The Vikings have landed! Buy 1 book, get 3 things!

larissa-header

We’ve been hinting about it for a while and now it’s live! Larissa Brown’s new novel with Cooperative Press, Beautiful Wreck (click to visit the book’s website and read an excerpt) is here!

To celebrate, and to attempt to launch it to the top of the charts over at Amazon, we’ve put it on sale for Cooperative Press friends & family for $2.99 this weekend AND you can get two of Larissa’s patterns for helping us out!

Buy the book and forward your receipt to buy -at- beautifulwreckbook.com and you’ll get a Ravelry download link for Larissa’s pattern Lichen. Hurry, this offer expires on Valentine’s Day!

Review the book and send a link to us at review -at- beautifulwreckbook.com and you’ll get a download of Larissa’s new pattern Betta!

Where to buy? For once, we aren’t asking you to buy it directly from CP, though we’ll be listing it soon. We’d really like for you to buy it on Amazon, because getting to the top of the charts there will help drive sales going forward. If you prefer print, you’ll also be able to get the Kindle version for free through their MatchBook program.

Amazon: Kindle PREFERRED | paperback
Barnes & Noble: Nook | paperback
Smashwords: digital
Apple iBookstore: digital

CAN WE GET LARISSA TO #1? WE CAN, WITH YOUR HELP!

Thank you, as always, for supporting independent publishing. Especially when Vikings are involved!

Waving at Chicago from a distance

Guest blogger and CP Assistant Editor/Crochet Editor MK here today, thinking about what’s happening at Vogue Knitting LIVE! this weekend.

One of the wonderful things about the internet is how it can help bring people together and share what’s going on all over the world. Right now, I’m sitting at home in Hawaii and trying not to cry into my coffee because Shannon is in Chicago at Vogue Knitting LIVE! 2013 (booth 113), teaching, selling books with Andi, and quite possibly getting to meet author John Scalzi, who is not a knitter and just happens to be in the same hotel this weekend.

VKL twitteringThe overlap between yarncraft geekdom and Sci-Fi/Fantasy geekdom is pretty big. Yours truly has been reading SF/F since about the age of 7, and was not the only yarnie who spotted @scalzi tweeting about VKL and immediately offered to help secure passes (plus it turns out Shannon is familiar with John Scalzi via Metafilter). This is particularly wrenching for me, because I could have purchased autographed books earlier this year, when I was in Ohio for a friend’s wedding. I knew that there was a bookstore in the general area that routinely stocked his signed books, but I was Team Bride Advocate and taking it seriously (…and then I was serious about driving to Columbus before Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams closed for the day, ahem), and didn’t look up the bookstore until later. Turns out it’s Jay and Mary’s Book Center, right by the hotel I was staying in.

So I could sit here and cry into my delicious coffee, or I could sit up straight and think about a few of my favorite things, especially a few of my favorite Science Fiction/Fantasy Yarndom Crossovers. I’ve got a Pinterest board titled Unofficial Whedonverse Knit & Crochet, and contribute to Larissa Brown’s Pinterest board Whedon Knits & Crochets, for starters (just you wait for Larissa’s upcoming novel Beautiful Wreck – I stayed up late two nights in a row reading an early draft). How about CP author Heather Ordover’s new supernatural YA series, The Seven? Grounded (book 1) is out now, with companion sock patterns, a KAL, and Real Knitting Content in the book (I won’t spoil my favorite knitting reference in the book – I’ll just say it happens in a bookstore and leave it at that). How about revisiting Needles & Artifice: A Refined Adventure Story with Ingenious Knitting Patterns by the Ladies of Mischief ? A lovely knitter at VKL in full steampunk gear stopped by the Cooperative Press booth – she’s knitting something from Needles & Artifice too! [Edited to add: the knitter is Babelglyph on Ravelry and you can see her project pages for the lace choker, lace mitts, and parasol there. She’s also the designer of Calette, a shawl tribute to Diana Wynne-Jones.]  It’s also 2 days into DOOMVEMBER, folks, so if you are looking for practical and stylish knitting for the apocalypse, pop over to the blog tour for the soon-to-be-released Doomsday Knits, edited by the delightful Alex Tinsley, who looked at a delicious handspun sparkle yarn and thought “hooded cowl that will accomodate a gas mask.” Of course.

