Nimbin author's book hits new highs
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
A DECISION to self-publish his autobiography has paid off for the former owner of Nimbin's Rainbow Cafe, Gerald Taylor.
Somehow a copy of his book, Jesus Weed, bought by a backpacker for $10, landed on a London editor's desk.
And now it has been published by Random House in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, selling 5000 copies in London in its first two months.
"They tell me that's pretty good going for an unknown author," he said.
Gerald said the book was published as a travel autobiography, with the blurb on the cover calling it 'the misadventures of a young man in search of the perfect high'.
The story moves around from Afghanistan to Central America, Europe and North Africa.
"It's what I got up to on my travels, with most of it centred around places where pot is grown freely and it's culturally acceptable to smoke," Gerald said.
So are young, travelling stoners his main demographic?
"That's what I thought when I wrote it," he said.
"But there's a really broad spectrum of readers. It's a bit of an insight for people into a world they didn't realise was there.
"I gave the Archbishop from Grafton a copy and he said it was very enlightening.
"I get a lot of feedback from Catholics and lapsed Catholics that they travelled the same sort of path ? though often without the drugs
"Catholicism was a large part of my younger life and it influences how you think and behave. There's no way round it."
Gerald already has had advances totalling six thousand pounds, and now the publishers tell him the first royalty cheque is in the mail, although as far as he is concerned Jesus Weed is already a Nimbin best-seller, having sold 1200 copies.
"And I was quite happy making $5 a book, printing more copies as it went," he said.
"It was a great income for me."
Gerald said Random House had published Jesus Weed in hardback to test the market, but because sales had been strong it would be out in paperback next March.
"That's where they expect to make money," he said.
"Now I've sent them a copy of the sequel ? Sins of the Flesh ? where the character in the book (that's me) goes into a downward spiral into insanity that's pretty humorous.
"But they've told me that until the first one goes through the roof, I won't get a chance at a second. However, they did enjoy it."
So what's the appeal of Jesus Weed?
"My brilliant writing style," he said laughing.
"It's got messages in there, but mostly it's humour. I think this world needs laughter at the mo- ment."