Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: May 2012

Today, I am…

do not be timid, experiment


Riding a roller coaster. 

Literally. My family kidnapped me and took me to Dollywood. Husband, mom, brothers, cousins. A whole puppy pile of giggles and boy-jokes.

Preparing to begin a new year.

My birthday is Sunday. It's a big one. I have all kinds of new-decade ideas bubbling. I have a new challenge for the new year (last year's challenge was to get a publisher for a then-undetermined book. It worked out pretty well.)

Thinking without planning. 

I have an idea. A really great idea for what comes next. I think you're going to love it. I nearly told you about it today, but instead…I'm letting it percolate. Before I jump in and commit to it being one way, I'm letting it roll around and transform and by formed by everything else.

This is new for me. I'm of the have-an-idea and act-on-it school of Making Things Happen. But sometimes, an idea is improved by letting it spend a little more time as an idea, before immediately jumping to the how-will-it-happen bits.

Confession: I might never have given this idea space if my family hadn't kidnapped me. I probably would have planned and created the whole thing today.


At dollywood, inspiriationSign at Dollywood


Last week I experimented with my workday (What happens when I change places in the middle of my day?).
This week, I'm experimenting with with ideas, and what happens when I give them space to be ideas before they become things.
Next week, I'm experimenting with the Starship.
The week after that? Location-independent work weeks (ie, travel).

All of my experiments come down to one question:

What happens when things aren't the way I think they have to be? 

What are you, today? 

The bravery in sticking with your just right people.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a guest (again!) on my friend David Cohen's radio show, Be a Beacon.*

We talked about filtering out the not-quite-right-people (by, for example, calling your signature product The Starship) so that you can focus on the just-right-people. David said something like “Why's that so scary, to think about leaving people out and just focusing on the people who love it?“…and that's what I want to talk about today:

Focusing on your Right People IS scary. 

When you're starting out, and you have NO people, you think, “I want everyone! I want to appeal to everyone!” You can't imagine ever wanting anyone to walk away from your product.


But the simple fact is: There are people who won't like it. There are people who won't “get” it.

And that's ok.

That's perfect, in fact. Because you can't make something people gush over and long for, if you don't make something that is dislike-able by others.

The secret to not going completely crazy (well, one of them) when you put your very heart and soul into what you make, and then you put it in front of people, is to focus all your attention on the people who do (or will) love it. 

Write your product descriptions for them.
Take photos for them.
Show up in the shops and the craft shows where they're at.
Love them with every new product, with every blog post, and ignore the others.

When you meet those you don't want it or get it (or even if you're imagining them!), remember: they're not for you. And that's ok! You've got (or soon will have) people who do love it, who do want it.


*You can listen to our whole conversation here:

Listen to internet radio with David Cohen on Blog Talk Radio

Even more giveaways

One week after the book launch and I am still…floating. That's the only word for it. The launch party, the giveaways and the reviews have all been sparkling and delightful and perfect.
I promise that next week we'll get back to talking about YOUR small biz, but before we do, I have to fill you in on a few more book-related things (like chances to win it!).

Gather Here is the best.

Seriously. If you're in the Boston area, you do not want to miss this yarn + fabric shop. Friendly, well-stocked and filled with a wonderfully sweet community.

I was totally thrilled to make it home to the Launch Party.

(And they had signs all over! Even in the window! Nothing will make a girl feel fancier than a window sign!)



Reviews + Giveaways

Not sure if the book is right for you? Check out these reviews:

“Let me just tell you – this book is HEAVY. It’s full of advice, full of theories and ways to practice them. Full of material to follow – from friendly to professional, from personal to business. This book doesn’t have tons of drawings, tons of diagrams or lots of colours. It’s straight to the point.”

Read the whole thing at Rock + Purl + enter win a copy


“Market Yourself by Tara Swiger does not disappoint. Tara Swiger knows marketing and after you read this book (heck, after reading the first chapter!) you will believe that Tara Swiger knows you.”

Read the whole thing at Handmade Success + enter to win a copy



“Market Yourself is oriented toward people who make and sell handmade objects (including, ahem, knitting patterns) but could be just as easily applied to boutique service companies or pro-bloggers looking for the right audience; pretty much any business with a small-to-non-existant marketing budget will find invaluable tips here.”

Read the whole thing at Ropeknits


“What you need to do is straightforward (know who your “Right People” are, for example), but it can feel overwhelming. That's where this book went from being interesting to being gripping for me: Tara breaks all this down in a friendly, conversational way and provides worksheets and helpful tips (like “16 Questions To Help You Write A Douche-Free Bio” by Kelly Parkinson). “

Read the whole thing at MK Carroll


Vianza's just straight up giving away a copy (enter by tonight!)

And I think that's everything?

If you've reviewed the book (or you'd like to!) leave me a comment with a link! And if you've bought or won the book, leave a comment and let me know what you think, mkay?
Thank you for making this week utterly magical.

Market Yourself launch party! A chance to win $50!

Hello friends! Today's the day!

