Two years ago, Ms Eva Echin-Turner, a Filipina based in New South Wales Australia, ran advertisements in Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star asking interested parties to submit stories about their high school life for an upcoming book project. What got me interested into the project (aside from the honorarium, haha) is that it gave me the opportunity to sit down and write about the ups and downs of my life as a student of Ramon Magsaysay High School (RMHS)-Manila.
I have wanted to do that throughout my four years as an undergraduate in University of the Philippines-Diliman but due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to do so. A few days after reading about her project, I sent Ms Turner an email, and that initial exchange eventually led to a close working relationship between us. I am honored to have the task of editing the work of some of my fellow contributions. It made me realize early on the trailblazing nature of the project on hand.
The main appeal of the book is that it features the lives of ordinary people whose stories of triumph and failure are so relatable to everyone (“relatable” is a relatively new word). The book has eighteen contributors coming from different backgrounds – accountants, a lawyer, a biology lecturer, a composer, an online journalist (ahem!), among others. Ms Turner says she wants her first book to “serve as an inspiring and illuminating guide” for the younger generation as they map out their future. A book which features stories about how to overcome poverty, family problems, humble beginnings, among other challenges on your way to success will surely meet this goal.
Despite its noble intentions, the book project met some tough challenges on its way to the printing press. Finalizing the manuscript lasted until the middle of 2012, and as soon as that is done, it’s time to look for a publisher that might be interested to support the book. As someone previously employed in the publishing industry, let me give you some insights as to how things go there.
Book projects are divided into two: textbooks and trade books. Textbooks are the ones used in schools while examples of trade books include memoirs, novels, etc. Publishing firms prioritize textbooks over the latter because textbooks have definite customers (e.g. teachers and students). After some months of uncertainty, a major breakthrough happened last December 2012 when Ms Turner finalized a publication deal with Central Books Supply.
Central Books is no stranger to me since it’s the same firm that published “Kon(tra)teksto,” one of the recent books of Professor Danilo Arao. True to her word, Ms Turner sent each of us contributors an advanced copy of the book. Reading my autobiography two years after I first wrote it made me chuckle a bit though I can’t help but be amazed at how far things have gone for me in the 11 years since I entered RMHS Manila. Indeed, certain events during high school have left an indelible mark on me years after.
I feel blessed with wonderful opportunities and helpful mentors who’ve played a big role throughout my life. If there’s one thing I learned the past three years since I finished college, it’s the fact that you can take Adidas’ “impossible is nothing” motto literally. So let me end with this advice: Aim high and dream on, for big things are in the horizon.