I’ve embarked on another coffee-table book on the South Pacific, this time on Vanuatu.
The 200 page, hardcover publication will be the next in my gift book series on the region which, so far, has included Papua New Guinea (three editions), The Cook Islands (launched just before the virus hit) and Samoa (which is also waiting for the lifting of travel restrictions to be completed).
Here’s a few pages from A Gift from Vanuatu, starting with the front and back cover:
As you can see below, we’ve published a range of titles on the South Pacific but the larger size (22cms x 22cms) and the format of this latest series has proven the most popular.
While work on the book has started, I’m still weighing up moving to Vanuatu for six months when restrictions lift to research, write and photograph the new style of publication I planned to produce on Central Australia six months ago (you can see the mock- up by clicking here but don’t get me started on where that’s up to, he says. Border restrictions, procrastination from key stakeholders, and a sudden flood of domestic tourists to The Centre that threatened to lock me out of any accommodation, have all but shelved the project, possibly indefinitely).
Regardless, my plan for the next 10 years remains to live abroad in different countries for six months a year and produce this new style of travel book on each destination – think Carla Coulson’s glorious book Italian Joy, meets Paul Theroux’s The Happy isles of Oceania (only a bit more upbeat).
And Vanuatu could be first cab off the rank.
As I wrote in a previous post, the new books will be a combination of photos and stories highlighting the country’s attractions and 20 of its most appealing experiences for visitors. Unlike my previous books though, the short stories will be written for the “thinking traveller” who is more likely to be interested in learning about the country than simply returning with a pictorial souvenir. We’re talking interviews with prominent people, cultural insights, local legends, historical backgrounds and some humorous anecdotes. And, importantly, the photography will be different to my usual fare – less obvious, more artistic and story-telling. I’ve long wanted to develop a style of photography beyond what has proved to me to be commercially successful. This new series will afford me the time.
Truth be told though, I’m not sure people actually read books enough any more to make it viable. I went down this road at the beginning of my publishing career with a series of books that included 100 photos and 40 short stories on several of Australia’s remote regions (below). While each publication sold out, the picture-only books I published elsewhere sold at six times the rate so, for the last 10 years – in between assignments – that’s all I’ve been producing.
But my motivation has changed since then and, well, I miss writing.
But, first things first – international borders need to re-open…… which, let me tell you, can’t happen soon enough.