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Less Blog Posts These Days

To tell the truth, it’s a great relief, not feeling the pressure of getting out a post every day. Almost 5,000 of ’em — time for a change

My main focus these days is on the new book, SMALL HOMES; I’ve got over 50 pages roughly laid out, am in daily contact with a slew of contributors. I figure making books is how I can reach the most people, the best use of my time right now.

We’re plotting a new online strategy. Right now, I’m thinking of doingTwitter and Instagram, with occasional blog posts. Right now there are 5 steps to getting a photo out there:

1. Shoot photo.

2. Load into MacAir.

3. Fiddle a bit with it in Photoshop.

4. Find Wi-Fi (or be in office)

5. Post it

My intention is to shoot photos with an iPhone 6, post on Instagram right then. If this works out, I’ll be able to communicate way quicker. Right now, am waiting to see what Apple’s got coming with the iPhone 7, maybe the 6’s will be cheaper.

Found a nearly deserted beach yesterday, clothes off, warm sand, swimming, the only time I’ve experienced NorCal water so warm was the last El Niño, so unusual to be in this ocean and feel comfortable. Gathered a big bag full of purple/green seaweed for the garden. Like my neighbor, surfer/fisherman Andrew said the other day (down at the beach), “We’re so lucky.”

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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.”

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The More Probable Continuation of This Blog

When I wrote about ending this blog 2 days ago, I was in what you might call a state of mild confused desperation. These (warm summer) days, I’m:

• (joyfully) working on a new book

• trying to figure out how to get more of our books out in bookstores (where people can see them, and pick them up…)

• revamping our digital communications

• shuffling a ton of other things I want to do right now. 

Life is rich.

Thank you guys for the comments. I mean, really! Stephanie gets it. I love ya too, Stephanie. So good to hear I’m connecting.

With the process of iteration, here’s where I’m at this morning:

I’ll keep the blog going. Thanks, George, Rick, Sharkey, etc.

I won’t keep trying to do a post a day. Too stressful, and causing me to sometimes put up less-than-great stuff just to fill in daily gaps. I’ll do a lot less posting stuff from other websites, but put up original material, stuff I’ve done or witnessed, photos new to the internet world. If you were checking it daily, now check it weekly.

Blogs aren’t going to be eliminated by social media, any more than radio was eliminated by TV, or TV eliminated by the internet. They all have their function.

Other digital stuff In discussions yesterday with my two 30-something-year-old consultants, Sean Hellfritsch and my son Evan, we roughed out a plan: I’m going to do Instagram posts from an iPhone 6 (mostly when I’m out and around in the world). I’ll also start tweeting again (fun!). We’ll figure out how to coordinate our extensive home/shelter/building content on my blog, theshelterblog, Instagram, Tumbl’r, Twitter, linking back and forth. Facebook too. Sean’s going to come up with a plan, Evan’s going to do much of the posting. We’ll get the plan together when Rick and Lew are back.

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The Very Possible End of this Blog

In the ’60s I had a friend is Santa Barbara, a highly-skilled gardener, tell me this about the growth of his pot plants: they’d not grow much for a week or so, then suddenly in 24 hours they’d grow like crazy. We talked about how knowledge was like that. You’ll take in information and ponder something over a period of time and suddenly—eureka!—you’ll get it. You get the whole picture. You see the way forward.

Well here’s my growth spurt of the last few days. It may be premature to write this, but I think I see a new way to get out our “content*”) out to (more) people.

I’ve been pondering mostly Instagram and Twitter, but also Facebook (ugh!), Pinterest, maybe Tumblr as a better way than blogging. I’ve done almost 5,000 posts now, some 7 million page views, I think it’s time to hang it up, or at least quit trying to do a post a day. I’ve been running it like a mini-newspaper, and I love doing it, but it’s taking too much time. Maybe I’ll just do my own material on this blog and not keep posting interesting stuff from other websites.

Small Homes

I’m laying out about 2 pages of this new book each day. Once I get the photos and text on the design table, it seems to assemble itself. Oh this fits here…I’ll put the pull quote here…Line this up both up and across…I love doing it—watching the birth of a book. A lot of material came in today—photos and stories.

I need to put more time into the book now, less on the blog.

Plus it’s occurring to me that blogs may be less significant these days, what with these super-sized phone screens and the fact that people are checking Instagram and Facebook daily whereas one has to go to a blog. I only look at blogs occasionally.

Lloyd’s Change of Direction

The iPhone 6 Plus! Holy shit! What a tool. I’ve run across 3 of them in the last 5 days. Yesterday my friend Jeff said, “Have you seen the billboards with photos shot on the iPhone 6?” I’ve kept saying I’d rather shoot quick photos with my many-featured Sony Cybershot RX100 II—raw files, tons of options not on any phone. But the camera seems v. good on the new iPhone and it’ll allow me to post stuff immediately, without having to shoot pix, load them on computer, use wi-fi, blah blah blah…Just zap from the phone. Immediate communication.

It’s gonna be fun, because I run across so much interesting stuff out in the world.

Looking forward to doing Twitter again. Forced to edit self.

*I have probably 15,000 (film and digital ) photos from 50+years—maybe half of them on homes, builders, building, architecture, most of it never used.

