We are excited, thrilled, and quite frankly honoured to be publishing Viable Self-Sufficiency - The Ultimate Guide to Living off the Land. Written by committed long-time smallholders, Tim and Dot Tyne, this book is the most comprehensive guide to living off the land since John Seymour’s seminal The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, published forty years ago in 1976, and will be equally as inspiring to a new generation of self-supporters in a new century.
This thorough and detailed 432-page manual covers all aspects of self-sufficiency, bringing the subject completely up to date, and each of the extensive sections is underpinned by the practicalities of managing your land and household to maximise the return, with the ultimate goal of making your smallholding both sustainable and financially viable, as well as giving you the lifestyle you long for.
Aimed at both current and prospective smallholders, and anyone who appreciates the goals of a self-sufficient life, Viable Self-Sufficiency will instruct and inspire, enabling readers to draw upon the authors’ vast and extensive expertise of running a successful smallholding in North Wales to learn what can be realistically achieved, and also, equally importantly, what’s just not worth doing.
Well, many books have been published over the last decade with the term ‘self-sufficiency’ slipped into the title, often with the implication that all it takes is keeping a few chickens, making jam and installing a couple of solar panels. This rose-tinted view, often based on the unrealistic ‒ at least for most of us ‒ business plan of selling off your London pad or winning the lottery in order to drop out and do your thing, misses much of the day to day reality of such a venture. Dot and Tim’s highly personal account of self-sufficiency acknowledges the sacrifices that must be made in order to achieve such a goal, while simultaneously celebrating the immense benefits gained in the trade-off. Rest assured, their version of the ‘good life’ comes complete with muck-encrusted wellies, very long hours, and hands that have clearly been anything but workshy.
Tim and Dot firmly believe that smallholding should be regarded as a genuine career option, and one to be entered into at any age, not just as an option for downsizing in later life. Having done this themselves, straight after leaving university, they know full well that it is achievable, and how to succeed. Throughout the book they keep it real, walking a fine tightrope between the realistic and the inspirational because, as the late, great John Seymour said of his own book ‒ this is for dreamers and realists.
Viable Self-Sufficiency - The Ultimate Guide to Living off the Land is due for publication on 17th May 2016, with a planned launch at The Royal Welsh Spring Festival.
ISBN 978-190487-1927 | Hardback | Full colour | Photographs and diagrams throughout | 432 pages
Now here's the crunch.
We are not a massive publishing house (although what we lack in size we make up for with drive and passion), and this is not yet another book to be printed in huge numbers overseas with a celebrity on the cover, and to be sold as cheap as chips via discount outlets or bookshop chains. It is a high quality, full colour, thoroughly researched, substantial book which will have a relatively short initial print run of just 4000 copies. It is also being printed in the UK, in Scotland by Bell & Bain, one of the very last remaining printers of hardback, colour books left in this country, and this is important. We just can't get our head around the concept of printing a book which advocates sustainability, then going off and printing it half way around the globe, and possibly sacrificing our own printing industry in the process.
Printing is a costly and highly-skilled business. Colour printing costs, quality paper costs, and giving a serious book the hardback cover it deserves costs too. We are editing, proofing, designing and setting the book ourselves, as we did with Tim’s previous book, the very well-received The Sheep Book for Smallholders. This will save on otherwise expensive and prohibitive pre-press costs. We have commissioned, and already paid for, the painting used for the front cover by talented artist, Jenny Beck, but we consider this a worthwhile investment ‒ after all, people do still judge a real book by its cover… despite all the best advice against it.
And then there are the inevitable marketing costs. Of course we shall be using our magazine, Home Farmer, and its broad social media reach, and we shall be attending many specialist shows and events to promote it too, but there are other magazines on whose pages we need to get this book reviewed, together with all the influential bloggers out there, and finally, we also realise that it must be picked up and reviewed by at least a couple of the major broadsheets or tabloids if it is ever to achieve its true potential to inspire the next generation of self-supporters. But this all takes time, and somebody to bang on the doors of the London media types to get them to sit up and take notice. In other words, it will require a few additional shillings as we shall have to buy in that expertise, together with their address book!
To sum up, whilst the money sought will not cover all the costs of printing and PR, it will certainly go a long way towards covering them. This will make this valuable and important book a reality for the next generation of smallholders and small-scale farmers intent on carrying out their ventures in a sustainable manner, and for the book to be completed here in the UK, with sustainability at the very heart of the entire project, not just the words.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest restraint will be time. Working on a monthly magazine doesn't give Paul and myself many breaks, and the authors both have full-time jobs being smallholders, so all four of us will be working round the clock for the next 6 weeks to get this book printer-ready. This will be a challenge, but Paul and I have had plenty of training over the last 12 years of running our own business, and Tim and Dot go and chop wood for relaxation - need I say more?
The next challenge will certainly be raising costs for the printing. Home Farmer is a small publishing business, with external funding required for a major project such as this. We believe, however, that to not see the project through due to these restraints would be both defeatist and in contrast to the spirit of defiance and achievement that the book conveys.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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