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Miskatonica244 karma

Edit: Ah oops edited some of links I had clicked on to check and no longer valid.

Hi u/misatillo,

Wish I could've answered you sooner, didn't imagine so many questions.

Can you really live out of this or do any of you have other sources of income?

If my husband and I stick to a very tight budget, yes, we manage to pay our mortgage and utilities, buy groceries and cat food. We don't have kids, so the extra time and money from no kids is a help. We do about 1/3 of our business in November alone, so sometimes in the summer, my husband will take a temp job to supplement our income. We have two sites where we sell, so it helps to have both Etsy and our own site: secretsafebooks.com and secretsafebooks.etsy.com

How do you get clients for this? I can understand if you have been in business you probably are kind of known by now but how did you manage to get the first clients? How do you advertise your business? (Other than doing this AMA)

I have more time than money to spend on advertising, so I really hustle with social media/contact bloggers/do user-generated content sites like Bored Panda and yes, this AMA! A quick rundown on some past promos that are still floating around on the web:


"14 Surprising Gifts For Complete And Total Liars"

"20 Perfect Etsy Gifts For Book Lovers In Your Life"


The 2016 GFY Gift Guide


"The Godfather Has a Secret"


"Kara Witham's SecretSafeBooks"


"Awesome Stuff"


"Holiday Gifts for Ryan Gosling, Idris Elba, and Other Guys You Love"


"The Book Safe Every Bibliophile Should Own"


"Keep Your Flask Hidden Inside Legendary Books About Boozing"


"Secret Garden Wedding"


7 Years Ago I Walked Off My Day Job As A Museum Guard To Make Hollow Books For A Living

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Miskatonica176 karma

Good morning, u/SpelingMatters (English major, you?)

Do you make the hollow part different shapes to accommodate a particular item?

Yes, upon request. Because I can make only about 25 - 30 books per week:

  • I make the most popular titles with the most popular type cutouts that are all ready-to-ship
  • I take a limited amount of custom orders
  • Here is a pic of a Crime and Punishment book I made for a customer to fit her Sig P238 with extra magazine cutout

Also what is your favourite thing to draw?

Ah, favourite with a "u", not in the USA probably, eh? Not that there's anything wrong with that. My favorite thing to draw would be a self-portrait.

Let me know if you have any follow-ups or other questions.

Miskatonica121 karma

Hey there, u/Dr_Psycho_ (Great username!)

Thank you, wish I could've answered sooner, didn't expect this many questions.

How many hours a day do you spend working on your books?

Typically about 6 1/2 hours per day actually cutting and gluing and finishing the books. I also do all the photographing for our websites plus promoting; my husband does some of the prep work for making the books as well as the financial and website maintenance.

How many days a week do you work?

The actual making of the books, I work typically Mon - Fri, 10 - 5:30. In the early morning, I answer emails, do social media; on weekends, I like to take product photos and IG photos. Overall it's probably more than 40 hours a week, but I really enjoy 99% of it. (Only thing I don't enjoy too much is tidying up the workshop in our converted garage; I'm afraid it looks pretty messy right now!)

Let me know if you have any follow-ups or other questions.

Miskatonica112 karma

Hi u/Ella_Minnow_Pea_13 indeed! Reddit is amazing.

Miskatonica98 karma

Hullo u/looktothetrees, (the trees outside my window are covered in a lovely layer of snow!)

How much money do you bring in from something like this?

I hope a roundabout answer will be OK, I want to plead the 5th on annual income specifics.

  • My husband and I faithfully pay our mortgage in Stillwater, MN North Hill area
  • We may or may not qualify for state-assisted healthcare
  • Black Friday truly brings us back into the black

Let me know if you have any follow-ups or other questions.