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196: What I’m reading: February 2018

I explore my enthusiasm by reading… a lot. Learn all about the books I’ve been enjoying over the last month at TaraSwiger.com/podcast196

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follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read

What I'm reading

Other links mentioned

Seattle!
I'm coming to you next week! Join me at one of these events (click the title for details and to RSVP)

Natural Solutions for knitters (and all crafters!)
March 8
Perfectly Knotty, Arlington, WA

Rest + Roll: an essential oil Make + Take for moms
March 9th
Bremerton, WA

Essential Oils 101
March 9th
Bremerton, WA

Intro to Essential Oils
March 10, 11am
Cherry Street Coffeehouse

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Your questions answered: email list growth, self-publishing and what I’d do differently

Get YOUR questions answered: self-publishing a book, growing your email list, and advice on building your crafty biz!

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Today I'm answering questions from my Instagram followers (to get your questions answered, be sure you're following me!). In fact, I received so many questions, I split them into two podcasts!  You can find the first Q&A post here.   Today we'll cover:

  • Email List Growth
  • Self-Publishing
  • What I'd do differently

 

Resources:

Check out these awesome handmade businesses:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

What I’m Reading: February 2017

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read

What I’m reading

I need some more recommendations! Tell me on Twitter or Facebook!

  Here’s to another great month of reading!

What I read last February.

And in February 2015, and February 2014!

What I’m Reading – June 2015

WARNING: Lift Off closes today!
My bedside reading stack. I've got links to everything I read in May and everything I'm currently reading, on the blog! #fridayreads

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

 What I read

  • Playing Big, by Tara Mohr. This book guides you through the process of finding and stepping into the next stage in your life. Whether that's massive business growth or changing careers or starting a non-profit or..anything – this book is filled with insight into what you're going to encounter and journaling exercises to help you move past it. Considering the “guided meditations” in a few chapters, I was pleasantly surprised by how full of applicable, pragmatic advice it was. It was exactly what I needed for where I was this Spring.
  • War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. HOLLA! I finished a big one, yo! I read this all through my trip to Oregon and although I felt self-conscious (What's that you're reading? Oh, WAR AND PEACE, no big deal.), I think it was easier to stick with when I didn't have anything else. Surprisingly – it was actually compelling and interesting (if you let yourself get sucked in and don't worry too much if you really know who is who in the beginning.) It all comes together!
  • In the Woods, by Tana French. After W+P, I needed something fun. And well, this novel isn't fun as in happy, but it's definitely engrossing and thrilling. I read it all in a day and I have the second one waiting for me this weekend.
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill LaPore. This is more of a history of the creators of Wonder Woman than an actual look at the comics itself. But the creators, they were colorful, so their story is an interesting one. (By the way, I was bummed by Dr. LaPore's article in the New Yorker, it just didn't provide any cultural context. I highly recommend this response if you're interested in feminism + comics.)
  • Season 8 of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I didn't love it, but I loved parts of it. I was totally over the “slayer army” in Season 7, so I waited a long time to read this. But now I'm hooked!

What I'm reading

What I read last year

What are you reading?

 

 

 

The usual disclaimery disclaimer applies! 

What I’m reading: March 2015

 I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

What I'm reading in March

 What I read

  •   Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer – This book was recommended to me a million times, and then a thread popped up in the Starship where Captains started reading it together. Oh man, it is just so good if you're an artist or maker who has a hard time with the exchange of your art for money. Amanda built her tribe, person by person, hug by hug, at hundreds of shows and she shares in this book about how she built the relationships. I highly recommend it (if you're not easily offended!).
  • The Art of the Book Proposal, by Eric Maisel – I've been working on a proposal all quarter, and this book is keeping my company. Unlike a lot of other books about the parts of a proposal, he digs into how to think about it, which I love.
  • The 4 Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss – I read this waaay back in 2009 when I first left my day job. I wanted to revisit it to see if it's a good resource for my clients, and this time I took completely different lessons from it. It's a classic and bestseller for a reason.
  • It's Not About The Money, by Brent Kessel – I talk a lot with my students about their issues with money, and this book, which identifies different archetypes that we approach money with, provided a great new perspective at these issues we all have.

