a sports writer, pitcher Cy Young retired, among other sporting news.

What does that have to do with you, the blogger? Just as other publications need both types of stories, you need both for your blog. Sure, around the holidays, write holiday related posts. Your readers are probably going to expect them. Besides, they’re fun to write. And yes, you could relate every post to an event or happening in history. But why not intersperse a few ever-green articles? The advantage of an ever-green is that you can write it when you have the time and energy and save if for those days you just don’t know what to write. You can be calm when considering your blog post.

Although, truthfully, most days I look like this when working on a blog post.

Maybe I could enjoy the calm a little more if I had more Deciduous articles on standby.

You might want to check out a few of my fellow bloggers bloggers who have full lush blogs with Evergreen and Deciduous articles:

Funny lady Amy Mullis writes humor pieces, both on her blog, Mind over Mullis, and with other funny writers at, An Army of Ermas (as in funny lady author, Erma Bombeck.)Some of  Amy’s posts are timely because the humor is based on current events, however, most of her humor is timeless. Warning, don’t be eating or drinking when ready Amy’s posts, you don’t want to have to take time to clean your monitor screen.

Pamela Foster, author of, REDNECK GODDESS, intersperses timely posts, like her most recent, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen with funny fictional pieces like, More – On the Road with Chesty and Rocca.

Beth Bartlett says she has more  One writer who includes evergreens with timely posts is Beth, on her blog, The Writing World of Beth Bartlett. Beth says she has more sides than a D20 die, her blog has a little from all her sides, and includes both Deciduous and Evergreen articles on her blog.

What about you? Are you a calm blogger? Do you have a few, or more, Deciduous articles in your arsenal? Leave a comment and share how you choose a blog topic.

Three Tips for Improved Blogs

In a never-ending search for ways to be more active online I’m devoting March to my blog. Each Monday I’ll look at suggestions and ways improving our blogs to help strengthen my writing platform. After all, that’s supposed to be the idea, have a good solid platform and people will find the books. Uh-huh. We’ll see. Last month I worked on my Twitter account. This month it’s blogging.

The goals are to blog consistently, and increase my readership. I’ll let you know at the end of the month how well it worked.

Today, I have 3 suggestions for a good blog.

  1. Find an area and stick with it. Yeeeah, this is a case of do as I suggest and not as I do. I can’t seem to stay in one area with my blog.
  •  I’m a writer, so I blog about writing, but I don’t feel experienced enough to only  blog about writing.
  • I’m a quilter, remember. my book is a collection of quilt stories. Again, not an expert quilter, and don’t want to just blog about quilting.
  • Then there’s my faith, inspirational, uplifting comments and ideas I want to share.

However, experts on blogging suggest we bloggers find and stick with one market.  While I haven’t been able to follow that advice, I do follow bloggers in each of those categories that do stick to one subject.

Writing bloggers like Duolit , who have a blog  for independent published authors, but I find it helpful. When I want to learn about book marketing, I check out their blog.

Quilting bloggers like, Kim at Kim’s Crafty Apple,  I know when I go to her blog there will be information on quilting in some form. Sure I learn a little about her life, but mostly I learn about quilting.

Inspirational bloggers like, Karen Jordan at Telling the Stories that Matter the Most. I know if I’m hurting, or want to be uplifted Karen is sure to have a story that will help.

This is why ‘experts’ encourage us to find an area and stick with it when we blog. Although, that is good advice, I’ve never been known to do what was best. Maybe it’s the latent rebel in me.

I’m not alone, there are other bloggers who cover a variety of subject. Bloggers like Amy Shojai’s Blog, Bling, Bitches, & Blood. Or Hilary at The Smitten Image, then there’s Carol at Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy.

2.  Have a schedule. Even if your blog, like mine, zigzags all over the place, have a posting schedule. This will allow your readers to have an idea of when you will post what.I try to do that:

  • Monday is for writers, currently it’s marketing, but that could change.
  • Wednesday is God’s word, that’s still a work in progress. I started one way which didn’t work, so am looking for what will work for me.
  • Friday is Five Minute Friday, where I write for five minutes, no editing, no second guessing, and link up with others at The Gypsy Mama.
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are supposed to be for quilting, again, a work in progress.
  • Sundays are silent, I post pictures.

3.  Be consistent. Right. Another case of do as I suggest and not as I do. Once we have a schedule, we need to stick with it. Again, it makes it easier for our readers. Also, having a consistent time to post helps them. Some like to post in the late evening, others prefer posting in the early morning, or maybe the afternoon, depending on their real life schedule. So far, my posting time has been horribly erratic.

Now you know what I’m not doing, that I should be doing. How about you? Do you follow any of these rules, or do you break them? Why? Do you have other “rules” you follow that helps keep your blog active? Please share with us.

