How’d they do that?
As our first cookbook nears publication, we dedicate this week’s blog to all of you, our family and the remarkable friends we’ve made along the way, who supported us and became an important part of our journey!
The things we appreciate as adults are not always what matter to us as children, and sometimes they even mortified us. It’s probably the result of having things seemingly shoved down your throat so often as a child (when you could only cringe), that later resulted in your teen-self rebelling so you could march to the beat of your own drum. As a young adult you were relieved it was out of your system for good…or so you wanted to believe!
Though she eventually came around, to her it must have seemed like we were washing our hands of all things Greek and Karpathian. Much to our mom’s credit, her disappointment with our turning away from our heritage never stopped her from trying. She thought (or knew) that one day we would appreciate where we came from (a.k.a. it would come back and bite us in the butt).
The journey home
The basic elements
★The seed was planted with our passion for the subject (Kukla’s cooking)—you need passion to spark ideas and keep you going when the road goes sideways or all uphill.
★Knowledge about what you’re writing about is really important and we had first-hand food knowledge by cooking with our mom, plus we had all of her recipes. Knowledge about Karpathos has been an illuminating work in progress.
★Then you have to ask yourself, is it a subject that will appeal to others? Since everyone always raved about Kukla’s cooking and baking, including celebrities and the New York City Seventh-Avenue designers she worked with, we knew this was a shoe-in.
★A photo shoot (or two…or ten) for the covers of the cookbooks. First, we must choose a few of the foods from our cookbooks that would make each cover say, “You have to buy me!” Then we need to shop for props (table linens, silverware, dishes, glassware, etc.) and food, make the foods (sometimes more than once), style them, and set up the props for the shoot. Then we need to shoot foods for the inside pages of the books. It’s our good fortune that we have a couple of seriously talented friends, an art director (Nancy Karamarkos) and food photographer (Anastassios Mentis), who graciously offered their time and expertise.
★Editing – Proofing – Editing – more Proofing leads to a seemingly endless loop of making sure our content is correct and consistent. This is the grueling time-consuming stage where attention must be given to each and every detail while fitting it all into the design layout. We are ever conscious that the finished product must be perfect for our readers.
★Promotion is a necessary evil to let people know about the cookbook, otherwise your book will sit on a shelf, or an eBook cloud, overshadowed by books that were promoted. About five years ago I approached a couple of agents about getting our book published and one told me that I should start a blog and develop a huge following first. So I started a blog…and built an entire website around it…and anticipated tens of thousands of followers…which may not happen until the book is released (a Catch-22). To get the word out I had to climb onto all of the social media platforms (yes, it was a climb!)…enter Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube (some of this was nothing short of frustrating with HTMLs and widgets I had to figure out…I was a babe in the woods!).
Once the book is out we’ll need to get a publicist to arrange spots on shows like Today and Food Network. Plus Greek celeb endorsements wouldn’t be a bad idea either. In fact they would be a really good idea! Picture having Rita Wilson, Nia Vardalos, and John Stamos tweeting about your book…SWEET!
★Then there’s marketing and advertising to get it sold to those people you just promoted it to. This includes a book tour, cooking workshops, a culinary-group trip to Karpathos, maybe a sweepstakes.
That’s a lot to wrap your spatula around!
It’s paying off and then some. This journey brought me full circle to my mom’s and grandparents’ roots. The things I ran away from as a child have now fallen into my lap in a stunning and awe-inspiring way. If anyone would have told me when I was in high school that I’d be doing this today I would have said they had one too many shots of ouzo. I learned that no matter how much you try to run away from something, if you’re meant to do it, it will find you. My discoveries are something I value greatly, for myself and for what they contribute to our cookbook. Today I continue to blog while finalizing our first cookbook (coming soon!), working on the next cookbook, and preparing for more upcoming photo shoots. My plate is full…and often overflowing!
I hope you enjoyed Kukla’s Kouzina: Coming Full Circle. Our circle has been full with all of you in it! I’ll be sharing more of our cookbook’s behind-the-scenes with you in upcoming blogs so check back to see what’s cooking at Kukla’s. For photos of our foods, Kukla, us, and our next generation, visit our Gallery page.
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
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