Classic Home Business Books
Published by the trade between 1979-2006.
(These are essentially out of print and
no longer recommended for purchase.)
THIS PAGE IS HISTORICAL IN NATURE, representing a major part of my life as an author. It was a nostalgic journey for me to gather the information below before it was lost in one file or another on my computer. Since out-of-print books can't be removed from Amazon, I've documented the publishing history of all my home-business/crafts marketing books below. Together, they are a reminder of my “glory days” as a home-business writer before I became a memoirist.
Note that this page is also an education of sorts into how a writer can take a good idea and diversify it into several books and related periodicals over a long period of time. As Stephen King once put it, "My philosophy has always been . . . take a good thing and beat it 'til it don't move no more."
Before you consider buying any of these books, please read my "Author's Note" below right.
Also see "Perspective on Buying Out-of-Print Books on Amazon."
HOMEMADE MONEY.™ First published in 1984 and called the most comprehensive home-business guide in print, this best-selling book was recommended by U.S. Small Business Administration specialists and used for many years in entrepreneurial courses across the country. Barbara was then considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on home-based businesses, especially those in the art, craft, needlework, pattern, and design industries.
Note: The phrase, "Homemade Money," gained common-law trademark status through the years and may not legally be used by others. (See article, “About Common Law Trademarks.”)
• HOMEMADE MONEY: Starting Smart! (for beginners)
• HOMEMADE MONEY: Bringing in the Bucks! (for established business owners)
After five editions and more than 128,000 copies in print, the final 2003 edition was released by M. Evans as a two-volume edition because the content could no longer be contained in just one book. Reviewers and readers alike called earlier editions of Homemade Money™ "fantastic, stunning, and inspirational!" The new duo reflected the changing face of homebased business in the new century and sold some 60,000 copies before growing too old to be of interest to the new crop of book buyers on the internet. My last tally of sales in 2012 for all editions of Homemade Money was nearly 190,000 copies sold. To my knowledge, no other home-business book has enjoyed such sales success and been in print so long.
NOTE: Except for Creative Cash (below), the rest of my trade books were acquired by Roman-Littlefield in 2008 when M. Evans closed its company.
I’M HAPPY TO KNOW that I was able to help so many individuals achieve success in a business at home through one or more of the books briefly described on this page. They were an important part of my life for nearly thirty years, and the memories associated with each book’s writing and the reader response to it lives on in my heart.
I remain grateful to every reader who purchased one or more of my books, especially those then wrote to me. I received thousands of handwritten and typed cards and letters from appreciative readers long before I had email—enough to fill a whole drawer in one of my filing cabinets. I finally had to discard all that mail, but I still how uplifting the daily mail was to me when the going got tough. It was reader feedback to my books that gave me the heart to keep writing one book after another, often under extreme pressure due to difficult life circumstances discussed in my memoir about my life with Harry (see The Drummer Drives! Everybody Else Rides).
If I were younger, I’d consider pulling out all the timeless business tips, ideas, and personal advice amidst all the outdated internet, computer, and marketing information in my trade books and publish a couple of eBooks. But the truth is that I’m tired of writing about business now . I simply want to write and publish articles, stories, and books on life-related topics dear to my heart. Through them, I hope to be able to impact a few more lives before I’m done.
CREATIVE CASH—How to Profit from Your Special Artistry, Creativity, Hand Skills, and Related Know-how. This was my first book. Published in 1979, it lived for 32 years and enjoyed sales of more than 110,000 copies before being declared out of print in 2011. Because it had six different publishers with changing subtitles, I came to think of it as the book with nine lives. Each time a trade publisher let it go, I published a new edition under my own Barbara Brabec Productions imprint.
This classic guide outlived all its predecessors. Widely distributed through libraries, it received considerable publicity in leading magazines with rave reviews throughout its life, helping tens of thousands of creative people launch successful art or craft-related business at home. It was a featured selection of Book-of-the-Month's Crafter's Choice Book Club.
