Patricia Van den Akker crowdfunded a craft book and told us how in seminar “The Birth of a book: Dream Plan Do” at Xponorth 2017 festival.
- “Writing the book was the easy bit”
- “Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time”
- “Marry a graphic designer”
When I heard Patricia begin to speak, my heart sank as she spoke English with a Continental accent – I was concerned this might make her not so easy to understand or listen to. But she turned out to be terrifically engaging, a good sense of humour and fairly indomitable.
Anyone who thinks writing a book is a lovely little dreamy state will benefit from her practical insights. At the beginning, she asked for a show of hands of who in the room were makers/crafters and who would describe themselves as writers. She had a good mix of both. I wonder what would have happened if she asked at the end if the writers now felt less likely to produce a book. She was very clear on the challenges:
Don’t wait for the right time
At the time she wrote the book,
- there was an extension being built on her house in London – which was meant to take weeks but took months of work, so she was working on the book all that time in a noisy construction site
- Brexit happened – and she is a European national
- the American election took place near the end of the crowdfunding date – the dollar was anticipated to plummet in value if Trump became President and she was anxious that this would not affect her crowdfunding (the dollar value was stable)
Marry a Graphic Designer
She had done so. There is a great deal of design and layout with a book – and of course hers was a craft book, and therefore style and visual layout was key.
Writing the book was the easy bit
Perhaps surprisingly, a great deal of the effort was in distribution. The books weigh 800 grammes each and she had hundreds to distribute. Quite a logistical problem as she doesn’t drive. Multiple taxis and trips to the post office were involved.
Other tasks were displayed in an intimidatingly long list on a slide: (a few of these tasks relate to the crowdfunding)
The task she found particularly intimidating was being interviewed on video – her brain just went blank. In person, however, she is very likeable and an engaging presenter.
Patricia planned the book for 3 months – but the writing of it took a small part of the whole project and was easy for her to write because of her interests.
You can see more information on her organization (including the dreaded video) over at