Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

How It All Began….

Cam and I were reminiscing the other day about how Aztext Press came to be. Like many other events in our lives, we didn’t exactly plan on becoming book publishers but it has been an interesting path nonetheless!

About 6 years ago, Cam’s uncle Ian Micklethwaite approached Cam with an idea to offer some Renewable Energy workshops across Ontario. Ian had been publishing “Farmer’s Finder” magazine for many years and realized that farmers were becoming interested in renewable energy. Cam helped Ian to organize and present a number of workshops and from the success of those workshops, the idea for a magazine about renewable energy was born. After throwing around a number of different names we settled on calling the new magazine “Private Power”. We scrambled to find content for the first issue and we ended up asking an off-grid friend of ours, William Kemp, if he would be interested in writing an article for the inaugural issue of the magazine. We were interested in having an article from Bill because we had discovered that not only did Bill live off the grid and use renewable energy in his life, but he actually understood it all and was able to explain it so that lay people like us could make sense of it!

Bill agreed to write an article and wrote a wonderful primer on renewable energy for our first issue. He told us that he had enjoyed the experience and would gladly write more for us.  At that point Cam had a brainstorm! When we had moved to our off-grid house we had searched for a book that would explain all about living off the grid. No such book existed! Cam recognized this as an opportunity to fill an obvious need – a book about using renewable energy to power your home!

To convince Bill, Cam mocked up a cover for the book and called it “The Renewable Energy Handbook for Homeowners” and put Bill’s name front and centre on the cover as the author. Cam printed the cover and wrapped it around an old book so that Bill could see exactly what his book might look like, if he was so inclined to write one! Bill loved the idea and agreed to write the book. We printed 5,000 copies of that first book and wondered how we would ever sell all of them! In fact Cam admits that he had visions of giving them out as Christmas gifts for many years to come!

Here’s what the first book looked like;

Renewable Energy Handbk WEB

The book was a success and it’s been reprinted many times since. In 2005 Bill revised and upgraded the book and added four new chapters. We shortened the title to “The Renewable Energy Handbook” and it has continued to be our best selling book ever since!

We’ve just finished another upgrade and revision and so in my next blog I’ll describe what is involved in publishing a book!

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