It has been a while since I've posted here on the Kat Mariaca Studio blog. Mostly because I was swamped over the holidays, but also because Amazon reached out to me in August with a great offer to collaborate with them on their Merch by Amazon print on demand platform.
Sometime in 2016, Amazon began allowing designers, artists and illustrators to create t-shirt designs which they, Merch, would print to order. At some point I must have applied for the program (though I don't remember doing so) because in mid-August Amazon emailed me and gave me 30 days to accept their offer or they'd move on to another designer.
The main benefit of working with Merch is that the designers come up with designs, upload them, along with a brief description of each, to the platform, and then move onto their other day-to-day business. Amazon then does the marketing, takes the orders, prints the shirts, packages them and ships them out. They also handle any customer concerns.
Pretty neat, right?
So I signed up and spent a couple of months learning the rules, figuring out which designs sell best, establishing a brand, and enjoying the opportunity.
But now I'm back. Not that I'm not still collaborating with Amazon - I am - but now that I understand how to run that side of my business efficiently, I am back here at the Studio.
So, what else is new in 2018? A lot.
I quickly figured out that I really enjoy the Merch platform and the opportunities it offers, but I was a bit disappointed by Amazon's upload rule of just allowing you to upload two new designs per day. At that rate, it will take a looooooooong time to earn a decent income. Besides, I have more than 200 designs in queue.
Not one to wait around, I decided to re-open my Amazon stores - and to open a new one - so that I could upload my own brands as quickly as I like. I had stopped selling on Amazon more than a year ago because I found the software unwieldy and confusing. But now that I'd experienced the quick success of Merch, I decided to take the time to learn.
To handle the print on demand side of business, I opened a sister company, Island Dog T-Shirt Company. I did not want to confuse my Kat Mariaca Studio customers who are loyal and wonderful and who enjoy the 3 brands I offer here (Postal Notes Greetings, Let's Pretend, and Sage Street Greetings) by piling on new product lines.
I am still feeling my way through brand creation for Island Dog T-Shirt Company - and selling some Kat Mariaca Studio products through that sister site (here is an example of a tote bag) - but it's been a lot of fun, is happily growing, and offers me another creative outlet.
In addition to Island Dog T-Shirt Company, I've opened up another two websites. While these are blogs more than shops, I opened them with the express intent of growing two separate audiences for two separate book series I am working on.
Print on Demand Empire is a nascent blog where I share tips for breaking into the print on demand business. The audience for that site is designers, people who want a home-based business, and people looking to earn a secondary income. By the end of the year, I plan to release the first book in the series about the opportunities in that business.
The second blog I started (the site is up but I have yet to complete the first post, which is on my agenda for tomorrow), is called Lucky on Purpose. The premise behind that blog is that I don't believe in luck. Instead, I believe that what we call "luck" is really awareness meeting opportunity. I believe that we create our own "luck" and that it is a law of nature that anyone - and everyone - can and should tap into. Kind of like the Law of Attraction, but with intent.
In other news, I am working on a new book with the amazing Karen Stivali, a dear friend and prolific romance author. The book, which does not yet have a working title (that I'm willing to refer to yet as it may end up being THE title) is for writers. More on that later.
I am working on a number of other books which I plan to have drafted out by mid year. One is dog-related (because they are the best beings in the universe - just saying). The second is a follow-up to The Complication of Sisters titled Conversations with My Sister, and the third is a bit darker. OK, it's a lot darker. It is a book of illustrated short stories, along the lines of Edward Gorey (Goreyesque?), titled Global Warming and Other Near Disasters. Here is a sample, titled "Last Song":
And in still other news (I told you I've been busy), this morning I mailed out a first draft manuscript for a book series I've written, which is loosely based on my book, The Complication of Sisters. Last year I met the lovely Rage Kindelsperger, Editorial Director at The Quarto Group at the 2017 National Stationery Show, where we discussed the possibility of turning one of my card collections into a gift book series.
What I sent to Rage today isn't that. What I sent to her today is the first draft of the first book in a series of nine gift books. I am hopeful she likes it and wants the series for Quarto because, a) I liked her, b) it feels kind of synchronistic that she stopped by to talk opportunities with me just as I was finalizing my outlines for the series, and, c) I'd rather be creating than shopping my manuscripts around.
So now you know why I haven't posted in this blog space since August. What have you been up to?
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