Live Broadcast of Small Homes

We’re going to try publishing excerpts from this book as we lay it out. Need to figure how to do so efficiently…hey, what about publishing quick photos of rough layout like this, along with a paragraph about the builder/homeowners? Would that work? The above layout:

“Jes Nelee’, musician and world traveler, designed and built her own small home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the help of her 80-year-old grandfather and friends.”

We could do that real simply. Get out on theshelterblog plus other social media.

Just sayin…

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Shelter Looking for Apprentice or Part Time Employee and/or Website Designer

The paradox is that we’re getting this incredible feedback, now daily, and sales of our books have dropped off. We want to:

1. Redesign our website

2. Get Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and our blogs working to reach people. We have tons of “content.”

3. Produce more short videos

4. Consult with internet-savvy people

5. Get word out more broadly about our books

6. Get theshelterblog audience large enough so we get income from it.

Ideally we’d find a person who who understands blogs, “social media,” and how to build a new website.

Contact us if you or anyone you know might be interested in working with us: shelter@shelterpub.com

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Will, Lloyd and the Rainbow Girls

I went to see the Rainbow Girls Friday night and thought they were fantastic. Great vocal harmonies, and they all kept switching instruments. After they finished, my son Will (a drummer) and I were talking to them outside the bar and Will mentioned that I had published Tiny Homes and one of them screamed, “Oh I love that book!” Pretty soon we were hanging out with all 4 of them. They all knew at least one of our books.

Check them out:

People in Oregon: they’ll be there August 26th-30th: https://www.rainbowgirlsmusic.com/

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Changes In My Blog

Truth be told, I love doing blog posts. I find so much that’s fascinating in my everyday life that I want to tell (and show) others about it. (I have a large backlog of photos and observations that I never get around to posting—hey, how do I get a clone?)

I also enjoy the blog feedback.

Problem is, it takes time, and I need to shift gears now that I’ve started a new book. Also, I’m probably more useful to more people doing books than doing blog posts. We’re getting almost daily feedback on how our books are inspiring people to create their own homes.

I’ll try to keep the blog rolling, posting less frequently in the near future.

Also, we’re trying to figure out how to get our considerable “content” out via “social media.” We’re looking for advice on how to coordinate Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and our website (drastically in need of overhaul) and 2 blogs to maximize exposure.

I’m especially interested in reaching millenials because, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor, they’re a whole new ball game. I just love these guys—they’re looking at the world through fresh eyes.

I’ve done layout of 12 pages of Small Homes now and am in full gear with it. Contact us if you know of any practical, aesthetic, inspiring, economical and/or homey homes in the 400-1200 sq. ft. range: smallhomes@shelterpub.com

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New Video of Our Homestead by Kirsten Dirksen, Fair Companies

Kirsten Dirksen is a filmmaker with Fair Companies, a bi-lingual media operation that she and her husband Nicolás Boullosa run out of Barcelona. Kirsten is a former TV producer for MTV and the Travel Channel who now focusses on “…community and access to tools on sustainable culture.”

She has produced almost 600 videos, an amazing body of work when you consider that it’s the editing, not the shooting, that is so time-consuming. I don’t know how she does it.

We’ve had a bunch of people shoot film (OK, OK, video) around here and they generally take a long time to get set up, then follow a pre-conceived series of shots and questions.

Kirsten walked in the first time and within 5 minutes, was shooting. We were comfortable with her. She winged it, seeing what we were doing, following us around. On one of her visits, her two little long-haired girls explored the garden and chickens and Nicolás shot photos.

One thing I love about this video is that she recognized what Lesley is doing in her life and with her garden, her art, and her attitude towards a home. Often that gets missed in people coming here to see me.

The last part of this cracked me up.

Kirsten posted it earlier today.

https://faircompanies.com/videos/view/lloyd-kahn-on-his-norcal-self-reliant-half-acre-homestead/

Check through the other films at Fair Companies.

Photo of Kirsten by Nicolás Boullosa 

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My Talk/Slideshow: “50 Years of Natural Building” This Weekend at Maker Faire

I actually started building in 1960 (above is my first building in 1961, in Mill Valley, California, a studio with what is now called a “living roof”) and soon thereafter started shooting photos and interviewing builders for our series of books on handmade housing. In those days we didn’t call it “natural building,” but that’s what it was. In our book Shelter in 1973, a section of the book was devoted to these materials: wood, adobe, stone, straw bale, thatch, and bamboo. I guess we were natural before it was called “natural.”

A month or so ago, Cheryl Long, the editor at The Mother Earth News, asked me if I could do a talk on natural building at the TMEN fair in Albany, Oregon (near Corvallis) on the first weekend in June. As I was getting the materials together, the MakerFaire asked if I could do a presentation at their annual event in San Mateo California, which is coming up this weekend.

I have selected photos from our five major building books, and will be doing a presentation at noon this Saturday (May 16, 2015) on the Maker Square stage in the Homegrown Village section of the fair.

Here are links to the fair and to my presentation:

https://makerfaire.com/maker/entry/51460/

https://makerfaire.com/bay-area-2015/schedule/

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