Shelter Publicity

I’m posting this here so it can be accessed by people on my GIMME SHELTER newsletter list. I don’t think it’s of much interest to general readers of this blog, other than people in the publishing trade.

I started doing these newsletters about 20 years ago, inspired by Carl Lennertz’ newsletter to Random House reps, and George Young’s weekly newsletter, “Verbal Abuse,” to Ten Speed reps. There are about 600 people on this mailing list, but this one is being sent just to reps and PGW sales people.

As with my blog, these newsletters have wandered all over the place with subject matter, but this time I want to focus on Shelter’s condition in this ever-changing and ever-loving (yes, still!) world of book publishing.

To tell the truth, I wish we could just stay out here in our ivory-tower-in-the-garden, turn out one book after the other, and they’d sell crazily—but it just doesn’t work that way. Sales of our books have dropped off, and it’s prompted us to review recent publicity, the phenomenal feedback of late on our building books, and current sales and marketing of Shelter books.

I’m sorry this is so long (but I “…didn’t have the time to make it shorter.”


Shelter is getting feedback daily from people who were inspired by Shelter books, often to build something, at times to change their lives. It’s extraordinary. 100s and 100s of people. Here are a few comments from a blog post I did on the 40th anniversary of our book Shelter:

“WOW! Ya know when I think about it, your original Shelter book has had more of an effect on my life than just about anything other than Scouting.  I’ll send you some pics of my handmade home.”

“Happy Birthday to Shelter. As relevant today (if not more so) than it was then.”

“You changed my life, I can never thank You enough.”

“Happy Anniversary! 40 years of inspiring others to build their own shelters and improve their own lives…much to celebrate. Be proud, woohooooo!”

Continuity of Shelter Books

There’s a continuity in our 5 major building books. People built something out of Shelter, which then appeared in Home Work. They read Home Work, and their work appears in Tiny Homes, and etc.

A lot of the millennials are discovering Shelter books. They get it, more so than previous generations. “Hey, we like the Shelter lifestyle…”

Rate of Returns Shelter Sales: 8.67%

The rate of returns on these books (and Stretching) is 4-8%, except for Tiny Homes on the Move, about 10%. Shelter’s overall rate of returns is 8.67%, but 7.4% without a weird return from Anderson Merch.

This means we should be able to get more books (the above five and Stretching) out there. If we can get someone to pick up one of these books, were halfway to a sale.


Lloyd’s blog: Almost 5,000 posts, over 7 million page views since starting. (I kicked up a lot of feedback this week when I said I might quit blogging. Blog readers made me change my mind.)
Shelter’s blog: We’re working to build up a large viewership. This blog, unlike Lloyd’s, focuses on homes, building, homesteading and the home arts.

Social Media

In addition to its blog, Shelter is working on a program to publicize its books on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbl’r,  Instagram, and Pinterest. We are just now coordinating these outlets. (We have a ton of content.) We are also redesigning our out-of-date-looking website.

Tiny Homes on the Move TV Series

Shelter has signed a contract with a producer, who is seeking a network for this project (we have a conference call with a studio later this week) based on Tiny Homes on the Move. It’s a long shot, I know.


Book Trailer Videos

Three 1-minute video trailers about our books Shelter, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and HomeWork, and a 2-minute video on “3 Reasons to Build a Tiny Home:”

Online Videos

Deek Diedrickson’s video of Lloyd about Tiny Homes on the Move, March 4, 2014 (8 minutes) — 204,000 views as of July 24, 2015:

Jason Sussberg’s 2-min film of Lloyd talking about how TINY HOMES was made, 115,000 views: 

Fair Companies video of Lloyd and Lesley, “Lloyd Kahn on his NorCal Self-reliant Homestead,” May 11, 2015 (25 minutes) — 150,000 views as of July 24, 2015:  

Jason Sussberg’s film “Shelter,” June, 2009, 6:43 min, Lloyd & Lesley’s homestead, LK skating. 90,000 Vimeo views:

About 20 YouTube videos of Lloyd on different subjects:

Radio and web interview of Lloyd in Growing Bolder magazine, July, 2015, for the series “Ordinary People With Extraordinary Lives:”
NPR (audio) interview of Lloyd Kahn by Jon Kalish, Aug 29, 2013:

Magazine Articles

1. Lloyd has written 3 major articles for the Mother Earth News (circulation: 500,000+), the most recent being “Most Useful Tools for a Half-Acre Homestead,” June/July, 2015.
2. Mohawk Maker Quarterly’s August, 2015 issue is featuring an article on Shelter’s Books and showing photos from Builders of the Pacific Coast.

3. Lucky Peach magazine article, Winter, 2013, titled “Seeking Shelter,” with 33 photos from Shelter’s archives.


1. Lloyd has been invited to help curate a Scottish exhibition at the Kirkcaldy Galleries in Fife,  in March/April 2016, based the theme of Shelter to run in line with their “Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design 2016.” Idea based on “The Family of Man” book, exhibited at museums in the ’60s-70s

2. Shelter is proposing an exhibition of enlarged photos from Builders of the Pacific Coast at the Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, Calif.

3. Shelter is working on a museum exhibit titled “Tiny Homes.” (We have to sell the idea to a museum.)

Our Next Book, Small Homes

I’ve done layout on about 30 pages so far. It really is lookin good! Material coming in daily.

We’re going to start posting photos from the book as we lay it out. Going live with book production…

Music del dia: Tony White, “The Shine.”

Over and out,


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

8 Responses to Shelter Publicity

  1. Hope you'll pitch the tiny homes exhibit to the National Building Museum in DC ( They're a good fit mission-wise, there is local experimentation going on, they have space in their titanic main hall to put some tiny homes on display, and DC's berserk housing market, growing population, and dwindling space for development will likely help generate interest.

  2. I really wish you would make your books available in a Kindle format. Physical issues make it hard for me to read print books. I wish and beg really, really hard for your to do this. I've been unable to purchase any of your books. Also ebook format takes no space and no weight in a small living space. I would love to be able to purchase your books.

  3. It's a fickle market out there Lloyd. As you know there are peaks and troughs. You've been through them before. Nobody really knows what causes them and we shouldn't worry about them. Please just keep doing what you're doing and what you've been doing for many years. You know what you're doing is right and so do the folk who've followed you. There are many more who don't know you yet just waiting for the inspirational material you publish…

  4. Jen G,

    Our building books won't work on a Kindle. Tiny Homes and Tiny Homes on the Move are both available on iBooks, for iPad and other Apple devices (including iPhones).

  5. Well, I've gotten that age (60) where I wish I had approached people who have made lasting and positive impacts on my life and say 'thank you,' so, Thank you!
    There are so many over-hyped utterly useless books out there. Your company and it's output are inspiring and humbling. And each one tells you what you yourself can do if you only try: here are the folks doing it!
    Keep up the good and useful work, my friend.

  6. Lloyd, not only do you inspire people to build their own version of a shelter (in all it's forms), you also inspire those of us that know that's what we want to do, but are not yet at the intersection of dreams/plans/goals and life circumstances. Your life's work is inspiring. THANK YOU!
    Cheers, Jason (Western Australia)

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