World book fair (Photo credit: Anks)
After the hustle and bustle of The London Book Fair last week I have come back to my comfort zone to reflect.
It was exactly as I thought it would be: very busy, very hot, very large and not particularly author friendly. But I found it valuable as the few conversations I had with some of the exhibitors, was constructive. I came away with a different perspective and the task of sharpening my focus on how I want to present “Androula’s Kitchen” to the world.
When I started collating and writing “Androula’s Kitchen – Cyprus on a Plate ” it was from my enthusiasm to find out bite size snippets of information about the cuisine and culture of the everyday. I revelled in gathering the information and the photos of course. My thoughts were ‘If this interests me then it must be of interest to others.” But what I never thought of doing was writing it from a publisher’s viewpoint of how to maximise its commerciality. I vaguely thought about where it would fit into the book shop categories. Is it a book on Arts & Crafts, Food or a journal? No, it’s all of these.
I’ve never exactly gone along with the main stream in life, I guess I’ve always been a bit of a rebel at heart and want to go my own way. Running true to form, I have come up with a book that doesn’t fit into a nice tidy slot.
When I came up with the “Cyprus on a Plate” part of the title it wasn’t because I wanted to present it as a recipe book, although it does have some recipes in it. I wanted to give a ‘flavour’ of Cyprus not just its food but its culture. It doesn’t just have recipes it has information about the food. It give background and information on not just traditional weaving, basket making, pottery and The Arts but on the contemporary. I’m proud of my little creation as you would expect but will anyone else want to buy it is the question? If so how am I going to tempt them to explore the content between the covers? I thought I could say “this is a meze of Cypriot culture from Arts & crafts to food. A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach” Does that sum it up do you think? Let me know.
Information (Photo credit: heathbrandon)
What do you think of the cover?
Well the week has arrived and I must pack up my old kit bag and get myself to the city, forsooth! It is the week of the London Book Fair and I’m visiting on Tuesday and Wednesday along with thousands of others no doubt.
I have been to Earl’s Court quite a few times, both as an exhibitor and visitor, not at the Book Fair I hasten to add, this is a first. It is huge and not a particularly pleasant environment. As an exhibitor I seem to remember the air conditioning plays havoc with your skin and sinuses! Quite often you are too cold and the sea of faces and constant movement of people is very tiring so I don’t envy the participants. As a visitor a comfy pair of shoes is definitely a must and a lot of water to drink.
I have bought an iPad on eBay especially so I can show the pages of Androula’s Kitchen to prospective publishers. Such is my optimism that they will even have time to speak to a mere author! ha! The book designer, Andrew has been doing a great job of revamping my amateurish first attempts and the pages he has finished (about three quarters of the book) are loaded in PDF format. I will have it fully charged and ready to flash at the least opportunity.Excuse me madam, you can’t do that in here. I now have to work up my charisma levels and project myself. (Oh Dear! do I have to?)
I will look on it as another new experience and just relax as much as possible because by relaxing I will be in a more receptive state for those nudges of intuition that help us throughout life in making the right choices…should we choose to listen!
Ελληνικά: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It seems to me that there are two ways of going about writing books. One is when you have something inside you that makes you want to write; it could be about experiences or ideas or a story that just pops into your head fully formed. I’ve heard this method of instigation is a common one for many writers and composers. Often the most brilliant stories and pieces of music and even ideas for paintings, have come to the artist in the night when they have had the sense to keep a piece of paper by their bedside on which to write down these nocturnal inspirations.
The second way is when the author is approached by an editor or publisher to write a book. Which, for the author, on the one hand must be a comfort to know that there is an advance to spur them on and on the other if no inspiration is forthcoming, a curse.
The idea for “Androula’s Kitchen” was not a nocturnal inspiration but did come to me out of the blue.
I was musing upon my recent holiday with my cousin Androula, who I had met again for the first time in more than twenty years when visiting her home in the Troodos Mountains. She had spent sometime restoring a traditional house which now offers guests a secluded, restful environment from which to explore the surrounding countryside and the many beautiful monasteries in the vicinity. She has a love of the antique and articles produced by the artisan. This combination of surroundings, a traditional house and the eclectic mix of objects within triggered in me a curiosity to investigate and explore the crafts of Cyprus both old and new. I am a crafts-person myself and have spent many years practising my craft in the seclusion of my workshop and I took a great deal of pleasure visiting craftsmen in Cyprus and discovering a side of Cyprus that I don’t usually get the opportunity to see.
Of course once I got thinking, I had to include information about the food! Cyprus is an island that revolves around food. They say an army marches on its stomach and the same could be said of Cyprus.
There were many foodstuffs and recipes I had wanted to know about and this was an ideal opportunity for me to discover how the food was prepared and my favourite foods were cooked.
Now after spending a couple of years compiling, writing and re-writing the text and taking and organising photographs I want to see it in print. I have had discussions with a couple of publishers in Cyprus but nothing has come of these. It is the London Book Fair in April and I have bought my ticket. I feel like a minute piece of plankton about to float into the ocean. It is an overwhelming prospect and I will be feeling very out of my comfort zone. But needs must…….