I am looking for a platform on which to sell my artisan books. I don’t want to use Amazon anymore. You’re mad, I can hear you say. Amazon has a mailing list of a billion, or something like that. Why wouldn’t you use them?
I don’t want to use them for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them: I’m an idealist, a romantic, an old-school type of person. I hate cheapness, mass-market produced anything. I love beauty and hand-made ‘things’, items that have the essence of human love behind them. Amazon depresses me. Everything on there appears to me mass-market, cheap, nasty, its reputation diluted by being on that platform.
I need artisan in my life.
I used to run a small erotic press back in the 90s – yes, in that time pre-Internet. It was a quieter world of creative experimentation.
I started the press – called 8d – and produced four little chapbooks with my creative partner.
I designed the books – by hand – drew out how I wanted to be fashioned – in pen and ink – then asked a graphic designer to produce a template for the books on his computer using my designs.
I then asked a university publisher to print the pages, and in two of the books I collated the pages myself and sealed them with green ribbon. In the others I had them perfect bound – meaning sealed with a glued spine.
The layout of the books was done in hard-copy format, left-hand page, right-hand page – all set by me on A4 sheets as a reference.
I chose the heaviness of the paper and the style of the paper – 80gsm in sepia. I chose the font and the look of the whole thing. I numbered each book myself, printing only 500 copies of each, so each copy was sacred.
I loved doing this. It filled my soul. It took a lot of time, but the happiness was in the journey not just the destination.
I recently got an email that CreateSpace (Amazon’s publishing arm) is going to cease to exist and my books on this platform: The Zephyr, The Unforgiven and After Rafaela will go into ‘draft’ form if I do not move the over to CreateSpace’s new platform – Kindle Publishing (or whatever name they are giving it).
I don’t like the look and feel of CreateSpace’s print novels. They feel and look cheap to me – mass-produced and quite nasty. I don’t make money from my print novels, so I have got nothing to lose pulling them from Amazon.
It also got me thinking, I need to find a new way and look at bringing back the artisan look of my books – try to replicate what I did with 8d back in the 90s, in Australia.
There will be no money in it – that I know – but the artisan nature of it all will bleach out my depression at being one of specks of nothing in the Amazon universe.
I am looking at printers who will help me and ways of selling my books directly myself through my website.
If anyone has any tips or advice to offer please get in touch. I want artisan everything. I want to make things ‘by hand’ as much as possible and revel in the journey, not just the destination. Even if an element of my path is techno-fed, I want to take back control of the creative element of what I produce.