Nothing frustrates me more than the smoke and mirrors of marketing.
There is no greater culprit than social media and magazines (I can attest to that after years in the front row). Apps to change colors, make people skinnier, dedicated social media corners in otherwise messy homes and carefully curated ‘editorial’ that coincidentally showcases advertisers products…these are all ‘games’ I’ve seen played in the industry over the 20 years I’ve worked in marketing and media.
13 years ago, I started a little magazine in my hometown. It was sold a few years ago now, but it makes me very proud to still see it on the shelves today. When I started my second magazine, nine years ago, I was determined to keep it ‘real’ – no photoshopping, no excessive styling (making a bed or fluffing a pillow was OK, but that’s about as far as we went) – and I think I was living in a bit of a bubble as to how bad it was getting out there amongst even the most every day of people.
When I sold that second magazine, I was lucky to score a book deal with a small publisher.
How fun! I thought. I will just get to focus on creating great content, and I don’t have to worry about the rest. However, my concepts – about ‘real life’ were not received well and when I was asked to use a ‘stock shot’ (that’s a photo bought from a library of cataloged images) instead of the using an image that actually related to the piece, I knew it was time to make a move…and possibly head back to doing things my way.
So, Of The World Books was born.
I wanted to show readers that a perfectly curated ‘insta-room’ wasn’t the answer to happiness and that the best way to live is the way that suits YOU. My first three Homes Of The World books covered a variety of people living their dream. From a literal tin shed in Seychelles to an architecturally designed retreat in the Scottish Highlands…it’s all perfect if it’s what really makes your heart sing.
Later, I collaborated with a talented writer to explore artist’s homes and studios – if anyone knows how to live in a way that makes someone happy and creative, it’s those guys.
Food was next – after seeing a photographer friend work with a food stylist who carefully ‘built’ the perfect lasagna from cardboard and pins and fake cheese, I wanted to show that great tasting food doesn’t have to be styled within an inch of its life (and that terrible chefs, like me, have half a chance of recreating a new recipe if they’re game!)
Of The World Books has extended, over the last three years, to include two additional imprints (Fiosracht Press – Fiosracht is Gaelic for curiosity and wisdom – covers food, advice, and learning; and Accidental Publishing, for fiction) and an exciting 13 titles with nine more planned already for 2019. It’s a wonderful world we live in, where email and digital communication allows us to meet and discover people from all over the globe, and where a small independent publisher has the chance to create something real and share it with anyone and everyone!