1 Comment

Kinda fell off the KDP bandwagon but…

Life has been a but challenging. Although I have a folder full of ideas for Amazon KDP books, I haven’t really had the dedicated time to make them. I do have one that I made that I really like and need to make more of because it is for 6 months only (to keep it from being too thick and bulky) and I mention in the description that more will be coming LOL!

I love the bright colours and the kind retro feel of it. Plus the quote, which is often how I am feeling as we make the weekly menu plan and shopping list LOL! Interestingly, my daughter has expressed interest in creating KDP notebooks, although I suspect they will be more for her than anything. It raises an interesting idea – is it reasonable to create KDP notebooks for a specific built-in audience? For example, what about notebooks designed with her disability skating group in mind, where the proceeds would be for charity? What about as a fund-raiser for my in-law’s Dulcimer events?

This particular book is more high-content than low, there are two-page spreads for each week, plus a page to help you keep track of your servings for the various food groups, and a very long Master Grocery list. So yeah, a lot went in to it, more than just a simple lined notebook. You can Look Inside on Amazon to see what I mean! Or at least I hope that link will work.

This sort of book takes time to create. While you can drop 100 simple notebooks with eye-catching covers, Amazon is littered with those, after the endless YouTube creators claims that if you make enough of them, you will eventually get the traction and make sales. Unless you are spending money on ads I am skeptical, to be fair. But then for me the fun is in the creating and the sales are more of a bonus than the goal. I enjoy the process, and getting the books approved (meaning I did it right) but I know I am never going to make a living wage of sales!

I did do an online course for creating kids books, which was fun, and made a few of them. I also had an ulterior motive, as I am getting some nieces and nephews now having kids, and even if the books won’t win any prizes, they are cute and simple and I can change them to add a dedication page as each new baby comes in to the world. The only problem is I need to keep making them if there are loads of kids! Oh dear. At some point I may even be able to dedicate one to my own grandchild. That would be lovely.

They are nothing amazing, trust me, but each one taught me something about the tools I use to make them and the whole process was a lot of fun and frustration in equal parts.

So yeah, a bit of a throwaway post, but Darling Daughter was off for the weekend at her skating comp, and it was The Hubster’s birthday as well, and I ended up finally re-connecting with an old friend on a very long phone call, so my mind has been a bit all over the place. Plus I am trying to work out some tricky knitting and that has been keeping me busy as well.

Normal crafting might resume tomorrow….or it might not!


While I am away…

As I am off in the hospital for a few days getting my IVIG treatment, I won’t really be blogging. I decided for the week I will link to some old posts while perhaps tying them to my more recent work, if that makes sense.

So this post from 2009 (!) is about a project I made for myself, to document some quilts I was working on. I still have it, squirreled away in my sewing room, but not easy to lay my hands on at the moment.

At the moment, one of the things I am doing is making low as well as high-content books for the Amazon KDP program. You can see some of them in the sidebar or a few on Amazon here. It occurred to me that a quilt record book might be a possible item for the future. I already did the work for making the actual scrappy paper version so converting that into a notebook wouldn’t be terribly difficult.

I do sometimes miss quilting. One of my all time favourite ones was the tee-shirt quilt I made for my dear son:

When I am feeling a bit tired, sitting at my desk doing digital work is really the easiest thing to do. I should maybe take a leaf out of my darling daughter’s book and wrap my head around Procreate so I could work from anywhere! Maybe one day…

Leave a comment

RedBubble – my solution to the mug display problem

Well, I have been playing around with some designs for RedBubble. I’ve realized it’s the designing, and figuring out how to do what I envision in my head that is the fun part for me. So yeah, my items are a bit all over the place LOL!

Of course I began with my signature design, the one I still love best and the one I began with on Amazon as well:

But then I found some images that I really loved and I wanted to figure out how to use them in interesting ways. Without a doubt, my favourite one is a crazy image of a cat dressed as Brunnhilde! I mean, what’s not to love? And I am very much NOT a cat person, but even I think this one is amazing.

