Monday, July 28, 2014

Dontcha HATE when you REALLY NEED Something??

Hi Secondary Folks and English Teachers!

I missed Blogging something awful!

TeachersPayTeachers has had me working night and day, making products.

One of the best and worst things about summer is low sales. It is terrible because, of course, no sales. It is great because, when no one is buying, you feel motivated to get all those other, equally important things done.

Things to Do When the Store is Empty
FILL it up...with products
Start to pin again in preparation for Fall
Redo those old-school covers.
Rethink some of your failed strategies - and maybe repackage some things?
Actually get out and enjoy yourself - holy cow! What a great idea...recharge that battery!

What do you need. What would you never want to make, recreate, or what resources do you value but struggle with finding? 

The product I made that I love the very most is my literary term glossary because is was, hands down, exceedingly difficult to make. It was also a labor of love, compiled with care, and I know (or at least at hope) that it is very useful. More useful say, than a general dictionary, or a high level dictionary of critical, literary and rhetorical terms that would be exhausting for a teacher to use.

Every once in a while as a teacher you think, GOSH, I really wish I could find ....and fill in the blank. Because if you had this thing, you KNOW it would help you when you were teaching or planning, and you know you'd use it over and over.

So what are those products for you??

Monday, June 2, 2014


THIS BLOG is taking a break until July first!

I know you'll miss the tips, and the features.

BUT, NOW is the time to:


Find great freebies and use them to enhance your products

Purchase some good, flashy/fun fonts

Pin like crazy

So you'll be ready for August and September!

HOW Else are those duckies and that little kitty going to grow up strong and healthy?

To all my Secondary pals and elementary too...

Let's reconvene next month!

God Bless,
Gina @ the PerfettoWritingRoom

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


 Shall we REVIEW? I'm Gina of the PerfettoWritingRoom, One Word, One Store, ALL Things Writing, and welcome to another edition of TpT Tips for Tuesday. Today we are doing something a little different. Let's start with a wee bit of a review for our newcomers!

How many WONDERFUL things we've already done? SO FAR WE'VE DISCUSSED:

  • Branding and Finding your Niche
  • Improving, Editing, and Remaking your Products, Covers and Titles
  • We're talking templates, baby!
  • Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Using Business and Statistic Research on TpT
  • Free Tutorials?
  • Own Your Progress and Be Yourself
  • MORE...

ALL of these articles are available on this site...just scroll down to read. AND feel free to comment! ADD your own expertise in the comments section to help others!

Sure, this includes post-secondary. Many of us sell items that are for use at the college level. . . . Coffee Break. . .For everybody!

We back? Cool.


One of the shining stars of the $1000 forum is Tangstar Science. A high school teacher. High school teachers often say how difficult it is to do well in an elementary-dominated market. 

  • Another way to look at it is this: stop comparing yourself to elementary folks, and figure out what YOU have to do to succeed. 
  • Figure out your personal goals and try to meet them. 
  • Fewer high school sellers means MORE opportunity for you to single yourself out, create a niche and do well while the market is young

So What Do High School Sellers Have to Say?

Tangstar Science


"March 31st of this year (yesterday!) I just hit over $2000. . . .I am in the high school division (the smallest and toughest market) so I am super excited at where I am now. I think the biggest part of my success so far is just to keep on adding good products.  I'm at over 250 products and that really makes a difference.  In general, you need a lot more products in the high school division to be successful than in the lower grades." (Tangstar Science - 1000 club thread, TpT forum) 

PWR: This doesn't mean YOU need this many products. Generally, you will need more products than an elementary seller. Don't worry or beat yourself up. Just create at a steady pace.
      I do agree with Tangstar that your strategy must be different than the strategy of an elementary teacher if you want to make a significant income on TPT. Noteworthy too is Tangstar's recent foray into Pinterest. She says her covers aren't great, either. This merely underscores the fact that every seller's journey is unique. 

2. Percentage of Time Spent MAKING a Product 
Versus the Time Spent MARKETING?
Not surprisingly, Tangstar says "90% Making my Product. 10% Marketing."
(Tangstar Science - 1000 club thread, TpT forum). 

