This week, we finalised the sale of traditional or ‘complex’ Chinese language rights to John Cheetham’s Grow Up! How to raise an adult by being one yourself to Taiwan’s Cite Publishing Group.
It’s a lovely example of why a publisher needs to stay with a book, prolonging its life for as long as possible, rather than dumping it quickly and moving onto the next one.
We published the first edition of John Cheetham‘s popular parenting book in 2001. It was Wilkins Farago’s third book. After steady sales over several years, we realised the book needed to be updated if it was to keep selling (for example, when it was first written, broadband internet in Australian family homes—and its associated problems—was a rarity). So, we worked with John to produced a new revised edition, which was published in late 2008.
It was this new edition that I showed to a Taiwanese literary agent at a meeting at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair in April last year and within six months we had an offer for publication. Contracts were signed before Christmas and today a cheque arrived, so I guess it is only a matter of time before John’s enthusiasm and wisdom is rubbing off on the population of Taipei.
It’s a particularly poignant sale for us as John was not only a valued author but also a good friend. Sadly, he passed away last March after a long and valiant battle with cancer. It’s pleasing to see his work continued beyond his lifespan. He would have loved the idea of being published in Chinese.
Meanwhile, John’s book itself continues to sell well in Australia (it was No.2 in our November bestseller list), and we are also preparing an ebook edition.
I was reminded of the impact of John’s work on others just before Christmas when I had a pleasant call from sleep therapist Joane Goulding. She reminded me that John had contributed a chapter to her book Sleep Talk: A Gift of Love Through Positive Parenting) and had been a enthusiastic supporter of her own work. Reading his chapter, I came on a passage that seems to encapsulate John’s thoughts on the important role parents can play in the children’s lives:
As care givers and educators, parents and guardians are in a unique position to be able to have a positive impact on their children’s self-esteem … The challenges of school, family and growing up that teenagers face are difficult to overcome for even the happiest and most content teenagers. For those who do not possess the emotional resilience to press on, depression, isolation and failure may become a way of life. It is important that self-esteem is developed early to ensure that a happy and healthy adolescence follows.