 

 

Blogging for Success

Monday Marketing: Blogging for Success

Blogs. Everyone seems to have one. Most authors for sure do, their editors, friends, even family insist we need a blog to help sell our books. We agree, we can see the benefits of having a blog, but then we flounder. What do we post? When do we post? How do we get readers?

I have no idea, I’m stumbling along just like everyone else. To find the answers, or some of them, I read (don’t all writers read?), I read blogs, books, magazines, hoping for some kernel that will if not propel me to the top, will at least make the climb a little easier.

I’d planned to list several blogs here I’d found that might be helpful. However, I once again found Kristin Nador’s blog, Kristin Nador Writes Anywhere, I really need to pay more attention to the blogs I’ve bookmarked.:-)

Last month Kristin ran a series of post aimed directly at helping us make better use of our blogs. So, here are all (I think) of her “blog improvement” posts.

Here are links to her posts:

Part 1 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 4 Ways To Define Your Audience .

Part 2 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 7 Keys to Blogging on a Consistent Basis

Part 3 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 14 Actions to Take to Amplify Your Blog’s Voice.

Part 4 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

Part 5 – Sharpen Your Blogging habits: Get Serious by Relaxing.

I  hope you enjoy Kristin’s posts and they give you some new ideas to try or at least consider. Sorry for my recent Marketing absence, was busy working on entries for the OWFI contest. Deadline has passed, hopefully I won’t become obsessed with another project, but there’s no guarantees :), and will be here regularly on Mondays with my little take on marketing our books.

How have you used your blog to increase your book’s audience? What other methods have you used to sell your product, whether it’s a book, a quilt, or other item? Feel free to share your ideas with us.

Next Monday will be about Twitter since I’m focusing on improving my Twitter usage this month. 🙂

 

Marketing Ripples

Throw a rock in a pool of water and watch how far the ripples move out from the center, where the rock landed. Our book promotions are much the same, especially online. We don’t know who will read and react (by making a purchase) to our words, but we keep sending them out there to cyber space.

Online promotional ideas aren’t endless; at least I think there’s a finite number of them. I haven’t found the end yet. Of course, each author has his/her own spin, making the ideas go even further.

So far I blog, you’re reading it, remember? Have a Facebook and Twitter account, and use my email to help grow my readership and establish my platform.

Email sounds a little clunky, slow, and old-fashioned. But, I don’t mean sit and carefully compose individual email after email, although, for some that might not be a bad idea. No, first, add a signature to every email you send that tells a little something about your book.  You can add a sentence or two enticing your correspondent to find and read your book. Of course, finding it won’t be hard for them, you’ll also have a link in your signature that will let people click and buy.

Quilter, Jane Skoch who uses the name Maiden Jane, simply lists her website, her blog, and her Etsy store under her signature:

Jane Skoch
http://www.maidenjane.com

http://www.maidenjane.blogspot.com

http://www.maidenjane.etsy.com

Author Pat Browning lists the name of her book, where to find it, her blog and a quote from Paul Newman, giving credit to where she found it:

Pat Browning
ABSINTHE OF MALICE (Krill Press 2008)
Kindle and Nook E-book $2.99
http://browningpat.wordpress.com/
“Once you’ve seen your face on a bottle of salad dressing, it’s hard to take yourself seriously.”–Paul Newman, quoted by literary agent Michael Larsen in his blog

Linda Formichelli, author, writing coach and teacher simply lists her website below her name:

Linda Formichelli

http://www.therenegadewriter.com

My publisher/editor Dan Case simply lists all the places online he can be found:

Dan Case, editor
Writing for DOLLARS!
http://www.WritingForDollars.com
BLOG
http://PromoteBooks.blogspot.com
AWOC.COM Publishing
http://www.awoc.com
Web site
http://www.DanCase.com

I currently mention I’m available to speak to groups, my blog address, and where to find my book. In the past I’ve also included a short, two or three sentence excerpt from the book to entice readers.

The nice thing about the email signature, it’s fluid, flexible, you can change it on a whim. Have a new book published? Add it to your signature. Find another quote you like better? Add it to your signature.

You’re not through with email yet. Now, you have everyone who receives an email from you learning about your book(s), you can send emails to help grow your readership.

If you have a book signing, give a presentation, or simply have good news to shout to the world (book is in it’s second, third, fourth printing, you made top seller, or your second, third, fourth, etc. book is now available) sending emails will help spread the word. Send an email to every family member, of course. They may already have your book, or not, this might encourage them. A simple reminder from you about your book, will jog their memory that “oh yeah, I have a relative with a book” and they’ll tell their friends. Plus, it’s just nice to share good news with family, same thing with close friends.

You can also send an email to organizations you belong to. They can include the information in their next newsletter or communication with the group. Be very careful sending individual emails to addresses you glean from the membership rolls, you don’t want to spam them.

That’s it for this week. Next week, Blogging for Sales. In the meantime, how do you use email to increase your readership and grow your platform?