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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #164: Do You Want the Good News First, or the Bad News?

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 1377 days ago 2883 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 163: Trying to Find Focus Part 164 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 165: Time - My Unexpected Friend »

I never thought that this type of job would be easy. When I started this blog I explained that I would offer insight to all sides of designing and my business – good and bad. I have been very fortunate that for the most part these past months I have had good days and felt somewhat successful. However, we all know that in the real world there aren’t only good days and that no matter how wonderful things seem when looking in from another side, that more often than not successful people and businesses have had their share of failures and disappointments. Right now I am in the midst of one of those disappointments.

For those of you who follow my blog, you have seen the tremendous amount of time and effort that I have put into my Skating Pond scene. Not only was this project very time consuming, but it was also one that was very close to my heart. The idea for it was conceived almost a year ago, with the original set being accepted by the magazine “Christmas 365” in early February. (Christmas 365 is a magazine owned by the same company that owns Creative Woodworks and Crafts, my regular publication) I had sent the pieces off to them and waited to hear when the publication date would be, as I wished to offer both the pieces to make this project for the non-scroll sawyers and also the painting and finishing instructions.

After many months of not hearing from them regarding the set, I found that there was a change of guard at the magazine and there was a new editor and other new people. In the mean time, my set was kind of put on the side line. At this point, I was going to retract the submission and market it myself in time for this season. I was told that the new editor loved the set and didn’t want to lose it and they convinced me to leave it with them for a slightly higher pay. Originally they were going to run it in several subsequent issues as a series because of the size of it and now they were thinking one issue, which would mean the pay would be substantially lower.

I did agree however because it would mean that the entire set would be released sooner and I would be able to market the complete set perhaps by this year and I was assured that the issue would be out mid-November which would still give people time to purchase the blank figures from me and make it for this season.

I had spent the last several weeks finishing up the instructions and finding means to get the figures cut and make kids that would be available. I knew that if the demand were great, I wouldn’t have time to hand cut the pieces. I recently finished the pattern packet, but I wanted to give the magazine some more time on the stand before I put it on my site, even thought the rights reverted to me after it was released.

Last night, I picked up my mail and in it was the comp issue of the magazine that they sent to me. I would finally be able to see my hard work in print after all these months. I was very excited to see it.

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

They had my figures placed over a six page spread. I was pleased with the presentation they were given and the page referred to the full instructions in the back of the magazine.

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

I don’t think I had been as excited about seeing something of mine published in a long, long time. I was happy with how things looked and I was also happy that I could now market things myself, as time is getting close to Christmas.

However, upon reading through the instructions, I came to the realization that nowhere in the magazine was my contact information posted. In the instructions, near the title of the project, it was stated “by Sheila Bergner Landry”. Then in the next line in the materials list it states “Sheila Landry Designs Precut Skating Pond Figures” and that was it. No phone number. No web site address. No email. Nothing.

They proceed to go through all the instructions which took another several pages but in reading through them there is no reference whatsoever as to how to get in touch with me. I looked through the entire issue, hoping that somewhere in it was a Source List or Designer Information page as many other magazines offer and there was nothing. My heart just sank.

I don’t see how people are going to be able to order this set from me, even if they wanted to. Much of the reason that I wanted to have this in this magazine was to expose myself to a perhaps new audience. Let’s face it – most of you who now read my blog on a regular basis didn’t know who Sheila Landry or what Sheila Landry Designs was from Betty Boop before I came here. How in the heck are they going to even contact me?

Right now I feel very emotional about the entire thing. I realize that even if there were a correction made, it wouldn’t be out for three months, as the magazine is a quarterly publication. I feel as if communication has been poor at best with them up to this point and I don’t see it improving. I am not happy because when I was sent the final written text to sign off on with this article, there was a short paragraph at the end which gave my full contact information proceeded by “If you have any questions or comments regarding this project, please contact . . . . ” In looking at the article, all the instructions were printed exactly the same up until that point.

I am very deflated at this point. I have been loyal to this company for many years and although many people have told me to also submit to the other magazines, I have felt a sense of loyalty to this one as it was the one that started me out. However, many other designers do submit and are published in both the scroll sawing magazines without negative consequences. Until this point I felt as if it would be disloyal going to the competition. But I wonder, how loyal are they to me? Business is business after all. These are difficult times for everyone and I feel that it is a matter of survival.

