Where was this one when I needed it?
Where was this one when I needed it?
Can’t see the video? Watch it here→
Took the family to Houston last weekend to see some new Wayne White paintings. (Owen’s first art show!) While we were there, we stopped at the terrific Brazos Bookstore. The folks there were super nice and asked me to be part of #FirstLineVine—so I read the first line of Steal Like An Artist. Shortest bookstore reading ever!
“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
Anybody who tells people to “do what you love no matter what” should also have to teach a money management course.
Low overhead + “do what you love” = a good life.
“I deserve nice things” + “do what you love” = a time bomb.
A good life is not about living within your means, it’s about living below your means.
When Instapaper creator Marco Arment was asked about his business model, he said, “I sell an app for money, then I spend less than I make.” Sell something for money, spend less than you make. Is there a better model?
“The trick is,” film executive Tom Rothman says, “from the business side, to try to be fiscally responsible so you can be creatively reckless.”
The 80s underground band The Minutemen used to call this “jamming econo.” They knew the music they wanted to make would probably never be mainstream, so they kept their day jobs, made their records for cheap, learned how to fix their own tour van, and hauled their own equipment.
Live frugally so you can do the work you want to do. Save up some “screw you” money, so you can quit a job you hate to take a job you like better. Turn away venture capital money and bootstrap so you can keep control over your business.
To “jam econo” might not be the flashiest way of life, but it’s the best way to stay free.
This week my publisher sent me author copies of the Czech, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, and Turkish editions of Steal Like An Artist. (For some reason, the Spanish publisher hasn’t sent us copies yet.)
You can find out more about all the translations available here.
It’s very strange to have versions of your book that you can’t actually read.
Translation is always a creative challenge, but probably more so for Steal, which is a book not just full of writing, but pictures of writing.
I never made a font of my handwriting (all the headers in the book are a scan of my actual writing), so the foreign designers had to start from scratch.
Some of the publishers had an illustrator swap out words in the blackout poems so it would make sense:
The Dutch publisher, Lannoo, actually went to the trouble of finding different signs for the de-sign pages:
I’m not sure whether the Japanese publisher’s choice to switch the red accent color to a lime green was a purely aesthetic choice or if red has some meaning in Japan that I’m unfamiliar with. Their edition has a cool dust jacket with nothing but the arrowhead man on the cover of the actual book:
We’ve sold the rights in several other languages, but I should note that I have next-to-nothing to do with the foreign editions, so I don’t really know in advance when they’re going to drop. I’ll announce new editions on Twitter when they do: @austinkleon
Folks ask me a lot for signed copies of Steal — the demand is just a little to high for me to handle myself, but the good folks at BookPeople, one of my favorite indie bookstores right here in Austin, TX, have offered to keep a bunch of signed copies in stock. (Yesterday I signed almost 100 copies!) Each one comes signed with the little arrowhead man doodle. You can order in store or online — they even ship overseas.
Here’s video of “Steal Like A Writer,” a talk I gave back in June at Cleveland’s Weapons of Mass Creation festival. It’s sort of a remix of the ideas in Steal Like An Artist geared towards designers, musicians, and anybody who wants to get better at writing. Here’s the original description:
No matter what your discipline, it’s hard to get any good work done without clear, straightforward communication. Simply put, being a good writer makes you better at your job. Using a few school supplies, a little visual thinking, and a whole lot of creative theft, this talk will help get you started on the way towards becoming a wordsmith.
Here’s the remixed list of ten:
And here are the slides:
And here are the links to the recommended reading:
It was a fun talk to give and a really nice audience — thanks to Joseph Hughes and the folks at WMCFest for having me.
A few things I thought a lot about while on the road touring behind Steal Like An Artist:
Look, if you’re lucky enough to have a publisher that sends you on book tour, they’re sending you out there to do one thing: sell books.
A lot of writers don’t like to think of the commerce side of what they do, and to them I say: look at the back cover of your book. See that fucking barcode? That’s a product. Products need to be sold.
You may not want to be in sales, but the quicker you can embrace the role, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the better you’ll get at it.
Unless you wrote a shitty book, you have something every salesman dreams of: a product you believe in. Don’t be shy. Sell the thing.
I use a large Moleskine sketchbook because it has heavy bristol-like pages that don’t tear, it’s big enough to stick a boarding pass in the pages, and it has an envelope flap in the back for travel receipts.
I’m on the move a lot, so I don’t have a lot of time to sketch while I’m walking around, but I do have time to collage when I’m back in the hotel room, so I’ve started carrying transparent tape, Japanese Washi tape that my wife gave me, and a pair of safety scissors (TSA says under 4 inches is okay).
Read more about the Steal Across America tour→
I just finished up my book tour promoting Steal Like An Artist. This is the last entry in the tour diary…
Started out with a kind of homecoming talk at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas, with a packed house. It was crazy thinking about how much has changed since the last time I talked at Bookpeople…
Hopped a plane to Denver, spent a lot of time at the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum, then I drove over to Boulder to talk at the Boulder Book Store. Didn’t get to spend much time in Boulder, but the few hours I did spend there were really nice.
Stayed a night in Columbus so I could get to see Corey Gillen, my best friend of 15 or so years, drum with Josh Krajcik at a sold-out show at the Newport. Awesome night.
Next morning my Mom drove me to Cleveland to give a talk at the Weapons of Mass Creation Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, I had to hop on a plane to Chicago, but I got to see my good buddies John and Chris.
In Chicago, I drank beer on my friend James’ stoop, then the next morning I went to the Art Institute and then participated in a panel at the Printer’s Row festival.
And then it was home to Texas. It’s been a wild couple of months and I’m still processing it all. Glad to not be in motion for a bit. Thanks to everybody who made this tour so great!
Had a nutty week in Manhattan at the end of May: we celebrated my wife’s 30th birthday, walked the wonderful High Line, had a lovely, bourbon-soaked dinner at my friend Lauren’s place, gave a talk at the Foursquare and 20×200 offices, ate at Szechuan Gourmet (some of my favorite Chinese food, ever), led an awesome panel with my friends Maud, Maria, and Maris at McNally Jackson, celebrated Steal‘s success and Boom’s impending arrival with my friends at Workman, and gave a talk at the agency 360i. Crazy couple of days…too much, really. Also: it was HOT.