by Lisa McGrimmon
There's simply nothing better than sitting down with a great new craft book or magazine!
Nothing beats the inspiration and thrill of possibility of all the projects you might create, or the strategies you might implement to build your business. Of course, you can always find information online, but a good, well organized book containing all of the information you need from start to finish in one place can be a big time saver.
If you read a few of my book and magazine reviews, you might start to notice a trend. I like all of the craft books and magazines that I review.
I'm not a fan of putting negativity into the world, so, if I don't like a book and don't think it would be particularly helpful to my readers, I just won't review it.
That's why all of the reviews here are positive. I have certainly read my share of terrible books, but you won't find any of them here because I'm not in the business of tearing down other people's work.
So, here are some of my favorite business and crafty books and magazines that I've enjoyed and benefitted from and that I think you would enjoy as well.
This magazine is not craft business specific; it is targeted at retailers who sell fashion accessories in any type of retail environment. It reports trends many months in advance, so you will have the information you need to create on-trend pieces.
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Packaging Your Crafts is a practical guide to creating great packaging for handmade products. This book includes excellent examples, helpful tutorials, and useful resources. Although you might need to learn a few new basic techniques, the projects in this book are completely do-able by the average crafty person.
Handmade Packaging Workshop is a gorgeous collection of examples of packaging suitable for handmade products. It is not a series of tutorials on how to make handmade packaging, but, rather, it is a book full of case studies of beautifully designed, effective packaging that can give you inspiration for designing your own packaging for your products.
If you're convinced you'd get more done if you could just cultivate better habits, if you've tried unsuccessfully to develop effective routines, and you just can't make then stick, this book is for you.
Here's the book that helped me establish habits that had eluded me for years, work more effectively, and accomplish more in my business and my personal life.
Pinterest Power is a helpful guide to using Pinterest to connect with your customers. What I really love about this book is that fact that the author has used Pinterest to build his family's craft business. So his examples and recommendations are an excellent fit for anyone who runs a creative business.
eBay Auction Power is a compelling book about how to sell handmade items at premium prices on eBay. If you're convinced you can't sell handmade items at a decent price on eBay, if you're thinking of selling on that site, or if you are worried you might be under-pricing your work, take a look at this intriguing book.
This is an excellent, comprehensive guide to pricing crafts. I love this book because not only does it give you many options for figuring out how to price your crafts, it also tells you what to do to raise the perceived value of your work so you can sell it for more. This is an essential craft business book!
I haven't written a full review of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day, but this is my favorite book on how to develop a Facebook presence for your business. It is extremely thorough, easy to understand, and the author is clearly dedicated to understanding and using Facebook to build her own business. You can follow her on Facebook here to get tips and learn about new developments that impact your Facebook business page.
There's a good chance you'll find this book includes more information than you need. It is written as a guide for someone who has been put in charge of a company's Facebook presence, so it includes information about how to present information to management and how to deal with Facebook within a larger corporate structure. However, you can simply skip those parts that aren't relevant, and you'll still get a lot of value from this book.
I love this craft photography book because it shows you how to really style your photos to tell a story and create an overall brand image for your online craft store. This is the book to get if you're looking for advice on how to take photos for online sales.
If you want to photograph your own crafts for sale online or for show applications, and you don't have a photography background, get this book!Seriously! There's a lot of photography advice online, but this book is the absolute best source I've read that is specifically targeted to craft business owners.
I wasted a lot of time trying to get decent photos of my work (following bad advice and using an inadequate camera), and I wish I had found this book much sooner. Bad photos will kill your online sales and hurt your chances of getting into the best craft shows. If your photos aren't great, this book should pay for itself in increased online sales and acceptances to better shows when you present your improved photos to customers and jurists.
Bead on a Wire is one of the first wire jewelry making books I ever read. The instructions are clear, the projects are fun and, if you're creative, (I'm assuming you are if you're on this site!) you can easily adapt the techniques to develop your own unique designs.
The Beader's Guide to Color takes color theory and applies it to beading. If you work with Delica beads, you'll find this book particularly helpful because there are many gorgeous color schemes in the book with Delica bead numbers included.
I experimented a lot with making resin jewelry before I bought this book, but there were always a few problems (like unwanted bubbles or streaking, or what type of resin to buy) that I couldn't resolve. This book has great projects and will help you solve those pesky resin making problems that crop up.
The Chinese Brush Painting Bible by Jane Dwight
Chinese Painting Techniques by Alison Stilwell Cameron
and Chinese Brush Painting: A Beginner's Guide by Pauline Cherrett
Chinese brush painting is a beautiful, and surprisingly disciplined art form.
I took classes several years ago, and honestly, I think that is the best way to go if you're serious about learning this art form. Some things are better learned face-to-face with a teacher, and, in my opinion, Chinese brush painting is one of those things. However, if you want to give it a try and can't access a class, these books can give you a feel for it.
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