Monday, March 30, 2015

Pinterest Power - Activate!

So March has been fun. And I say that with minimal sarcasm. Try not to fall off your chairs.

It started out innocently enough with a random and obscure email from a woman in "SA" asking me to send her a pdf of my scrappy block. San Antonio? South America? Santa Anna? Saturn's Axis? But more importantly - HUH? I have lots of scrappy blocks, but none are free patterns nor just block directions. I didn't want to be rude, but really didn't have much info to go on so I asked a few designer friends their opinion and was given the advice to ignore it as a fluke or a phisher. The exact advice I would have given them, by the way. After all, without more info, what was I really to do? More on that in a bit.

Enter two more equally obscure and random emails asking again for scrappy block directions within the next 24 hours. Then four more when I woke up the next morning. I could no longer ignore the truth: I was famous.

Kidding. But something I had made somewhere had become popular and was in high demand, so I found my tweed beanie and my curvy pipe and set out to solve the mystery, which I saw as three fold:

1. What scrappy block?
2. Where did they see it?
3. Why is this block assumed to be a free pdf?

A few emails back to the writers of the random obscure ones and I had the answers to #1 and #2. Are we at all shocked? Our good old friend Kickin' Stash, which they'd found in the form of this pin on Pinterest.

Quilting Hottie Haven: Scrappy New Year! New Group Quilt needs you!
This pin. This pin which is over THREE YEARS OLD and was probably looked at 13 times (max) in three years was suddenly a superstar. Even as I was solving the mystery, more random and obscure emails were flying into my inbox, taunting me over and over with their love and longing but yet disturbingly wanting just the block directions for "the scrappy block," and presumably wanting them for free; if they didn't ask for it for free, and some did, no one actually asked if it was for sale, so that's my presumption, anyway. Where were they getting the information that it was just a block, and also was free? Did I have to sue Pinterest for defamation of block character?

As it turns out, the culprit and answer to #3 was "three years ago me," in a way. The pin, which was thankfully properly credited to me and therefore these people were able to find me, lead to my blog post of January 12, 2012, which we will call "The One In Which I Ask for Testers for My 2012 Group Scrap Quilt." Therefore if they read the blog post without reading the date of it, I can totally see how they may have thought the block was still available as a free pdf/free directions/free what have you. In reality it was really never a free anything - it was a call for testers, and those of you who've hung around here long enough know that these group quilts come with perks rather than a price. But I guess in the heat of passionate love for this block a lot was overlooked. It's all good. We'll take the flurry of fame wherever and however we can get it!

In any case, I'm really quite happy that even if I caused my three years hence self a day or so of mystery, I did properly pin the pin in the first place. As soon as I found out where they were heading from that pin to find me, I updated the top of the blog post with a blurb explaining how this was a really old post and the testing period was way over, but feel free to check out the pattern on Craftsy or Patternspot. This really helped stem the tide of emails, and not that I didn't want to hear from people because I absolutely love it, but I was starting to lose hours to this and to need a secretary and I can't afford one. I also created a signature in my Outlook account, appropriately titled "KS Insanity," which explains the whole Pinterest resurgence of this block and pattern, and I have been able to use it to answer every random and obscure email that has come through all month long with a few clicks. Open, okay, another request, find signature, click send, done. I do love efficiency.

I also love that only one person told me I shouldn't be baiting and switching - more on that below - , everyone else either went over to Craftsy or Patternspot and bought the pattern (let's be honest, that was my favorite part) or just faded away, which is fine too. In all, it's been a fun month with an unexpected flurry of income from Craftsy. Imagine what I could have done if I could have sold worldwide. Sigh.

It's a long and convoluted story, but I do have a couple of morals I hope you'll let me share. I hope you won't find them preachy, but helpful:

Moral #1, directed to me: When done with group projects, maybe update the heading of any blog posts announcing them. With Pinterest's new policies, apparently old pins are being renewed on a regular basis and who knows - I could get lucky and have one of mine picked for resurgence again.

Moral #2, directed to me: It's okay to ignore one odd email, but when they start coming in droves, listen - and get back to everyone in a timely manner. I do think I responded to everyone, but if you contacted me about this and never heard from me, I apologize and please let me know. I'll send you my fancy KS Insanity email signature. Won't even take a second.

Moral #3, directed to quilters who contact a designer: Please, we beg you. Information information and more information. What did you see? Did it have a name? Where did you see it? (Believe it or not, not ONE person in the first three weeks mentioned where they had seen this block in their initial emails.) Colors, shapes, fabrics, whatever you can tell us. Most of us have multiple patterns on the market and some of us may even have an affinity for teal and purple, so be as specific as you can. It really helps tremendously. Oh - and SA? That was South Africa. She was really sweet when I finally got back to her after determining no one was messing with me.

Moral #4, directed to everyone in the world: Assume the best of people. I had no way to know Pinterest would grab that pin and throw it at quilters the world over as a "Picked for You" pin three years after it was introduced. A lot happens in three years, and in that time, this block went from an idea to my best selling pattern of all time. I will admit I at first thought maybe someone was messing with me or giving away my block somehow, but that was not the case. It made me sad that anyone would think I would deliberately throw that blog post out there to reel people in and send them to Craftsy. I guess it was inevitable, though.

 So thank you to all who understood that this is my business, and bought the pattern and told me how excited you are to make it. I'm just as excited if not more so to see your finished creations!


Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

But hey, yay for the new sales!

audrey said...

This was just too funny! Great that you had a surge in sales.:)

Carol said...

Gotta love the internet! Amen to including facts with emails! I get so many odd emails about patterns.

Auntie Em said...

I had that pin come up as a "picked for you" at least a couple of times. Glad you got it all worked out.

Lisa E said...

Great retelling of the story!

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