Tea Tins!

A while ago, a fellow author told me about this site where you can make custom tea blends and that they were a great idea to help promote your book. (See her blog post here: https://marciamearawrites.com/2015/06/19/promo-ideas-for-signings-attention-tea-lovers/)

I, too, thought it was a great idea, so I filed her suggestion in my mental database. Several years later, I finally got around to creating my own tea blend from Adagio Teas.

First, I needed some art for the tea tins I was going to use as promotion giveaways at book signings and the like. I was at loose ends on how to make/get a design for said tea tin. Honestly, the process was overwhelming–scrolling through DeviantArt left me with a huge wish list for all the art I want to buy when I attain my maybe-someday rich-and-famous status, but no tea tin art. I got equally as lost in trying to navigate a web search for stock photography and/or designers to use to create the art. I got my cover art from CreateSpace but I tried and tried to figure out how to get the pixels reduced to the right size for the tea tin, and finally gave up. For about five minutes, I experimented with trying to make a tea tin art piece myself using some of my own (very nice) photos. “Epic Fail” as pop culture/kids says. They did not look good.

After many, many episodes of swearing, I was just about to give up on the whole thing, when the heavens opened and an angel appeared.

 

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but, seriously, after the extra special dose of chaos and a very crap week, it sure felt like a miracle.

I got followed by the blogger, Bri Bruce Productions (I always follow people back when they follow me, and go take a look at their blog). So, I can’t remember all the details, but either I found this post when I looked at their blog, or got sent it when I signed up for their mailing list. In any case, it was perfectly serendipitous. Gloriously right-place-right-time, and anything that makes my hellishly chaotic existence just a tiny bit easier is definitely cause for celebrations.

This was the blog post that I was sent/that I viewed: https://bribruceproductions.com/2017/06/14/stock-photography-now-available/.

“Hmm,” I said to myself, because when you work from home, you talk to yourself a lot. “That looks like a possibility.” Then I discovered they do custom design pieces. I decided to talk to them, rather than myself, and I emailed them. I got an email back really fast, saying yes, they could do that with the specs. For a great rate, too!

The tea tin art was fantastic! See the tea tin art (and my custom tea blend), here!

Unfortunately, I wish that my experience with Adagio Teas had gone as well. I accidentally uploaded a photo for the band (on a larger tea box, it’s the photo that goes all the way around the box). I tried and tried, but could not delete the photo. So I emailed them (there’s no other way to contact them). After a lot of miscommunication, and back-and-forth emails, they said they fixed it–by deleting the tea blend, not the photo. Which was even more frustrating because I had ordered the blend already. So, I now had play the same game all over again about the order I had previously placed. My financial institution cautioned me that it probably wasn’t a good idea to purchase products (in the future) from a company that did not have a contact phone number listed on the website. It’s unfortunate, because I still think it’s a really great idea for promotional materials, and I can’t find a similar replacement online–yet.

However, I would definitely use Bri Bruce Productions again, for my design needs. They also do other design projects, like book covers, and book interior design. (I hope I quoted this information correctly–again, it’s been a muddled week.) A big thank you, again, to Bri Bruce Productions for making my life easier (and for being brave enough to work with the Chaos Fairy)!

Check them out here: https://bribruceproductions.com/

 

 

How Fantastic is CreateSpace?!?!

 

As some of my regular readers of my Chaos Fairy blog know, if things can go wrong, they will.

I initially started off my first venture into self-publishing with the publishing platform BookBaby. Let’s just say, that it was a typically disastrous Chaos Fairy experience, and leave it at that. I was really disheartened after that experience, and was faced with a decision about committing to CreateSpace over another, more expensive option. So, as my poetry book is my trial venture into all the fiddly bits that go into publishing a book, I finally opted to use CreateSpace. I was nervous, because there were a lot of negative reviews about CreateSpace online. Still, economics was the deciding factor, as I found the price to publish my book was way cheaper than the original quote I had from BookBaby.

From the get-go, CreateSpace was incredibly professional and knowledgeable. During the process of getting the initial quote, I found communicating with the customer service representative to be so much easier and straightforward. We were totally on the same page in regards to the book’s goals (that the poetry book would be my dry run into self-publishing). They totally got everything I was trying to achieve without me having to explain, argue, and defend myself a hundred times.

They continued to provide the same level of exceptional customer service and professionalism throughout the (still ongoing) design  and completion process. They provided me with samples so I could visualize the fonts in question. They were so patient and supportive in walking me through the design process and the changes needed. Furthermore, they were completely respectful in making sure the erroneous details I had noticed during the changes process were noted and fixed.

Plus, CreateSpace provided a free round of changes in case I was an idiot and missed something (even with my keen editorial eye), or something didn’t look quite right in the actual layout. All of this was done with COMPLETELY NO HASSLE! If there was something that went wrong with their design and layout issue–discrepancies, or other technical and design issues and layout, they fixed it. No problems, no runaround, no excuses.  This has never happened to date in the Chaos Fairy’s memory. Ever. In fact, it’s a rare occurrence in customer service experiences, in general, these days. Where everyone had a reason why it’s your fault, not theirs, and companies have adopted a zero accountability policy. Not to mention the loop they put you through in automated purgatory before you even get to talk to a real person. That is, if you ever get to talk to a person at all, much less one willing to help you resolve the issue. (I think the tactic is to make you give up and go away, actually.) With CreateSpace, I get to talk to a real, live person each time there’s an issue, and they are completely willing to listen and help you resolve the issue to ensure you are happy with your publishing project. They were consistently helpful, and always professional.

