publishing (97)

Stone Masonry Publications

Lloyd, hello. I’m Tomas Lipps, used to live in Bolinas late ’70s, early ’80s… I was pleased to stumble upon your blog today and have enjoyed browsing through it. One line in particular struck me [referring to the book Shelter]: “We were both fans of Life Magazine, and felt that each two-page spread should stand alone and be visually balanced.” That’s because I’ve gotten into publishing myself. I edit a glossy print publication called STONEXUS Magazine and a digital counterpart to it called the STONEZINE, and in the print mag I’m particularly sensitive to how the two-page spreads are laid out. (The ‘zine is single-page, 8.5″ × 14″.)

Good to see you’re still at it, and out and about. I’ve been confined here in Santa Fe due to the damn pandemic, but as soon as I get issue #XX printed and mailed out (April), I’ll go off on the trip I had planned in 2020 — to Sardinia. Will be photographing stonework there, the Bronze Age Nuraghi in particular fascinate me. You seem to be familiar with Italy, anything you can tell me about Sardinia?

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Sneak Preview of The Half-Acre Homestead (60 Pages)

Here are 60 pages (38% of the total pages) from our latest book:

Book available at: www.shelterpub.com/building/halfacrehomestead


Quotes from Readers

“I just inhaled your book, reading it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s all that I hoped it would be. Now my favorite book of yours.…”
–Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick, Wired magazine; founder, Cool Tools (kk.org)
“Warning: Reading the book may lead to pulling up stakes and heading into the hills to claim your own half-acre homestead.”
–Patrick Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle
“The King of D.I.Y. Dwellings — Before cabin porn and van life were hashtags on Instagram, before tiny houses were a movement, Mr. Kahn, now 84, was the indefatigable champion of their funky, D.I.Y. antecedents.… His new book, The Half-Acre Homestead … (is) a memoir of sorts of this hard-won idyll, it is also a love letter to Ms. Creed, a skilled artisan and gardener whose glorious handiwork is vividly portrayed.”
–Penelope Green, New York Times
“The book is absolutely WONDERFUL … The language is modest and direct, the inspiration is down to earth and celestial … Gorgeous book, a … magnificent one-of-a-kind gift to us all.”
–Peter Nabokov, professor of American Indian Studies and World Arts and Cultures at UCLA

Read More …

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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.)

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Baltimore!

Yes it’s me and I’m in love again.* With Baltimore.

I suspected I’d like it (my first visit), but man, what a city! From the moment I got here, it’s been one wonderful experience after another.

My first impression was that there’s space. Streets are wide. There’s light from the surrounding water. It’s not as cold as I thought it would be. Compared to Minneapolis, where, when you go outside, it’s as if you’re being assaulted by the cold.

The people are great. Just about everyone. I think the physical aspects of a town affect the inhabitants, and here, the wide streets, the old brick buildings, the harbor, the neighborhoods, the Feng-Shui of the city all make people by and large feel good and project good vibes. Every Baltimorean I’ve talked to loves their town. Many (maybe 50% of ones I’ve talked to) are native-born.

My angels, from Publishers Group West, Elise and Kim

I came here to promote my new homestead book and Thursday night, signed about 100 copies for booksellers from across the country. What a bunch of great people!

Publication date is March 3. You can pre-order at: www.shelterpub.com/building/halfacrehomestead

*When I was 18, I heard this song, by Fats Domino, and it changed my life.

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I’m Heading to Albuquerque Sunday for a Week

I’m going to The Winter Institute, hosted by The American Booksellers Association, which runs from January 22-25, at the Albuquerque Convention Center. I’ll be attending some seminars, and giving out and autographing copies of our (just printed) book, Driftwood Shacks to buyers at the Author Reception, Thursday Jan 24, 5pm to 6:30.

Per my usual M.O., I’m taking off a few days early for some exploring. I’m getting there Sunday, Jan. 20th, thinking of heading south to Truth or Consequences, a town with many hot springs, and exploring small towns like Hillsboro and Kingston and searching the countryside for barns and interesting buildings to photograph.

Anyone have any tips on stuff to do in that part of the world?

