Saturday, March 24, 2012

0 Update on the Cookbook: Your Questions Answered :)

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I'm writing this post because people keep asking me about the status of my healthy gourmet cookbook. :) So, I thought it'd be easier to address all of those questions here, in one centralized place, by writing what's essentially a mini "Cookbook Status FAQ." That way, if anyone else asks, I can just redirect them to this post. :)

First of all, thank you for asking and for expressing your interest in my cookbook. It's good to know that I'm still on your radar and you're eagerly awaiting the release of my book. :-D I haven't forgotten about you either. :)

So, here are the answers to the most common questions I've received, thus far:

"I haven't heard anything from you in a while about the cookbook. Are you still working on it? What's the status of the book?": Yes, I'm still working on the cookbook. For those of you who aren't already aware, I've got several business projects going on at once, and more than one blog (plus other social media outlets and websites to maintain), so the cookbook isn't the only thing I'm working on right now. :) Yes, it is a priority project, but for the past few months, some other deadlines have temporarily taken precedence. Also, to be honest, I took a little bit of a break from writing and posting recipes for a while (as you can see from the dates of previous posts below ;) ), because frankly, I was a bit burnt out from trying to do both in conjunction with my other activities. After all, I'm not a machine, and sometimes writers need to take breaks. :) However, now I'm feeling refreshed from my little hiatus and am back on track with my writing now.

"Why is it taking so long?": Ah, my favorite question. ;) Not sure if people realize this, but a cookbook takes a while to write and edit. :) It's not simply about creating recipes. Yes, there are recipes to write, but they also need to be edited, tested/made, and then sometimes rewritten after testing. There are also pictures to take, select, and edit, and sometimes retake, which means having to remake the recipe. ;) Plus, the pre- and post-production processes can take a considerable amount of time. And since I'm doing both the writing and the photography, that's why the process is going at its present pace. :) And that's probably also why I went through a burnout period. Lol.

If I owned a DSLR camera like this,
I probably wouldn't be spending so
much time in post-production. :)
And then, after all of that is done, there's the recipe selection process, a second round of edits, and at present, some photo reshoots. You see, in the early phases of this blog (i.e., back in 2007, etc.), I took some photos that were, er, shall I say for lack of a better word, substandard. :) So I need to retake the photos to make them "cookbook-worthy." And, once again, that means remaking several recipes just for the photos, which is going to take some time....

Thankfully, my photography and has improved tenfold since then, along with my recipe-writing skills. :) Also, my knowledge has improved in both of these areas as well. That's not meant to sound like bragging; it's just an acknowledgement of the truth, plain and simple. If you do something repeatedly and keep at it for a few years, you are bound to improve, or let's hope so anyhow. Lol.

But back to the original topic. The bottom line is this: After poring over the photos, I had three choices. Either leave out the recipes with substandard photos, or reedit the photos where possible. Or if this wasn't possible, remake the recipes and then reshoot the photos.

This professional grade camera, a Nikon D3X,
is simply drool-worthy. It's been rated as one
of the best. For a retail price of $7,995.95,
 it should be. :)
After going through the recipe selection process, I was tempted to leave out some of the recipes requiring photo reshoots. After all, that would certainly make the whole process go a whole lot faster. :) The only thing was, after I'd selected some of the recipes in this manner, I noticed that some of the older recipes I wanted to include had decent photos but still needed some additional tweaking in terms of the recipe text (i.e., the wording of ingredients and directions for clarity, accuracy, and consistency with the wording of other recipes, etc.). So, those recipes would still require additional work. And then, after I'd gone through those, I realized that I still needed several more recipes to fulfill the promised 250 recipe quota. That meant going back to the recipe archive and begrudgingly picking some that needed photo retakes. ;) Also, there were, in fact, several older recipes I still wanted to include because they just needed to be there for various reasons -- i.e., for variety, to ensure breadth and depth, etc. It's important for the cookbook to have a wide representation of dishes in various categories -- types of dishes (appetizers, main courses, etc.), ingredients (lots of different vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, etc.), a broad array of national/regional cuisines, and enough recipes to suit various dietary lifestyles (vegan, vegetarian, carnivorous/paleo, etc.).

Anyhow, long story short, the editing process has currently been put on hold for these photo retakes. And of course, as mentioned above, that means remaking the corresponding recipes, and going through the post-production process all over again. And there are a lot of recipes to remake and reshoot, so that takes a while. A fairly long while, in fact. So that's what I'm currently in the process of doing.

"When will you be finishing writing it, and more importantly, when will it be out?": I'm reluctant to release this information, primarily because if I do, and then I don't meet this artificially imposed and highly public deadline, er, well.... You can probably see where I'm going with that. ;) Having said that, I'm tempted to give a longer time estimate, and then surprise everybody when I finish it a lot earlier than that. :-D Right now, let's just say that I have some target dates I'm working towards for the photo reshoots, edits, rewrites, and final edits. So, to evade, er, I mean, answer, your question, I hope to be done with the cookbook before the end of the next millennium. ;) OK, only joking about that. :) But seriously, folks, the next self-imposed deadline (i.e., for the photo reshoots) is only a few months away, and I'm working really hard to meet it. Sure, I'd love to say that I'll done with the book before the end of the year, but I don't want to mislead anyone by putting that in writing as an official, hard and fast deadline, because cookbook writing is a long process that has several factors. And that's all I'm going to say on that subject for the time being. I do promise one thing: When I'm nearing the end of the process, I will, indeed, say so. And when this happens, you'll know it, because it's going to be something I'll be talking about here (and on Twitter, the site's Facebook page, and elsewhere, etc.) a lot. :)

"Can I get an autographed copy? And if so, where can I buy of one of these autographed copies?": Yes, there will be autographed copies of the books available for sale. To promote the book, there's going to be an online pre-sale, as well as an official book launch and release party, all of which will most likely include a limited number of first-come, first-served, autographed copies. There will also be public book signings as well.

"Are you planning on doing a book tour? Will you be coming to my city/area?": It's a bit premature in the process to release this information right now, but yes, I do plan to do a book tour. At present, I can only speculate as to the areas I'll be visiting. The most obvious first stops would probably be my hometown, and then of course, my current location (i.e., Washington, DC and the surrounding areas). As for other places, next stops would probably include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and possibly Baltimore. I'm also considering Boston and maybe some West Coast cities (i.e., most likely in Southern California). If you would like to request that I do a book signing in your area, do let me know. Of course, I can't make any promises to accommodate all of the requests, but if there's enough interest in a particular area of the country, those suggestions will definitely get a bit more consideration. :)

OK, so that's all for now, folks. It's time to get back to cooking, food staging, and retaking photos. :)

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