Ratty Corner has finally crept into the 21st Century with a webcam streaming via Youtube to replace the frame by frame broadcast I had before. This was brought on by wanting to show everyone our latest litter of baby rats, who are 18 days old today.
Last year I discovered a new hobby; crochet. It’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time, but it was only with the discovery of YouTube tutorials that I really got going. The best one for me was girlybunches because I found it really easy to follow. It seems the English and the Americans use the same names for different stitches and this one uses the English terms. I spent a lot of time at the end of last year visiting my dad in hospital, so crochet was a useful way of feeling productive while sitting talking every evening. My masterpiece to date is a cardigan, made to this pattern but without the stripes and with a border all around. Here is the result. It’s the comfiest cardi I have and is in danger of getting worn out very quickly. It’s like wearing a blanket.
Wow. It really has been too long since I’ve posted. There sits the post for my last book, and here I am with another one. This time I’ve filled a book with drawings of dogs, and having hit the publish button last Tuesday I’m suffering from the usual crisis of confidence as I wait for it to sell. I know these are my best drawings yet, I feel I’m improving with each book, but that doesn’t mean that it will compete with the many other doggy colouring books. So I’ll just leave you with my favourite drawing this time around. The bulldog.
My latest colouring book went live on Amazon on Saturday evening and the anticipation is killing me. With every book I feel that my work is improving, and I’m so pleased with this one that I’m expecting big things from it. Doodle Artist Pets has pictures of twenty different pets, two copies of each picture, and I’m aiming to make a big splash with it by setting the price as low as I can for the first week. The trick really seems to be to bump the books right up the chart to make them visible in their sub categories, because once they are there they tend to stay there for a good long while.
I feel so fortunate that this opportunity to earn through self publishing and print on demand is possible these days. My other half is looking at redundancy at the age of 58 and I have the feeling we’re going to need every penny we can find. Amazon is by no means perfect, but it’s allowed me to find an income stream that would not have been available a few years ago. Check out Createspace if you don’t know what I’m on about.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Doodle Artist – Peaceful Patterns, it’s currently on a Goodreads Giveaway offer until the end of January, with five chances to win a copy. Drawing those patterns really did help to soothe away the tension during December, so I’m hoping they will work just as well for my customers too.
It’s been a good while now since I posted, partly because life suddenly became very busy at the end of last year. My dad was taken into hospital on his 85th birthday in November and spend the whole of Christmas there. For the first few weeks he was in a hospital some miles away, and as my mum was determined to visit him every evening and my brother had a broken arm, this gave me the happy task of driving her over there. Thankfully we’re now looking to get him back home again, albeit with a heavy package of carers.
Luckily for me the stress relieving properties seem to extend to the drawing of colouring books as well as the colouring side, and I managed to publish my Rabbits and Hares colouring book just in time for the Christmas rush. The Peaceful Patterns book followed and was published on Christmas day. Not a traditional day to bring out a new book, but the day afforded a break from both my day job and hospital visiting as other family members were eager to have their chance to visit. Self publishing does cut out the delays in publishing a book – once it’s ready to go, it can.
So now I hope it’s not quite too late to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope 2016 turns out to be a good one for you.
The first low odds giveaway for my snowflake book was won by Taylor Dauwer, Stacey Love and Gisellamarcoccia, whom I hope will all enjoy it.
The rats book I set at 2000:1, but the books are still being won so I feel less guilty about setting the odds so high. The first confirmed winner is Zella Mckheen. Sales haven’t risen significantly, so it’s probably not earned me any extra dosh, but it was well worth it as an experiment.
I announced my second giveaway on here and on my fp page yesterday and got no entrants at all, which makes sense as neither place has much of a following. I added it to twitter last night, but only included the tags #fancyrats #petrats and #rats so the rat lovers get first dibs. That got me 230 entrants, but no winners yet. So now to the next stage, re-tweeting it with the tag #amazongiveaway. Lets see how far it gets now.
It will be interesting to see if the giveaway impacts sales at all. It’s potentially costing me $5.99 plus postage up to $6.08 for each prize, but I then get my profit of $1.44 back on each book. So to guarantee a profit I need to sell around 8 extra copies of each book for each prize given. Hmm. Might work, might not. It’s still fun to try though. I just hope it doesn’t pee off all those folks who aren’t in the right part of the world to enter.
So, yesterday’s trial of the Amazon giveaway showed me that my expectations were far too low. I set it to give a free book to every tenth person, with three books available. It sat there all afternoon (UK time) until I put it on twitter, whereupon all three books went within twenty minutes even though I didn’t use the giveaway hashtag. It made no noticeable difference to the sales of Simply Snowflakes, but it did mean that I had some .com sales to give my book a ranking, albeit I was the one who bought the books.
Today I thought rather than try it with a book that isn’t selling, I would try it with my best .com seller, the Fanciful Rats book. I’ve set the odds of winning far higher, just to see what happens, but there are five books on offer. I’ll probably tweet it directly this evening, but for now I’m just putting it here. Here goes.
Once again I’ve inflicted a new colouring book upon the world. This is getting to be a habit. This one is full of snowflakes, which was the book I did alongside my fanciful rats just to give me a break from drawing ratties all the time.
Mostly in order to see how it works, I’ve set up an Amazon giveaway for Simply Snowflakes. It will only work for those with a US postal address, but it looks like a useful way of promoting my books and hopefully it will give the book an initial boost to get it going.
I’m still in that parallel universe where my books are selling really well. In fact, Fanciful Rats is now outselling the original Butterflies book, although there’s a split between the .co.uk and .com sites, with Butterflies and Fanciful Rats selling well in the UK, but only Fanciful Rats doing well in the US. I think that probably emphasises the importance of networking, because the Butterflies book was shared mostly by my own friends spreading the word on facebook whereas Fanciful Rats was shared more widely through rat forums and groups.
The latest news on the book front is that I’m currently drawing a book of bunnies, alongside a book of patterns as a break. It’s going to be a while before I get all thirty bunny pictures done as I’m still learning how bunny shapes go.
The latest rat news is that I’ve yet again mated up one of my girls, Crystal Tips this time, so I’m now waiting to see if she will give me a litter of little ratlets. We’ll see.