Bugs Bunny compilation sent by Doug Armstrong. I’d forgotten about Sounds like the same guy that said:

“There was thoity boids sittin’ on the coib, choipin’ and boipin’ and eatin’ doity woims…”

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Thursday Morning Fish Fry

(The title above based on San Francisco columnist Herb Caen’s 3-dot journalism wrap-ups of recent doings.)

Well!

State of this blog (and my ongoing compulsion to communicate) In the early years of blogging, I put heart and soul into it — a lot of writing. As time has passed, I have a lot less time plus I’ve switched to more photos/less talk. Once in a while, though, I like to explain what’s going on. Life is very rich around here right now. I’m 83 and feel like I’m just getting going. I need a clone or two to do all I want to do.

Books

Driftwood book We just printed out proofs yesterday and I am beyond thrilled. What started as a short-run digital printing for friends has turned into a full fledged book. The book has doubled in size, now includes photos (and words) from my trip along the Lost Coast, and lots of full-bleed photo spreads. I like the small (8½″ by 8½″) format … it’s totally different than all my 9″ by 12″ building books, each with over 1,000 photos. Here the photos are larger, and fewer … here there’s consistency in that all the photos are mine, and Rick has brought out the best in each with his Photoshop skills. … I’m stoked!

Half-Acre Homestead book I’m about to start doing layout.

Galloway’s Book on Running Jeff Galloway has revised his classic book (650,000 copies sold) and we’re starting to put together the 3rd edition. Jeff, a 1972 Olympian, along with Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter, and Kenny Moore, were the first generation of long-haired runners in the ’70s, largely responsible for the running craze that’s still with us. Jeff held the American record for the 10 mile in 1973 (47:49), ran the mile in college at 4:12, and at age 35, ran a marathon in 2:16. He’s also a charismatic teacher and in recent years has popularized the “run-walk-run” method of training.

Stretching, which has sold over 3½ million copies worldwide and is in 23 languages (including Latvian), will have its 40th anniversary issue in 2020. Next year I’ll hang out with Bob and Jean Anderson at their home in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and we’ll put together the new edition.

The ’60s Whenever I get the chance I put up another chapter on this era. They are gathered under the button (above), “The ’60s.” It’ll take maybe a year to get it all posted, and then I might turn it into a book.

Non-profit books I have a bunch of scrapbooks I’m starting to print via the digital, short-run process. The first one is Pop’s Diner, 48 pages, a scrapbook of a 2-week trip I took through the Southwest in my Toyota 4×4, 5-speed, stick shift, 4-cylinder truck in 1989. Remote hot springs in Nevada, backpacking in the Paria Canyon, waterfalls and petroglyphs in Utah, hamburgers at Pop’s Diner in Arizona, and friendly Americans. I worked nights putting together a scrapbook — pasted down 4 by 6 color prints, hand lettered the text, and painted on some of the photos. I had a 2 copies made on a Canon photocopy machine at Krishna Copy in San Francisco (in 1989), paid $100 to have it bound. Print run of two! … I’d either loan it or ship it to friends in a plywood box, and they would return it in a few weeks.… the idea was to take the reader along with me, riding shotgun … when I travel like this, I pretend I have a passenger riding along … it’s a relief to do a “book” like this, with no worries about sales … purely to give to people when I see them.… this one printed by Lightning Source, 40 copies, costs about $6 each.… more to come when I have time…

Publicity

Christopher Ryan Tangentially speaking

L-r: Lloyd, Chris Ryan, Evan Kahn (Evan set up the interview.)

A bunch of stuff lately: Chris Ryan did a one-hour interview of me here for a podcast to be put up soon on his Tangentially Speaking podcast site. A delightful, insightful guy … Surfer’s Journal is doing a feature article on me, probably some time early in 2019. They’re also considering an article on my driftwood shacks photos … this I’m excited about because it’s such a classy publication … I got interviewed by people from a Japanese magazine for an article on wood … they interviewed artist/builder Jay Nelson in San Francisco for the same article, so I’m in good company … Monday I’m getting interviewed about tiny homes by La Leche, an Italian magazine for children … next week I’m getting interviewed by Alan Solomon for a book to be published by Abrams on reclajmed lumber, a subject dear to my heart … I’m doing all this and a bunch of “social media” things to make more people aware of our books.

