Friday, May 23, 2014

Punk Chic Jewelry

For the last many months I have had the incredible pleasure to work on a new project with the talented Erin Siegel. Punk Chic Jewelry is the first in what I hope will be many new ebooks from Ornamentea. 

Erin first approached me with the idea of collaborating on a book last year. We knew it needed to be something different, something that wasn't just a rehash of the same projects or ideas we'd seen before. Erin's previous project, Bohemian Inspired Jewelry with Lorelei Eurto, was very popular, but Erin wanted to move in a new direction. I knew I wanted the book to have a fashion-magazine feel, with model shots that made you really feel the energy of the projects. After lots of talking (can we actually do a book ourselves? should we?do we know how to do this?) we decided to take the plunge. 

The first, and toughest, decision was which platform to publish on. While there are a zillion (I think that may be the actual number) e-publishing platforms, my research kept coming back to Amazon. While I'm not a fan of Amazon - I have long regarded it as a local-bookstore-killer, in this case it seemed to be our best choice. We wanted the book to be available anywhere in the world, and to be available on all e-readers, desktop computers, phones and tablet computers. Amazon was the winner. I carefully, carefully read and reread the protocols for prepping a book to publish on the KDP Publishing platform (that's the official name) and I struggled to decipher the royalty splits and payment options. Caitlin and I looked at the 'How to prep your files' information and it seemed super easy to understand. 

Erin was in a punk-rock mood, and the designs she kept coming up with for the book had such a hard (and not-at-all boho!) feel to them. In the meantime, fashion designer (and Ornamentea-alumni!) Hannah Goff was sharing pictures from a collection shoot she did with a 'preppy punk' look that I thought worked perfectly with Erin's jewelry. Suddenly, the full concept was hatched! As Erin designed jewelry, Caitlin and I worked on the title, the fonts, the images. Hannah sent us fashion images we loved, including the one shot of model Anastasia Tsyrulnyk that featured a direct stare we adored. That shot was destined to end up on the cover. We obsessed about font colors and layout angles. Long chats about exact font placement, shades of pink and layered images, happened every afternoon. 

As the projects arrived at the shop, we realized what a talent Erin posesses. Her projects came to use carefully wrapped, in bi-weekly batches, the images and directions so beautifully prepared that my editing hand grew bored. Each box opened here at Ornamentea generated high-pitched, excited voices. The jewelry projects seemed like a perfect mesh with the amazing fashion photos we had from Hannah Goff and photographer, JC Cerilla. 

We wanted the projects to have kits available, but decided right away that they would be limited edition kits. We also decided to release them in two groups. This keeps us sane. We wanted the book to be about crazy punk style, not make us into crazy punks. 

Of course, every project, especially a 'first' project like this book, has to hit some bumps. After many, many hours of work designing a graphic-intense book, Caitlin realized that our book files didn't play well with the Kindle publishing platform. Yes, we had gleefully ignored the message from KDP to 'keep layered graphics to a minimum.' Uh-oh. Many punk elements were removed-you could say the book was graphically tamed-to create something readable on all e-readers and tablets. At first, Caitlin and I were a bit crushed, but the newer, cleaner version is actually more user-friendly. Projects and images are lined up and easy to follow. Since most of the people buying the book will probably want to make the projects, I think that's a good thing! 

Today we finally hit the 'publish' button and waited...and waited...and waited for Amazon to show us our book. When it finally happened Caitlin, Kristen, Erin and I were so relieved. Whew. 

I wonder what's next?

These are two of the projects from the here to have a peek inside (thanks, Amazon!)