THE CRAFTS BUSINESS ANSWER BOOK—Starting, Marketing, and Managing a Homebased Art, Crafts, or Design Business (M. Evans). First published in 1997, with a second edition in 2006. This classic encyclopedic reference especially for artists and craftspeople offered answers to hundreds of troublesome questions about starting, marketing and managing a homebased business efficiently, legally, & profitably. It was a Selection of Book-of-the-Month's Crafter's Choice Book Club and Eagle Books.
HANDMADE FOR PROFIT—Hundreds of Secrets to Success in Selling Arts & Crafts, first published in 1996; revised in 2002 (M. Evans). The completely updated 2nd edition featured the latest marketing strategies at that time, along with selling secrets of nearly a hundred successful craftspeople, artists, designers, and publishers in the author's network, many of whom can be found on the Web today (which certainly attests to the value of their advice in this book). The first edition was a selection of Rodale's Creative Needlecrafts Book Club and Book-of-the-Month's Crafter's Choice Book Club.
MAKE IT PROFITABLE—How to Make Your Art, Craft, Design, Writing or Publishing Business More Efficient, More Satisfying, and More Profitable (2000, M. Evans). The first and only book of its kind ... an intimate and revealing look at how creative people live and work at home. Unlike the author's other crafts business books, this one placed heavy emphasis on computer technology and related products and the different ways creative people were using them to manage their businesses and increase productivity, sales, and profits. A Selection of Book-of- the-Month's Crafter's Choice Book Club & Country Homes & Gardens Book Club.
A reader wrote, "It's as good as
an Agatha Christie novel . . ."
“The Crafts Business Answer Book is one of the best books I've read since Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I can't put it down. Thank you so very much for writing this book. It has helped me with getting my business off the ground. You have answered questions I didn't know I had.”
It’s true that my books have always tried to take the mystery out of how to succeed in a business at home, but the reason I loved Robin’s message was because it brought back a fond “Harry memory” of the day I overheard him talking about me to a friend on the phone. “I call her Agatha,” he joked, “because what she’s writing about is a mystery to me.”
And writing that here reminded me of the dedication in my first book, Creative Cash:
“This book is for my mother, Marcella Schaumburg, who convinced me many years ago tat I could do anything I really wanted to do; and for my husband, Harry, who inspired this dedication when he said, ‘Behind most successful women you’ll find an encouraging mother and an amazed husband.’”.
IN PUBLICATION for nearly 24 years, this book sold thousands of copies, first as a print booklet in 1995 for sale by mail, then as PDF book offered for sale my website in the early 2000s, and finally as a Kindle edition that enjoyed surprising sales from 2012 to 2019.
I ceased publication of this book in mid-2019 because I simply couldn’t bring myself to keep doing this kind of stressful tax research and updating the books huge Resource Chapter every year when all I wanted to do was work on my latest book in progress.
Of it, reviewers said it was " ... a treasure-trove of savvy tips and unusual strategies to save self-employed folks tons of unnecessary taxes," a great read filled with pearls of wisdom about an often overlooked aspect of income tax reimbursement," and "humorous, entertaining, and chock full of tax tips and information to help you improve your bottom line."
What Reviewers Said
Please forgive this aging writer for wanting to “preserve for posterity” the following summary of comments my books received from book reviewers through the years. They reflect the style and kind of writing I’m still doing today.
Of my home business and crafts marketing books, reviewers said they were . . .
". . . full of rock-solid advice" (At Home Mothers), "user friendly, and packed with helpful information" (Crafting for Profit).
They offer "incredible value, realistic advice and inspiration" (The Bloomsbury Review), and are "guaranteed to leave few, if any, of your questions unanswered" (The Skinflint Entrepreneur).
They are ". . . written in an easy-to-read conversational style with a sprinkling of home-business humor to make the medicine go down (Natural Life), and "so easy to read that learning about even technical subjects seems painless" (Svoboda's Home & Small Business Reporter).