PWR: Is this surprising? I sure think it is, and many others would agree. Tangstar is of the "If you build it, they will come" philosophy. And she is doing very well for herself. Apparently, her take is that marketing takes TIME that would be better spent making an item that someone can buy. If they want it, they'll find you (and customers do apparently find her). I don't know if I could possibly do 90% creation and 10% marketing, which is funny because when I started, ALL I wanted to do was make things!!! It is safe to say that we high school sellers need to build our stores and need to do more creation. If we are marketing more than we are creating, we might want to rethink that proportion. 

3. ARE YOU a Successful High School Seller? What are YOUR TIPS? Share them with the Blog!!
We will feature you!!

Come back every week for inspiration and camaraderie! New articles, sellers, tips and topics. We'll keep the coffee hot!
                            Visit PerfettoWritingRoom's Store

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


This Article can also be Known as "TRY TRY AGAIN, UGH." I'll explain why in a minute.
You all know I'm Gina @ the Perfetto
WritingRoom. One Word, One Store, One Blog, All things Writing! I am trying to remind people because my friends tell me "Gina, I can't find you when I enter your store name." Someone then apprised me of the fact that even adding a space can throw off the search. NOW, on to the explanation. . . 

Don't Forget Your Coffee!

The Value of DOING it ALL AGAIN. . .

So why the Ugh?

If you hear those birds tweet a tweeting away outside like I do, spring is here and summer is already biting at its heels. If you are thinking of joining teacherspayteachers or TPT, just started, are fairly newbie-ish, or even if it your first real summer cycle, be prepared for the epic slowdown.  It hurts, it really hurts.

On the tpt forums, the word is out. "What can I do to keep the sales coming in?" or, " How do I improve my sales in the summer?" There are numerous threads on this topic. Check them out, then start your own!

Advice you'll get regarding SUMMER is THIS:

  • It's a great time to remake those lower selling products
  • It's a great time to remake your covers
  • It's a great time to prepare for September and make back-to-        school products
  • It's a great time to do anything you didn't have time to do when you were selling like water during a drought
  • Sometimes, even changing your title may get a great product that isn't selling more sales (who knew?)

  • If you have been wanting to: work on a blog, pin future items that may begin to sell in a month or so, take a tutorial on TBTS (Teaching Blog Traffic School, by Charity Preston a TpTer who helps you advance your advertising ability and social media skills), make NEW products...... Well, the theory goes if you aren't raking in bucks anyway, why bother advertising for extra hours? You might as well properly position yourself now.

Many of the ideas above are "squirrel techniques." You know, the conscientious squirrel who spent the summer and fall putting all the acorns in his caches so that when winter came he'd be good and fat?

While some intrepid folks suggest making summer or camp materials, or pinning winter products for people in Australia since it is a growing market and people will buy your products, ONLY YOU can decide what's best for you, your store, and your brand. 

. . . . 
FOR A LONG TIME, PEOPLE on the $1000 thread have been saying that you have to Try Try, Again. Here is my Epic Simile: Don't be like Thelma and Louise.

Don't we ALL just want to keep on going? OOH a new idea. Let's keep going, like Thelma and Louise in that cool car, with our sunglasses and babushka, do-rag, kerchief-thingies on, racing onward to the vast unknown of fabulous mind-blowing ideas. Driving onward, onward, over that cliff, and into the inexorable CRASH of low sales and disillusionment, knowing at the very end that yes, we had it coming all along. 

Yeah. Because you can't just leave your problems behind. A bad husband, bills, trouble with the law (or crappy covers, complaints from customers, and typos) in your wake. You and your wallet will eventually end up flat at the bottom of a chasm. You know. . . ...kinda like Thelma and Louise

Forgive my epic simile above. Most of the advice about:

  • Changing your titles
  • Changing/Improving your Products
  • ADDING products to your store
  • Updating your covers

1.  is good advice ALL YEAR ROUND, not just for spring, summer, and the impending release of the students to the wilds of the suburbs, city streets, or pools, gardens and backyards of the world.
2. Before you read anything, know that results are not typical, and the goal is to inspire, NOT compare. YOU, I and we all can achieve what we want. Just as we tell our kids and students not to compare; let's use the examples below to put a fire under us so that we too may do even better things than what we are doing now. 