Then there are the Doctor Who fans. You may know SpillyJane for her Gnome Mittens (did you know you can build a kit at KnitPicks? – and if you’ve got the Gnome Mittens pattern already, Cooperative Press will give you a discount on her upcoming book!), but she’s also got Doctor Who themed mitten patterns – Police Box Mittens and Bow Tie Mittens Are Cool.

policebox mittens bowties

Add a Bigger on the Inside shawl knit in Bigger on the Inside yarn (pattern by CP author Kate Atherley, published in Knitty Spring/Summer 2012) and you’ve got some serious Doctor Who knit action. [ETA: This just in! Kate Atherley and Lorna’s Laces teamed up and now you can get knitting patterns and special yarn packs for socks or a scarf for “traveling through space and time“!]

No conversation about SF/F yarn geekery would be complete without indigodragonfly yarn – with colorways like Daleks Don’t Give Pink Slips, And Then Buffy Staked Edward. The End., and Don’t Wear This On Star Trek, you can slip a geeky reference into even the plainest pair of socks.

These are just a few of my favorites (there are so many!). So tell me – what are your favorite yarngeek SF/F crossovers?

Rhinebeck beckons

Guest blogger Elizabeth here today with some enticing news about what we’ll have available at this year’s Rhinebeck.

Fall is most fiber lovers’ preferred season, and Rhinebeck (the New York Sheep and Wool Festival), coming up this weekend, captures all the charm of autumnal fibery goodness.

Our intrepid leader, Shannon, and one of our lovely authors and tech editors, Andi, have already begun wending their way there northeastward in a van loaded up with books. On the way, they’ll be making a happy side trip to Boston to show off Needles and Artifice to the Greater Boston Knitting Guild. I’ll be wrapping up some book design business today from my home base in Austin, and will be flying up to New York tomorrow morning.

We will have so much to show you at our booth! Printed copies of our newest books – Cascadia, Hitch, Fresh Designs: Kids, and our first sewing book, Sew Together Grow Together – arrived at CP headquarters a week ago, so they’re still smoking hot off the press. And we’ll have nearly 30 other titles available for purchase or preview. After all, you’re going to need to know what to make with all that yarn that of course you will not buying at Rhinebeck because you already have plenty oh who are we kidding….

Ahem.

“A couple of years ago, I was thinking how my favorite part of the NY Sheep & Wool Festival (also known as Rhinebeck), was looking at what everyone wears. I know people go to the festival for all kinds of reasons, but I just wallow in the community & people watching. It is perhaps the only place on earth you can be wearing handknit socks, a handknit sweater, a shawlette over it, handknit mitts and a hat–and instead of having people leave a wide path around you, you are embraced by strangers shrieking “ooh, is that a Damson or….{insert your fave pattern here} ? I love what you did with your February Lady Sweater! Whose mods?”

I realized I wanted to make a collection of all those fabulous outfits, for the permanent record.”Gale Zucker 

To be sure you get the news first about Gale’s gorgeous book, sign up for our mailing list.

For knitting designers, we have a new tool available that helps you develop your own style sheet for your patterns. Find me at the booth, and I’ll show you how it works. Look for my giant, smiling head floating Cheshire-Cat-like over the crowd.

This year we’ll be sharing a booth (Building C, Booth 37) with two other wonderful businesses: Cherry Tree Hill Yarn and KnitCompanion. Come by, say hello, browse through our new books, squeeze some delicious Cherry Tree Hill goodness, and play with the amazing KnitCompanion app! And then go gorge on artichokes and watch grown men and women chuck pumpkins across a field. It’s all good fun.

Hitch, Kids, Vikings and TV

First things first: have you voted for Alasdair (author of Extreme Double Knitting) in the My Mountain design contest? Thank you, CPers!

It’s been a pretty big month so far for CP! Our latest in the Fresh Designs series, Kids, was released last week, as was Hitch, a book inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch is the second CP book by Stephannie Tallent, whose gorgeous book California Revival Knits continues to impress colorwork, lace and cable fans with its intricate architecture-inspired patterns. Like the Fresh Designs series, Hitch is a multi-contributor book, featuring a host of ultra-talented designers. If you pre-order it now, you’ll get a special bonus cowl pattern!

The main photoshoot for Hitch took place on a hot and steamy August day in a Chicago park with one of our favorite photographers, Nick Murway. (On that note, you really need to check out the photos on Kids, too — our art director Elizabeth did them, and if you’ve ever taken any photos of children, you know it’s not that easy!)


Shoot planning at Stephannie’s in-laws’ house

Trying to evoke the elegant menace of a stylish Hitchcock thriller in 99% humidity and similar temperatures is…well, tough. I think we hit the mark, though. The fabulous vintage clothing we paired with the knits came from Deering Vintage in Cleveland, Ohio, and the tweedy brown dress is a real Claire McCardell…for whom, in no small amount of synchronicity, the Claire M sweater in Fresh Designs Sweaters is named.


