Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones Book

I have had quite a few people asking me about when our Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones book would be available for purchase, and instead of continually responding to individual Emails regarding the status, I wanted to let everyone know what the plans are at this time.

In short, we currently plan to release the Biscotti book as an "E-Book" - essentially a downloadable Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file that is a fully-formatted, full-color book that can be viewed on your computer or printed if you so desire. In addition, I've decided I will release that book for free, certainly to any of our existing customers, and possibly to the public at large.

When I tell people this, I have had more than a few ask "why would you ever give something like that away for free?". They just can't understand why, if I could make money from it, I would not do so. And, when I explain my reasons, they still tend to think I am a bit strange or perhaps even a bit ignorant to consider giving away great gluten-free recipes instead of charging for them.

So, why would I do this?
Here's the basic rundown:
  • My goal, first and foremost, when developing the Gluten-Free Recipes book (the Gourmet Desserts book) was to provide others with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance, with a way to finally enjoy desserts that were just like the "real" ones they used to eat. Period. I assumed that, for those forced to consume gluten-free foods for the remainder of their lives like me, finding dessert recipes that were just as good (or better in some cases) than the real thing would make living gluten-free much more tolerable, and perhaps even enjoyable. It has worked for me, and I hope others get the same satisfaction from the recipes in our book.
  • My goal, is to continue to get great recipes out to Celiac (Coeliac) Disease Sufferers and help them enjoy a normal life, even while living gluten-free.
  • I haven't been concerned about getting rich, finding fame, or making money from this endeavor, though I'd certainly welcome the chance to recoup my publishing and printing investment. Rather, doing the right thing to help a large group of people find normalcy in life is more important than financial returns. Now, if only our medical system worked this way!
That sums it up.

Since starting the whole book sales effort not quite a year ago with our now popular Gluten-Free Gourmet Desserts book, we have learned a lot about what the implications of self-publishing and marketing are too. After investing a lot of time and effort developing recipes, then came doing all the photography, publishing, printing, shipping, storing, and distributing of the books. Plus, having self-published this gluten-free recipes book, I also had to pay all the printing costs for a couple thousand books at a time, and find space to store the printed books as I sell them (print-on-demand is not an option for doing full-color books - even if it could be done, it'd cost more to print the book than the book sells for). This is all rather resource-intensive.

So, before printing another book, I have to consider all this: my reasons for doing the book, plus the resource-requirements when I proceed. My primary reason to PRINT a book (instead of doing an electronic book) is a simple one: I like to have cookbooks that I can just pull off the shelf when I want to bake, as I find this much simpler than having to go look at the computer and/or print off a couple pages of content each time I want to bake a recipe. I think many of us who bake a lot prefer actual books, especially when it is a book filled with recipes we regularly use - like, in our case, the Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes, which are always within reach. But, if I have to, I can deal with electronic books and online content when a printed and bound version of some favorite recipes is not available. I'm guessing others can accept an "E-Book" format if needed too.

Now, to the status of the Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones book in particular. Our daughter, who was doing much of the work on the Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones book, is busy working on her PhD in English currently, and though she hoped to finish the book this Summer, sadly it is still in need of additional work prior to publication. It's easily half done or more, but my wife and I are still working on recipes for it, and when we get the desired content completed, we'll release it. At this time, it sure looks like it will be a freely available and simple PDF download in full-color and all, as I don't think I will take time to print the book unless there is overwhelming demand for hard copy.

As I said earlier, I plan to make the Biscotti and Scones book available (when complete) for free to any existing customers, and there is a good chance I will just release it for free to anyone that wants it. It may be a while yet, but sooner or later it should reach a state of completion and be available as a nice addition to your Gluten-Free Recipe Books collection. In the mean-time, for those of you who don't know, we do have some free recipes online already for some wonderful breads, pizza crusts, waffles, and much more, over at our online Gluten-Free Recipes Library. Enjoy!


Lynn Barry said...

Good for you Mike! You and the family amaze me...continued success in spreading your gluten free goodies!

Mike Eberhart said...

Thanks Lynn! I appreciate the kind words.

Anonymous said...

so, Mike, when do you expect the biscotti cookbook to be ready? Can you give us an update?

Mike Eberhart said...

I dare not give a date, as doing so is surely a way to make sure I miss it. I have been distracted with so many other things... my other varied pursuits lately have taken too much time. Hopefully, with Winter nearly here, the time spend in the kitchen will ramp back up and I will be able to work on the book more.

I have a good start, if not nearly all recipes required to fill the book. But, that is just the first step... we have to re-bake and confirm each recipe (I always double or triple confirm, with the final baking-confirmation being right from the new book test-print, so as to make sure nothing was lost in transcription),... then I do "photo shoots",.. then I get it all assembled in Adobe InDesign (publishing software), and put out a quality book. As I type this list, I can't help thinking how much work it is! arhggh! :)