Melissa Shutler - Visit her Store!
Melissa's advice - " I was here for 4-5 months before hitting 4-digits. . . .Just keep working. I have 117 products in my store. I constantly update my old products to keep them fresh. I add new products monthly. . . ."

Visit this store - Work Smarter, Not Harder!
Work Smarter Not Harder

Advice from this seller. . . .This is my third month with TPT and I have over $1,000 for March . . . I do set a goal of two new products a month.  I currently have 70 products.  Some have never sold and I will probably redo them this summer when I have more time.

Visit 4 the Love of Math's Store
4 the Love of Math
 Advice from Love of Math: . . . then had my first "crazy" month in August - I made around $2500 and literally stared at my dashboard in disbelief all month long.
I added around  60 products to my store between May-August which helped a lot. Over the summer I also redid most of my covers, updated products, and added a page to almost all of my products that had links to similar products as well as to my store home page. It was hard work, it was worth it! 


  • It is worth it to REDO your covers
  • It is worth it to go back in to products to improve them, to add links to your store and to other products, or to change your title
  • It is essential to build your store and add products.
  • It COULD result in a sales explosion!

A Before and After

 Cover of my best-selling product, Above
"Complete Glossary of Literary Terms"
 - This always was a fantastic resource.
I thought the original cover was "super cool, snazzy, and totally top-drawer" and  had a "pinterest look" about it on the front cover. It actually was busy, unclear, and probably slowed my sales.

Now...BEHOLD! The new cover!!!

This is finally available for purchase in the new form. This is a better, clearer, more graphic cover. I redid the ENTIRE product, adding store and companion product links. I transposed the entire product from Word to PowerPoint. So much work, but worth it.
GOD BLESS - and remember to visit PerfettoWritingRoom Every Tuesday and Friday for Tips and Features! 

1. What have you done that has given you the 
2. How many products do you try to create during the summer (if you can)?
3. What is YOUR position on editing, revisiting, changing and updating versus making new products? The best sellers seem to do both, but how do you manage this?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feature Friday - Across the Curriculum with Colleen Bergin

I am Gina of the PerfettoWritingRoom, One Word, One Store, Welcome to another edition of Feature Fridays, with your host Gina, @ PerfettoWritingRoom, One Word, One Store, One Blog, and ALL things writing!!
     TODAY, we're talking that catchiest of catch phrases - writing across the curriculum, or cross disciplinary writing.
     Just as math, social studies, science, (etc.) teachers are being encouraged to incorporate writing in their curricula, so too should English teachers be spreading our student's wings and asking them to write about topics OTHER than Jane Eyre, Shakespeare, or whatever poet or author we are working on. I know, perish the thought. 

Once students are out of school they will continue to use social media and research, but will grow in other areas, including proposals and other types of business writing. 
      They will be expected to have knowledge of the world outside the strictures of the English classroom and so any way we can reinforce other disciplines through writing will better prepare students for their future lives. I was half-joking when I said it was a catch-phrase. 

Writing across the curriculum was a movement started in universities to stave off the "massacre" of time loss that was happening when students came in as freshmen and sadly didn't know how to properly write at the college level. The fact that writing is now strongly encouraged in as many courses as possible at the lower levels is absolutely essential. Written expression is essential. I don't think I need to go on about this. 


Get yourself a cup. Relax. What is wrong with me today? And let's introduce the intelligent, thoughtful Colleen Bergin. Our guest for today!

Visit Colleen Bergin's Store - Now, her new logo! 
Click on EITHER! 

LIKE ME, Colleen Bergin also is a strong proponent of  writing across the curriculum. I asked her about it and she said:

"I am a strong advocate of Writing Across Curriculum.  Students need to write whenever they can and learn Academic English.  Restricting writing to only one course does not help as writing is a huge aspect of life whether students realize it or not."

