The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food is a book that will be created, edited, and illustrated by members of the Heavy Table team in conjunction with the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul design and cartography community.
The book will tell the stories of Upper Midwestern food and drink from all manner of perspectives; we'll chart out some of the late, great "ghost restaurants" of the Twin Cities that have vanished but linger on as influences; we'll explore meat markets up and down the Mississippi; we'll track down pop culture and literature connections to local eateries, and far, far more.
This book will be a license to explore, document, map, illustrate, and dig into local food culture, and we can't wait to tackle it.
The Secret Atlas will not be a re-hash of material already published on the Heavy Table - it will be a collection of 20 newly commissioned original written and reported works paired with map projections and illustrations created by talented professionals.
Our goal is to put a gorgeous, engrossing book in your hands by the holiday season of 2013.
For a hearty appetizer-sized taste of the book, check out this exploration of East Lake Street written by Susan Pagani and illustrated by Andy DuCett.
We founded the Heavy Table in order to tell the stories of food and drink in the Upper Midwest. There are some stories that resonate better on the printed page – stories that are longer, more complicated, more lavishly illustrated than is ideal for the typical blog format.
We hope that The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food will become the first in a series of books about Upper Midwestern food, and serve as the foundation for a new publishing house dedicated to Upper Midwestern food writing.
If this project is funded and the Atlas becomes a reality, it has the potential to fundamentally change the food and drink scene in the Upper Midwest. The Heavy Table's publishing enterprise will be dedicated to food first, last and foremost – our projects will be works of love, authored by and illustrated by some of the area's most talented creators. We will do our best to serve the needs of both the artists and the readers, publishing books that entertain and inform, and crackle with wit even as they meticulously document their subjects.
STRETCH GOAL #1 ($20,000):
Add four new maps and stories to the book, for a total of 24.
STRETCH GOAL #2 ($25,000):
Create a colorful commemorative art print for the book that will be distributed to everyone who pledged $22 or more.
How will the money from this project, if funded, be spent?
Of our $16,000 target, about 60 percent will go to pay our writers, illustrators, our cartographer (Matt Dooley), our designer (Tod Foley), and our editor (James Norton) - the full team will be somewhere between a dozen and 20 people. The remainder will be spent on the printing costs of our first run of books and paying for Kickstarter rewards.
If you exceed your funding goals, how will the money be spent?
Money raised in excess of our funding goals will be used to pay for the inevitable cost overruns for producing the book, for setting up the next book in what we hope will be a series of Heavy Table publications, and for maintaining the Heavy Table magazine's ongoing commitment to covering food and drink in the Upper Midwest.
Are you taking pitches for stories and maps for the book?
While most concepts are already under development, for the next month or so, any pitches are welcome. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more specific guidelines.
How will these "map point" rewards work?
We'll put a map (or maps, see below) in the book -- most likely of the greater Twin Cities area with an inset for the rest of MN / WI / Iowa. We'll add numbers (or better yet, tiny numbered sketches) all over the map, one for each "map point" reward. On subsequent pages, we'll have one- or two-sentence descriptions of each point explaining the hidden gem bar or restaurant or cafe in question. We hope the aggregate effect will be a crowd-sourced guide to some of the area's most generally "off-the-map" spots. If we sell too many map points (75? 100? 150?) we'll just break them up into more maps, each with a theme or geographic focus.
Can you guarantee that we'll have our books in hand by Christmas/Hanukkah 2013?
We're shooting for it, and we think it's doable. The Heavy Table moves quickly and with a fair bit of forethought. We want it there for the holidays and we're going to bust our collective ass to make it happen.
Will this book feature advertising?
There will be a section at the back of "The Secret Atlas" thanking you (the Kickstarter backers); givers of large gifts will receive special recognition. Otherwise, no.
How much will the book sell for in bookstores / by mail order?
Risks and challenges
Any project involving 25-40 collaborators and a tight timeline faces challenges. In our case, we'll have a three-deep field of obstacles - making sure our contributors turn their content in on time, making sure the content is robustly edited so that it's entertaining and informative, and making sure the final layout is clean, appealing, and does the material justice. We run the risk of either delivering a book (on time) that does not fully satisfy our readers, or delaying the book past the holidays in order to ensure our writing and art is as strong as we can manage. If we are forced to choose, we will deliver a stronger, more entertaining, more thoroughly worthwhile book sometime early in 2014.
The Heavy Table has been successfully creating content every weekday for more than four years, coordinating the efforts of editors, writers, copyeditors, illustrators, and photographers, so we feel confident that we can pull off a beautiful book in a timely fashion. That said: We're comfortable communicating our status with our supporters, so you can expect updates as the project knits together. We won't leave you in the dark, and we're always available to answer questions. If you back our project, you're an investor, and we respect that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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