The State of This Blog

I wish I had time to do more blogging. But the combination of trying to keep this publishing operation afloat, doing books, marketing (how I wish we could, as author Bill Pearl said to me once, “…just do a book and it would fly out and sell like crazy.” Well it don’t happen that way. Once you publish a book nowadays, you then get into a snarl of technical requirements. The almighty metadata. At times I wish I was an author and my publisher would take care of all the marketing and endless digital requirements.

Photo by Aubrey Trinnaman

I do a lot of Instagramming, because I’m most interested these days in the 20-40 year-olds. They’re a new ball game from their padres; they are picking up on our 47-year-old book Shelter, and saying this is what I want to do. Plus Instagram is ideal for photographers, just unfortunate that Zuck wormed into it (and piles on the ads). I do like posting photos, but with blogs, you can write.

Does anyone read blogs these days?

We applied for and got approval for a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration that (if we do indeed get the funds) will pay for 2½ months of payroll. But things are still mighty thin. Bookstores are closed, and we’re trying to sell as many books mail-order as we can. We have a 30% discount for 2 or more books, with free shipping in the USA: www.shelterpub.com

I just ran across the below a few minutes ago. I had written something about our “tribe,” people who liked our hands-on approach to food and shelter, and who liked our cozy home, and the gardening, quilting, cooking part of our lives, and I had said how different our tribe was from the people who read Dwell, who I surmised to be in much greater numbers. I wrote that our people were like the book lovers in Fahrenheit 451, on the outskirts of the city, a small group of like-minded doers, but the masses were into another aesthetic. Minimal. Sleek. Expensive. And I got this comment on my blog:

This was before I started work on The Half-Acre Homestead (which is a few days away from being back in stock).

Anonymous
February 11, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Lloyd, I wouldn’t be so sure your tribe is smaller than Dwell’s … for a start, I’m pretty sure everyone on board at Dwell has read your books. More are probably following you. Your photos are abundant on Pinterest and Tumblr, and more have escaped into the wild, where they reproduce themselves in the form of strange little abodes in unlikely places.

And of course, all your photos have been seeds growing since the ’60s, every structure planting itself into a little crevice of a baby-boomer/genX/milennial/postmilennial brain … it might sit dormant for awhile, years of “normal jobs” and “nice apartments” and “valuable real estate,” until one day it sprouts through the rubble and we think, “Why not? Why not build it myself? Why not now?”

Please keep casting them far & wide … like most farmers, the principal reward for making the world a better place … is living in it.

–zolie

(Actually, it’s kind of zolie to say so, but I don’t think Dwell readers have our books or follow me.)

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:

17 Responses to The State of This Blog

  1. Rick Gordon says:

    Well, there’s this 2019 Dwell article, dwell.com/article/modern-yurt-zach-both-d5e43707, which posts large pictures of Shelter and says:

    “Dejected over rent prices in this quasi-utopia, we immediately began considering alternative dwellings that I was introduced to during my time traveling the country in a self-converted camper van.

    Lloyd Kahn’s iconic Shelter book served as my first introduction to yurts. Among the pages describing indigenous building methods and vernacular architecture, you’ll find a smattering of paragraphs dedicated to the traditional tent-like structure often used by the nomadic tribes of Central Asia.”

  2. Marcus says:

    For international customers: I just ordered “the Half-Acre Homestead” from Book Depository. They have it in stock and send internationally, freee shipping. https://www.bookdepository.com/author/Lloyd-Kahn

  3. Jesse says:

    It is truly heartening to hear that you’re chugging along, Lloyd. That’s about the best most of us can hope for at present.

    I’m a freelance writer (at the moment, mostly blog posts and eBooks), and can tell you two things for certain: Yes, people read blogs these days, lots of them. And many new ones are starting up every day. If you can find the time and inspiration, I know you can continue reaching new readers, Instagram followers, and buyers of your wares through the blog.

    Keep doing what you do and you’ll keep inspiring the next generations to do the same!

  4. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Marcus,

    Thank you. Really good to know. We get inquiries from overseas, and it’s good to give people a reference other than Amazon.

  5. Jeffrey Sinder says:

    Lloyd l read your blog. I may not be in full agreement with all your thoughts and a buyer of your wares but you represent a sprit that our planet needs. If it all came so easy it would have no value. Say hello to Bob for me.

  6. Klaas. says:

    Hi Lloyd. Overseas reader here. Yes, I do like blogs a lot. No Zuckerberg infected platforms in use at my place. Just received your latest book, unfortunately I have a readers ban from my wife. Have to wait till my birthday…
    Take care!

