Support your community, so your community can continue to be of support to you.
Morpheus Ravenna, of Banshee Arts and the Shieldmaiden blog, is writing a book on the Morrigan, and devotion to her in history and in modern polytheism. Morpheus is an artist, scholar, and priest of the Morrigan with a solid grounding in history and current practices. She’s been working with Coru Cathubodua to bring this devotion to modern Pagans.
It’s called The Book of the Great Queen, and she has an IndieGoGo page for it. The campaign reached their first funding goal within 72 hours, and now they’re working on their stretch goals. If you’re at all interested in the Morrigan, in Celtic paganism grounded in reality, or in the growth of modern polytheism, you should consider tossing a few bucks her way.
When I was working in an occult bookstore, customers kept asking us where they could find “advanced” books. This is where the advanced books come from: individuals of passion who are willing to forgo more steady-paying work in order to try and share what they know with others. And seeing as one can’t pay the rent with draft copies of one’s devotionals, they sometimes need a little help to keep things going.
Pagan and Occult publishing is a very small market, and while there are plenty of folks who want more, there aren’t enough who are able to pay for it. So the big (relative to the market) publishers keep the lights on by turning out 101 books, spell recipe books, and so on.
There are an increasing number of small presses taking advantage of the technology available for e-books and small-run, print-on-demand services to meet this need; Concrescent Press, who will publish The Book of the Great Queen, is one. We’re so used to the benefits of economies of scale that we sometimes forget about them. When the costs and risks of publishing can be spread across hundreds of titles and sold to thousands of readers, it becomes easier for a publisher to carry a wide variety of titles, and for them to use the sales of widely popular mid-list titles to subsidize the smaller runs of more specialized titles.
Modern Pagans lose sight of how few we really are. According to one source, there were only about 768,400 of us in the United States in the year 2000. We’ve been growing fast, but I’d be surprised to find that the number is more than two million now. This is still less than one percent of the national population, spread out over the whole country. We’re just not big enough for economies of scale to kick in to the extent that we can just expect that someone, sometime, will get around to publishing what we need. On our scale, this means that our publishers can’t pay the kinds of advances that allow authors to take time off and focus everything on finishing their books.
It means that we have to give these authors and these publishers more support than just being willing to pay the cover price when something eventually gets published. It means that we have to chip in a bit of effort, a bit of cash, and a chunk of gratitude. We have to support our authors, so our authors can afford to write the books we need.