I’ve been writing a woodworking blog almost every day since two-thousand-and-good-god five (2005). I pretty much have the hang of it now. And I’m happy with its mix of content, the variety of authors and its “voice,” for lack of a better word.
I have no desire to throw a monkey wrench into the works.
And yet, I’m 54. I have fewer years ahead than behind. And there are things that I desperately want to attempt, as both a writer and a woodworker. So for 2023 I will conduct an experiment. I’ve started a blog called “The American Peasant” on Substack.
If you’ve never heard of Substack, it’s a blogging platform that offers a paywall and is writer-friendly.
“The American Peasant” is the working title of my next book, and the blog will document its development in weird and somewhat dark detail. I’ll be posting the process behind the process. Draft chapters. All the construction drawings and SketchUp files and cutting lists I make for the projects in the book. All the dead ends that have no place in the book but are interesting to visit. The tools I am developing and modifying for this book. Plus the raw research – how I find information, chew it up and poop it into a book. Also, all the business decisions (and mistakes) that go into making a book in the hardest way possible.
I’m sure you have questions.
Q: Why not just post all this stuff here on this blog?
A: I want this blog to carry forward as it is. What I’ll be writing on “The American Peasant” will be raw, personal and less polished. The reader might encounter naughty words. Difficult ideas. And Unfiltered Schwarz. Here’s a concrete example: This book began when I took some psychedelic mushrooms on a German farm. Lost Art Press should appeal to a large swath of woodworkers. “The American Peasant” will not. For the first month or so, “The American Peasant” will be free for everyone so you can figure out if it’s for you.
Q: Why put it behind a paywall?
A: “The American Peasant” will be a lot of work for me. We try to give away as much information as possible at Lost Art Press for free. And we pay our authors generous royalties that are unheard of in corporate publishing. That’s why I have to teach classes and sell furniture – to make ends meet in my household. In other words, Lost Art Press is not some cash cow. The revenue from “The American Peasant” will go into the coffers at Lost Art Press to continue to support the difficult way we do business. Plus, I think the content will be well worth it.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: I’m still working on that. Probably $5 a month.
Q: How does it work?
A: It’s an email subscription service. Once you subscribe, you’ll get an email containing the entire entry every time I post. You’ll also be able to search the archives of past entries.
Q: You said this is an “experiment.” What does that mean?
A: This might fall flat. If it’s not worth the effort, I’ll pull the plug after a year, and readers will get a refund.
Q: When will it begin?
— Christopher Schwarz