From the Drawing Board of Sara Varon
i have some favorite hobbies that i save for when i'm not busy making or reading comics. a couple of these are printmaking, baking, and making little products, so i put these to use and made book-related projects.
1. my favorite project was baking cookies in the shapes of my characters. i cut strips of litho plates (they're thin flat aluminum plates used for printing lithographs), about 2 inches wide, and i bent them into the shapes of a dog and robot, to be used for cookie cutters. then i went to my local cake supply store and bought several food coloring colors, to be added to my icing. and i used the 'rolled sugar cookie' recipe from 'the joy of cooking' (the handiest cookbook ever). and i went to work. it took awhile to figure out how to do everything, but the results tasted and looked better than i'd anticipated. i passed them out at a booksigning.
2. making buttons. everybody likes buttons, and they're super cheap and easy to make. plus people put them on their clothes and bags, so they travel around advertising your pictures until they inevitably fall off. making these kinds of things is always cheaper and easier than you expect. my favorite place to make buttons is www.busybeaver.net. you can make all kinds of things. other cool things you can make and places that make them are (1) pocket mirrors (www.myfavoritemirror.com) and (2) patches (www.american-patch.com). plus your stuff looks so cool and legitimate when it's on a for-real product.
3. silkscreened postcards. i work in an art school printshop, so i have access to printmaking facilities, but another way to make prints that is slightly different but just as cool and fun is a gocco printer. there were rumors that you could no longer get them in the united states (i don't know if that's true) but i'm sure you can find a gocco printer on ebay.
4. silkscreened tshirts. also made at my job, but i think you can print on tshirts with your gocco printer too, if silkscreen isn't an option for you.
5. offset postcards. you can get these at 4x6.com or 4over4.com or a zillion other places, and they're pretty easy and affordable. you just have to order a lot, like at least 500 (i think). but you don't have to make postcards! you can also make something promotional that is business-card sized (i did this for another book) or you can have your postcards cut in half and make them into bookmarks!
3 other (non-DIY) ways that i promoted my book:
1. i did something called 'speed-dating' at the annual book expo at javits center in nyc. i (and 19 other authors) spoke to 20 small groups of people (mostly librarians and book buyers), each for 3 minutes, making it a one-hour event. it was kind of rocky at first, but in the end i was surprised how many different questions people could come up with in 3 minutes.
2. booksignings at various stores. so far i've been to portland, maine; nashville, tn; boston, and new york. hopefully i'll go other places cause it's fun to travel.
3. blogging on the first second site!
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