Sometimes You Have to Say it


For the most part, I try to live by the mantra: Show, don’t tell.

But when people ask me questions about the business side of Lost Art Press, I sometimes have to straight up tell people how we work. The following paragraphs might sound like a screed or manifesto. They are not intended as such. They are just an effort to answer people’s frequently asked questions about our business.

Here we go.

John and I started this company by loaning it $2,000 each from our savings accounts to pay for our first press run of “The Art of Joinery” – plus to pay a young kid to design our online shopping cart so we could accept credit cards.

The company paid us back in about three weeks. Since then we’ve never taken a business loan (we have a couple tiny auto loans).

We don’t have investors or benefactors, silent or otherwise.

Our business has never been funded in any way by our spouses. We have never received money – gifts or loans – from family members to fund the company.

We have never sought or received grant money (public or private) to fund any of our research, books or operations. We have never sought or received tax credits or government benefits for Lost Art Press in any form. We simply pay our taxes, and we don’t argue with the accountant.

We have never accepted money or goods from a manufacturer. We pay for our own tools, whether they are digital or steel.

What about the storefront?

I bought the place in 2015 with my own money. It is owned entirely by me, not Lost Art Press. Lost Art Press didn’t pay for my home.

Also good to know: I do not charge Lost Art Press rent. Why would I? John and I are Lost Art Press (yes, I know there are tax issues and the like, but I don’t care).

What about authors?

We treat our authors better than any publishing house I’m aware of. We split all profits 50/50, and our authors receive sizable royalties every quarter (thanks to you, the customer).

I know this is a dumb way to run a modern business. John and I don’t care. We have attempted to structure Lost Art Press so it is nearly impossible to put us out of business while we are alive. And we hope to keep it that way.

Sorry for the overly declarative sentences and lack of animal idioms. All criticisms of our business can be lodged here.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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