Australian Succulent Plants
Australian Succulent Plants
A guide to Australia's succulent plants. Many regard the continent's interior as a wasteland. I'd like to change this perception.
A guide to Australia's succulent plants. Many regard the continent's interior as a wasteland. I'd like to change this perception. Read more
About this project
I want to produce a large nature book.
Why a hard-copy and why not go digital only?... scroll down to find relevant text, highlighted!
I have seen and know of 'an Australia', that few people have ever seen and I feel a burning desire to share it with everyone.
I want it to be an attractive and useful field guide. One that is easy to use by anyone, whether a botanist, conservationist, naturalist, farmer, grazier, a traveller or a student or you’re just someone who is fascinated by all things natural, unusual, or botanical. It will help anyone from a city venturing inland, to better understand their surroundings. Perhaps helping to source emergency ‘survival’ food and water obtainable from some of these plants, in remote areas of which Australia has many.
Important considerations for selecting plants for a field guide are simply: what's Australian, native, succulent, attractive, interesting, cool, useful, beautiful, or unexpected and lastly how to identify it?
Australia is a large island continent (as big as the USA). There are many books and internet resources about Australian plants but none cover the vast arid regions comprehensively. Shrubs, trees, grasses, are well catered for but the succulent plants are seriously neglected yet they are abundant and diverse and can be a common sight, even by roadsides.
These plants deserve to be shown and their stories told.
For many years I have been taking pictures and notes of Australia's succulent flora, both in habitat and in cultivation.This included scouring books, encyclopedias and the internet for scant information, while also contacting botanists and naturalists regularly about new discoveries.
The culmination of my work in 2007 resulted in an earlier large self-funded 240 page hard-bound book titled Australian Succulent Plants: an Introduction (see www.australiansucculents.com for more comprehensive overview and reviews of this successful work).
From 2007 until now, research has been ongoing, collating data about new plants coupled with updating information and new pictures of old plants, I have the potential to produce an even more interesting and exciting book than the previous one.
At least 40 - 60 new plants will be introduced if this project goes ahead.
This campaign is designed to fund the book planned for completion by July/August 2014. I will be publishing it as a printed book first, and then it will be available on a disc as a PDF. If enough money is raised beyond the initial costs, then creation of an Ebook will follow.
While 85% of the preparations in the form of research, photography and writing required, has been already completed over several years leading up to this point, I still need to raise this large sum of money, for time and shoe-leather, for pulling together all the remaining loose-ends i.e. writing the final stages, graphic designers, printing and marketing. Having produced previous nature books, I know the kind of effort and costs that are involved to create an authoritative guide that's fun to read, useful, and accurate. That's the goal! Plans are well underway; your support will help take it from here to the finish line.
Please browse through some of the ‘thank you’ rewards for contributors. And if you can't contribute but want to support the project, you can still help spread the word to your friends and through social media. More about me, my books and plants that I find exciting, visit www.australiansucculents.com.
More in the numerous updates (Click the tab at top of this page.)
Thanks for giving my book a look.
Why a hardcopy and why not go digital only?
Internet access in the many remote areas is poor or mostly non-existent. This basically means that travellers or people who might venture out there, whether for work or recreation, still have poor or no access, often when needed. In Australia’s vast interior there are relatively few people living, unlike the more crowded coastal towns and cities that are well catered for.
Let us assume you are driving along the main Highway north or south from Alice Springs, which is almost in the centre of the continent. You stop by the side of the road for either a stretch, after hours of driving, a flat tyre to change or just to have a nature walk. You encounter some plants you don’t recognize and are suddenly curious. With, or without internet access, you can usually still use your laptop or tablet to check your prior downloaded EBook or similar. However have you ever been outdoors in such a sunny, often glary place, as in the snow, on the beach.. or in the desert where the ability to see the screen is difficult. You may have your tablet computer, handy in your backpack and easy to grab, but looking at plant identification pics or text about such things can be a real struggle, when the blazing sun is overhead. Taking your sunglasses off, and then turning your back to the sun helps a little, but still the screen will not be bright, clear and legible, unlike at evenings, when, even by a campfire the screens will be radiant with great colour and clarity.
Many of the plants I wish to include in the field guide are edible and traditional food plants, however some are very poisonous and while the risk of confusing them is low, comparing plants on a small electronic screen, while under the desert sun, can come down to an increased risk of life and death decisions.
Finally on this point, I travel with many electronic devices that need constant recharging, often daily and this chore is burdensome—always juggling what to prioritize with the solar charger and converter. It is not uncommon for one or two of my electronic devices to run down, when I need them most, while out in the field.
In the remote Australian desert sun, a printed field guide is still the best, most practical and convenient way to enjoy and learn about the nature to be found, while travelling. (However, after I produce the printed version, a digital version will follow.)
Mining companies and their field staff are going to love this book.
I am excited and hopefully I have excited you enough to want to come on board.
Don't forget to view the regular updates and new exciting plant pictures posted here! (Click the tab at top of this page.)
Risks and challenges
I know the book publishing industry well and know how and what to do at almost every stage from writing, printing, marketing and distributing the finished product and how to deal with complex obstacles when they arise.
I have written many articles, magazines and books over the last 20-30 years, most of which have been popular and successful. I have produced some with a co-author, others by myself.
While the print industry is on the decline I have managed to survive, but can no longer self-fund any huge book projects like this one.
In 2007 I produced a book with this exact title and after a lack of interest from major publishers and conventional backers, I had to go it alone, and after $50,000 spent I printed 2000 copies. Without ever entering ‘mainstream’ bookshops, all have been sold at a recommended retail price of $75. Continued interest and demand since has encouraged me to try for an expanded field guide version of the 2007 book.
Interestingly this new book will weigh over 1 kg and may possibly weigh as much as 1.5 kg, then with any protective cardboard wrapping, + discs going into the mail bags, it will be very expensive to ship worldwide. What most Kickstarter project planners get shocked by is the cost of distributing their product, along with any other rewards. My new book will cost me more than $50 just in postal charges- for airmail to most countries. (This theoretically means it can cost more to ship the books than it costs to produce them.) Only those posted within Australia are likely to be economical.
Therefore I believe I have factored in all the likely costs and scenarios in my request.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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