Brabec's research and ideas "go far beyond the usual suggestions" (McCall's), combining "inspirational prose with practical tips" (Publishers Weekly). Her information “is truly a boon to even the experienced. One hundred percent serious? Not quite. Brabec gleefully reports useful from-the-front stories, and she doesn't hesitate to express some rather strong opinions” (Booklist).
Her use of real-life experiences collected from other home-based entrepreneurs "serve to encourage, caution against pitfalls, and often prompt a chuckle or two" (The Star Phoenix). She "uses individual profiles to enhance the many areas of business she writes about, and in such a charming way you are captivated by the stories as well as the professional advice" (Montclair Craft Guild).
Her friendly, no-nonsense tips are "good medicine for both the novice homebased business owner and the accomplished entrepreneur seeking fresh insight" (Entrepreneur magazine).
Barbara's writing style is "personal, chatty and informal, which makes it easy for the reader to continue reading, even when other tasks are calling" (The Crafts Report). "It's like listening to a funny, savvy aunt over a nice cup of tea, not plodding through a dry, daunting textbook" (PACC News). She is "both inspirational and cautionary" (Mothers Matter), "a rare and talented teacher and writer who can combine enthusiasm and encouragement with the cold hard truth. She will save her reader from many expensive mistakes, but never at the cost of shattering someone's dream" (Folk Arts Quarterly).
I’M INCLUDING THESE long-out-of-print books because they are part of my history as an independent book publisher, and a good example of how I took "a good idea and beat it to death" (per Stephen King's strategy).
I designed these books and their covers using an electronic typewriter and press-on letter sheets, pasting everything on boards for the printer. (Publishing a book in 1979 without computer technology involved a LOT of study, time, and effort.) Published for sale by mail, these two books were so well received and publicized that Baker and Taylor began to buy them for sale through bookstores, helping me sell thousands of copies of each. I never put these books on Amazon, but a few sellers got hold of some library copies of the crafts book, so that title may live online indefinitely. But its only value today is a nostalgic and historical look-back at what the crafts industry was like in those days.
After Creative Cash and Homemade Money became national best-sellers, I self-published these two books so I could recycle the best and most timeless information from the two subscription newsletters I’d been publishing since 1981. Gathering the best and most timeless content from three years of Sharing Barbara's Mail and adding new writing and many illustrations and line drawings, I published A Treasure Trove of Crafts Marketing Success Secrets in 1986. Priced at $9.95, it was extremely popular.
In 1984, I changed the format of my newsletter and named it National Home Business Report (NHBR), which paved the way in 1987 for me to then take the most timeless information from 16 issues of NHBR and put it into Help for Your Growing Homebased Business, which I priced at $11.95. Because of all the publicity I was then generating with two best-selling trade books, it sold nearly as well as the crafts book.
In 1994, changing times and the publication of the 5th Edition of Homemade Money prompted me to rename my newsletter again as The Self-Employment Survival Letter. Two years later, with Harry’s health failing and me with a contract for my third trade book, we closed our mail order book selling and newsletter publishing business..
Buying Out-of-Print Books on Amazon
AMAZON IS NOT SUPPOSED to allow a used book seller to set up their own product page if one already exists for a title, so it’s maddening to authors to see this sort of thing happening with their books. Once a used-book seller gets away with this, other used-book sellers add to the listings on their product page. When they no longer have copies to sell, they move on and the product page is owned by no one and Amazon won’t remove it. All they do when no books are available is show it as being unavailable.
Several of my trade book publishers are now out of business, including Countryside Books, Aames Allen, Betterway Publishing, and M. Evans (sold to Roman-Littlefield). As long as a used book seller can scare up an old copy to sell, there can be ridiculously-priced offers for it on a new product page. Publishers are not allowed to remove any of their books from Amazon, thus all my trade books will be there long after my current publisher declares them out of print. (I find it amusing to think that I will live forever not only in heaven but on Amazon.)
I can’t even remove a book I’ve published through Amazon. I can remove it from sale, and no one can see it or buy it, but Amazon won’t let go of it, keeping it forever in their dead files. Makes no sense to me.