“Individually, we are whispers. Collectively, we are a scream.” ~ Books & Shovels
Today I bring you an interview with Books & Shovels founder Jeremiah Walton. Jeremiah’s vibrant personality caught my attention from the word go, and I believe that, if anyone can make a success of Books & Shovels, he can.
First, a little about the man behind the dream:
Jeremiah Walton is the founder of Nostrovia! Poetry and a member of UndergroundBooks. After graduating high school in 2013, he hit the road hitchhiking and ran a small ‘bookstore’ out of his frame pack on street corners and at open mics, hoping to give art a good kick in the balls. The world kicked back hard, making him realise that the bar needed to be raised in order to broaden the poetic community and encourage others to pursue their dreams even if it means some sacrifice. Thus, Books & Shovels became a reality.
Books & Shovels
The goal is to promote Passionate Living over Making a Living. We’re meshing grass roots promotions (busking, DIY open mics, broadsides), and opportunities of the 21st century (blogging, social media, all that jazz). We’re going to make this a more personal process through the streets, and grab the attention of the masses through their electronic devices.
This is an assault on apathy. We’re going to widen the poetic community by bringing to the masses, but this isn’t just for the poets. This is to encourage others to bleed for their dreams, to not be afraid to make sacrifices for their aspirations. We’re assaulting apathy, promoting freedom, promoting loving one another, gender, race, and ideals aside.
Books & Shovels distributes chapbooks, street books, full collections, novels, cook books, paintings, graffiti, records, CDs, any form of passion.
~ Quoted with kind permission from the Books & Shovels website.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Jeremiah. To begin with, please tell us what it took to set up Books & Shovels.
Running with the idea. Sam Lennon, Captain Thornton and I compose the Books & Shovels team. We’ll be living in a 1995 Volvo station wagon. After procuring the car, we began selling off our possessions and busting ourselves wage slaving to obtain necessary funds.
To further ensure launch, we’ve launched an IndieGoGo campaign to fund raise the last needed funds, reaching out into the artistic and poetic community through social media and blogging to find pledges. We’ve received 100s of donated publications and artworks to distribute, along with printing Nostrovia! Poetry and UndergroundBooks publications.
Were there any setbacks and/or major challenges to starting Books & Shovels?
Accidentally falling into homelessness and falling out of work for a couple of months proved a financial setback, but things have re-aligned in recent months. Most of the challenges oriented around that drug called cash.
You said ‘this is about living over making a living’. Can you point to an exact moment when this passion began to stir in you?
Not off hand. I began hitchhiking after graduating high school last year with a stronger desire for experience than to spend my short span of existence dangling from a monetary noose.
I know your main goal is to inspire passion in others and encourage them to follow their dreams no matter what. How exactly do you hope to achieve this?
Through example of sacrifice. Taking this on one person at a time, orientating ourselves around each individual, discussing their aspirations and providing encouragement, realistic encouragement, not some bullshit motivational quotes and happy-go-lucky jazz. We’re aiming to get others to be willing to lose some teeth for their dreams, to push themselves.
When you say Books & Shovels is a publisher, do you mean that you publish new works, issue ISBNs and pay royalties? If not, how is Books & Shovels different?
None of the above applies. We’re publishing street books. All of our publications are sold at a 0+ donation-based rate. Most folks published through Books & Shovels will be joint publications through either Nostrovia! Poetry or UndergroundBooks.
Who’s your biggest supporter/sponsor?
UndergroundBooks, Beach Sloth, Zarina Zabrisky, Simon Rogghe, George Grey, Dan Waldman, Dylan Keily; there’s too long a list of supporters. Zarina and Simon organised a street performing event in San Francisco to raise funds. Dan Waldman and Beach Sloth has helped with pushing us forward through Facebook and blogging. George Grey donated his Twitter Blitz service to spread the word.
I see authors and artists can submit their work for inclusion in the travelling bookstore. Do you also accept ebooks, and, if so, how are those distributed?
Nostrovia! Poetry publishes internet chapbooks and ebooks, and UndergroundBooks publishes unBound ebooks, but Books & Shovels publishes/distributes solely physical publications.
What date will Books & Shovels kick off?
We’re spending July test running the project through New England, and launching at the NYC Poetry Festival on 26 July.
What route will you and your team travel?
The route is far from concrete. The road has a habit of mutilating concrete. We’re following the East Coast south, hitting every major city and town along the way. From the South Coast, we’ll begin heading west. We’re keeping things generalised.
What other projects do you have on the go? Is there anything you haven’t announced yet?
Heheheheh… There are reasons they’re not yet announced or available to public scrutiny.
Learn more about Books & Shovels
Become a sponsor
Submit your chapbooks, street books, full collections, novels, cook books, paintings, graffiti, records and CDs, etc.
Follow the Books & Shovels blog
Follow Jeremiah’s personal blog
Follow Jeremiah on Facebook