As I conclude the Making of Tastes of the Camino series, I want to leave you with a few final thoughts about writing and publishing your own book.
Once your book is ready for sale, you have to rev up your engine for sales and marketing… If you don’t, the only people buying your book will be your friends and family and you will be lucky to sell 50 copies!
In preparation for the launch of the book, I became equal parts event organizer and ecommerce specialist! I obviously wanted to have an amazing launch event. But on launch date, I also needed to be ready for all my online orders.
When I first started researching how to print the book, I originally wanted to do print-on-demand such as CreateSpace, Lulu or Blurb as I knew the upfront cost was minimal and I would not need to be concerned with storing massive quantities of books. However, print-on-demand uses digital printing, which has a much higher cost per unit than offset printing.
Working on the design of Tastes of the Camino was probably one of the most fun steps in the making of this book. It really is amazing to work with a designer and see your vision become a reality. But before you see this evolution, you need to choose a designer and that is no easy task!
I once heard from an accomplished cookbook author (one that has written more than 20 books and won a slew of awards) that there is no such thing as a perfect book and that you will always invariably find at least one typo in any given book. One thing is to find one typo in the whole book… Another thing altogether is to find one typo every three paragraphs or to consistently misspell words or use incorrect grammar structure. If you are in the former, you are just human…. If you are in the latter group, you probably are just plain sloppy and readers take issue with that! Therefore I can’t stress the importance of the editing and proofreading process.
Once I received feedback from the recipe testers, I was able to do some final tweaks to the manuscript and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. After two years alternating between behind the stove and behind the keyboard, I almost was at the finish line… Or so I thought!
So what is a recipe tester and what is their role? Recipe testers are people that prepared my recipes, following the instructions EXCATLY. The goal was not to determine if the recipe worked… After all, I knew that if I prepared any given recipe, it would turn out well. Rather I wanted to determine if they understood what I was trying to communicate and were able to get identical or close-to-identical results to mine. If they didn’t, then it most likely meant I was not communicating something correctly.
Once I returned to the United States, I sat down with my notes and wrote the recipes on paper as I imagined they ought to be. In addition to the valuable information I collected during the Camino, I drew inspiration from my experience preparing similar dishes. Then I would turn on my mixer, oven or stove and follow the recipe I had written. Once the dish was ready, I would taste it and make any necessary adjustments to the recipe.
When I embarked on the Camino for the first time, I never had considered writing a cookbook. It was only after I got back, when I started craving certain dishes and started trying things in my kitchen, that I had the idea of writing Tastes of the Camino. So in the name of research, I walked the entire 500-mile trail from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago again.
Prior to walking my first Camino in 2011, a friend suggested that I write about my experiences walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. While I’ve always wanted to write a book, I wasn't too keen on that idea for a variety of reasons.