Colleen, or Ms. Bergin,  always brings world events to forefront in English class. She adds that "It's current and interesting for students as they can learn about it in real-time. Students prefer to do informational texts on current events rather than something that happened 50 years ago.  If it's anything to do with anywhere in the world, I find students like to learn about the culture and compare to the culture here in the USA. It's a great way for students to see that world events can fit in anywhere, not just history class."

It's little wonder Colleen loves current events as she's a little bit of a traveler and lover of adventure and travel herself. Colleen Bergin Attended Title I school in Connecticut through high school and is the only deaf child of six siblings. She uses hearing aids and lip reading over sign language though she is fluent in ASL. 
     Ms. Bergin graduated Roger Williams University in Rhode Island in 2010 with a BA in English and Education and rather than letting any dust collect, moved to North Carolina six months later with nary a job or apartment lined up! 
    She worked hard in an ELA all boys 7th grade class for one year before moving on to where she teaches NOW. . . High School English baby, because it's the BOSS APPLESAUCE!

Like ME Colleen  loves traveling - unlike me, she is actually getting to do a backpack-through-Europe trip this summer! (ugh am I jealous, but I am also 40, 41 come June 29 and frankly in no shape for camping or "hostel hopping" anymore, but still, very great for Colleen! Sad for me.). She loves the Outer Banks, the beaches of Rhode Island, spending time with family and friends, READING (can I get an amen on reading and family please?), and you can find her playing tennis in the park. You can find me trimming the hedges in the back yard. I'm chubby. It is process. . . 

And Ms. Bergin likes Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Bones....
Me? Grimm, Cosmos, and shows they will be cancelling like Believe, Almost Human, Resurrection. The horror.

Writing across the Curriculum is connected to READING. Don't let anyone tell you different. here's a great, sad, fantastic, awesome Facebook picture I saw yesterday. 

THIS IS relevant to Writing Across the curriculum. How is reading NOT related to writing?
Those who regularly read are better able to organically write and write properly, without exhaustive instruction, and they usually require less intensive editing, simply because they internalize structure, vocabulary, organization and more as they read.  This is not unlike how how infants pick up new words from listening. Reading much will silently TEACH you to be a better writer. (Sadly, if you read too much Truman Capote you may write JUST like him, but that is a different argument for a different day). 

1. Read in class
2. Create incentives for reading at home
3. Read literary but also popular and current literary books that students enjoy.
4. Assign nonfiction reading that is connected to lessons they will be required to participate in the next day or day after.
5. Students read in order to teach others.

1. Write in Class
2. Make incentives for writing in the home
3. Make writing connected to literary works, and to current literary works that are popular to increase 
the desire and willingness to write
4. Make writing of the nonfiction variety, and also applicable to lessons they will be learning tomorrow (and the next day...) so it is necessary for them to write and be prepared for class.
5. Have students write that specifically have to job with JOB SKILLS, science, Math, teaching others, as well as the forms we are already doing (how to, narrative, argument), but expand current events to include other disciplines. 


                 Colleen Bergin's Best Seller

It's never a good idea to give away too many of your great ideas.
Colleen Bergin's "What's Going on in the World Today" is just fantastic. 

-It encourages students to delve into the real world, 
-write in a way that develops critical thinking (for themselves and 
   those who read or listen)
-think outside the classroom to issues and events that matter
- Use writing as a tool to express what is going outside this 
- Rigorous in challenging students to use proper sources.

So What Does it Include?
  • With a POWER POINT
  • Helpful links for research into different countries
  • Directions
  • Rubric
  • Annotation Guide
  • Research Guidelines

In short it's nothing short of an INTERNATIONAL current event Presentation Project that challenges students but makes the set up a whole lot easier for teachers. I also like that it is an ongoing project!

Do you have ANY OTHER IDEAS?? 
Don't get me started on how important creative writing is to critical thinking skills. But that is not quite writing across the curriculum, is it?

How about Debate, Argument, History and Quotations of Abraham Lincoln in your English Class?
                         Writing Across the Curriculum with Abe !!

ABRAHAM LINCOLN- 2-week Writing & Speaking CCSS Unit. MiddT

What is great about this two-week unit is that it is completely balanced for speaking, listening, and writing. 
There is a journal component, and argument and debate component, a recitation, a major in-class writing activity, as well as small one-day activities that are all based on some of the best of Abraham Lincoln's quotes. 

