The idea behind my book, Tossed & Found, came as direct result of a sliding economy and corporate cut backs. After managing a sales team in the Midwest and Western United States for years, my team and I suddenly found ourselves … jobless. With few options available in an market spiraling out of control, I knew I had to reinvent myself – again. The inspiration for writing a thrift memoire came during my regrouping stage. I visualized a book that not only talked about my tumultuous life, but also showcased the shift to thrift that was occurring across our nation.
What was the hardest part about completing your book?
Two thing actually; learning all the parts to the entire process; from writing the book to getting it published. And, and the edits … the seemingly endless edits.
Well, there’s actually a third item I had difficulty with … letting go! After countless edits, I learned that my book would never be perfect; there would always be mistakes or a better way of saying something … a sentence or paragraph that could be written differently. And, there would continue to be a lurking temptation to do another rewrite – or two. At some point an author needs to let it go – give birth – push it out into the world.
Did you learn any lessons in the book creation process, if so what where they?
Having been a first-time author, I learned many, many lessons, the most important of which … staying on task, committing to writing every day, surrounding oneself with mentors, becoming a storyteller, and showing the reader versus telling the reader.
Did you enlist support in getting your book done?
Yes I did. Right out of the shoot I hired a coach. Although he was supportive and directive with my goals I quickly realized I needed to enlist the help of coaches that lived and breathed writing and publishing. I regrouped and hired a book coaching team the literally took my book from limp to alive!
What tips or advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Authorship is a lonely and complex process. However, a fledgling author does not have to attempt the process alone. There is an abundance of writers groups and a wealth of seminars and publishing gurus that can help writers sift through the glut of information and options.
If you self-published, what made you self-publish?
Launching my speaking career determined that I self-published. My book was my calling-card, so to speak. After dipping my toes into the publishing arena, I realized that traditional publishing would take me many more months to get my book out than I was willing to sacrifice. Additionally, I felt that it was judicious to retain all the rights to my creation.
If you had to do your book all over again, would you?
Writing Tossed & Found was a wondrous adventure; it was cathartic, revitalizing, wearisome, creative, exasperating, nerve-wracking, euphoric, tedious, liberating, frustrating and inspiring. And yes, I would so do it again … to feel the euphoria of holding my creation in my hand for the first time, the delight in doing a reading to that first audience, and the appreciation expressed by those inspired to reinvent their lives or lifestyles.
Are you writing or planning to write an additional book(s)?
Yes, I have a Diva sequel planned; Decorating like a Diva … On the Cheap.
But, there is another book begging to be published. I was a dog trainer for 20 years. I envision a book of dog stories; true-life adventures of the many dogs and situations I’ve stumbled upon during my tenure with dogs … from antics on fashion runways to heroic deeds of brave dogs and their owners.
What else would you like to share about you or your book?
The title Tossed & Found is really a double entandre. My book chronicles the journey of trash to treasure, contrasting those that toss things out versus those that find unloved items and turn them into beautiful furnishings or fabulous wardrobes.
And, it is also about my life … my journey. I believe my path parallels the journey of many people that find themselves tossed out of relationships, jobs or life. I also suppose that life throws us curve balls to teach us great lessons. So, it’s not whether we get tossed around, living a meaningful life is about what we do when it happens … whether we find ourselves again.
How can people find out more about your book?
Tossed & Found is available at local bookstores, on Amazon or by visiting www.ThriftTalkDiva.com.
Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, is an author, speaker, coach and the entertaining mistress of thrift. This radio and TV personality renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of turning trash into treasure, Barb shares her secrets for finding deals, repurposing before tossing and reconstructing the tattered in her new release, Tossed & Found. Her “tell all” book is not only a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.
I was thinking I’d really love to hear your thoughts about sanitizing new thrift purchases. Right now there is an outbreak of bedbugs in NYC, it’s a REALLY big problem and a total pest. It’s somewhat of an issue here in Philadelphia, but not as big. They can get in everything though! Obviously in mattresses, but also in upholstered furniture and clothing. Just thought you should hit on this topic because I’ve never heard any other thrifters speak on this.
Just food for thought!
Good thought Nichole. First rule of thumb…I never buy anything I can’t wash. Second rule of thumb … used mattresses and pillows are illegal to resell…just an FYI. So the problem lies in absorbing things like upholstered pieces into your home. I would suggest leaving those pieces in the garage and treating with a fabric-safe bug bomb…just to be on the safe side. After a few applications, vacuum thouroughly before bringing them into your home. Thanks for the question…it’s a serious one. The Thrift Diva
When you’re planning a garage sale spend some time deciding how to price your items. Garage sale pricing is an art form . . . one that takes some planing and a realistic evaluation of your inventory.
When pricing keep these rules in mind:
- If your merchandise is priced too high, it won’t sell.
- If it is priced too low, the money you make won’t be worth the time you spent setting your garage sale up and selling for two or three days.
Here are some guidelines that I’ve developed, based on my experience and tips I picked up from traditional retailers:
- It’s hard to say what a used item is really worth. Whatever you decide on, leave room so that you can come down 25% to 50% and still make a profit.
- Try to think of the type of buyer that would be interested in individual peices and how much they’d be willing to pay.
- Be creative with pricing. . . Go WILD. I’ve used the “buy one, get one free” promotion to move smaller items or common things like clothing or plastic containers.
- Announce ‘blue light special’ on certain items that might not be moving.
- Mark things down as the sale progresses.
- Go for the unusual. Tell your next customer that they’re the 25th shopper and entitled to a 25% discount. You’ll find that others will chime up and ask for the discount. Tell them that it will apply if they buy 5 or more items.
- Start an email sheet to inform your customers of your next WILD sale.
Price it higher if:
- It is the first day of your sale
- You are willing to keep it
- It has real collectible value or is vintage or antiques
- Know the value of the item at auctions like eBay
Discount your pricing if:
- It’s the last day of your sale
- You are relocating and holding a moving sale
- The item isn’t selling or is an item that doesn’t sell well at yard sales