Saturday, December 16, 2006

Published, at last

Today, I received a bound copy of Tropical Horticulture and Gardening. My copy was from the Clearwater Publications (International) Edition that will be available at the Singapore Floral Expo. After the Expo it will be available at Nature's Niche at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The Academy of Science's (Malaysian) Edition was delivered to the Academy the day before yesterday. The retail price mentioned in our discussions was RM (Ringgit Malaysia) 260 but we have no control over how the Academy will finally market it and at what price. From past experience with the Academy, the book will probably be sold direct by the Academy rather than through retail booksellers, but I will try to get the Forest Research Institute Malaysia a share of the action.

Friends who saw early drafts of the book were put off by its apparent lack of focus and advised me not to proceed. The first publisher I offered it to, turned it down. I gritted my teeth, provided the start-up finance and went ahead. To make a real impact, this book had to be radically different from everything else in the market. I wanted it to be a thinking person's book: informative, scientific, humanistic and universal, yet firmly based on first-hand and truly tropical experience. Also individualistic and provocative. Otherwise why bother to write a book? The cost of marketing takes up 50% of the retail price of a book, leaving barely enough to finance the design and printing. The effort is worthwhile only if the author has something to say and wants to say it in a personal way.

Members of the Selangor Gardening Society who saw a set of the final printed pages a week ago were greatly enthusiastic, so perhaps I have managed to pull it off.

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