Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Tip for y’all: if you’re considering taking out an ad in a print publication, find out when their ad deadline is, and wait until the week before to contact them.  This is the week when they are scrambling to meet their ad quotas, and they might be willing to let you run an ad at significant savings, especially if they have empty space on a page that needs filling.

I did this by accident last week.  A couple of months ago I contacted a publication with a press release, thinking they might want to run a blurb about me.  Instead (surprise), they said I should advertise with them.  Print ads are expensive, though, and they don’t give you such great bang for your buck.  The ad prices at this particular publication were way out of my league.

When they followed up about the ad, I explained my financial situation. Good news, they said, we offer 15% off to all new advertisers.  Still too expensive, I told them.  I just can’t afford something like that.  Then they came down to 20% off.  Sorry, I said.  I appreciate the special rate, but I just paid off all my inventory and literally don’t have the funds in the bank.  40% off?  Wow, I said.  You guys are really being nice about trying to meet me halfway on this, but here’s the bottom line.  The absolute most I can pay is 65% off and I can send you a set of my new products.

Done.

Holy crap.  I probably could have quoted even less.  After all, 65% off the ad price is still better than no money at all, especially if you have to pay for that page to be printed anyway.   They had nothing to lose by accepting my offer, no matter how low.  I had nothing to lose by presenting my offer.  It’s these win-win situations (which only happen right before the ad deadline) that can net you a STOOPID bargain in advertising.  My only advice?  Make your bottom line lower than mine, because there was clearly still some room before the floor.

Great Publication: Venus Zine

Yesterday I was browsing the magazines at Booksmith in the Upper Haight. I felt a little bad because I didn’t intend to buy anything. I was just there to page through all their glossies and write down the ones to which I might be able to send press kits. But then I stumbled upon an awesome publication called Venus Zine: Emerging Creativity (women in music, art, film, fashion, d.i.y. culture) and I finally had something to justify using an independent bookstore as my personal research library. The perpetually surly counter clerk looked especially pissed that after half an hour of standing around I put $4.50 on my business Amex, but I didn’t let it get me down.

I don’t know why I’d never even heard of Venus Zine. It’s apparently been around since 1996 and it rocks — quite literally. This issue’s cover stories include a run-down of the best female guitarists of all time and how to start a DIY business. Though I’m a little beyond many of the most basic suggestions (yes, I have already read Craft, Inc. from cover to cover) there were enough informative tidbits for even an experienced business owner to get something from the articles. For example, I learned about indiebizchicks.com (which has some great articles even if the site is not super well maintained), Sublime Stitcher Jenny Hart’s monthly “Crafting a Business” column, and various free communal workspaces for when you want to get out of your home office. New York’s Jelly (now also at other locales), Philadelphia’s Cream Cheese and San Francisco’s Citizen Space all sound like great places to work somewhere productive (and collaborative) without having to spend $3 an hour on coffee and pastries.

So if you’re an artist, musician, businesswoman, DIYer, or like me, you consider yourself a little of everything, check out an issue of Venus Zine. It’s both informative and inspiring to the woman who’s trying to make her own way.

Inexpensive Marketing and Promotion (Part 3)

And even more…

Craft fairs: (Cost: 1-2 days of your time, ~$free-250, depending on fair) Craft fairs are great for a lot of reasons. Firstly, they average about 5% of what it costs to do a trade show. Secondly, you can sell your stuff directly to the public, allowing you to make you some cash while conducting first-hand market research in the process. Thirdly (I didn’t know this until recently), your wares often don’t have to be hand-crafted to be eligible. And fourthly, the press comes to you! Not only do writers for various publications visit craft fairs, they are often sponsored by a magazine like Craft, BUST, or Adorn, and are therefore guaranteed to get coverage.I would never apply for a craft fair that charges a non-refundable application fee because it indicates to me that they are either:

  1. Shady or greedy people who are okay with taking money from people who might not get anything out of the deal whatsoever.
  2. Such terrible businessmen/businesswomen that they need to charge application fees in addition to booth fees just to keep the venture profitable.

Here are some excellent fairs to look into that don’t charge non-refundable fees to apply:

If you do handcraft your wares, you should definitely also have a storefront on Etsy, the biggest online craft marketplace out there.

Check back tomorrow for Inexpensive Marketing and Promotion Part 3!