One of the complaints I read about online, regarding CreateSpace, was that the books arrived with messy glue, and with extensive book damage due to shipping. And that the books were printed in mismatching hues on the front cover. While I can’t comment on that, as I haven’t received my final books, yet, I did receive a printed, bound proof for the interior. So far, so good. No messy glue, no book damage. We’ll see how the final project turns out, as I haven’t seen the cover in the final printed form yet. But I have no worries. Even if there’s something awry, CreateSpace has shown they will fix the problem to my satisfaction.

This customer service experience was so novel to me, that I wanted to cry. To send their staffers that helped a big bunch of flowers or edible fruit bouquets, or something. I’m so used to being put down, dismissed, ignored, mocked, treated with disrespect, and, as a result, having to go out and wage total war just to be heard. Car mechanics, staff at grocery stores, in the workplace, or even on the behalf of my pets or my own health, via dismissive veterinarians and doctors.

So, I just wanted to give some well-earned praise to CreateSpace and all their (incredibly patient) wonderful customer service representatives and staff, as well as the design team. You’ve managed to break the Chaos Fairy Curse! Thank you for making my life a little bit easier!

The Flat-Out Terror of Getting Published

Okay, dear readers, it’s official. I am going to be a published poet/author. Granted, my poetry book is self-published, but’s still putting my written word out there.

Sometime this March May (thanks, Trent’s World, for noticing that/commenting on it! 🙂 ), my poems will be released (inflicted?) upon the world. Brace yourselves!

Will keep you posted re: author website, promotional events/goodies and all that fun stuff.

Thanks for being along with the ride!

End of a Very Long Week…

 

I planned to write something on Wednesday, but my usual muse-in-my-dreams hasn’t been making an appearance lately. And, truthfully, I’ve been a little too weary and introspective to cultivate contact. (I miss you, my talisman…)

Tuesday: I kept getting a little shock that it was only Tuesday. It felt like days and days had gone by. And it was not even Hump Day.

But, Groundhog Day!!! It’s one of my fav holidays, after Halloween. It’s on my bucket list to go here (Damn you, Andie McDowell and Bill Murray! LOL)

I got called into school a lot for work, which was awesome! I’m dreading the upcoming bills with their resultant sticker shock, due to some unexpected expenses, but hopefully I get enough sub jobs to cover it.

I’m still trying to work out the details of my poetry book for publication. Been going back and forth between publishing with CreateSpace and bookbaby. Think I’m falling on the bookbaby side. Seems a lot less complex and more straightforward, especially since it’s “just” a book of poetry.

Still working out the cover art deal.

A WONDERFUL physics/science teacher at the schools I sub at was nice enough to give me feedback on the physics terms I’m using to set the theme of my poems. Here’s a shout out to you, even though I can’t list you by name for confidentiality reasons. Hopefully things will work out so I can give you credit in my poetry book when it gets published. A big thanks from the Chaos Realm!

I was very excited to receive permission within a day or two of submitting my permission request from the wonderful staffer over at the University of Chicago Press to use their definitions from the Glossary of Astronomy and Astrophysics in my poetry book.  I’ve always loved the University of Chicago Press’ publications, but now I’m officially a fan!

Thursday: I had to go to the dreaded dentist. But, since I have the best, most patient, and gentle dentist(s) in the whole world, it was a survivable experience. No cavities! Yay for me!

Still hoping for some exciting new opportunities on the job front.

Oh, and *drum roll* I FOUND JEANS THAT FIT. They do not gap at the waist, and they don’t reveal my Wonder Woman underroos/butt crack when I’m trying to look my age on the outside. (Well, actually, I knew about them already, but they were on sale and they fit my little-waist-but-junk-in-the-trunk body.) Whee!

Check them out via the J. Peterman company here.

I still haven’t done my edits for my mystery novel. Bad writer.

Oh, and for Valentine’s Day, why not consider giving love to a shelter animal in need of a home? Petfinder makes it easy to search for pets in your area!

 

 

 

Shopping Time!

 

Been shopping for cover artists to do a cover for my poetry book! It’s a lot of fun looking through DeviantArt and such, but also really overwhelming! Might hit up the art & design school here as a way to simplify the process. And then I get to “buy” local!

Feel free to share any recommendations/tips in the comments, fellow writers and artists!

P.S. So, I came across this article, and it wasn’t usually in my “interest” comfort zone (or so I thought) but f*ck if it wasn’t a great read. Holy cow, you have got to give it a chance to suck you in: http://www.curbed.com/2017/1/11/14190322/paint-colors-taffy-brodesser-akner

P.P.S. How do you like the new blog look?