  7. Mr. Sharkey says:

    Lloyd wrote: “Does anyone read blogs these days?”

    Only if the blogger in question keeps posting in spite of being lured away by insipid social media 😉

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Lloyd, checking in from the UK here. Half-Acre Homestead dropped through the letterbox a few days ago – what a joy and a privilege to be taken into your home through this book.

    I’ve been slowly building my collection of your books for the last few years via birthdays/Christmas, but the recent situation has nudged me into speeding up the process. You have many friends around the world, many like me will not often make our voices heard. None of us would like to see this be the end of the road for Shelter Publishing. Please just ask if you need our support.

  9. Mike Kane says:

    Hi Lloyd,
    I certainly read and learn from your blogs….also own tattered, original, bought-new copies of “The Whole Earth Catalog” and “Shelter” to give you a hint of my age (77). I am retired from 40 years of organic farming and continue homesteading with my wife. I have been fortunate to have landed a gig teaching “Ecological Agriculture” to Environmental Studies students at the local university….hired for my life experience as I have only a high school diploma. Being in a position to influence young minds and introduce alternative ways of considering and living in the world is pretty satisfying for an old man and the young people I have a chance to teach give me some hope for the future. So, our jobs, as elders, I think, is to continue to put our life-tested ideas out there to seed the minds of the young people seeking some sane alternatives to “normal”. Please do keep blogging. You inspire me to keep reaching out to the young and to share the insights I gain from your experiences. Thanks.
    Mike

  10. Jason says:

    Hey Lloyd,
    Another UK fan, reader, follower (whatever we call ourselves these days) here. Since picking up the first one 15 years ago your books have changed my outlook on life and how to live it with value. When times are tough (like now) I pick up one of your books or read your blog and feel inspired to get off my ass and keep going.
    You’re an inspiration.
    Take care
    Jason

  11. Laura says:

    Lloyd, I love and own all your books. I love your blog, and I find so much inspiration in your posts. Yeah, I read blogs, and anything else non-Zuck. I really agree with an above poster that it takes awhile for people to “come around” to what’s really important in this life. I know that I am not the person that I was raised to be. You’ve planted lots and lots of seeds! I am praying for you and your family, and for better times ahead for all of us.

  12. rjp says:

    I believe there is a extremely large audience for a blog, it just needs a good app that outputs reliable notifications. The problem is the laptop and desktop consumer world is largely dead especially in your target demographic of 20-40. We as a nation are also losing our English language writing skills, just look at the tweets from our President, much less many of those on social media. That makes the bar so much lower for everyone and its a shame. I say keep up the good work!

  13. Monty says:

    Hi Lloyd, just wanted to chime in that I to am a blog lover (& I still use a RSS reader). I definitely prefer blogs to Facebook, Instagram, etc.

  14. Jesus Sierra says:

    Hey Lloyd

    I love your blog. I’m one of those weirdos that don’t do social media. Time consuming, mental energy sucking addiction. For me this level of information is just right. Enough but not too much.

    Also just wanted to mention in case you don’t know… Sadly The Book Depository is not an alternative to Amazon. Amazon owns it since 2011.

    I got my copy of The half acre homestead from Alibris. Still not owned by Amazon although a bit too close to them for my liking…
    Anyway a totally gorgeous book. Just beautiful.
    Thanks a lot

  15. Louisville residential concrete says:

    Hey Lloyd,

    You’re an inspiration. I love this blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

    – Appel

  16. Holly says:

    Hi Lloyd, you have been inspiring me for decades since I stumbled across your book Shelter. All I have wanted is to own my own home free and clear and live a slightly rustic lifestyle…growing my own and being self reliant. Fast forward to now and TODAY I 6-29-20 I am making my move to Texas. Have sold my home with the mortgage and will have enough to buy a small place in Texas free and clear, hopefully that needs some work done on it…so I can be off into tinker land and mold it into the homestead of my dreams! Have almost all your books and will be continuing to use them to guide my new home and life.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being you and all you do for us!
    Peace, love and blessings,
    Holly

  17. Jon-Marc Seimon says:

    Hey Lloyd—You’ve been a touchstone of reality for me for many years, and especially now. A small technical comment: your website is really REALLY slow, and consistently so both on my desktop and iPhone. Maybe give your hosting service a little kick in the tuchus?

    Be well, and be careful on that new bike!

    J-M

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