Of course as you'd come to expect from the best items on TPT, this item comes with a rubric, Common Core standards, directions, and it easy to follow. You can of course make it your own and use what you want or rearrange it. And there is more material than you need. Though there are five journal days, there are ten choices, for example.

This product can be used any time of year but supports social studies teachers and can be used in a cross-disciplinary way. Because of the debate element, many current events can be discussed as well. Consider

Visit PerfettoWritingRoom for TPT TIPS FOR TUES and every FEATURE FRIDAY. We'll keep the Coffee hot and ready for you, and we're always here to talk: TPT; Tips for sellers; great new products; and wonderful sellers like YOU!

Have you not joined TpT? Let me refer you!

1. What is a fantastic cross-curricular or cross disciplinary lesson you've done YOURSELF?

2. What is a fantastic idea you wish you'd come up with?

3. Is there any trend in this Writing Across the curriculum, cross-discipline movement YOU WISH they's STOP doing?

We Love hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TPT TIPS FOR TUESDAY!! We're talking Templates!!


Today for TPT Tips for Tuesday, (or Teachers Pay Teachers for the uninitiated), I want to provide you with information and then ask you for your opinion. See the following:

Jessica Lawler 
(click to visit her store)
"Develop your own style and then create templates that you can adjust for different topics and subjects - that way you're not reinventing the wheel each time you sit down to your computer."

Meredith Anderson
Meredith Anderson
(Click link to visit her store)
"Templates! I spent a lot of time up front creating templates for task cards, bingo games, create-a-books, interactive journals, product covers, answer keys, and teacher binder covers. That means all subsequent products take a LOT less time! I would say I actually have more like 40 products, and the rest are all variations on a theme."

THAT'S RIGHT - We're Talking Templates
Let's make this quick:

PROS of Making a Template
- Time saving once you are finished with the template
- Enables multiple product creation
- Can produce that signature look, or "Brand" recognition for your
   business - See last week's post!
- Can be very freeing

CONS of Making a Template
- Requires up front labor
- Requires you to know in advance the look you want
- Requires you to know in advance the structures and forms needed
   in that template.
- Can be potentially reductive

What Can a Template be Used for?

Whether you are a science, math, geography, or English teacher, you can use a template. Just consider that a series of pages with open text boxes for answering questions is a template. You just go back in and write your questions in each time, and WOWSA! New product!
      Any graphic organizer is a template. To the degree you are able - and this is thinking far ahead - if you can organize and structure one PowerPoint presentation in the way you want it to look, you can save it as a template for a series of presentations. The same is true if you wanted to make a board game, flash cards or task cards, and I could go on. And Hey! Couldn't you make a template of a cover page, provided it was going to be one of a series? You could change the color slightly. . .

Does PerfettoWritingRoom(c) Use Templates? 
A Brain Discussion for ALL READERS

 I haven't used templates yet, and I am beginning to think they have a lot to do with brain organization and each person's own creation process.
      There is no arguing that a template makes future resource creation easier once the template is made. However, if you are an "organic creator" who always makes items from scratch, or, if you have not yet hit upon your own niche or that great series of products you want to make, it can be counterproductive to make templates. (Are you hearing this, new folks?)
     In the end, you may force materials into a structure you normally might create differently. This is the old graduate school "form versus structure" debate. In fact, despite overwhelmingly obvious evidence that making templates is time-saving and helps the look, branding quality and long-term efforts involved in product creation, as this blog has made clear numerous times, you can only be yourself.
      So try to make templates, but if you are feeling like they are not helping you or don't match how you plan, think, or where you are right now, maybe wait a little while and revisit it. 

Can PerfettoWritingRoom(c) 

LEARN to Love the Template?
Like many of you I can make and then save a template for one of my writing products, "just in case." And I'll go so far as to say that if I found I needed it and used it, I would be overjoyed. For me,  I only know how to work one way, and it's through the process until it is finished. Sadly this is the more difficult route. But hope springs eternal that I can avail myself of this great method.

