Kathryn Vercillo: Bio and Q&A
Kathryn Vercillo is a San Francisco based freelance writer, blogger and crafter. For more than 10 years Kathryn’s work has been widely published around the web. She has worked as a professional blogger/ writer for dozens of websites including PC World, Dial-a-Phone, SF Travel and Financial Highway. She has also been published in a variety of print magazines including Latina and Skope.
Kathryn started her own blog about crochet, Crochet Concupiscence, in January 2011. It has quickly become the most popular crochet-only craft blog on the web. Crochet Concupiscence was a 2011 runner-up for a Flamie award for Best Crochet Blog and was voted one of the top 5 2012 craft blogs in Inside Crochet Magazine. Kathryn’s online articles about crochet have also been published around the web on top sites that include Crochetvolution, Crochet Liberation Front, SF Indie Fashion and Handmadeology.
Kathryn’s most recent book, Crochet Saved My Life, is a non-fiction account of her experience using crochet to heal through depression. Kathryn has also authored two previous books (Ghosts of San Francisco and Ghosts of Alcatraz, published by Schiffer in 2007 and 2008 respectively) and a booklet of articles called When Grandma Isn’t Crocheting, She’s Hunting Big Game (2011). She has been a contributing author on other book projects. Visit Kathryn’s Amazon author bio for more information about these titles.
You can learn more about the author at www.kathrynvercillo.com as well as through the Q&A below.
Q: What made you decide to start a blog about crochet?
KV: I have fallen in love with the medium of blogging. I write in many different formats but what I love about blogging is the genre’s immediacy (the potential for real-time posting) and it’s potential for interaction (through comments and links and related social media). I had already run several other blogs but wanted to start something that would give me an excuse to really delve deeply into researching a topic area of interest. Crochet really had my attention because it had helped me through a serious period of depression and so it was a natural choice for the blog.
Q: Why did you branch out from the blog to write a book about the health benefits of crochet?
KV: After a few months of blogging daily about crochet I realized that it was indeed a topic that was going to have my interest for awhile. This allowed me the comfort I needed to start thinking about bigger projects beyond the blog. I love the blog and continue to write daily on it about crochet art, fashion, design and community. But as much as I love the blog format, it doesn’t offer the same opportunity as a book to go deeply into detail about a specific aspect of your topic area and I also wanted to be doing that.
I actually kicked around a few different book ideas about crochet before settling on this one. This topic was the obvious one because it is my true story and what is closest to an author’s heart is always the best thing to write. It felt so raw, though, that it was tough to make the final decision to go with this title. I have been dealing with depression for over fifteen years and only healing from it for a couple of years so it felt very vulnerable to open myself up to sharing that story with the world.
However, I started doing some posts about crochet and health on my blog and I was hearing from other people who had stories similar to mine, and that was when I realized that this was a really important topic to cover. It hasn’t been covered in a book before now. So I started asking people to share their stories with me and when so many of them did I really felt comfortable and safe enough to move forward with the project. I felt a great responsibility to tell these women’s stories in an honest, pure way and that meant I also had to do the same with my story.
Q: Would you describe yourself as a blogger who crochets or as a crocheter who blogs?
KV: Both! In all honesty, I consider myself a writer first. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It is what I do for a living but I would be driven to do it even if I had to work in another field for a paycheck. Crochet is a much newer passion in my life. It has played a key role in my life for the past few years. I imagine that it’s going to continue to do so for a very long time.
I blog about crochet because writing is how I can best share my interests with others. I can’t say at this point whether I will always want to write about crochet. I like writing about a diverse range of topics. I certainly plan on continuing to write about crochet for some time to come but I can’t say for sure that it will be something I do forever. I can say I’ll be writing about something for the rest of my life, though. And I’ll likely continue crocheting for the rest of my years even if I move on to a period where I’m not writing about the experience.
Q: Why did you choose to self-publish Crochet Saved My Life?
KV: I went back and forth about this decision for a long time. In the beginning I had identified a couple of agents that I might want to work with and had reached out to them but they didn’t take an interest in the title. I was getting ready to submit the idea to other agents and small publishers when I realized that my pitches to these people were presented very weakly and that this was because of an inner conflict about whether or not I even wanted a publisher.
In 2011 I had put together a booklet of articles about elderly women who crochet and self-published it through Amazon’s CreateSpace. The purpose of that project was primarily to teach myself about using this self-publishing tool. I had found the experience to be really positive.
Obviously, there are pros and cons. I had to outlay a lot of funding to make this book happen. And I chose to be involved in every step of the process from working with a photographer on the cover design to working with my web guy to make sure my site was stable enough for a book launch. There are definitely times when doing all of those steps is tough. But I think it’s worth it because as an author it allows you to truly retain all of the creative control.
I honestly believe that self-publishing is what makes the most sense for authors in the 21st century. I think that if you’re going to be successful as an author today, you need to be involved in all of the marketing and whatnot anyway (even if you do work with a publisher) and with self-publishing you get that added knowledge that you really directed the whole thing and made it come to life. I like that I can easily decide what digital formats to make the book available in (get it on Kindle!), that I could choose to re-release it with a different cover and a prologue, etc. and that I don’t have to get permission from a publisher to do those things.
I tried very hard to make sure that the book looks as professional as possible. I utilized many different resources and collaborated with some great people. I’m sure that there are little things here and there that make it obvious that it’s a self-published work instead of a work from a big publishing house but I’m okay with that. In the end, as professional as I try to be, I’m very much a member of the DIY movement who got her literary start publishing in ‘zines that got sent to pen pals via snail mail!
Q: So now that this book is done, what’s next?
KV: I have outlines for several other craft-related non-fiction titles. The working title of the book I’m currently writing is Creativity Exercises for Crocheters: 100 Inspiring Ideas for Mindfulness, Artistic Expression and Improving Quality of Life through Crochet. I am aiming for a 2013 release date. In the meantime I will continue publishing daily on my crochet blog (Crochet Concupiscence) as well as my writing blog (at www.kathrynvercillo.com) and my personal blog (Diary of a Smart Chick).