We're away at festivals! Catch you in the fields, or back open 01/07/22

Cookbook Publishing 101

One year ago today we submitted the manuscript for the book that has now landed – finally – in our hands (for those of you who may be confused, the one on display in our restaurant was just a prop: when Saturday Kitchen visited last August our publishers did what they could to get a copy on camera, but it was actually someone else’s cookbook with a mocked-up Taste Tibet sleeve).

We had started to wonder if we’d ever get a copy of our own. It seemed like everyone else had one (Ken Hom has 5!) but we know now that publishing – like all industries – has its ways, and that if we just sit tight then all will become clear. In this case, it’s more important that people who can help promote the book have early copies, as they can help to create a buzz around it.

We’ve learned so much along the way. There’s a process: you write a proposal, you look for an agent (you can approach publishers directly but editors will always open emails from people they know first), and then the idea goes out. Not to one publisher but to several at the same time. If you have an agent on your side (thank you, Heather, for taking a punt on Taste Tibet) it doesn’t take long for the replies to come back. Some nice no thank you’s in our case, but also lots of interest: Zoom calls followed, then some offers, and then because there was more than one on the table a “final bids” situation in which the publisher “reconsiders” their offering.

It always feels great to sign a contract, right? But afterwards reality bites: now you have to do the work. We look forward to sharing our writing processes with you another week. Suffice to say that none of this was easy against the background of a global pandemic + opening our first restaurant at the same time (during a national lockdown). But that’s another story.

It takes ages for a cookbook to actually publish because there’s so much that has to happen after the manuscript has been delivered. The designers get to work even before food photos have been shot – there’s a look and feel to consider, and this brief must be agreed with the authors before it’s shared with the photographers.

Then the text goes through stages and stages of revision. We learned so much from Alison and Justin, our amazing editors. Do not underestimate the role of these superstars behind the scenes!

Just before the book goes to print, a job that happens on the other side of the world (Singapore, in our case), there are endorsements to gather (“hello, I’ve written this book, which I hope you love!”), and you have to give people time out of their own busy lives to give your PDF the once over. We received some amazing quotes from food heroes including Ken Hom, Saliha Mahmoud Ahmed, Fuchsia Dunlop, Sophie Grigson and others. What a dream – thank you to these wonderful supporters. Y

ou can pre-order Taste Tibet now, and don’t forget that we’re also running a competition for anyone who does! A momo-making masterclass is up for grabs for three lucky winners + their guests. Click here for more info and a chance to win!

Meanwhile we are open the usual hours this week, as follows:Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)Thursday – Saturday: 12-3pm (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Come for takeaway, to dine in or order home delivery through Foodstuff. This week’s menu is live on the website now.
See you soon!
Julie and Yeshi

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