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A bit of market research and cat-releasing!

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  • A bit of market research and cat-releasing!

    There, well that title grabbed ya didn't it

    Calling on you guys for a little help with market research.

    I am currently writing another small book - an e-book this time on starting out in polymer clay.

    This book is not a project book - merely an info burst type affair.

    The idea started out as I was trying to write a fulsome FAQ covering all the questions I get asked regularly about working with polymer clay. I soon realised that this was not going to be a one-day job and would probably work best as an e-book. It is running to many pages already

    So - the aim of the book is to hopefully answer those questions that stop people opening their first packet of clay and give them the confidence to get stuck in.

    Subjects covered would be things like: Getting the clay ready for use, different types of clay, colour mixing, baking, finishing etc

    My questions to you are:

    1. Are there any questions you struggled to find the answer to when starting out with polymer clay

    2. Do you think such a title would be useful? Bearing in mind it would be a paid-for item (probably around a fiver for easily 40 plus pages of info, useful links etc)

    3. Imagine yourself a beginner-clayer, would you prefer something that goes into a lot of detail about each subject or just kept things very simplistic?

    This is a tough one for me, cos as you can see, I waffle on a bit!

    4. Do I need pictures?

    This project seems to be dragging on and I just don't seem to get it finished, so am hoping if I let the cat out of the bag it might spur me on to get to work on it
    Emma - unique art beads & more - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my - Like me at Facebook!

  • #2
    Title? Polymer Clay - the easy way

    Not being into PC myself I can't offer you any specifics but I would definitely say pictures are key. There is nothing more boring (even an interesting subject) than reams of script - a picture speaks a 1000 words (apparently)

    Wishing you all the best with your new venture I am sure there will be many who find such an inexpensive resource useful, it leaves them more to spend on clay and goodies.
    Terry xxx
    You can't have everything. Where would you put it all?" - Steven Wright
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    • #3
      I know that when I first started out I thought I would need to buy all the expensive gadgets and gear for working with the clay but it turns out that you don't actually need much to make some lovely things such as beads. My best tool is still a manky old cocktail stick for making holes!
      Also I learned by trial and error about all the different ways to finish my beads so you could put something in about that.
      I will keep thinking and post some more info when I have a light bulb moment!
      Great idea for the book!


      • #4
        One thing that really stumped me and I'm still not up on them all, is the names of the techniques used, things which experienced clayer's probably don't think twice about but for someone who has no experience with clay at all are very confusing, things like cane, millifiore, etc so maybe a little explanation on this type of thing would be helpful



        • #5
          Excellent feedback - thanks so much guys, keep it coming!

          It's especially useful to hear from people who haven't clayed yet too!

          Jayne I think you are so right - Something I find myself telling people over and over is that you don't need a great deal to start out claying (just your hands and some clay and an oven really!).

          Tools are great and its nice to know what everything does and see all the different things you *can* use, but very little is actually essential of course.

          Emma - thanks for your comment, you confirmed something I had been umming and ah-ing over. Whether or not to include a glossary of terms. Its quite hard though, because when you start to explain a term, before you know it- it has turned into a how-to on how to make it. And that is going to make the book very long.

          Not quite sure how I will balance that one out yet, because I do want to keep this e-book to around the five quid price point, so it cannot become War and Peace on the subject either! But I think it is important that people can easily find out what these terms are. The whole point of the book is to have lots of those starting-out questions covered in one place so the reader can just enjoy exploring polymer clay at first without having to go hither and thither online to find answers to her worries.

          Well, I best crack on and actually carry on with it I suppose.

          Please do keep the feedback coming guys! its all really useful

 - unique art beads & more
 - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
 - Like me at Facebook!


          • #6
            Maybe sections on different types of polymer clay projects - as it is quite different making beads to making cake toppers for example.

            Perhaps, if you feel like it is getting too long, you could break it into a beginners book, and an intermediate book, then people could buy whichever they thought they might need (or both!)

            BTW I have got an amazon kindle (ebook reader), and Im sure I remember reading somewhere that anyone can publish a book in kindle format and have it in the amazon kindle store - might be a way to reach out to more people?


            • #7
              I second the idea on a section on tools that can be used (that aren't necessarily polymer clay specific, or specialized)

              I also, when I started claying, loved it when tutorials showed the real in-between stages of polymer claying - like how a skinner blend looks all funky halfway through, and how even experts have moments of 'uh-oh' , but turn it into something positive. It let me know that it was possible to improve, even though it didn't feel like it at the time *G*
              ContinuumDesigns- artisan polymer clay beads for one-of-a-kind designs.

              The FHFTeam - featuring glass, jewellery and art handmade in the UK.


              • #8
                Sorry, I should have made it clear that the book would be specific to bead and jewellery making.

                I am no expert in the areas of sculpting, miniatures etc - so the bias would very much be for those who want to use polymer clay for jewellery making.

