Monday, December 15, 2014

The Times, They Are a'Changin...

...and they have been, for the publishing industry, for some time.  Just got word that Sierra Club is going out of the publishing business to focus on their other missions.  Publishing has changed, a LOT, in the past 10-15 years, and they're not the only book publisher to disappear...


They had a great run, and a LONG one, with many, many wonderful books by some elegant, eloquent writers over the years.  I was very glad to be in that august company, and happy with the books I did with them--it was a wonderful experience.



The internet has impacted a lot of publishers, both of books and of magazines; it's a tough business these days; several of the publishers of my natural history books are no more.  (I'm more than grateful North Light/F & W is still around and going strong.)

 Sketching in Nature's been out of print for some time, though it had a great run--hardcover and softcover, with revisions and multiple reprints. I loved doing it...

Painting in Nature came out in 2000 and did very well too...3 print runs are not at all bad! 

The latter book was very meaningful to me; I was working on it when my first husband Harris fell ill, and when he died.  It came out a year or so after, and there are many sweet, poignant memories held within those pages.  We sat together in the woods and I painted while he read or napped...we picnicked by the lake while I drew...he was always supportive, and always proud of what I did.

My dear friend Judy Gehrlein, a wonderful artist and sketching buddy, went with me on many of the field trips--those memories are held between the pages as well.


In 2005, I was invited to speak to Sierra Club's first International Gathering in San Francisco on field sketching; it was the first time my beloved Joseph and I were alone together as well.  What a trip THAT was!  Between my stage fright and the snafus with technical issues like laptops and slide projectors and the Powerpoint presentation that J. put together for me, running late, miscommunications, and...stage fright, did I mention stage fright??  (More like terror...)

For a while there it looked as if I'd be speaking to an auditorium of a couple of hundred people with nothing but my sketchbook and a microphone.  (Thank goodness we had a couple of days to wind down after that and explore that beautiful city!)

Jim Cohee was the best editor anyone could ever have...I loved working with him, and loved finally meeting him in 2005.  Gentle, funny, talented, inspiring...the best, yep.  He's writing books of his own, now!  Just saw The Swan, on Amazon...

Lots of warm memories...

Still, it's a sad day when one of the Old Lions goes away.  You'll be missed, Sierra Club. Thanks for the wild, wonderful ride.


16 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear that. Books are so important. I can't imagine electronic books taking over and never holding a book in hand again. Of course I can't imagine a world without handwritten letters, either. I am going the way of the dinosaur!

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  2. I know, Rita! They won't be doing books at all, unfortunately, eBooks either. You know, before too long we'll need scribes again, to read historic documents, old letters, journals and such...

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  3. Sorry to hear that. They did good work. I've worked in publishing for nearly 25 years. When I started freelancing as an indexer 16 years ago I could hardly keep up with the job offers. These days I have much more time on my hands (and less money in my pocket). While many work colleagues have been laid off, I don't see books completely going away.....although I agree that one day we will need scribes!

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    1. They did indeed...for 60 + years, I believe. And I hear you, my income dropped drastically over the past 10 years. We're doing all right, but wow...

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  4. I have both the Sierra Club offerings of yours Kate..they changed my life! My hubby bought the first one, and I devoured it in one weekend..I HAD to have the 2nd book....so I was able to obtain it at Sierra Club. I have completed many wonderful sketchbooks since...and learned so much from these books!! Thank you Kate!!

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  5. That's sad! The library I work at has "painting in nature" I've checked it out a few times. Things have changed so much. Instead of offering around fifty new books every two months we have to share the budget with movies and e books.

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    1. I agree, Caroline! I believe I will take the chance to buy the remaining inventory so it will at least be available for a while! And yes, I know libraries are hurting too...

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  6. I have and treasure both of those books. I love my Kindle for fiction but neither it or a tablet are good for this kind of reading.

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    1. I agree, art books just need to be the real thing! Thank you...

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  7. Yes, I agree Kate. I've been illustrating books for over 20 years now and I've seen so many publishers disappear over the years. Today, it's hard to make a living from a production stand point. Almost all the jobs paging books have been moved to India and the publishers are cutting every corner to save money. My poor editors are overwhelmed with work because they keep laying people off. I'm sad to hear that Sierra Club is also dissapearing.

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    1. I know, Richard! Anyone not involved in publishing may not realize how many book publishers and imprints have gone out of business or been swallowed by conglomerates. The quality of printing is definitely now what it used to be, and so many books are forced into a mold. I don't enjoy it as I used to...the the Sierra Club books were MARVELOUS.

      (And yes about laying people off and editors, etc., having to wear a variety of hats!)

      If I didn't teach online I'd be hard put to make a living now.

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  8. Sketching in Nature was the first drawing book I ever worked with! I loved your style + voice. You were so clearly present in those pages. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    Peace keep you in this new year!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words.

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  9. Just now seeing this post. Those two books were how I first made your acquaintance, Kate, back when they were first published. For many years one or the other of them was always in my car, so that I would always have something inspiring to read wherever I was. I learned so much from them, and was overjoyed when I found you on facebook and was able to continue learning from you.

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