The middle dress is the McCardell, and the shawl is by our own Elizabeth Green Musselman

Speaking of elegance under heat and pressure, last Thursday CP authors Andi Smith (Big Foot Knits) and Kate Atherley (Beyond Knit & Purl, Knit Accessories) taped an episode of Knitting Daily TV for its next season featuring new host Vickie Howell. Both Kate and Andi will appear on the same sock-related episode. Afterwards, we went out for ice cream at Jeni’s, aka Breakfast of Champions for TNNA Attendees.

And now…Vikings? No, we’re not publishing a Viking knitting book (though give us time, you never know!) — but we are announcing our new Cooperative Trade imprint for fiction and non-knitting titles. That’s been an open secret for some time, really. Ben Vendetta, author of Wivenhoe Park, has been posting about his novel on Tumblr and Facebook for a month. The website is up.

So what’s today’s big secret reveal?

We are publishing Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown. *happy dance*

As knitters you may already be familiar with Larissa’s work: two books, Knitalong and My Grandmother’s Knitting, beautiful patterns, etc. What you don’t know is that she’s an amazingly talented novelist as well. Beautiful Wreck is speculative fiction, and more specifically a time-travel romance. (Talk about timing: just as the internet is obsessed with the casting choices for the TV version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels!) If you liked the Outlander series, if you like strong women characters and a book that will suck you into its world from the very first page, Beautiful Wreck is for you.

Our first novel Wivenhoe Park, by Ben Vendetta, will be out in October, then Beautiful Wreck a little later in the year. We will be keeping most news about the new imprints’ books on its own list with infrequent crossover on the main CP list, so please do join CP Trade’s list or the Beautiful Wreck list for news as these and other non-knitting books are released.

Some of the musicians I idolized in the late 80s and early 90s then have been asking Ben and his music journalist/PR friends for advance reading copies of Wivenhoe Park, musicians who would have had me swooning from stage as a teenager (ok, they still would, actually). Those I’m keeping under wraps for the moment ’til I know we can quote them, but the last one I heard about had me leaping up and down, inserting liberal numbers of unladylike words in my excitement.

Set in the mid-80s, Wivenhoe Park chronicles the adventures of Drew, a rock ‘n’ roll-obsessed student with journalistic aspirations who moves to England on a whim to escape various demons, including a goth ex-girlfriend, who he can’t seem to shake out of his system…will Drew find peace, love and understanding or will it all burn down like cigarettes?

You’ll find out this fall.

Thanks, as ever, for your continued support of what we’re doing here at Cooperative Press.

One last thing: Knit Edge issue 4 will be out this month and we can’t wait for you to see it!

CP cruise class list + special offer

We’ve got the details on our cruise’s class list (remember, classes are completely included in the price of the cruise!), and they’re really good, if you ask us! Click here to download a PDF of the classes.

In addition, Celebrity is currently offering some specials for those who book before the 19th of this month. Just FYI, so take advantage while you can. Email linda@vivaspaintravel@gmail.com for more information.

The changing face of publishing

Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch recently published an excellent book called APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, and it’s only available on Amazon for the first 90 days rather than in all bookstores everywhere. This is probably driving a lot of people crazy, and making a lot of other people think “Hmmm.” Amazon’s foray into publishing rather than simply distributing books (see The Domino Project and its subsequent demise) had a lot of people scratching their heads.

Now, mind you I’ve been a Kawasaki fan for many years–The Macintosh Way is probably the first book of his that I read, and ironically enough it’s about the ‘guerilla management’ style of Apple Computer, where he previously worked, a company known for its “Think Different” tagline–so it’s not as if he doesn’t have the track record to go the traditional route. This is what I find so interesting about the way publishing has changed. There are no rules anymore. We’re a part of that. Kawasaki’s a part of it. Everyone who takes a chance and puts their work out in a new way is making a difference in the industry…testing, trying, experimenting. I asked Kawasaki for some background on why he decided to publish APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book this way, and here’s what he told me during the pre-launch period for the book:

Top Ten Reasons to Self-Publish

1. Content and design control. When you self-publish a book, you control what’s in it, how long it is, and how it looks. However, if your book isn’t good, you have no editor or editorial board to blame.
2. Time to market. You can get your book to market in less than a week once it’s copyedited. A traditional publisher takes six to nine months to get a printed book to market, and it will not release the ebook version earlier than the printed version.
3. Longevity. Traditional publishers stop marketing a book with little input from the author. As a self-publisher, you can keep your book in print forever—or at least as long as it takes for readers to discover it.
4. Revisions. Traditional publishing can take months to fix errors because publishers print revisions after they’ve sold off the current inventory. Self-publishers can revise books immediately with online ebook resellers and printers that are printing on demand.
5. Higher royalty. The royalty you receive from a traditional publisher is 10 to 15 percent of proceeds of the sales of your book. Amazon, by contrast, pays a 35 percent or more royalty.
6. Price control. Self-publishing enables you to change the price of your book at will. You can set a lower price to try to sell more copies or set a higher price to communicate higher quality.
7. Global distribution. Self-publishing enables you to achieve global distribution of your ebook on day one. Kindle Direct Publishing will list your ebook in one hundred countries. Apple’s iBookstore reaches fifty countries.
8. Control of foreign rights. If your book is successful, foreign publishers will contact you to buy the rights for their country. In this scenario you might make more money because you’re not sharing revenue with a traditional publisher.
9. Analytics. Most online ebook resellers and print-on-demand printers provide real-time or near real-time sales results. Traditional publishers provide twice-a-year royalty statements—imagine running a business with two sales reports a year.
10. Deal flexibility. As a self-publisher, you can cut any kind of deal with any kind of organization. Traditional publishers only sell to resellers except for bulk sales of printed books to large organizations.

I want to examine these factors in the light of what Cooperative Press does with craft and craft business publishing.

1. Content and design control. We bridge the gap between traditional publishing on this one. The majority of our authors prefer to leave layout/etc to us, although once everything is pulled together, we give them input on changes, and what they’d like to see. At the beginning stages of a book, Elizabeth interviews the author and asks them to describe how they’d like the book to “feel,” what sort of look they envision, etc. It’s a great example of partnership in action and it exemplifies our “partners in publishing” tagline.
2. Time to market. As many of you know, the very MOMENT the digital version of a book is ready, we release it. No waiting for the print copies to arrive. No ‘seasons’ like a traditional publisher. When it’s done, it’s done. We don’t sit on it!
3. Longevity. We’re all over this. I can tell you, for example, when Alasdair Post-Quinn’s Craftsy double knitting class went live, his book sales took a lively bounce upward, and we did everything we could to make sure previous Extreme Double Knitting purchasers knew about the class.
4. Revisions. Our digital versions have always been easy to update, especially when purchasers have us place a copy in their Ravelry library, because Ravelry makes it so easy to send file updates. Now that we’ve switched over to smaller, on-demand print runs for the paperback books, we can update them equally quickly.
5. Higher royalty. We do this, too. After expenses, we’re splitting (or in some cases, paying 60%) of book proceeds to the authors.
6. Price control. This is open to us as well…and I won’t go into details here but we’ve got some interesting projects brewing behind the scenes on this front.
7. Global distribution. Where would we be without our beloved readers in Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany and other countries? As shipping costs skyrocket, we’ve noticed a transition over to more and more download-only sales instead of print.
8. Control of foreign rights. Not super-applicable here, but if there are any publishers who want to do translations/sales of CP books, we’re all ears!
9. Analytics. We can run reports continually, and we pay out royalties to authors quarterly. We’re also working on improving our overall analytics to increase and expand sales.
10. Deal flexibility. Yes, yes and yes. Doing a crafty event? Want to buy some copies wholesale? Let’s talk. Yarn crawl, and you’re not sure how many copies you’ll sell of Book X? Let’s talk!

It’s interesting to see how these factors line up whether you’re doing it all yourself, or working with a publisher like Cooperative Press. I can tell you from my previous history writing books for big publishers that this is not the way things happen there.

In February, I was fortunate enough to speak at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change publishing conference in NYC on niche publishing, using knit publishing as my example. I also attended the rest of the conference, and spent a few days trying to absorb as much information as I possibly could without exploding.

The biggest takeaways? No one has the One True Answer anymore. We are all striving to make changes for the better. We can learn from each other.

Which segues into something I’ve been wanting to do for a while: offer my Get Published class online again. If you didn’t know, we’ve been teaching classes using a website called Ning for a few years now. It’s been some time since we’ve done the publishing one online, and with things changing so quickly in the industry overall, I think it’s time to do it again. You can indicate interest in the thread there, or here in comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say, or what questions you have for the publishing world as it evolves.

Happy birthday to us! Want an iPad Mini?