Then I found an amazing image of a bunch of Victorian ladies on a picnic, enjoying a beer. The caption just sprung into my head and I went with it.

I love that you can make your design available on all manner of things, from Tee shirts to mouse pads to clocks! How funny would it be for a bar-hopping Hen Night party to have the shirts customized with the bride-to-be’s name? I love that I can do that if I want.

So I am not a cowgirl either, but when I saw this old romance comic I just could not resist. Not a cat lover, not a cowgirl, not much of a drinker and yet….

I have some other designs. generic birthday ones with various ages on them, but only in basic tee-shirts and stickers and buttons, and mugs.

And that brings me to the next bit, the useful bit. There is a ting going on with RedBubble where the mugs do not display properly in the main view.

You can see that many of the coffee mugs do not show the design in the right place. RedBubble acknowledges this is an issue. But as you can see, some of my mugs DO show the image in the right place. When you upload a design, you can tick a box to select the display angle. No matter what you pick you get the handle on the right view in the main display. So if you place your design so it is facing out (towards the world) as a right-handed drinker, the mug displays as more or less blank. and if you place the image in the “middle” of the mug, so it is across from the handles, you get the sideways slice view. But most people don’t really want the design placed in that way. I came up with a solution that is (to my mind) better in a few ways. I created a template that looks like this:

right click to download the .png!

Now, this works perfectly in my program, but obviously you may need to fiddle with it in YOUR program to get the sizing right. But the idea is to add your image twice, each centred on a red line. Like so:

Delete the placement .png and save the image. Upload it to RedBubble and you have solved two problems: the mug display shows the image, AND you can declare that with two images the image will face outward to the world (as well as inward to the drinker) whether they are a left-handed or right-handed mug holder. Result! I haven’t quite worked out how best to deal with the Life Is so Daily all over design, so for now that is placed across from the handle. Can’t solve ALLLL the problems in a day now can I?

My shop is very, very small, with only this handful of designs, so I figure I have a few days to get all of them sorted and I probably won’t get any traffic anyway so it isn’t a problem to systematically work my way thru them.

At the moment I have one more design that makes me laugh – I have used the phrase It is far too peopley out a few times on ATCs or art journal pages or whatever, and when I saw this Edward Lear image of course that is where my mind went! I also loved Lear’s name of the plant, and it would be rude to leave this one out so I’ll add it:

Sorry that got super long but I was so keen to share. My brain is in over-drive and I have a lot of ideas but little time. Isn’t that always the way……?


WOYWW 646 – Booster jab day!

Happy WOYWW y’all! Happy Booster Jab Day is here for me. I have been reading that recent studies are showing that the AZ jab followed by a booster of Pfizer or Moderna is a great combo but since I had two Pfizer jabs to begin with I am very much hoping this one will be an AZ one. I’ll know soon.

Desk is pretty much as it was left last night. I had plans to tidy up but never managed it – something got in the way.

There are some more stamp images scanned and printed in better sizes for ATCs that may appear on cards or coins some time soon. I am happy to say my other desks are still quite tidy, so not a complete black hole of messiness. Yet. Even my so called messy desk remains tidy!

The other desk has a bucket of birthday gifts for darling daughter. It may look like a small pile but those damn Orly nail polish’s are like £12 each so, no inconsequential in cost, if small in size. A handmade card with extra gift cards hides the loot, in case she pops in to my office for any reason. I will be hiding them a bit better once I finish scheduling my post.

Other than that, I have another notebook in review, and selfishly, this one is more for me. There are loads of log books on Amazon but generally they are either full of blank pages, or have inner pages listing projects. I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted in a stash notebook and sent it past another knitting friend before settling on the final design. I’ll probably share it at some point but it takes about a week for the Look Inside feature to be working on Amazon. All in all it’s quite fun! I bought one of Ali’s notebooks but darn it I can’t share it lest I ruin a surprise. Grr. Check her ones out. Super cute design! Here’s mine:

Wish me luck with the jab and see you round at your desk hopefully sometime today! Happy WOYWW.