Market Yourself is out of pre-orders and is shipping out, right this minute.
$26.95 plus shipping

Add to Cart View Cart

DIGITAL (PDF and ereader)

Add to Cart View Cart

In Boston? Join me!

Tonight I'll be teaching a workshop on Right People. It's totally free, and it's at the fabulous Gather Here. Get the details here.

Not in Boston? Tweet + win $50!

To celebrate the launch of my book, my publisher is giving away a $50 gift certificate for any of their books. To win, all you have to do is tweet about the book, and use #marketyourself in your tweet, today. Shannon will pick a winner (randomly) from all tweets + announce it via Twitter tomorrow morning.
In your tweet, you can ask me questions (I'll answer every one!), you can talk about your favorite part, or you can share your own marketing struggles.


Need some ideas? How about: 

I just bought @TaraSwiger’s marketing book for handmade biz! Get yours here: http://bit.ly/IbR5oM  #marketyourself
Ooh! $50 worth of @cooppress books? Sign me up! #marketyourself http://bit.ly/IbR5oM

Here's what others have been saying:






The difference between the different versions.

I've gotten some questions about the difference between the versions of the book. Here's the lowdown:
Print + Digital (only available from me and Cooperative Press): 
This is the actual, hold-in-your-hands print copy of the book
+ a PDF of the entire book, emailed immediately after purchase.
Digital (only available from me and Cooperative Press)
This includes a Kindle and Nook-friendly editions,
+ a PDF of the entire book, immediately after purchase
Print or  Digital available anywhere else. Yep, you can buy the book from Amazon , but it won't include a PDF of the book.

Why do I want a PDF?

Because your business is always changing!
There are a squillion worksheets in Market Yourself and while you're welcome to fill them all in on your print version, I want you to be able to come back in 6 months or a year and revisit the worksheets, and be able to look at all the questions with fresh eyes. The PDF allows you to print (and reprint!) the worksheeets as often as you need to.
And if you buy the digital-only copy, a PDF lets you print out just what you want, so you can apply pen to worksheet.

Do you have any questions?

Ask them in the comments, or tweet them!

7 ways to be part of the brunch

Thank you so much for your outpouring of brunch-love!
So many of you shared the book and the brunch, I'm just overwhelmed. I can't say Thank YOU enought!

A few of you wanted to know how you could do even more to help, so I put together a quick guide on how you can spread the book-love to those who need it!

1. Tweet it! Facebook it!

Here are some ideas:

I just bought @TaraSwiger's Market Yourself! Get yours here: http://bit.ly/IbR5oM  #marketyourself

Click to tweet

A simple system for sharing my handmade awesomeness? Exactly what I need! http://bit.ly/IbR5oM  #marketyourself

Click to tweet

 #marketyourself: It's about Right People, Delight, and  Getting Out the Door. Yes, please! http://bit.ly/IbR5oM

Click to tweet

2. Pin it!

Did you know I embroidered the book cover? I did, because I'm that in love with it:


Or you can pin the actual book cover:



3. Email your friends, family and strangers (but don't be a spammer, yo!)

If you're a maker-seller then I bet you know a bunch more just like you, who would love the book. When you think of someone, send a quick “Thought you'd like this! ” note. They'll love you for it.

4. Let's brunch together at your place.

No, not your kitchen nook (although I never turn down a brunch) – your online home. You can ask me questions or just give me a topic to write about (like making dreams coming true, or simple marketing advice).

Before you do this – think about your people: what do they like to read about? What would help them most?
Some ideas:

  • If you sell patterns or yarn, I can answer questions/write about my own journey as a knitter/spinner/dyer.
  • If you sell art, I can talk about the power of buying art to express ourselves (I go on about this in the book!)
  • And of course, if you provide services or education to any kind of business, I can write about marketing, people-finding, and map-making.

5. Bring the party to Amazon

No, the book isn't out yet, but if you preordered, you already have the PDF version and you can review it on Amazon. Long or short, glowing or tepid, your reviews MATTER! They help strangers know what the book is about.

6. Get the book in book stores.

Got a favorite local bookstore? Call 'em up! Ask them if they plan to stock Market Yourself. If they respond with “huh?”, send 'em here + here.
(My favorite bookstore is Malaprops. If you're ever in Asheville, don't miss it! If you live in Asheville, give 'em a call for me, eh?)

7. Let's get together. Live. In person. No joke.

I'm taking this baby on the road!
May 10th: Gather Here in Cambridge, MA
May 12th: Wishstudio in Newburyport, MA

And then?
San Diego, Cleveland, and Chicago in June; Portland and Seattle in August and…anywhere else you'll have me!

If you've got a great local bookstore, yarn shop, or a friend with a big living room, ask them to host a workshop. We can talk Right People and Marketing your Creative Biz, or we can talk Map-Making.
To get this started, send a note to the place and copy me on it (taraATtaraswiger.com).

(If you hook me up with a place, I really will take you out to a real, live brunch)

Thank you!

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, tweets, and sweet emails.
Stay tuned for even more brunch wonderfulness on May 10th!







I almost forgot to tell you! The Starship is now open. Join us here, until Friday.