Juggling Act

It's nice to start a new year with a full slate of projects. For the first time, I am working on two major things simultaneously. Both involve hooks and yarn; I'm under a gag order and cannot say more! I feel like one of the Star Trek characters, Seven of Nine, as I describe my progress so far. Just call me "Three of Nine" at this point. Total items for the two projects will be between 29 and 34. Some are due in March, others later in the year. And there's one additional crocheted project I'm working on that will be included in a compilation. Finalizing the designs and sourcing the yarn is a project and a half in itself--but very enjoyable. Needless to say, I had to get rid of old yarn to make room for new. I invited a young friend over to raid the stash. Usually I donate my extra yarn to a local senior center, but as long as it is going to good use, I'm happy to give it away to whoever can use it.

Look at this cute little critter my friend gave me as a thank-you:

It has been an interesting month for my already-published crochet titles. Unbeknownst to me, the Kindle version of Tunisian Crochet was offered for free from Amazon for a limited time. Usually it is $11.99 in that format. This was welcomed by many people, but apparently it was only for US users and boy, some overseas folks were annoyed! I sympathize with the frustration felt by anyone who couldn't take advantage of the free offer. The level of anger directed against the publisher, Amazon, and the author (who, as stated above, had nothing to do with this marketing decision!) was a bit startling. Seriously, I wish that my superpowers extended to influencing Amazon's policies, but no luck as yet.

That was on the heels of someone giving the book a 1-star review because she couldn't download it under the regular terms. She commented that she had tried on three different computers without success. I can understand how upsetting that must be for her. And yet...shouldn't she be giving Amazon, not my book, the bad review? I welcome everyone's opinion on my work, and have adjusted the way I do things based on some of the comments. For example, I now include the yarn weight designation and symbol on every pattern. And, because many of you wanted the patterns written in symbols as well as text, I now include symbol charts . It's more work for me, but I understand the value so I am willing to do it. Your thoughtful comments and suggestions have been very helpful in steering me toward my goal of making sure everyone has a good experience with a Sharon Silverman pattern. Thank you for being willing to engage with me and to give me your suggestions.

Every once in a while someone makes a factually incorrect comment to justify a poor review, like the person who wished there was a pocketbook in Tunisian Crochet. Perhaps she did not realize that a "clutch" is indeed a pocketbook. When you're an author, those are par for the course. All you can do is shrug and shake your head, and laugh if you're in the right frame of mind. But this 1-star review from the unsuccessful downloader bothered me because it has nothing to do with my work, and it drags down the average review for the book. (And, honestly, if Amazon is not at fault, it is possible that the woman's downloading problem is between her keyboard and her seat!) Thanks to my FB followers who  posted their reviews and comments in response, and to those who sent encouraging emails. Please remember that paper books are still available, so if you are having downloading problems, please consider purchasing the old-fashioned version.

Some of you know that before I became a professional crochet designer, I was a travel and feature writer. I have had the privilege of being a columnist twice: I wrote "At the Inn" for Maryland Magazine (travelled around to fabulous inns and B&Bs for research), and "Check, Please!" a restaurant review column for a Brandywine Valley lifestyle magazine, The Hunt. (No, it's not about hunting.) Now I will be doing the "Shop!" column for that quarterly magazine. I like switching gears. It lets one part of my brain rest while another part gets a chance. Here is the link to the magazine. If your searching skills are good, you might be able to find some of my previous work there.

Also on the list for the first quarter of 2013 is turning The Nonexistent Newsletter into an Actual Newsletter.  Not sure if I can keep that many balls in the air...but at least I'm not juggling chainsaws!