Still Searching For A Better Pagan Book Market

Pagan author Lord Foxglove has responded to my post on the search for a better Pagan book market. Foxglove remarks that it is the unwillingness of the readers to buy advanced works that holds back growth and maturity in the Pagan book market.

“After many conversations with my own publisher (New Page Books), as well as with other big and not-so-big publishers, I discovered the sad truth that most of them are afraid to publish advanced books. Bookstores (even metaphysical bookstores) are afraid to stock them, and the majority of pagans aren’t buying them. How can this be after years of outcry from the magickal community for serious advanced work? Exactly where does the buck stop in the world of pagan publishing? Surprisingly, the buck stops with us-the readers. All signs point to the fact that those of us who consider ourselves to be truly advanced or who are ready and willing to advance ourselves are by far the minority of the magickal community.”

I think my own answer is contained in the original post.

“But are harder instruction manuals really what we want or need? Has our focus on presenting lesson plans and ritual structures of differing levels really what our evolving community should expect from it’s authors?”

I want deeper thought, not a harder set of rituals. I want a book market that tackles a broader range of topics. I don’t need a “advanced” book on spiritual practice. Speaking for myself, if I feel I need a deeper spiritual practice I will seek it out among resources in my own community, or I will go to primary sources on religious practice, meditation, magic, and prayer.

I don’t mean this as an insult to Foxglove’s book (which Daven has given glowing praise on his site). I wish him every successs, and hope that those modern Pagans interested in meditations geared towards knowing your shadow self will check out his book. But I want history, biography, and theology, not, the same, but harder. I feel comfortable with my personal journey to know myself, now I want to know my community, my brother and sister faiths, and how (and why) we believe and worship as we do.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Marcus Foxglove Griffin

    Agreed! I would love to see (and write) these types of books also. The main point I was trying to make is that no matter what genre the book fits into; advanced, theological, historical or otherwise, these books are going to have to be supported and purchased by the pagan community in order to get them published and keep them on the bookshelves. Publishing like any business needs to make money in order to survive, so they will understandably lean towards topics that will make them money. My advice would be for all of us to keep asking authors and publishers for the kinds of books we would like to see, and then support them by buying them and spreading the word. Foxglove

  • Daven

    I still say the best solution is not to try to write books that are truly 201 or “advanced”, but books that take the derath of knowledge in some of the areas that mainstreem wiccans are studying, and advance THAT knowledge, in depth.Instead of writing ANOTHER book on the holidays, I would be thrilled to see a book that does more than cover the basics of Runes. A look at the runes of Germany, Finland (or other Scandanavian countries), the Heiroglyphics, the Ogham and other runescripts, even up to “Passing the River” or “Angelic” scripts, and work from there. Tell us about the primary sources for these, why they are interperted the way they are, how they are actually used and continue at that point. Critically look at the “holy writ” of some of this information (like the interpertations themselves, it’s been suggested that the “interpertations” of the FUThARK runes are just a memorization poem, nothing more) and expand that knowledge.THAT is a book I’d buy. Not another book on correspondances for creatures and psychic phenomenon.

  • Sarah G

    My latest blog post lists some important resources for Hellenic Pagans. They are generally NOT “101” material.http://rainbowind.blogspot.com/2005/10/source-material-for-hellenic-pagans.htmlYour comments on historical research highlighted one of my pet peeves: Pagan authors who cite other Pagan authors, assuming that THEY have done the historical research already. Ministers and Catholic priests are expected to know something of church history; why don’t Pagan priest/esses feel obligated to do the same?Regarding beginning books vs. advanced work: I’ve run into the same issues on the KY Pagan Forum list. Advanced books won’t sell, people should ‘feel’ their way through their spirituality, ‘book learning’ gets in the way, etc. I suspect laziness has more to do with it, or learning that the romantic past Wiccan books have told them about never existed.My 2 cents,Sarah G

  • Dan

    I agree with Sarah G. Modern pagan publishing has found a niche selling books to teenagers who do not want their intellect challenged. The authors in the new age section of your local bookstore are not held to the standard that real historians and scientists are. Many of them hold journalism degrees but that does not qualify them as authorities on ancient societies. There are books that can help us with a deeper understanding of our spirituality. They are found in the history section, written by authors both ancient and recent.