Check out what Mari Lillestol and Evan are doing with Shelter’s Instagram and Shelter’s blog (the latter different from mine in that it’s focused entirely on building).

Shameless Commerce

I’d prefer that we could just produce books and they’d sell like crazy forever, but it doesn’t work that way. We encourage everyone to patronize independent bookstores (there’s nothing like browsing), but if you ARE going to buy books online, we’re now offering discounts on our website — we’re cheaper than Amazon with 2 books or more, plus free shipping. We’re also setting up to sell the entire “Shelter Library of Building Books” — 7 books —at a 60% discount. They cover the years from 1973 to 2017 … over 7,000 photos. We’re making an effort to get our books out there, so more people will see them. Our website: www.shelterpub.com

Miscellany

Entrance to Shelter’s worldwide headquarters. Wow

Got my 15 HP 2-stroke Evinrude running fine now, going crabbing tomorrow and when I put my two pots out, I’m going looking for a black bear that’s been spotted in the nearby woods, with a telephoto lens … Whole Earth Catalog 50th anniversary party in SFO October 13th, public invited … a lot of us have sent in photos from the ’60s to be on display … Music du jour: Linda Gail Lewis on tour in France: Rockin’ My Life Away: www.youtube.com/ …

Ground control to Major Tom,
Ground control to Major Tom,
Take your protein pills,
and put your helmet on …

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Zoot Suit Lincoln in Brooklyn

Matty Goldberg and I took the Wall Street ferry to Red Hook (Brooklyn); It was about 85 degrees. We wandered around for a while, then got some cold drinks and sat on a door stoop, talking about publishing, books, and printing. We spotted this  Lincoln, which has been identified by a car aficionado (see Maui Surfer’s comment) as a 1957 Lincoln Premiere.

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A Whole New Octave

Years ago I was in the Adolph Gasser photo store in SF and a bike messenger came in. He told the guy behind the counter he’d just had a baby. “It’s a whole new octave, man,” he said. (He was a musician.)

I think of this phrase whenever I’m about to change directions, like about now:

I feel like I’ve finished a cycle with my 7 building books, from Shelter in 1973, up through Small Homes in 2017, each book with over 1,000 photos. I’m working on a new book, to be called something like Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead. I ought to get it out by the end of 2018. Then a new direction.

Small books I have a bunch of maybe-not-for-prime-time books that I want to do. After publishing Driftwood Shacks, an 86-page digitally printed book, I realized that this and other books I want to do are for friends, probably not for bookstore distribution. I want to do these books without worrying about sales, “marketing.” The next one, a shrunk-down copy of a scrapbook I put together 25 years ago, hand-lettered, hand-bound, original 11″ by 14″, 48 pages, called Pop’s Diner, about a trip through the American southwest, hot springs –jeez, I’ve written this all before…us old guys…

I have 200-300,000 photos I’ve shot over the years. A great thing about Google Photos: you download all your photos with GPhotos, then you can go in and do a search for “barns,” or “Baja” and GPhotos will come up with just those photos. Man! How does the computer tell a barn from a house? Beyond me.

Subjects of these books: barns, Baja California Sur, trips in Southeast Asia, motorcycles, facsimiles of scrapbooks I’ve put together over the years, and yes: architecture. Have I said this before?

I’m going to get the homestead book done and then do some of these smaller ones.

Read More …

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On the Road // On the Beach in Sonoma County

I took off from home about noon yesterday, on my way north on Hwy One to Pt. Arena to hang out with with my pal Louie in Pt. Arena and environs.

I’m in midst of publishing 64-pg. book, “Driftwood Shacks,” and about halfway up the coast, spotted a nicely symmetrical tipi-shaped beach shack from a cliff. Whoa! Totally timely. I climbed down the cliff and discovered a strung-out village of maybe 15 beach shacks over a mile and a half, perfect day after rains, good surf, jogging along beach, gulls, turkey buzzards soaring, beach vibes rich in chi.

I think my book just grew another dozen pages. Will be out before year’s end. Digital printing by Ingram’s Lightning Source. Color, 8 by 8”, probably $20. This is a shot of my computer screen this morning.

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