One item I will REMAKE, and then "TEMPLATE" is 

"900 Situations" Writing Flashcards to Cure Writer's Block!
And just in time for the end of the year. Writing is perfetto this time of year, and the students love it!
Check me out!!!!
"900-Situations" Writing Flashcards to Cure Writer's Block!
The cover is simply NO GOOD, but, the inside uses a simple table, easily saved as a template and reused. Get as involved and advanced as you wish.

1.  What type of product or PART of a     
    product really works well as a template and 
    helps YOU save time?
2. What have your most successful products or 
   series been that have created from templates
3. What do you love best, love least, about 
   using templates?
4. Do you recommend them for newer creators?
   Why or why not?

Visit PerfettoWritingRoom every Tuesday and Friday to catch up on an exciting TIPS Tuesday or FEATURE Friday. There's always something Brewing!
Have you Joined TPT? If not,
Let me refer you!

Visit my STORE!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TpT Tips Tuesday - Finding your Niche and Branding!

I'm back and it's almost time to go to press. A word or two about Branding and Finding Your Niche.


1. How do you find your niche? We've talked a lot about two things: being yourself, and about giving the customers what they want. This may sometimes be at odds. It is a struggle. I sell high quality, challenging, writing products. Many of these are fiction writing materials. I have to accept that these may not sell as quickly as the items in other people's stores. My most popular item ever is my "Teaching the Writer's Workshop" product. If I do more of this type of product, I may stumble upon my niche.

 Take Away - Do What You Love, but, 
                      Do more of what sells best

2. Be prepared to be patient. Is there anything more painful than how wonderful February was (fill in the month of your own choosing that has been your best selling month so far), only to see the next month slump and stagger to its knees? What went wrong? You advertised, pinned, blogged, so what is the deal?

Take Away - Yes, when top sellers go onto the forum and tell you it's a process and it doesn't happen overnight, it may also apply to you despite your protestations to the contrary. Sometimes the sales are slack because of what you are or are not doing right, or enough of (perhaps you are not doing a linky or a frenzy and it might be time). Sometimes, it might be because of a holiday or the weather, so it is no use feeling bad. Patience and redoubling your efforts is the way to go. 

3. When it finally happens! When you find what you are great at - poetry, crafts, organizational items that truly fit the needs of teachers in a unique way, you will know it, because people will respond. If it happens overnight, God bless you. If you like many of us have been working and you stumbled upon that eureka(!) moment where it all clicks, that is sometimes even sweeter. It doesn't mean you won't have another brilliant "line" of best sellers, either. But it is a great sign that you're on to something that affects people in a positive way, and it feels very affirming. 

Take Away - Though it may happen right away or take awhile, it is worth it to find and then develop and strengthen your niche of products. It becomes what you are known for.

The Importance of Branding 

 Believe it or not, the photos inside the picture banner you see below you was my first attempt at a banner. It is a picture of my writing room - well, my bookshelf anyway, - that makes PerfettoWritingRoom what it is. This long photograph of books was very cool in my opinion, and in many respects I still like that picture of my books. It was the banner I used to open my store at The PROBLEM was that it said NOTHING about me. Oh yeah, and it wasn't very memorable.

What you see above was my SECOND ATTEMPT. It's tre Fifties. How cool. Notice I kept the books. I really was stuck on those books. Do you know that I love books? I I liked the retro vibe, because retro is very NOW-TRO. But you cant really read my store name. I changed the background to a light gingham check to make it even more cute and easier to read. But this brings me to the point.

What is Branding? Why is it Important?

Love or hate Coke, you know it. You know so well in fact, that people you know may ask for a "coke" whenever they want ANY generic dark-colored soda pop. THAT is the branding power of Coca-cola. That is its advertising might and ubiquity in our society. I'm not here to tell you whether that's a good or bad thing.
     I am here to tell you that when you start out as a teacher, or a gardener, or a circus performer, if you want to be the best you can be and make people remember you, you need to differentiate yourself. You can be great, but it isn't worth much if you don't stand out. (my books for example?)There are BILLIONS of people on the planet.
     I'm sorry, out of all the hamburgers in the world, do you need to eat at Mcdonald's? How many places just might be doing it a little better than they are? But you recognize those golden arches I bet. You sure know who Ronald McDonald is. Are those burgers really more delicious than Smashburger, Fuddrucker's, Five Guys, or any of the other more "curated" burger joints popping up that are little less "fast-food-y"? But somehow, because McDonald's is so recognizable, people still eat there. They go there, cram their face, say "I don't why I eat here, the burgers are really just OK," but they are still eating the burgers! 