I am going to paint today. Not my own design, but that of my favorite tole painting designer. I am making a couple of Christmas gifts and want to get started on them. I think it will be good for me to get away from things and cool down a bit and change gears.

I think it is time to reevaluate my entire business plan. I need to take a good look at where things may be heading and do some homework on where I will fit into the future of woodworking and designing, and perhaps painting and crafts. I know I have ability and I need to find the best way to use those abilities to make a living. I am not talking about getting rich here, I am just talking about survival, as so many other business people do on this site.

I am not going to do anything rash, as I know that won’t be the answer, but this is going to really motivate me to prepare fully for March and I will go to the large show on a mission to see what my options may be.

“I’ll just think about that tomorrow” (-Scarlett O’Hara)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"



18 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2787 days


#1 posted 1377 days ago

the good news—that’s awesome and congratulations on getting it out there.
the bad news – ouch!!
Do they have a website where they can post information in case people go searching there for your information?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Gary's profile

Gary

1018 posts in 2950 days


#2 posted 1377 days ago

The good news for you is most folks today have a computer and you’re easy to find with Google.
You’re always right near the top of a search. In fact, putting your name in a Google search, your website is #1 in the results.
I understand your disappointment. However, I expect you’ll succeed greatly.

Best,
Gary

-- Gary, Florida. http://www.penturners.org/forum/f70/servicepens-2014-a-111967/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7564 posts in 1546 days


#3 posted 1377 days ago

They do, Debbie and I suppose if I griped they would post it. But that doesn’t account for all the readers who pull the magazine off the stand and are not ‘computer literate’ and also all the new people. It is as they say ‘just one of those things’. I am sure if people look hard enough they will be able to find me, but I was hoping to target some new people and realistically many people won’t bother to look that hard. I appreciate the support and I do apologize for my ‘mini-rant’. It is just that some days it is harder than others to feel positive.

Sheila ;)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2433 posts in 2712 days


#4 posted 1377 days ago

Sheila, that must really hurt. I’m sorry the new editors messed up your plans so badly. That magazine staff is one who wants all the credit to themselves, it sounds like. Yes, rethink. Any loyalty you felt to them just went up in smoke. And by all means, let them know how disappointed you are. This close to the holidays, there is really no way to fix that.
On the brighter side, I just Googled your name, and dozens of references and contact points come up. I agree with Gary. Anyone reading the magazine and seeing your designs credited to your business name can look you up easily. Take heart. With a big, six-page spread (unusual in any magazine) you are a prime feature of this issue. People will be impressed, and if they are serious scrollers and painters, they will want to go looking for Sheila Landry Designs. Remember, sometimes when what looks like a bad thing happens, it turns out it was actually not so bad after all. Update your website, list the article as a new ‘credit’ to yourself, list your accomplishments in publications (I haven’t checked your website, but updating it never hurts) so people searching for you have the information on your new articles. Refresh and expand. That should keep you busy for a while!

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4111 posts in 1483 days


#5 posted 1377 days ago

Sheila,
I just googled “Sheila Bergner Landry”
and you were top of the page.
It is great that it made the stands in time.
It is also good that it went into one edition (except for the money loss).
I stay in an area with an older age group.
Those who dont have a computer don’t mind asking those that do to find information.
So fingers crossed that all those folk will find you.
Thanks for sharing.
jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View CampD's profile

CampD

1201 posts in 2112 days


#6 posted 1377 days ago

Google is a wonderful thing. I always google just for reference and to doudle check.
But, I agree they “should have” included your website, mailling address.
maybe in some odd publication rules they are not allowed to publish it, who knows.

-- Doug...

View Jack_T's profile

Jack_T

621 posts in 1657 days


#7 posted 1377 days ago

I know that this must feel like a crushing blow to your marketing plan; but you may be able to spin this to gain more exposure.

You should make a BIG deal about this with the publisher and the owner. I agree with you that a blurb in the nest issue is almost worthless. First it is after Christmas. Second it will not reach anyone who purchased the magazine off the rack (I suspect that these would be most likely the beginners that you were trying to reach).

