Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Maybe not the best idea...

Blechta here, late again, but I do have a very good, book-related reason.

Like Vicki, we are giving some books as Christmas/Chanukah gifts, but not as many as I suspect other Type M folks are. But everyone on our list is getting a book of another sort.

Back in September, casting around for an idea for Christmas gifts, someone in the family (I suspect it was me in a fit of insanity) had a brainstorm: why not make up a small cookbook of family recipes and give that as a very personal present?

That was back in September. When we pulled out the recipe book and an envelope of notes we’d jotted down over the years, things started getting a little out of hand. Everyone in the family had their personal favourites. The number of recipes started going up. When the dust settled this past week and I took the files to a POD printer I’d found, the little family keepsake had grown into a tome. Last recipe count:124 in a 148-page book! This turned into a marathon effort, but it was reasonably fun, if stressful. The tone is all very tongue-in-cheek, but they are very good recipes and it gave my wife and I a chance to tell some tall tales about the family.

The process of putting together my first self-publishing project since my second novel, gave me an interesting insight into how the book production business has changed in the past 15 years. I don’t have the final copies yet (print run 24), but the proofs look darn good and the cost was far more reasonable than I expected.

Between publishing electronically and doing POD print runs, the future may well be within our grasps.

I also discovered that the page layout software I use (InDesign) has a setting to export a book to a digital edition. And this started the old wheels turning in my head. I’d been seriously thinking of re-publishing my second novel electronically and this could be the way to do it quickly and easily and without the huge cash outlay necessary to self-publish in the usual sense ($10,000+). I am excited.

I’ll keep you all posted.


I nearly forgot to mention that I'm taking part in another fine blog's feature, "Friday's Forgotten Books". Check out

Also, our guest blogger this Sunday will be Mel Bradshaw author of three fascinating crime novels, all very different, including the award-winning Death in the Age of Steam.


Vicki Delany said...

That is such a fantastic idea! Congratulations to you all for pulling it off.

Rick Blechta said...

Thanks, but if we'd known the many, many hours that the job took, we might have decided to do something else. The really bad thing is that we could easily fill another cookbook of the same length!

One of the things we didn't realize at first, is that we were actually preserving some rather old family recipes from my side (Czech) and my wife's and my mother's sides (German) for future generations. There are three very good recipes we know of that have been lost. So not only is it a Christmas present/cookbook, but an historical document. Hey...wait a minute...I should have gone after a government grant!

Susan D said...

I'm wondering if there were any time-honoured family issues involved, such as Rhubarb Crisp: With or Without Oatmeal?

Rick Blechta said...

My wife and I have a BIG problem about our meat loaf recipes. We decided to include both and let family members vote. Unbeknownst to her, I plan on bribing everyone with my mother's famous chocolate chip cookies (recipe also included), so that I will garner the most votes.

Fortunately, we both hate rhubarb so we wouldn't touch that sort of recipe with a 10-foot cattle prod.

We do like oatmeal, though...

Thanks for writing in Ms D!