“A book about joy:” the publishing of Tom Broadbent’s At Home With the Furries
by Patch O'Furr
In early 2018 I wrote about a Kickstarter for a book of Tom Broadbent’s furry photography. These aren’t your usual convention photos. He stages them with characters in their homes like storybook pages. As soon as I saw what he was up to, I knew this would make extra special art. One publisher he approached was someone I knew, who I had already tipped that someone should do a furry photo art book. My copy sits on my desk where I write up crazy happenings in the fandom. Let’s hear from Tom how things went. – Patch
The book was officially published on 30th September last year. At the time I thought the Kickstarter was hard in terms of raising the backing. Producing the book was a whole different story, I could not be prouder of the finished product but it took a lot out of me. Essentially with the Kickstarter reaching its target I buried myself last year into producing the book to the absolute highest standard I could do. Not only because I felt a deep responsibility to the backers, but also the furries themselves, the furry community and ultimately myself. It’s only going to be published once after all, and it’s out there forever, sitting on people’s bookshelves, in bookshops, museums and a variety of National libraries (some of which I’ll come to shortly.)
The reaction from the backers and the buyers has really made the journey worthwhile.
Being on press in Turkey (which is where the book was printed) was in turns a wonderful and then extremely stressful experience. Not because of where it was printed — the printers MAS were very supportive and understanding and went all out to produce a fantastic book. It was mostly because it was my first time printing a book. It’s a complicated process, and it certainly was with my book. There are two different types of paper stock and a very special furry cover.
Here’s the moment of sending it to print.
I tweeted at the time that “The great thing about self publishing is you make all the decisions, the bad thing about self publishing is you make all the decisions.”
I essentially ran myself into the ground producing the highest quality book I could, and then I didn’t really have the energy to promote the book possibly with the energy and effort I could have.
Having said all that, the feedback and responses I’ve received from the backers and subsequent buyers of the book has been really great and it has been featured in quite a few places. It’s also been an extremely helpful learning experience, the lessons of which I’ll take into the next book I produce.
I did say at the time of the book coming out, that it’s now your story to tell. A book exists to capture the imagination and it certainly seems to have done that.
This is by far the most moving talk @IoP_Falmouth I’ve ever given about At Home With The Furries. Connections, making friends and feeling a sense of community. Thanks @Tookfluff Couldn’t have done it without you pic.twitter.com/nLLzE802Hw
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) November 15, 2018
One anecdote which really sticks in my mind is giving a talk in December at Falmouth University. One of the teachers had backed the Kickstarter and relayed a tale of how his young son reacted to the book. It was the only book out of his Dad’s vast collection of photo books that he kept coming back to and really enjoyed. “It’s a book about joy,” he remarked.
I received a lot of messages on twitter and instagram, which were lovely. Quite a few Instagram stories as well.
Getting the book into some major museums was a coup and a half. The Tate Modern bookshop stocked it, along with The Photographers Gallery in London. I met up with both buyers and they were extremely impressed with the production quality, which was lovely to hear. It’s also stocked at Home in Manchester.
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) November 12, 2018
It had to be! The rest stop for the #furry walk is next to a well known gallery. At Home With The Furries is now stocked at The Tate Modern. That worked out beautifully..:-) #furries pic.twitter.com/n7VLlaJt8h
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) October 13, 2018
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) November 28, 2018
Pleased to let you know At Home With The Furries has been spotted at @HOME_mcr If you’re Manchester based, you can now get your paws on its fursome qualities before you buy #furry #furries #photography pic.twitter.com/wKqdTQqJ0n
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) December 7, 2018
From the print run of 750, 400 have sold so there’s plenty left before we sell out.
Having one of the images in the 250th edition of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was a massive boost and three buyers of the print edition also bought a copy of the book. It also helped with book sales as a number of people ordered books on the back of seeing the exhibition.
The book is now carried by six of the major libraries in the UK and Ireland, it’s a nice feeling that it’ll be there for future generations. The libraries are:
- The British Library
- The Bodleian at the University of Oxford
- Cambridge University Library
- National Library of Scotland
- National Library of Wales
- Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
The I paper ran a feature on it in their book section.
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) October 19, 2018
Camera Snaps, run by the photographer and teacher, Zak Waters did a Youtube review. I was really pleased that he really understood my reasonings behind the book and the approach with the photography. “It’s serious, but not serious at the same time”
Shadow Raccoon (Instagram) featured the book on his Youtube channel, I met him at a Londonfurs event and we hit it off.
Catto Gallery, Photofusion Salon 18 Exhibition, Snoecks 2019 Magazine
With the Londonfurs
— UN OF PHOTOGRAPHY (@UNofPhoto) April 2, 2019
Received my copy of At Home With The Furries from @Broadbentius today. Check out the slipcase it came in, which is effectively a fursuit for a book ^^
I hope that a second volume is on the cards. It would be great to be photographed as Foden, sitting behind the wheel of a truck. pic.twitter.com/DZmFIiaNwU
— I AM DOGGAGE (@shep_shepherd) December 14, 2018
— Haydo (@HaydoLab) October 28, 2018
Terrific reactions to the book today, have been hand delivering At Home With The Furries. “Incredible quality” “Stunning” and my favourite “serious but not serious”
— Tom Broadbent (@Broadbentius) October 9, 2018
— Tyrell Williams (@TSWilliamsPhoto) October 5, 2018
Buying the book
You can get hold of the book through a number of avenues, when sales come through to me I can sign copies if required.
- The publisher and collective, Stay Free Publishing
- Through my shop, limited edition prints are also available and there’s one furry slipcase edition left of the book available.
- Through Amazon.co.uk
What am I working on now?
I have started on a new project about mermaids and mermen, untitled at the moment. I started it last summer and the pictures are really special so far, I’m very excited to develop the project over this year.
Of course I’ll be promoting At Home With The Furries as well throughout the year until its sold out (then we’ll do another edition…well maybe.. 🙂