                Also - it is very specifically not going to be a project. The reason being - I am learning the e-book ropes with this book - so this will be very much a testing the waters thing to just see how the whole format works for me. Even so though, I still want it to be a great product of course!

                I do plan on doing further ones with projects, but for now I just want to start simple with a basic how-to-get-started guide, only because I know from my inbox how many people falter at that first hurdle and it might save me typing out the same types of emails over and over too

                I like the idea of beginners, intermediate etc.

                Also, thanks for the tip about the kindle stuff - never thought about that, was simply thinking along the lines of PDF e-books. But that is a whole new avenue to explore, will have to get Mr Man to look into that as my brain freezes up when it starts to get technical

                Thanks so much for all your comments everyone - you are all helping me more than you imagine.

       - unique art beads & more
       - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
       - Like me at Facebook!


                • #9
                  Hi Emma

                  Finishing beads is still something that escapes me. Have tried sanding and buffing and still can't get a good shine. How do you do it?

                  Types of varnish is always a good subject and, although I do like my beads unvarnished, I find that the varnish does protect them and prevents them getting grubby. I use Klear these days, I didn't get on with the "special" glazes in the past (although I think these have changed in their makeup).
                  LC's Beads


                  • #10
                    Yup - that is an area I would go into - sanding and varnishing beads, and maybe even share some of my secret methods too

           - unique art beads & more
           - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
           - Like me at Facebook!


                    • #11
                      I wondered if different clays could be used and baked together? Also the varnish/buff thing as mentioned above. Also strength/suitability/colours available/ability to take impressed detail/cost of clays, suitability for different tasks - maybe an at-a-glance table to judge which is appropriate.
                      How to fix findings/bake with findings etc?

                      As a teacher, I need to differentiate tasks to be accessible to all abilities, perhaps you could too by outlining beginner/intermediate/advanced versions of a technique so someone could pick their entry level and once used to that could progress to the next?

                      Definately pics! I love the step-by-step 'how to' books, sometimes the pic is easier to follow than the description!

                      (....and just a thought , I 'attempted to' write a polymer clay book a few years ago about simple modelling/sculpting techniques - not that I'm an expert- but a nice little 'projects for kids' sort of thing. I abandoned it due to lack of time and confidence but always thought I would do it for real one day. How difficult is it to put a book together and get it published? I would love your thoughts/advice on that one.)


                      • #12
                        Some great ideas there - thanks. Much of what you said I had already got in my outline, so that is great - shows I am thinking along the right lines

                        Lots of other stuff I hadn't thought of so that is great too - thanks.

                        In regards to pictures, I think for this book there would be a few, but not too many. No step-by-steps as such, because I don't intend to outline techniques or projects in this first book. Just more looking at core skills.

                        It really will be more of an FAQ on the material itself I think. I realised from my email inbox that that was a whole subject in itself for many people starting out, which is why I thought I would start my e-books with that.

                        In regards to publishing your own book - really you have two choices. Publish and market it yourself, or try to work with an established publisher. Working with a publisher will give you a lot less freedom, but there is also the support network of them handling the physical production of the book and its worldwide marketing.

                        if you wish to work with a publisher, the first thing I would say is do NOT write your book yet. Find your publisher first, get the contract and work with them - because they too will want to direct the feel and tone of the book.

                        Search out publishers who put out similar sorts of titles and approach them with a proper written proposal of the book you want to write and take it from there. This proposal needs to show the book you want to write, but also - more importantly, you need to prove there is a market for the book and that it will sell and is worth them investing time, staff and money into it. YOu also need to prove you are the right person to write it (I have before now seem publishers love an idea, but then go off and get another author to write it )

                        Just remember writing craft books for other publishers doesn't pay very well either - only do it for the love of it! Also, you need a thick skin because people will be critical at times of your work or not understand the direction you want to go in.

                        Alternatively you can self-publish. Be that in e-book format or real printed book. This gives you total freedom on content and marketing, but of course, the burden of doing all the work too!


               - unique art beads & more
               - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
               - Like me at Facebook!


                        • #13
                          Wow, thanks! I like the sound of doing it myself. Though I fear it will be a retirement project now as since my baby I find it very hard to fit everything into a day! I really must do it though, it's an unscratched itch.


                          • #14
                            I am very glad to learn your book project idea. Please tell about translucent fimo. Thank you.
                            I am inviting you for a cup of coffee,
                            My Etsy Shop:


                            • #15
                              Emma I think it's a fab idea and I echo the others regarding splitting it into beginner, intermediate and expert books (my business head says think of the extra revenue hehe) and that way you don't have to restrict yourself with regards to subject and depth and beginners won't be scared off if you know what I mean.

                              I like the idea of the £5 price point as well (I'm a sucker for a £5 impulse buy ) - definitely be value for money!

                              Lorna x
                              Lorna x

                     - I've finally ventured into the world of blogging!


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