I have used all of the soft goat leather that I had bought for to make my book jackets. I think they look pretty good. The rustic nature of the sewn edged bothered me at first, but now I think it adds to the appeal of the piece. I'm quite fond of the rugged adventurer vibe these book jackets exude.
I think I have the skill down now, though it still takes far too long for me to sew each one. As I am now, I can safely say I can make one book cover a day of soft leather. That means that should I make any tooled leather, it will take me two days or so to complete the project.
I had hoped that I would be able to do two a day of the soft leather, but as it stands, I am not. That means, unfortunately, that I don't think I'd be able to make enough in a month to sustain the business. At least, not at these prices.
I'm not willing to charge more for the leather pieces. I think the price as it is now is fair, considering everything is hand done. No machines involved.
I am also unwilling to drive myself mad trying to make enough in a month to earn what amounts to minimum wage each month. All that will lead to is burn-out and my inability to make and send client orders in a timely manner.
So I'm in a bit of a bind, currently. I think the smartest way I can do things is to simply limit the number of orders of book jackets to twenty a month - whether they are tooled or plain. That way, I'll be able to complete orders in good time without becoming swamped by an insurmountable backlog.
Is that enough to live off of? Unlikely. It would be if I managed to sell twenty at the highest price point in a month. Which is exceedingly unlikely. However, if I can supplement that with original art sales and sales of prints, as well as any meagre income I might garner from book sales, I won't be starving.
Of course, there's no guarantee of any sales whatsoever, which is something that is quite likely. I am a terrible marketer, and plenty of people in this economy haven't the funds to buy handmade goods from people like myself. It's not a grand time to be starting a business.
All the same, I've really enjoyed making these covers, even when it got frustrating, and I'm hopeful that someone will like them enough to pick up one for their books. The goat leather book jackets are now listed in my new online shop. They are the only items listed, as they're the only one made thus far.
I'm currently working on a new book jacket made of slightly stiffer goat leather and hand tooled with some of my designs. The first of the designs is one that makes me giggle, and I'm quite looking forward to having that done. But that will take me a couple of days to complete.