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Review (Giveaway!): The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design
Yaaay for indie craft publishing! Knitgrrl Shannon Okey has just released a new book in print and digital formats: The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. I'm honored to be the second stop on the blog tour.
This is a very comprehensive guide to taking your knitting (or crochet) to an income-earning level. There's a whole lot of content here, so forgive me while I retire to a simple bulleted list for a moment. I just want you to have some scope of what the book covers:
- Social media marketing
- Alternate streams of income: teaching, freelance writing, test knitting, tech editing, selling products, and others
- Copyright, contracts, and dealing with infringement
- Producing patterns for sale
- Selling: wholesale, retail, and online
- Publishing: both through publishers and self-publishing
- Advertising options
Image by Tie Guy II, via Flickr Creative Commons
One area where the book really shines is in decoding the process of writing patterns for sale. Shannon covers setting up a style sheet for yourself, and she explores various software options, sizing, getting tech editing help, selling wholesale, taking online payments - all presented in a very useful, real-world way. It's clear that Shannon's been doing this for a while, and her expertise can be of tremendous help to a beginner.
Another very strong chapter is Shannon's take on getting a book deal. She's shared (sometimes unvarnished) insights from people in various roles in the publishing industry, and it really helps illuminate the careful stepping that's required these days to bring a mutually-beneficial book deal into being. And she gets into specific detail on magazine article and book publishing as well as self-publishing.
Image by dutch blue, via Flickr Creative Commons
To wrap things up, Shannon conducted interviews with 32 successful knitwear designers, who are extremely honest about how they manage to make their talent into a vocation.
All in all, this is a book of realism, and that's awesome. The mainstream publishing industry seems to crank out a lot of "How to be a Professional ___" books that offer a more pie-in-the-sky portrayal of what it takes to go pro. You can't blame mainstream publishing - this approach probably sells more books. But making your living, even in something as fun as creating, is still about business. It still has good days and bad, and learning curves that seem daunting, and it deeply changes the way you think about creating.
It's still completely worth doing, mind you. But Shannon's more honest take on the whole thing will help you make much more educated decisions about this future you're seeking.
Shannon has generously donated a copy of her book for a giveaway here. (I say "generously," because remember, this is a self-published book, and she's fronted all the costs of production and printing.)
If you'd like to enter to win, here's what you do: leave a comment below and tell me what your ideal career as a knitwear (or crochet) designer would look like. Be specific!
I'll draw a winner on Thursday, July 8th at noon PST. Good luck! Oh - And...
If you like this (or for that matter, any other) independently-produced craft book, remember that you play a key role in helping it find its audience. Indie publishers don't have big corporate PR companies at their disposal. So, check out this PDF from Shannon, which lists some ways you can help get the word out.
Other Blog Tour Stops:
- 3 July, Annie Modesitt, @modeknit
- 5 July, Diane Gilleland, @SisterDiane
- 7 July, Natalie Zee Drieu, @craft
- 9 July, Marnie MacLean, @MarnieMacLean
- 11 July, Daniella Cortez/Craft Culture, @danidocrafty
- 13 July, Kim Werker, @kpwerker
- 15 July, Marly Bird/Yarn Thing, @yarnthing
- 17 July, Ellen Gormley, @GoCrochet
- 19 July, Kerrie Allman, @yarnforwardmag
- 21 July, Vickie Howell, @vickiehowell
- 23 July, Melissa Wehrle, @neoknits
- 25 July, Julie Holetz, @skamama
- 27 July, Donna Druchunas, @druchunas
- 29 July, Amy O'Neill Houck, @plainsight
- 31 July, Jasmin Canty/Knitmore Girls, @knitmoregirls
Congratulations to Sharon, our winner!