The most ambitious book I've had the pleasure of editing is, hands down, Donna Druchunas's and June Hall's Lithuanian Knitting. Born of a mutual fascination with and personal dedication to the knitting traditions of this Eastern European country, the book is equal parts memoir, historical overview, and celebration of folk craft, and of course it contains a trove of knitting patterns and technique-related information.
In addition to releasing an ebook version, as per the usual self-publishing path, Donna and June want to have a hard-cover version printed in Lithuania, to support the local economy of the place so dear to them. To accomplish that expensive goal, they've recently launched a Pubslush crowdfunding campaign.
It's such an unusual decision – to have a book printed in a faraway place not known globally for printing (like China is), and to crowdfund a book (which has certainly been done before, and after all it's what Pubslush is entirely dedicated to, but it's still not common practice) – that I asked Donna if she'd answer some questions about it. Here's what she had to say:
KPW: First, tell me a little bit about the book.
DC: Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions is a travel-memoir-history-knitting book! Together with my co-author June Hall, I've created a book that tells our stories of traveling around the country were some of our ancestors were born learning about the people and culture all through knitting. We both have been to Lithuania many times and over the years have made many friends who have helped us find amazing information about traditional and contemporary knitting, textiles, sheep, wool, and folk art. It's been the experience of a lifetime working on this project. Along with all of the stories, there are 25 projects to knit, including mittens, gloves, wrist warmers, and socks.
Why did you decide to use Pubslush instead of self-publishing in a more traditional manner (print-on-demand, etc.)?
I'm publishing this book in partnership with Double Vision Press (Anne Berk) and will be having the book printed in Lithuania with the funds from Pubslush. Pubslush is simply a crowdfunding tool like Kickstarter, but it's only for books! I don't use print-on-demand because for the various options available either a) I don't like the quality or b) the cost per book is too high. By working with a regular book printer, I can keep costs down per book and get the best possible quality. I am having this book printed in Lithuania with a very Eastern European style of design, and cover. Our art director is also in Lithuania.
What’s your experience with Pubslush been like? Do you find the platform easy to use? How are people responding to the campaign?
It's great. The folks at Pubslush are so helpful and I've had a great response to the campaign so far. It's only just started today and I'm thrilled by the early contributions and feedback in the comments.
I know the campaign has only just launched, but do you think you’ll use Pubslush again? Is it better suited to certain kinds of projects over others? Would you recommend it? And if you would, to whom?
I'm not sure. I mean, I would definitely recommend Pubslush. But the books I'm working on right now for the future are either with a publisher or they're part of my Stories In Stitches series, which has a different cycle. If I ever did another big self-published book, I would definitely go with Pubslush for my launch.
I learned so much editing this book. Whether you're already interested in Lithuania or Lithuanian knitting or not, I think you'll enjoy it too. Check it out!