                The entire experience comforts them. The arches are absolutely a part of it.

TAKE AWAY ONE -  I'm not suggesting your products can or should be mediocre, but if you just look around at "sold on TV" items  (the snuggie or slanket, anyone which let's be frank, were just robes you wore backwards? Is anyone going to tell me that no one knew this?) and the fast food examples, mediocre products make millions everyday, and amazing products LANGUISH and go out of business. If you want to succeed, when you are ready, get a brand idea together that is cohesive and advances who you are and what you offer.
Take Away - If you make great products, a Brand or Logo makes people remember you and your great products. This means they can buy from you again and again. Give them this opportunity. YOU choose what they will remember and what your niche will be. 

What should I Do?
This is your decision. But know that 
Branding May Include:

  1. Photo you consistently use
  2. Logo you consistently use
  3. A combination of both in a square or circle
  4. The way you choose to consistently design your cover pages
  5. The way you choose to consistently design your Terms of Use
  6. The way you run your company (what does brand and brand loyalty mean and how will you develop your brand and your top-selling lines?)
  7. A consistent sign-off you use in your product descriptions (just like mama made, from our classroom to yours, for ex.)
  8. A subtitle under your store name that is always there.
Remember consistency is KEY. Just like at a chain store, your products must instill comfort and confidence because all of the attributes on one product are then on the other products. 

Photo or Logo?? And What About Color?
Many companies use an official logo, and then use a human spokesperson for other things to add an element of warmth. Wendy's and E-Harmony are two examples that do this.  One of the vacuum cleaner companies just started to feature a member of the family in the commercials.  
 But there are many more companies who use an acronym or a decorated logo for branding with a very consistent color palette
      When you see that color palette (gosh Fedex, but that isn't a good thing), you know what company it is. The flower company FTD is pretty memorable as is Edible Arrangements.
       Once you really know what your business is, what it does, and what you want it to look like, you can settle on a logo and a color palette. If you have more than one line of products, the colors may be different, though your logo will be your logo. 
       Just as BANDS shift over time, you might do that too. We all evolve after all. It's all good.

Take Away - When you first begin, you may want to use your own picture, get to know and interact with buyers and fellow sellers. Only once you have some solid ideas will you get your plans together for a unified plan which MAY include: logo; where you will choose to use your own picture (if at all); color palette; a unified design choice for your product line.

Are There Any Downsides to This?
When I started I wanted everything perfect, right away. I didn't even know what I didn't know. Of course if you have a business background, hit the ground with your running shoes. Otherwise, you may end up making a "brand" that isn't true to what you ultimately will sell or what you want your store or products to look like. Wait until you have time to think about it.

Did I Follow This Advice?
Each time, I thought I was done. And each time I get better. Here is my latest. You let me know and visit my store. Congratulate me on my Liebster Nomination. I accept! and visit my store. Follow for even more goodies to come, and best of luck to all on the sale. 

Here's my latest attempt,   MY STORE!

What do you have to say about 
Successes and Failures
Advice to Readers
Finding YOUR NICHE (and what is it?)


Monday, May 5, 2014

Nomination for the Liebster?? Whoa!

I just got nominated for the Liebster Award. This is an award that honors new quality blogs on the block with less than 200 followers! I am very happy and not a little shy about it . . .I guess it means I'm doing something right. And that always feels good.
      Thanks to all the readers and supporters, and to Colleen Bergin who has nominated me. It's been a lot of writing and research, but I'm glad to do it if it helps others love teaching, writing, English, education, and do their jobs better at, or at whatever they do.
Colleen sent me some questions to fill out and so I'd be delighted to answer them, even though I don't normally go on about myself (at least in a serious way; if you read this blog you know what I mean). So without much further ado, here's a little Q & A session in which I answer questions posed to me by Colleen Bergin. Thanks Colleen!