Barring an official “birthday,” we’ve decided to declare that Cooperative Press has the same birthday as its founder Shannon Okey. And since Shannon’s birthday is 6 January, we’re doing a big contest for our birthday month! The grand prize is an iPad mini filled with CP books, and the runner up prizes aren’t too shabby either. (They’re listed at the end of this post).

Why this contest? Because CP is a very small company, we don’t have the advertising budget of a big publisher. The best way for us to reach people is by word of mouth, and in 2013, that means social media, so here’s how the contest will work:

(Please note you do NOT have to do all of the steps here. For example, if you don’t use Twitter, you can skip that one. However, the more you do, the more runner-up prizes you’ll qualify for…)

Throughout this month (6-31 January), we’ve set up multiple ways you can share your love for CP (or your love for winning an iPad mini…it’s ok, you can say it, we’re not offended). They include email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social media, including a “get creative” category.

The deadline for entries is midnight Eastern time on Thursday the 31st.

Before you get started, open up a text document or blank email. You’ll need to copy and paste links to save for later when you fill out the contest form!

  • Step one: Send an email to your favorite knitter friends

Update 8 January: We’ve eliminated this step and edited the contest prizes accordingly. We’ll be deleting all current emails received to the CP contest email address as a result of this step. Of course if you want to tell your friends about us, that’s fabulous, but we’re removing it from this contest. Thanks.

  • Step two: share on Facebook

Click this link to go to the Cooperative Press Facebook page. If you haven’t already, click LIKE on the page. Then go to this post (it will be pinned to the top) and hit “share” to share it on your timeline or your page. After you’ve shared it, click the timestamp and copy the browser address link from your browser window. Save this link for later, you’ll need it. You can also write your own FB post about Cooperative Press and use it instead, just make sure you save the link.

  • Step three: tweet about this!

This one’s easy. Click here to tweet about the contest. Now go to your Twitter stream, find the tweet and click the timestamp on it. Copy and paste the browser address link into the place you’re saving your contest entries.

  • Step four: repin our Pinterest pin

Click here, repin, then choose “see your pin.” Copy and paste the browser address link into the place where you’re saving your contest entries.

  • Step five: reblog our Tumblr entry

Click here, reblog, then go to your Tumblr page. Copy and paste the link to the entry into the place where you’re saving your contest entries.

  • Step six: bonus round!

Here’s where you can get creative. Instagram, Google+, you name it. Take a photo of yourself reading a CP book or wearing something you’ve knit from it and post it to Instagram (use hashtag #CPbday), host a Google+ hangout, write a blog post about CP or one of our books. Whatever you choose, find a web browser link to it, and copy/save it so you can paste it in to the entry form.

  • Step seven: fill out your entry form

Go to this page and fill out the form. You’ll paste in the links to your activity in the form, so have those ready.

THANK YOU for making this our best birthday yet! We mean it when we say we could not do this without you.

And now, the runner-up prizes:

With the exception of the MOST CREATIVE award, all runner up entries will be randomly drawn from entries with the correct number of shares or more. So if you’ve done five shares, you’ll also be qualified to win in the four, three or two-share category. Therefore, the more you share, the better your chances of winning!

FIVE social media shares: $100, or four CP books
FOUR social media shares: $75, or three CP books
THREE social media shares: $50, or two CP books
TWO social media shares: $25, or one CP book
MOST CREATIVE (best of the ‘bonus round’ entries): $100, or $150 in CP books

At the end of the contest month, we’ll be sending out something special to the entire CP mailing list. If you aren’t already on it, click here http://eepurl.com/gIvrr, and use that link to encourage others to sign up!

Good luck! We’d send you all a piece of cake if we could, but iPad minis and cold hard cash will have to suffice.

THE FINE PRINT: All decisions by CP regarding the contest and prizes are final, and subject to our discretion. Please be responsible internet citizens and don’t spam: one posting per social media service will suffice! We’d like people to think “yay! CP! their books rock!” when they think about us, not “oh no, not those people…

Update on shipping times

The fall fiber show season is upon us, and with that, we’re hitting the road! We’ll be at Stitches East this week, Rhinebeck next week (we’re having a party there, too!), and VKL Chicago at the end of the month.

What does this mean for you? Well, obviously we hope you’ll join us at these events, but since CP is a one-person-show when it comes to the office itself (our dear assistant editor Elizabeth works remotely from another state), this will have an impact on our shipping times. We’re taking our postage meter on the road, and we’ll do our best to keep up, but if you place an order for a physical title, it may ship more slowly than usual! Thank you for your patience during this hectic, busy month and hopefully we’ll see many of you at these fabulous fiber shows.