It’s all about the cleaning up…

We had a little problem with our network yesterday, in addition to my broken glasses, but not the same as the problem my ISP had over the weekend. Today is the dentist. Ugh. So this is what you might call a throwaway post. Nothing super interesting, nothing very new, nothing of note.

I did want to share that I have gotten copies of all the KDP books so far, and the little problems with the Walking notebook have been corrected. Phew. The transgender notebook cover image seems slightly less centered than it does in the PDF. so I may tweak that, not sure. Now I know they will stay on sale even without the corrections,I can’t decide if making the change is worth doing. I mean the likelihood of them flying off the shelves is so small as to be almost non-existent LOL! but still….

Here they are – and you can see that my desk is STILL a mess, hence the cleaning day today. I have to say the bright and colourful covers exceeded expectations:

and the Walking Journal fixed! Pretty happy with this one, if I’m honest. Creating the interior from scratch was a bit of a learning experience but worth doing.

Finally (so far!) the Don’t be Mean one. Again, getting the interior right using an free online tool that I have not seen mentioned in any KDP video but which I have been using for probably close to a decade, when I used to print colourful grid paper to use in my scrapbooking layouts, was interesting.

I like the idea of having both lines and doodling space, because I am a chronic doodled when bored. It seems to free my mind a bit. Anyway just on the off chance you might want to check them out they are here (only in the USA and UK Amazon.) I know it seems odd, as I have always given everything away for free on this blog and it has never been monetized in any way, but this is something that focuses on what I like (the designing) and not on the stuff I don’t (the selling and promoting of me) so I can manage it. I also bought one of my WOYWW friend’s journals which will have to wait to be shared as it’s a gift and I can’t give it away quite yet.

I finally got to meet up with my pink-haired knitting mate yesterday after a couple of weeks away because we were each unwell on two subsequent weeks (not Covid, don’t worry) and she acted as a sounding board and editor for something I have been working on as well. She did catch a stupid and repeated (copy-paste DOH!) error that I can quickly fix then I should be able to publish that one as well.

So there we go. Like I said, a bit of a throw-away post, but for me, a bit of an accomplishment.

1 Comment

A bit of this, a bit of that…. ATCs and KDPs

Happy I will be meeting up with my knitting mate today. We have missed the last two weeks (eek!) thru a series of misadventures and busy schedules. Back on track I hope.

So I did finish those ATCs, not that long after I scheduled the post, and the only difference is I went with Copic marker rather than Sharpie. And it worked great. The glue is actually my mix of matte gel medium and water, so begins white but dries clear and all I needed was a dot of Copic black and done!

I kinda always knew that the Sharpie idea was solid, but as my copics were on my desk it was easier to grab them.

Here is the set:

Reminds me of our gift to the bride and groom of the Day of the Dead figures for a long ago wedding cake. I was pretty sure I had a photo but can’t find it at the moment. Ah well.

The other thing is a notebook I made with a couple of specific people in mind. The design was a bit of a struggle (finding the right public domain images took a long time) but in the end I really like how bright and colourful it is. I was messing about with a mock-up tool and that only does the front cover. I did the back one as well just to show it – it looks like it could be two books but it isn’t

I learned a few interesting things while researching this. Firstly, words in speeches by Presidents are in the public domain. Handy, as I saw many variations on the words on the back cover that I liked but nothing that was clearly OK from a copyright perspective. Ditto the text on the front cover – I love a similar quote from Buckaroo Banzai, but Hey. Hey. Hey-now. Don’t be mean is too specific and protected while Hey. Don’t be mean. is generic enough to be unable to be copyright protected. And the the hunt for a public domain symbol for the front cover took quite a while. There are lots of ones that are Creative Commons SA but I was a bit stymied as to how to add the attribution that is required to the book in the right format. My goodness it’s a bit of a minefield. Fun tho’. Making the inside was also tricky – I wanted a half-page lined, half-page blank for drawing or doodling, and it was easy enough to make, but when looking at it in the Amazon previewer the lines looked SO pale I couldn’t see them – or worse, I could only see SOME of them. I won’t know till I can order a copy of they lines are too dark, too light, or not there at all!