What I’m reading

What are you reading?

 

 

 

 

 

The usual disclaimery disclaimer applies! 

A plan for sharing your work (+ a peek at my first marketing plan)

So what's your plan

Last week we talked about how to sell something:

  • Identify the person who will love it and buy it (I call this your Right Person).
  • Figure out what she cares about and why she buys your product (in the beginning you’re guessing; as you get more sales, you’ll ask her directly).
  • Explain how awesome your thing is, in terms she understands.
  • Go where she already is and talk to her there.

I heard back from lots of you that you KNOW you should be doing this, but it just feels overwhelming and like a lot to keep track of.

But it doesn't have to be. In fact, all these pieces can fit together into one plan, that you implement day in and day out, without worrying too much about it.

Yes, it takes time, energy, and commitment to set it up, but once you have it… it just works. You know what to do, every day. You'll continue to test it, improve it, and work it… but first you have to have it.

This knowing what to do thing feels AWESOME. It helps alleviate so much of the doubt and second-guessing you've been struggling with. It focuses your working time. It allows you to be consistent, which builds trust with your people, expands your reach, and – yes – leads to more sales.

This plan for reaching people is called….a Marketing Plan! (Imagine that!) Remember: Marketing = any communication you have with your people. So this is just a plan for reaching your people on the regular.

My first marketing plan was scribbled in my day job office, on a post-it note I kept hidden under my keyboard, circa 2007. It said:

  • Post one new picture to Flickr each day + add to groups (the days before Instagram!)
  • Tweet picture (ask for help naming?)
  • Reply to 3 new people (Flickr, Twitter, knitting blogs)
  • One new Etsy listing/day
  • Blog 1x/week
  • Email list every month (new yarns)

You see, your marketing plan can be as big or small as you need it to be. I added new stuff to the list all the time to see what might work, but knowing the absolute minimum kept me focused when things got busy. What you can't see from the list is the time I spent finding my possible customers (knitters who knit with handspun yarn…which was harder before Ravelry!) and figuring out what groups or tags would help my yarn be found by more people. But once I did that … I just followed the plan.

To make your own marketing plan (that actually works, and isn't a waste of your time), you need to:

  1. Know what makes you and your thing sparkle (stand out from everything else).
  2. Identify who some of your people are, what they care about, and where they hang out.
  3. Choose the methods you'll use to reach them.
  4. Put it all together in a plan that you implement, day in and day out.

 

If you'd like guidance and a clear path for making your own plan, check out Craft Your Marketing. In this 6 week e-course you will identify your sparkle, find your people, choose your tools and then make a simple, post-it worthy marketing plan that will bring you more fans and more sales. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m here to help with audio lessons (and enhanced transcripts!), worksheets, and FUN.

If you don’t know what you’re doing TODAY to connect with your people (or who they are or what to say), I hope you’ll join me in class: https://taraswiger.com/craft-marketing/.

 

What I’m Reading: January 2015

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.
What I'm reading

What I read

  • Time Warped, by Claudia Hammond
  • Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. I wanted to post almost every page of this book and say: Yes! Yes! If you don't know how to start sharing your work or using social media, read Austin's book. It's less specific than my book, but has the same message, in such an inspirational package.
  • Not My Father's Son, by Alan Cummings. Not a “my fab celebrity life” memoir at all, but a close, compassionate look at his two family stories: the results of his abusive father & the uncovering of the mystery of his mother's father. It's sweet and authentic and brave.
  • Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler. Funny and sweet, Amy gives some good life advice that you probably already know.
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Part of my Good Reads Project – what took me so long?

What I’m reading

The Great Books Project

After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is underway. I’m tracking it via GoodReads (my entire list is here) and holding discussions on the Facebook page, with conversations about our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I’ll be sharing a little update here each month, and you’re welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).

This month I got a bit further in the Aeneid (I'm taking it slow, a “book” or two a month) and plowed through The Color Purple in a few days while travelling. Why in the world had it taken me so long to read this book? It's a beautiful reflection on self-definition and finding your voice as a woman and creative. This book reminded me WHY I'm doing this project – to find beautiful gems I've missed.

