There are certain milestones in the bookmaking process. In mid-May, I submitted the Asian Tofu manuscript to my editor, Melissa Moore, at Ten Speed Press. Around mid-July, we worked with photographer Maren Caruso, food stylist Karen Shinto, and prop stylist Dani Fisher to shoot the food images for the book. You’d think that the book was done, right? Nope. Just because the manuscript and photos are in does not mean that the project is buttoned up.
Melissa and copyeditor Clancy Drake reviewed the draft manuscript and returned it to me for my review and editing – as soon as the photo shoot was over. It was a rough few weeks there.
As I indicated in an earlier post on the Asian Dumplings enhanced e-book project, Melissa is an editor who cracks her whip to get authors to adhere to the production schedule! Meanwhile, Art Director Elizabeth (Betsy) Stromberg came up with the book’s preliminary design for everyone to review. Everyone meant the design and editorial staff, sales team, and author (me!).
Good bookmaking is a collaborative effort. Yesterday, I stopped by Ten Speed Press on an errand and Betsy proudly handed over the book’s “first pages.” While the term may lead to you think that they’re just a few pages of the cookbook, it actually refers to the first iteration of the entire book in complete layout form. Yep, those two stacks of paper at the top contains 95% of the book (the index isn’t done). Unfortunately, all I have to show you is the black-and-white printout. (Sorry!)
Moreover, Publisher Aaron Wehner showed me a full-scale mockup of Asian Tofu. The creative team at Ten Speed Press printed out a handful of the pages and pasted them together to create a dummy version. This is done with a small number of their releases and I was deeeelighted to have my work among the chosen few.
It was so awesome to hold the ‘book’ in my hands, to sense its hefty weight, and see its square shape fully realized. With Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and Asian Dumplings, I experienced the same feelings when I received the actual book in its fully printed and bound glory. This time around, I didn’t have to wait so long to get a glimpse of what kind of baby I was about to birth!
I drove home with the first pages and now, I have to review them. I’ve got about a week and a half and must hunker down. To give you an idea of what I’ll be doing with my time – it’s a lot of reading, editing, and re-reading. As with all books that I’ve written, there is fair amount of text, foreign terms, and historical information to verify one last time – not to mention the recipes too.
The recipes have all been tested. However, print is forever so it’s crucial that we get things straight at this juncture. Things get harder to change the closer you get to the finish line (when the book is due at the printer).
Asian Tofu is a different book than Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and Asian Dumplings in that there are also stories that I tell about my most excellent tofu adventure – people I meet, places I visit, and foods I taste.
As I tweak text I’ll also be tweaking the travel photographs that are in the book. You’ll see collages of location photos like the one above throughout the work. The images are evocative and also document what I experienced.
All that said, you’ll have to excuse me for the next week. I’ll likely not post at all. But you’ll know that I’m just super busy. Wish me luck!
P.S. For those of you who live in the Northwest, food journalist Nancy Leson wrote a nice piece in the Seattle Times about the area's tofu culture and sources for super fresh tofu. She interviewed me for the piece and yes, I did say that you could write a country song about how tofu has been so misunderstood! Maybe I can get my musically inclined husband to come up with something…
Related Post: Asian Tofu Update: Cover Evolution (factors that determine what you see at first glance!)