Fractals

What a wonderfully puzzling world it is when success barrels into your life. Our Master C book emerged as such a winner that a new issue confronted us–what must we produce as the logical follow up title for the year 1991?

A debate ensued among us, “we” now being a team of five full-time employees: attend to the conservative path or remain on the freewheeling liberal highway? The answer? “Why not do both!” We chose to produce four titles.

We would offer two titles as programming books from our best authors, Stephan Prata and Robert Lafore. Another book would be in the area of applications and would address WordPerfect (the conservative entry), and the fourth and final title would treat the emerging topic of fractals, complex mathematical functions that can be used to generate beautiful patterns on the computer.

Fractals comprise the foundation of a significant arm of scientific endeavor. I had become enamored with a realm of new possibilities when I encountered a fractal generating program called Fractint from the Stone Soup Group. The image below by David Hop is just one of millions of amazing examples of a fractal generated with Fractint. One can access many others at The Fractal Database.



The book, written primarily by Tim Wegner, seduced the reader with everything one needed to get started: the program, examples, source code, even a fold out poster. And did I mention 3D glasses? But I had a tough time selling the concept to my distributor. I intended to mail the poster to bookstores as a “high-flying” PR campaign teaser. “Too expensive,” came the inevitable reply. But persistence paid off–-PGW collaborated with me on the poster. Fractal Creations emerged as an awesome success once it hit the market, inspiring the conservative computer book publishing industry to admit that much more might be possible than what had been produced in the past. Computer Science was suddenly Computer Art Science.

Our group followed Fractal Creations with a book on Object-Oriented Programming in Turbo C++ and a C++ Primer Plus from our best selling authors Robert Lafore and Stephan Prata. These where yet to be recognized languages, and still in their infancy. So why did our books sell well? Simply this: we merged our best efforts perfectly with the ramp up of the OOP curve. Waite Group Press was off and running. I was excited beyond illusions.

The lesson? “Perseverance pays! Don’t be afraid to take a risk.”