One of my favorite books is Immortal Voyage by C.G. Powell. It is fun and combine so many things I love in one amazing book. Well, I was at the release party on FB for this amazing book and won a bookmark. I thought, "Cool, I like bookmarks" and then it came and it was drool worthy. I kid you not, it was amazing. It turns out that not only can the girl write, but she is also a gifted jewelry/swag maker. Since then I have entered ever stinkin' contest I see where she has donated a prize. These things are amazing! Ok, so the point. I had to know how she did it. How can you create such amazing pieces of art (which they are) and still have time to write fantastic books and keep up with daily life. She agreed to share with us a bit about how she does it. I still thinks she must have secret minions or elves or something. Just sayin'. Oh and the picture above is a book mark she made for a favorite series of mine by Olivia Hardin.
How to Find Your Balance: A Tale of a Habitual Crafter
As a grown-up with ADD tendencies and a habitual crafter, when I started writing, I found that I was constantly getting side tracked by crafts (knitting, painting, making jewelry...) when I should have been writing. It wasn’t until I released my first novel that I learned about the word swag. After asking lots of other authors, and researching options, SWAG was beginning to turn in to a four letter word that authors dreaded. Finding the right items personalized for your book at a reasonable price was like searching for the Holy Grail or canned Unicorn Meat (Yeah, they really do have everything on Amazon).
Many authors and bloggers take the easy way out when it comes to gifting their fans. Not that it’s a bad thing to make use of those 20% off and free shipping on all orders over $50 coupons they get in their email every couple of days by Vistaprint. Those printed items come in handy when you have to get the word out there to the masses. But when it came down to really personal items, postcards, and printed bookmarks just weren’t enough.
Ultimately, I decided to make a few things for my own book launch. I started with book marks made from broaches and antique earrings. While these items were one of a kind, I didn’t find them personal enough, so I sat at my craft desk and started to play around with the supplies I had on hand. The first few items looked more arts and crafts than professionally made, but I kept on working on it until I had items I was proud to have as giveaways. After I had a couple of my own giveaways, other authors started to ask where I got my swag from. That is when the idea hit me that interesting custom made swag items were in demand.
In May of 2012 I decided to open The Book Swag Shop on Etsy—a shop dedicated to custom swag and a place to give me purpose to my crafting. Since then I have gone from one custom item (bookmarks) to twelve, with more being added weekly. Not only are there custom items, but a bevy of jewelry and book related items that are available. It has been an incredible outlet for me and my crafting. I love putting together each and every order, and coming up with new items to add to the store. In return, it keeps me from random crafting and has allowed me to focus on writing more between orders.
BIO: Christine Gomez has been crafting her whole entire life (It all started with finger paints). Since the age of twenty her focus has been mainly on her true love—Gemstones. Receiving her Certificate as a Graduate of Gemology from the Gemological Institute of America, she has been making custom jewelry for over twenty years. Although gems and jewelry are her first love, there are many other things she loves to do to keep her hands busy, such as knitting, painting, and making beauty products. Her latest endeavor—writing, came about when the price of gold and silver became so expensive that it no longer allowed her to be creative, so she put down the hammer and mandrel and picked up the pen.
Two books and a year away from the bench, her search for swag lead her back to her first love, and working with alternative materials and metals. It has been this balance between craft and writing that keeps her creativity flowing without getting too bored with one or the other.