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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Complete Idiot's Guide to Aquaponic Gardening - it lives!

Today "my book," the Complete Idiot's Guide to Aquaponic Gardening, was officially launched. Around 4 pm today I finally got a hard copy to look at.

A year ago I got a random e-mail, which read:

"I am a literary agent scouting on behalf of a major publisher for an expert to write an introductory book on aquaponics. I found your site and wonder if you have interest?"

I responded, saying something to the effect of "Heck yes!" and began a whirlwind journey creating the book I wish I could have bought, back when I started into aquaponics in the spring of 2010.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Aquaponic Gardening (CIG to AG as I came to know it) was a labor of love. I did get paid, but this was a work for hire deal, which means I don't get royalties on book sales. Given the way my head works, that's actually really great for my sanity. The book pulls heavily from the collective wisdom currently available via online forums, innumerable scholarly articles, conferences, and endless youtube videos. So I would have felt guilty getting royalties for this book. However, I did put many, many hours into crafting the book, and that labor deserved some payment.

It's been interesting today, reading the book. I haven't seen it for four months, so it's kind of fresh. I find several instances where I wish I could edit the English just one more time to make it read more smoothly. And the glossary includes one problematic typo - nitrite misspelled as nitrate in the definition of cycling (p. 306), but the definition in the body of the text on page 126 is correct.

It will be interesting to see what folks say. I read this book knowing the hours I spent gaining the knowledge contained in each paragraph, not to mention the additional hours it took to distill that knowledge into comprehensible prose. Only I and a few others know how many authorial "darlings" were killed during the creation of this book. If you were one who read an early draft, I think you'll agree the final product is far superior to what you saw.

I hope the book helps people make the transition from hearing about aquaponics to confidently embracing aquaponics as part of their lifestyle. In the mean time, I'm thrilled to have the book itself, with an index! What I would have given for such an index three years ago! It's fascinating knowing how much of that information was unknown to me in March 2010 when I first tumbled across the word "aquaponics."

Lastly, I have to acknowledge again the amazing generosity of this community, and how willing people were to share their experiences and photos. I am humbled to know such wonderful, innovative people!

Now back to enjoying my own garden, and actually getting to tend it, unlike the neglect that writing the book necessitated last year. Beets, bok choy, spinach, radishes, and turnips are thriving, as are most of the plants that wintered over. All the fish are alive, and despite the cold, ammonia levels are nearly zero (a great thing). It's great to merely have to do the simply daily visit I mention in the book, to check water temperature and level, feed the fish, and notice what plants need nutrients or organic pest control. It's my happy place, where the world is simple, life abounds, and the speed of "information" is the rate at which spinach seedlings put forth their first true leaves.

If you have been thinking about aquaponics but haven't yet set up a system, I invite you to take the plunge. It's well worth it!

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