When I wrote At Home, At Sea thirteen years ago, I had no idea what a success it would be. Since then, the 5,000 book run has sold out, I've written two more cookbooks, published a food column as well as a food blog, and in general had a wonderful adventure in the world of food writing. My writing focuses on food that I eat with my family and food that we eat together on our Maine windjammer, the Schooner J. & E. Riggin. This historic Maine windjammer which my husband and I run all summer is like a floating inn crossed with camping on the water. It's my restaurant and there I share my love of food and community with our guests, nourishing bodies and souls. With your support, we will print a second edition of At Home, At Sea.
The Cookbook Story
At Home, At Sea is my first cookbook of three. It emerged from years of sharing recipes at the end of each trip with guests who wanted to go home and make what they'd tasted on the Riggin. One day, at the end of a glorious 6-day sail, a long-time favorite guest, who is normally gentle and mild-mannered, took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye, and insisted that over the winter I MUST write a cookbook. She made herself heard and with her encouragement, I did just that. Somehow, without any experience or previous knowledge of writing a cookbook, At Home, At Sea was created.
Now, the cookbook has been sold out for so long, I'm back in the same place I began, with guests asking again and again for the recipes I make for them all summer long. They are no longer in print anywhere and it's time for a second edition of At Home, At Sea.
For a long time I weighed doing a simple reprint, but after writing a food column for the Portland Press Herald every week for years, my style has changed. I know more. I write differently - hopefully better. A reprint is not enough. I need to do a second edition, where the recipes are updated and all of the variations and riffs are included. In addition, our look and feel has changed and I want this new edition to join what we look like now, not what we used to be.
Why Self Publish?
The simple answer is, it's fun! The creative process is a wonderful adventure. The more detailed answer is, the book publishing industry loves chefs who have their own cooking shows, are household names, and basically will sell a ton of books for them. While I've cooked on television a lot, including on the Food Network and the Today Show, I'm not famous. Mostly, I just want to nourish people with healthy food and help them to do the same for their families when they return home.
In addition, creative control is key. With the help of professional designers, recipe testers, editors, an amazing photographer, and a local printer, the team that produces my cookbooks is a blast to work with and really good at what they do. Elizabeth Poisson is my right hand person. She's also the photographer and keeper of all things detailed. She was key to publishing the Sugar & Salt cookbooks and I'm so glad to have her unbeatable help again this time around.
The Cookbook Itself
The recipes in At Home, At Sea are my family recipes - my Aunt Rita's coffee cake, my mom's friend's breakfast muffins, and my grandma's biscuits. They are also my recipes - ones that I make all the time on the Riggin and ones that are requested over and over like Salmon and Tri-Pepper Salsa; Curried Lamb and Lentil Stew; Asian Tacos; and The Best Carrot-Banana Cake Ever. In addition, because I am constantly adding riffs to the basic recipes, the second edition will include all of the different ways I use the basic recipes to build other dishes.
Just because most of my cooking happens on a boat and with a wood stove, doesn't mean that this cookbook is only for people who sail or people who cook on a wood stove. These recipes are time-tested. If I can make them in the rain, on a heeling boat, with a wood stove, for 30 people, you can make them at home for you and your family.
All of the 100+ recipes are simple, seasonal, and for 4 to 6 people. This is the book I turn to over and over again whether it's on the boat or at home when I'm making Scones, Baking Powder Biscuits, and Cornbread. These basic recipes now have all sorts of riffs and variations such as Apricot Ginger Scones, Black Pepper and Blue Cheese Biscuits, and Jalapeno Corn and Cheddar Corn Bread. The book also has sections describing a Week at Sea and the history of the Schooner J. & E. Riggin.
Risks and challenges
Sure, I could cut corners and have the cookbook published in China for about half of what it costs in the United States, but that sort of decision is just not in keeping with how we do things in our business and in our household. Keeping the printing local just fits with our philosophy of buying local and supporting small businesses. In addition, this means that the quality of the book printing is excellent. The paper on which we print has a wonderful, hand-crafted feel to it and again, anything hand-crafted just has a soul to it that mass-produced just doesn't. The book is a softcover and the printing is done with soy-based ink.
The cost of a reprint is $17,000 for a run of 3,000 books. This doesn't include the expenses for props, food, photography or design work - these are additional costs that are outside the Kickstarter budget and we've got those covered. The $17,000 does take into account the Kickstarter fees and the credit card fees. Because we printed the third cookbook last year, we haven't had enough time between printings to recoup our costs and don't have the capital to even begin to print another book this soon. This Kickstarter campaign is our way of bringing a second edition to you this year as opposed to 3 years from now.
Much of the recipe work is finished, as is the bulk of the writing. What's left to be done is new photographs of the food and any changes to the recipes including the new riffs. We are excited about this second edition and can't wait to show you what we are creating!
We expect to have the book in hand by June 1, 2017, however there can be printing delays that would precipitate a later delivery date. We'll do our best to have the book to you as soon as we can. It will take us several weeks to get all the books out in the mail.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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