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This post and all other posts on our website are snippets from Firth's writings on Substack.

How I finished my new book

But it is the numerical reality of my techno-social platforms that stand stalwart against publishing. Today, it seems, it matters more who you are than what you can do, can give. 

Hello, dear reader,

This morning, it appears that I have completed my next book. What an exciting thing it is to stumble upon—a new book, a new life writ in the bloody grit of words. It is four times longer than my previous book and it is only the first book in a trilogy—what we are calling The Wildland Chronicles.

The book covers nearly fifteen years of our rewilding journey here at Timshel Wildland—a pioneering and kincentric rewilding landscape—and is a blend of mythology, story, and science.

I started writing the book August last and spent the majority of the autumn and early winter begging publishers and agents to want it. It felt like high school all over again. “Please, like me!” I moaned. “Look at me! I am cool, right?”

No one liked me. No one thought I was cool. Not enough to go to the dance, at least.

They loved the book though! One publisher wrote back after reading the two first chapters, “This is perhaps the best manuscript, from a writing perspective, we have ever received. The way you weave story and science in some complete narrative, it is wonderful.” I was delighted. Good books have good writing in them, you know. But then they told me that I should work on my Instagram following and query them when I have at least 30,000 followers. I have 1,500 and I only wanted 15.

I looked online. I could buy packets of 10,000 followers at a time. It would cost me around $400 total to get to the publisher’s needed 30,000. But I did not have $400 to spend and so we moved on.

One agent commented that “this book has the ability to change the world in some pivotal way.” I was delighted. Good books have the proclivity to change things, deeply, you know. But then they told me that my “platform” was not as big as it needed to be in order to change the world. I responded, “That is strange, I didn’t know platforms could grow arms and legs or could anything at all.” I never heard back from them. I wouldn’t like me either after that.

My indie-authored books of the past four years have won many awards, lived atop Amazon’s charts, and have sold dozens of thousands of copies apiece. But it is the numerical reality of my techno-social platforms that stand stalwart against publishing. Today, it seems, it matters more who you are than what you can do, can give. And, today, it seems, who you are is a matter of technology not virtue, of positioning not worth, of taking not giving.

And so I wrote the book anyways and will soon have some big news for you all! In place of publishers, we gathered a community around the writing project and have met twice a week every week for the past few months, developing the thoughts and visions for this great project together. The actual “publishing” or “printing” of this book will require the same emergence of community. More on that later…

Writing is often a work of silent filtration through long and sustained filaments, strings, intention, and accidents. Anyone who reads anything knows that sometimes the best somethings are found through accidental stumblings at local, used bookshops or forgotten library shelves. Nearly a decade spent filling the accidental cauldron of research and chance combines to make a book and I pray that this one will be impactful to you, platforms be dammed.

That is my hope. My hope at the very least and also at the very most.

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