For some, writing a book much less publishing it can seem a lot like climbing a mountain. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as far as Interlink Books founder Michel Moushabeck is concerned. In summer 2008 he scaled Africa’s highest peak, then wrote about the experience in Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa, with photos by his partner, Hiltrud Schulz. The book, which is just out from Northampton, Mass.-based Interlink, is already starting to make its own climb. It has sold close to 4,000 copies, said Moushabeck, one of the few authors with no complaints about his publisher.
“A book was never part of our plan. I was way too busy to even think about a book project,” said Moushabeck, who traces the genesis for the climb to the London Book Fair earlier that spring. During a chance conversation with travel writer Jacquetta Megarry, she agreed to let him and Schulz accompany her on an expedition to Kilimanjaro. Following the climb, a combination of post-trek restlessness and a perceived gap in the market between guidebooks and coffee table books on the world’s tallest freestanding mountain led Moushabeck to write a personal guide about the hike—with historical, cultural, and ecological information about the area.
Schulz and Moushabeck have given several slide presentations to date, including an SRO one for the Globe Corner Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. They plan to do more speaking about the book at independent bookstores and libraries in the Northeast in late November. They will also visit stores on the other side of the Pond in conjunction with the book’s U.K. publication by Chastleton Travel, co-owned by Moushabeck.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair earlier this month, Moushabeck said that publishers expressed interest in securing rights for Germany, France, and Italy. In the meantime he is in the midst of writing a new book, A Brief Introduction to Arabic Music, due out in fall 2010 from Saqi Books, an independent publisher in London.