Well, I did it. My cookbook, Have Yourself A Time in the Kitchen is born!
It is pretty cool when a big box of your own books shows up on your doorstep!
There are about 100 recipes, almost 400 photographs, and a smattering of my blood, sweat, and tears, all lined up on 220 pages of glossy paper.
I probably don’t need to tell you that this was a lot of work. And I probably don’t need to tell you that it was an absolute thrill to work on, albeit an emotional roller coaster at times. There were days I loved it, days I hated it, days I thought it was my best idea ever, and days I was pretty certain it would make a pretty good starter for a bonfire. Putting yourself onto pages is not for the weak.
This is a self-published book, made through Blurb. I chose Blurb because they are a high-end photo book shop and they pride themselves on quality materials, printing, and photo quality. They also have a means for you to sell your book online, much like a small Amazon type of operation. I was really pleased with the result and although my photos don’t look quite as great on paper as they do digitally, they are as close as you can get without paying a zillion dollars to have your book published by a professional publisher. I should also add that there was no need to buy an expensive monitor calibration system as the colors are very true to life. I’ll do an upcoming post on some tips and tricks when working with Blurb as there is a bit of a learning curve.
Please note, my pages are not blue, I was running out of light when I was taking these photos. It is Christmastime people, and I am without a minute to spare. You get me right?
So, why didn’t I have my book published? I get that a lot, so I’ll take a minute to explain. First, after two years of blogging, I’ve turned into a bit of a realist. I wanted this project to be done in the next year, so time wasn’t on my side. Second, if you haven’t noticed, in this day and age, it’s pretty cool to be a foodie/chef/cook. EVERYBODY who’s ever picked up a spatula wants to be the next Food Network Star. So, to get a cook book published these days, you pretty much have to be somebody famous and even then, it’s really really tough. Publishers want your number of Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, and blog page views to even look at you. I love all 375 of my Facebook friends, but it’s just not the kind of numbers you need to get yourself seen by a publisher. What was important to me was to see what I could accomplish in terms of a book and I did that. I have a wonderful keepsake to give my boys. And yeah, it’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!
I started this book in January of this year. I started with a few recipes and photographs that I had ready, and worked on the rest as I went. I estimate that I put in about 1000 hours into this book over the last year. That is roughly 20 hours a week. During this time I worked my full time job, took care of my family, commuted two hours a day, kept up on the blog, and continued my ventures in competitive cooking, bringing in a few really cool wins while I was at it. I was really busy, but the anticipation of the end result is what kept me going.
It’s been a tough couple of years for me personally. “Tough” being the understatement of the year. I don’t share much of that here because this is not Days of Our Lives, but all of us have had trials in life, so you can relate. Luckily I had my rock to hold on to, my beloved Chad, who wouldn’t let me quit. I poured all my pain into my work. I figured I could let it tear me into shreds, or I could use it to fuel me, so I did the latter. Not saying I never fell apart, but I survived, and I turned my sorrows into pages. It was good therapy.
My book was designed to be an extension of the blog, so the chapters all relate to the theme of “Have Yourself a Time”. They all have a “time” component to them, such as “A New York Minute”, and “Happy Hour”. If I didn’t love the recipe, it didn’t make it in, so I feel the recipes are reliable, and pleasing to look at and eat!
There are small sections featuring some of my still life photography, my family, and some of my favorite inspirational quotes and tidbits. My hope being that is serves to inspire creativity, as well as serve as a source by which to create a great meal.
Again, I’m a realist, but I’m stuck with a creative soul. Stuff has to get out-you know, artsy stuff. I’m just compelled to create things. I don’t know how I would have made it through the past two years if it weren’t for Chad and the boys and my art (both my cooking and photography). Art doesn’t have to be valuable to anyone else to be nourishing to your own life, I’ve learned that. This book is just a little testament to that. It’s about being brave enough to do what feels right.
Mason, my 13 year old son, asked me for his own copy of my book. My teenager who hates everything, said he loved it. So, is the book a success? Yeah, without a doubt it is!