First of all, Thank you to Collen Bergin, who nominated me. Be kind and see her rockin' blog, Adventures in English! 

1. Question:  Why did you go into teaching? I really do think I saw "Dead Poet's Society" too much in high school and, combined with my personal love of language and books, thought teaching would be the best job ever. In retrospect, I realize teaching is one of the most difficult jobs in the world though one of the most challenging. I feel really blessed by some of the experiences I've had.

2. Question:  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you vacation? I would love to go to Thailand, India, Italy, many states in America like the redwood forests in Oregon and upper California plus Alaska during the summer. 

3. Question: What is your favorite food? Indian, Greek, Ethiopian

4. Question: What do you like to do in your free time? Go to gardens, play with my cat Dude, see places nearby with my husband, and catch up on small house projects

5. Question: Share a funny moment from teaching. When we left the window open because we didn't have air conditioning and a squirrel came in the window. Of course this was the frightening thing that could ever occur. So I and the most brave student stayed in the class while the rest of the class ran out faster than any fire drill and together we "pied piper'ed" the squirrel through the classroom, across the hallway, INTO the teacher's lounge and out the next open window in that room. Everyone erupted in cheers - including the religion teacher who was sitting in the teacher's lounge watching it, and the students who were "so scared" in the hallway, but followed us in to lounge to watch the "grand escape."  This isn't really teaching, though I did set a poetry assignment based on the experience. And the students (grade 10) willingly complied.

6. Question: Why do you blog? I am a writer of fiction and a former reporter/journalist. I am published and so Blogging is a natural extension of how I express myself. I use my blog to talk about English and writing subjects, classroom topics, resources on, as well as selling tips depending on the day!

7. Question: What is your favorite topic to teach and why? I love Shakespeare, language, and words, so any close reading work makes me very happy, and I'm good at it. I also love teaching fiction and poetry writing. Students love doing it and they gain mastery in many more skills than what you think they do. There are a lot of critical thinking skills needed in writing a story. 

8. Question: What is your biggest pet peeve? Unclear pronoun reference. That person that takes up two parking spaces because - you know - his or her car is that important. Or the person who pretends that he has no idea the line started five miles back and then just as the merge starts he "realizes" that that is the lane he needs to be in. I think the word is lack of consideration or selfishness. 

9. Question: Where do you find inspiration? Tricky, Tricky, it's never in the same place twice. I read that taking a walk increases your creativity though so I might try it. I like taking a drive, too. Also conversations with others helps as does nature.

10. Question: What is the latest book you've read? JUST got George R. R. Martin's first book. . . the book based on the cable series "Game of Thrones"? I don't know how it is yet, though it seems great so far. I also constantly am using reference books, Norton's Anthologies, "Best of" books etc. This is not reading in the traditional sense but standard research. 

11. Question: What words of wisdom would you give a new teacher. "You care, you are doing your best. Keep organized, keep doing your best, and find ONE person you can rely on. It gets easier."  

Some Facts About Me:

  1. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer - I taught English in Ethiopia
  2. I lived in San Diego for about a year (loved it)
  3. I love ginger, red bean and green tea ice cream
  4. Have a penchant for research and will look up things on a whim but will get involved and stick with it for months (edible fruits of the world, anyone?)
  5. Enjoy taking on hobbies (bread making, spice growing and making, scrap-booking)
  6. I have a replica poesy ring from the Shakespearean era as my wedding ring
  7. Enjoy origami and miniature sculpture when I have the time
  8. Must've been crazy when I acting school at Mason Gross school of the Arts? I am quite shy, which is why I prefer writing to acting.
  9. One of my published stories was published via audio recording.
  10. I love Teachers Pay Teachers and love selling my writing, fiction and other teacher resources to middle and high school teachers.
  11. I also enjoy blogging TPT Sellers' Tips on Tuesday, and a Secondary English Language Arts Feature on Friday. I'm happy that other people are responding so positively to it too!

God Bless, and Thank you so much!!!
                                                                Visit Me!