I’m embarrassed to see how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything. Last time I posted, I said something about how I was going to start to (slowly) work on some new cookbooks. I did actually keep that promise, but then my world turned topsy-turvy.
Not long after I posted, a family looking for a new location for their business came to look at Desserts Plus and quickly made us an offer on our building. We accepted for many reasons, and starting looking for a new space. We had no idea how long it would take us.
Since moving our of our building 13 (!) months ago, we’ve had a pop-up store for Passover, rented a kitchen to cater a few major events and even had a booth at a farmer’s market for part of the simmer.
All along we worked on finding our space, which we did last summer. Several delays kept construction from starting until early this year (you can see a lot of our updates on our Instagram account).
In fact, we even have a kickstarter campaign going to try to get the final push we need to finish our space.
(You can read more about our campaign on our Facebook page, instagram or kickstarter.)
Meanwhile, while all of that was going on, I was slowly working on my next cookbook.
Last month I published Pam’s Cookie Collection:
This is smaller than my other books with just 40-something recipes, but I’m proud of this one! It’s got lots of recipes that I’ve been baking at Desserts Plus over the years, along with lots of others that I created in my home kitchen.
You can get copies here:
If you don’t have any of my books but you’ve wanted them, now is a good time to get them! For the next week one of the rewards for our kickstarter campaign is a cookbook collection. You can get one copy of each of my three books – signed if you like! (It’s listed twice – once if you’re able to pick them up at our new café and once if you need them shipped throughout North America.)
I’ll try not to be such a stranger! Thanks for stopping by and reading.
I almost forgot the most exciting news of the day!
I went to Amazon.com to order something and as I do occasionally, I checked in to see how Soup was doing. What came up? A listing for the Passover book! It’s now available for pre-orders on Amazon – click!
This is getting exciting.
I think I’ll go work on some edits and get that book done.
Over the last few weeks I’ve spent all my free time editing and working on photos. I mean all my free time — plus a lot of time at work, where I’ve been hiding out in my office trying to get stuff done.
I keep telling myself that I just have to get this one section done, then I’ll have some free time. Ha! What I meant is that I have to get this section done so I can get to the next one.
Anyway . . . I decided to take the pictures myself for this book. By myself, I mean with the help of my mother and sister. Lisa (the sister) helped by building the ‘studio’ for me. We got some lumber and a roll of backdrop paper, and ended up with this ‘photo studio’.
It worked well, and while I cooked and cooked and cooked, Mom and Lisa took turns as stylists/photographers (though I couldn’t help but take a couple of pictures of each dish myself — can we say control freak?). Every Sunday for a month or so, I’d prep 6-8 recipes and we’d snap dozens of pictures.
There will be 16 colour pages in the book (for those of you who have Soup, it will be the same) and we took over 1200 pictures. Do you know how long it takes to go through 1200 pictures? A long time. But I’ve eliminated close to 1000, and now I’m trying to choose the best out of the ones that are left.
The pictures are getting done in between editing the book. So far I’ve had three people (and me) editing and proofing. We’re on edit #4 now, and we keep finding things to change. We’re in the middle of this round, and I think it will take just one more. I hope.
Next up: formatting.
It’s been a busy month. The holidays kept coming and there wasn’t much time to work on the book. Holiday season starts a couple of weeks before Rosh Hashana and (this year) ended with Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. Each weekend was another holiday and it kept us hopping at the store.
Between holidays, I managed to squeak out enough time to finish testing all of the recipes. I even put everything together in a (really large) Word file. So we’ve moved on to the next step. Right now I have a couple of family members reading through the book doing a basic edit — the first of many. I’m spending my time working on some formatting and photos.
I’m trying to work out what to do with the formatting. When my first book was published I sent in the manuscript for the first round of edits and got a note back that all of the weight measurements needed to be converted to volumes. It’s not uncommon for North American publishers to say no to weights and insist on volumes — in fact, there’s a great discussion topic on this subject over at the eG Forums (click). You’ll see that many of the posts on this topic are strongly pro weight measurements.
Some of the arguments publishers give for going with volume are that most home cooks don’t have scales in their kitchens and that the North American public doesn’t want weights. I’d say the truth about what the public wants lies somewhere in the middle. Many cooks like to use weights because the results are more consistent. Many home cooks use volume. So I’m trying to include both.
The next question is metric vs. Imperial measurements. I plan on including both. The question is how do you include all of that information in a way that’s still easy to read and understand? It’s a lot of numbers to include for each ingredient and I’m trying to figure out the best way to present it.
Do you have a preference?
For a variety of reasons I’m trying the self-publishing route with this book. There are a lot of pros and cons either way, but after giving it a lot of thought (read: sleepless nights), I decided that the potential pros outweighed the cons.
Doing this myself means that things are a lot different. First of all, I don’t have a publisher (two actually) giving me deadlines or telling me how they think the book should look. I get to decide if the book will have metric or Imperial measurments, if I spell things like a Canadian or American (lots of u’s being used), how many pictures will be included, etc.
It also means that I have to set my own deadlines and enforce them. This is much harder. If all goes well, the book will be completed in time to have it printed and available before Passover. If all doesn’t go well, I’ll have to rethink the plan.
Add the editing, photographing, printing, marketing, distributing, listings and anything else that I’ve forgotten to my list of responsibilities and doing it myself is a lot more work. Thankfully I have friends and family who are ready to pitch in.
The next few months should be interesting; learning as I go. It’s also exciting and nerve-racking. All sorts of questions keep coming up and I’m trying to find the answers.