 

What are you reading?

 

 

What I’m Reading: December 2014

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

What I'm reading December 2014

What I read

  • Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, translated by Mary Jo Bang  – part of my Great Books Project, more info below.
  • Grave Mercy, by Robin LeFevers – Ninja. Nun. Assassins. Historical fiction. That's all you really need to know – it was fun and I read it in a weekend. (Looks like it's free with Kindle Unlimited!)
  • Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty, by Diane Keaton – Sigh. I had hoped I would love this book as much as I love the actress, but it this collection of essays about her own relationship with her looks didn't reveal anything beyond a lifetime obsession with being “pretty”. Pretty disappointing.

Between Inferno and pretty Diane, my reading mojo was sucked dry. I'm halfway through 5 books, but I didn't get completely through any of them, so they're the first few listed below.

What I’m reading

The Great Books Project

After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is underway. I’m tracking it via GoodReads (my entire list is here) and holding discussions on the Facebook page, with conversations about our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I’ll be sharing a little update here each month, and you’re welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).

This month I read Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, translated by Mary Jo Bang  and although I like the translation better than others I found, this is a grim read. I mean, we know that right? And yet, so many people had told me, “Oh! You're going to love it!” that I…thought I'd like it. But I didn't. Oh sure, it's  intense…but I'd rather not spend my reading time in hell, thankyouverymuch. (I am super curious to learn more about how many of modern Christianity's images of hell came from this bit of Italian poetry.) On the docket for this month: finishing the Aeneid and reading The Color Purple. See, Great Books aren't all ancient! (In fact, after I read Confessions, all books will be post-1500! Practically modern!)

 

What are you reading?

 

 

What I’m Reading: September 2014

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.
What I'm reading in September.

 

What I read

  • The Know-It-All, by A.J. Jacobs. A fact-filled recounting of the author's read-through of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Read it (and put his other books on my list) at the recommendation of Elise.
  • Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde, by Jennie Garth. Don't judge. I grew up on summers full of 90210 and can't resist a biography…especially by a fellow blonde.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (still reading it, actually).

Umm…and that's it. Apparently my reading time takes a dive in the summer with all the road trips and my increased crafting. (Baseball season = crafting season).

What I’m reading

Still obsessed with…

got obsessed with the idea of reading the Great Books – you know, the books that have formed the foundation of our culture, that teach us something about ourselves…those books that everyone else read in high school and college that I missed. You can see my list of 101 Great Books here (some of which I’ve read, thank goodness!).

But now – what the heck should I do with this list now? Read through it in a year? Read one a month? Where would you begin? Some of readers said that if I started a Great Books read-along, they'd join in. What about you? Is this something you’d want to read on the blog (once a month) or follow along on Facebook?

 

What I’m Reading: August 2014

I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

 

What I read

  • Influence, by Robert Cialdini – This book covers the basics of how we're convinced to do things, along with tips to resist influence. This will totally change the way you view commercials, websites, and the world. Required reading if you want to be an effective communicator!
  • Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink – Confession: I will read anything about why we do things and how to change habits. This book is super educational on just that.
  • 10X Rule, by Grant Cardone- After hearing the author on one of my favorite podcasts, I couldn't resist reading his book. His style is a far cry from mine, but his point – set bigger goals and work 10x harder than you think – is solid.

I didn’t get a lot of reading in this month, because I spent most of my time writing and editing my new class materials!

What I’m reading

Still obsessed with…

I got obsessed with the idea of reading the Great Books – you know, the books that have formed the foundation of our culture, that teach us something about ourselves…those books that everyone else read in high school and college that I missed. You can see my list of 101 Great Books here (some of which I’ve read, thank goodness!).

But now – what the heck should I do with this list now? Read through it in a year? Read one a month? Where would you begin?I got a few replies last month from makers saying that if I started a Great Books read-along, they'd join in. What about you? Is this something you'd want to read on the blog (once a month) or follow along on Twitter? Or Facebook?

 

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