I also have to say I think it’s a bit lame that Amazon won’t let you order your own copies under Amazon Prime, for free shipping at least, if not next day shipping.

I think my book that had the printing error is now OK to order, so I will grab that one, the pastel one, one a fellow WOYWWer made as an Xmas gift for a friend, and this one to check the quality and share when I get them all.

Woyww tomorrow! And then the dentist on Thursday. Ugh.

Leave a comment

Just a little wrap up of stuff…some good, some disappointing

{sigh} I get too darn enthusiastic about stuff. Sometimes, I just need to put the damn brakes on and take a breath. And you know me – I am never shy about saying when I do dumb stuff. A loooonng time ago I used to say, often I make the mistakes so you don’t have to. And that still applies, although it isn’t always 100% my fault. For example, the Amazom KDP publishing thing is…weird. There have been cases where I got a message back saying that my cover needed to extend past the trim area (what they call bleed) and yet when I previewed the cover it was fine. So I checked the file, the size was right, I uploaded the exact same PDF that looked fine to me before, and once again it looks fine and three days later it gets approved. Weird. I did order a couple of my “books” to see what they look like and wow. I am really pleased with the vibrancy of the cover images and the feel of them as well. Yum.

What I am less enthusiastic about is a stupid error I made in creating the insides. My program has this quirk, in that when you group things, it will bring something to the front that you didn’t plan on having there. And if you lack focus, like I sometimes do, you might miss that. As a result, when I changed the Copyright from the word to the tiny small grey C-in-a-circle, I think I thought I deleted the word but obviously did not. DOH! I hope no-one buys this one till it gets fixed!

Weirdly it is just on the right hand pages. Which is odd cause it was originally on both – so why did it show up only on the right? I’m stumped. If it had been lower in the box I could have lived with it, but not where it is now. The other super annoying thing is when you make a mistake, Amazon will let you correct it, sure, but in the three days before they actually review and update the item, they still allow people to buy the darn thing, with the error! Even if you were to unpublish the book and try to begin again it would still be for sale. I mean crikey! Yeah, yeah, you should be a good editor and check every detail of the book before you approve it, but my eyes just do not work like they used to. So while I am super happy with the books except for this little error, it certainly taught me to slow my roll and take the time to review things two or more times, like I do with my calendars – I am so paranoid about publishing a calendar with the wrong dates on it I check, check, check, obsessively check again, then one more time. And yeah, need to do that on the two books I have mostly ready to go. Maybe even have the Hubster, who’s eyes are even worse than mine, have a look over them.

Interesting that they told me my changes had been approved, then I stupidly went and looked, saw the old version still live in the shop, so clicked the previewer to check is again – and of course that threw it back into another 3 day review! Madness!

Also interesting that reading many of the negative reviews of books, I see that maybe 90% of the comments are to do with the Amazon publishing. So problems with books, stained or wrinkled when they arrive, and often bizarrely, pages printed upside down! Not all books, so probably not the author’s fault, unless like me they made a dumb error and Amazon kept selling the books with that error till the three-day review process was complete. There should be a way to hide a book from sale till things get fixed, but for Amazon, a sale is a sale. Lesson learned. Take the time, review, review, review, and publish only when things look perfect!

I also tarted up one of the cards I made for the tutorial yesterday

I like it. Considering if I should go ahead and complete the rest of them – having already done a set of Frida ATCs doing a 2nd set seems like overkill. I do still have two of the original set left untraded, so not sure it would be worth doing.

I have a stack of ATC backgrounds on my desk, things that I had set aside because they were perfect for cards or coins, and they all just need a little thought to morph into actual cards or coins. I am hoping that will happen later today, but not sure if I will find the time. Maybe. Hopefully.