Try and get a FREE link/listing under Sponsors on the Magazine website’s homepage. At list until the next issue is released on the newstands.
Try and be guest on Mark Lipinski’s show”Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski”

I am sure that if you approach this in a professional manner and explain to them the damage that has been done to your marketing plans and also show them a way to help you that also helps them (again like being a guest on Creative Mojo – producers always need material) you will get a much better response.

I wish you the best of luck. Let us know how it turns out.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Jack_T's profile

Jack_T

621 posts in 1657 days


#8 posted 1377 days ago

One other thing, I was just at your website and I could not find this series anywhere. You may want to make it easier to find with it being in the magazine right now. Maybe you could put it on the front page?

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1817 days


#9 posted 1377 days ago

Sheila,

Well, I just entered your name on a google search and it came up first on the search. Even added the word designs. All people need to do is enter your name and they can find you. I didn’t really look at your web page but I would venture that people could find your figurines easy if you added a promotion box for them at the top of your web page….”the ship is not lost captain, just sinking faster than we thought!!!” :D

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7564 posts in 1546 days


#10 posted 1377 days ago

Thank you again all. I am going to take a day or two and think things through so I can make the best decision. I am afraid right now that I will just ‘react’ and I don’t want to do or say anything that I will regret. I think I need to take a breath and think and then I will say and do what is appropriate in a businesslike way. Hopefully, they will understand how important this omission was to me and we can come to a resolution.

I looked at the magazine again Barb after reading your response, and you are right, in addition to the six page spread that I showed, the instructions took over 4 pages. The entire magazine is 98 pages without the covers, so yes, I was a major contributor to this issue.

@Jack – I was unable to sell or promote the set on my own site until after it was released by the magazine. They have what is called ‘first rights’ so I was unable to have it on my own site. Typically, I wait for a couple of weeks after the magazines are on the stands until I put the items featured on my site. However, with this being the case, I will be working to put it up there right away so people can find it.

I will try to come up with a good plan of action that will help soften the blow, but I want to take my time and be sure I do things right.

Thank you all for giving me so much to think about.

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1741 days


#11 posted 1376 days ago

first congrat´s with the print in the magazine its looking good from what your picture show

second what a bummer from there side, I think its good its you that is going to handle it
and not me , I wuold have exploded in the faces of them as a big boom from a 105mm houbitzer
3 seconds after I had found out of it
speciel after a year with the troubles you have had with the new owner , it seems to me they
only try to think of them selfs and not on the contributers and buyers at all.
go get them Sheila they deserve every thing you can throw in the head of them
in worst case it has cost you alot of money and I do meen alot of them speciel on the short track (this year)
but allso on the long one
business is business and they blew it , they pay for it

take care
Dennis

View tdv's profile

tdv

1114 posts in 1696 days


#12 posted 1376 days ago

Build it & they will come Shiela if people see it & love it they will find you I guess they just need to know you are in business to retail them. Fingers crossed for you
Take care
Trevor

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Steve Good's profile

Steve Good

78 posts in 2581 days


#13 posted 1376 days ago

Sheila, sorry to hear about the omission. That is a problem. There are still many folks that are not doing the google thing yet. I know this is not much help but you know you are always welcome to the eyeballs of my readers. All you have to do is ask. I know these are not the exact people you were looking for but it’s still many thousand potential customers. Hang in there. You know you are loved by thousands of scrollers for the wonderful designs you make.

-- Steve Good, http://scrollsawworkshop.blogspot.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#14 posted 1376 days ago

Sheila, It is not the end of the world in this day and age. Most people have the internet. If they don’t, their kids or grandkids do and will do a search for anyone who is interested. Google Sheila Landry and see what pops up:-)) The contact info may have ended on the cutting room floor by the hand of some insolent little drudge with a IQ lower this their age :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BertFlores58's profile

BertFlores58

1646 posts in 1548 days


#15 posted 1376 days ago

Sheila,
It is now published and the fact that thre is no contact direction doesn’t mean that you are not famous. You will be searched by all means those who really wants to get in touch with you and it is easy with the internet around. I for one very happy that you are featured to that magazine.
Cheers,

-- Bert

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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