What? A Book? Yes.

This was a plan forever now, but now I found a time to finalize it. It still take probably a year more (I hope I am not too optimistic), but now I am on the right track.

I set up a corner in my workshop for the photo shoots (I still need lights), I started to photo my tools and figured out how I want to use them. The next step is to make the illustrations for the pattern-making section, which is a huge amount of work.

Did I mention, that after dealing with publishers, I decided to be my own publisher? Well, I know… It might be challenging, but it seems they don’t believe in this they way I do. I know, shoemaking is not a teenage vampire story, so probably not that many people will buy it, but still. It is a must. I need to put everything I know into books to preserve it – I have no right to keep it.

I still have questions to answer:

– how should I price it? Being an economist I am well aware that the costs don’t matter, only the demand. There is not much demand – compared those vampire stories, but… it is a special market, and people needs something to guide them. So: will they be able/and want to pay over 50 dollars? Maybe even 75? I try to keep the price low, so everybody can afford and they not end up photocopy this. (and if they do – better to do it with my book, than others right?)

– It is a huge investment from our income. Not if my wife wouldn’t support it 100% – just like everything I came up with but still… I need to stop taking orders for a month or so, I need to spend 8 hours in the workshop beside teaching (and other 6 hours), we need to invest to lights, a better computer, (we already bought a camera last year), I need to create 200-300 illustrations, in approx. 1-1,5 hours per one, translation (I can’t write everything in English), correcting, DTP, … and I did not even mention printing, which is a big cost. Most probably the easiest and most cost cost effective way is China. After all we will invest several thousands dollars in actual money and way more in work without being sure it will even come back.

– I am not sure how much should I put into one book and how much I should reserve to others. I believe I can fill up 256 pages easily. That is just a few basic and some advanced construction, pattern basics, etc. On the other hand I know way more. I have books, which will never be published anymore – that information shouldn’t be lost too and should be translated finally to English. I am considering to publish a 2 parts book… still not decided yet.

The good news, I have the table of content and I got all positive feedbacks from professionals I asked with minor suggestions for changes, so it is coming along. Thanks for all the support and hopefully in a year or so, we can all happily use this book!

24 thoughts on “What? A Book? Yes.

  1. Cost is a big consideration. I would like to see a set of books, so the knowledge can be bought as the need arises.

    I think the first should be enough basic info that a person could make a basic shoe for themselves and/or their family. That would be the hook and would lead to more people buying the books and more people buying supplies and tools and thus ensuring that they stay available as well as the knowledge. This could also be the basic textbook for courses in shoemaking.

    Many who would like to try shoe making also have limited financial resources. There is not much out their at the moment, except for the books from Australia.

    We are seeing a big MAKER movement in the US now with more people wanting to make things themselves and teach their children how to as well.

  2. There are never enough good shoemaking books. I applaud your efforts and plan to buy at least one copy of each book.

  3. I would love to see your book! Sadly, I rarely spend much on books. However, I would probably have to purchase yours.

  4. Book for shoemaking from Hungary already is there from Vass. Why will you make another such book, this book is the best.

      1. I feel there is so much more to learn beyond the Vass book, why limit things? I’m really excited to see what you come out with as many others will be. Great news!

  5. Who will be the audiance for your book, professionals or amateurs? Will there be sufficient details for students, or will you skip over some of the basic?

  6. If Mischa Bartoff is speaking of Handmade Shoes for Men by Laszlo Vass, I agree the book is a great introduction to shoemaking with beautiful photographs and overview information.

    I am understanding that Marcell is working on an instructional work with patterns and techniques to help shoemakers who may have little access to direct instruction. And to record information that does not exist in written form. A detailed text book to study and learn for those involved in shoemaking. Is this correct Marcell?

  7. Marcell, I’ve payed for the book of Tim Skyrme with shipping cost included, something about 140€. So, go for it man, because the energy that drives you is so powerful that it’s a pity to canalize it into another direction. And I don’t wish you good luck because in my opinion luck is something that it’s built… so, you will have! 🙂

  8. Good luck on your shoe making books. I have tried the conventional route for a couple of novels I have written but have now also decided to go the self publish route as well 🙂

  9. I think a book is a great idea, where I am from its hard to get knowledge like you have obtained without traveling to major cities so a series which can be used as a study aid is very beneficial. Looking forward to when I can own a copy of your books.

  10. Hi!
    I am new to your blog and since yesterday I am reading everythinng I can.
    I am a new/wanna-be shoemaker.
    So far I have just attended an intense 3-weeks apprentinceship last summer and am trying to go on on my own as I can but I realize how difficult it is with limited resources and without a master helping me out in my learning process.
    I’ve been looking for a good book/manual for a while now, somewhere to find some answers to the million questions coming up every day during my attempts of solo shoe-making.
    Is your book out yet?
    I haven’t found informations about it anywhere.
    Thanks for your time and keep up with the amazing work!


  11. Authentic shoemaking books are rare and costly. Many are very old and hard to find. There is one fairly new one by an Australian that I found and reviewed. It wasn’t very explicit or helpful.

    I suggest that before you begin your book you consider that it might be better as a series. Shoemaking is your career and your life’s passion. You are the keeper of the craft. All of knowledge will not fit in one book. I would plan several years in advance a series so you can keep the craft alive.

    Technical books and textbooks are sold at prices over $100. Yours will be certainly worth the cost. I would find out your budget and base the cost on that. You should make a profit on your experience and labor.

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