If you want to get right to the reader testimonial I posted, scroll down this page a ways. Or, feel free to first read my long-winded thoughts related to this, starting here :)
I'll admit, sometimes I wonder if all the effort creating my Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts book was worth it. My wife and I invested a couple years in developing that book, but unless people just "happen to find the book" on the Internet or find it in a few retail stores in Ohio (or perhaps at Celiac.com), sadly they will never know it exists. We don't advertise anywhere (perhaps we should) and this prevents many people from ever "finding" or "knowing about" our book.
We made the choice not to sell the book on Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Nobles, etc.; choosing instead to offer it for sale online and direct via my Gluten-Free Desserts website, where I could offer people a money-back satisfaction-guarantee to show them how serious I was about the quality of the gluten-free recipes and desserts. With relatively low sales volume, I certainly wonder at times if I have made the right choice. But, when buyers take the time to write a testimonial, like the one I received earlier this week, it certainly encourages me greatly.
I have always told my wife a few times that we are in a "Catch-22" of sorts - people can't find our glutenfree recipes book because people haven't found our book. Meaning, we have to reach "critical mass" and gain public awareness of how good the book and the recipes really are, and this takes having enough people using the book and baking the gluten-free desserts and telling others how wonderful and outstanding they are to get others to find our book.
Many existing Celiac sufferers already own "a lot" of gluten-free cookbooks and are skeptical at buying "yet another" book. How do I convince this group that they really can enjoy cakes and desserts as good as those everyone around them eats - the ones with wheat, that is! All I can simply say to you, if you are one of these "many books already" type is: how many other gluten-free cookbooks offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee??
There is a reason you typically won't find such a guarantee, and I'll be quite frank and honest here, and say what you all know to be true: most gluten-free recipe books produce foods that are just plain bad or "OK" at best! (sure, there are exceptions, but overwhelmingly this is the experience I have had with other books, and I have repeatedly and frequently heard others having the same experience - especially in regards to other dessert books and bread books and the "tough to make right as glutenfree" recipes).
I'm not going to try starting some flame-war here on the Gluten-Free Blog about what GF books are good and what are bad or anything else (though I know some will feel compelled to post comments about how a particular book is really good, or really awful, anyhow). Instead, I just want it to be known, that it is a fact (I stand by "fact" here - not just an opinion), that many gluten-free recipes books are sadly lacking in quality - recipe quality, and even overall book quality (they tend not to be what you'd expect to find in a modern bookstore).
So, given this, how do I convince people that are already skeptical about the quality of gluten-free cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, and other dessert recipes, to try yet another book!? Answer: I cannot convince anyone. I can only say what I know to be true: the cakes produced from the recipes in our books have won baking contests (against "real" cakes), and all the recipes were taste-tested using the entire population (i.e., people that eat wheat - not just GF / Celiac persons).
The feedback from people that have purchased our book and tried our recipes has been wonderful! But, that won't convince anyone else to get the book for themselves. Only by word-of-mouth (unless I get lucky enough to have some major magazine or TV show - Oprah or The View or something perhaps - do a favorable book review for me), will others find out what they are missing. The best I can do is post testimonials from some people that have tried our book, and let you see what they are saying and thinking about our product.
The Wonderful Book Testimonial I Received this Week
Here it is.
And, yes, this gave me a wonderful shot of encouragement regarding my Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts book. A buyer named Kelly emailed the following to me within just a week after obtaining our book, and from the sounds of it, it was a busy week of baking gluten-free desserts!
I bought your book last week and spent most of yesterday trying out recipes. The peanut butter pie is terrific! My pie crust making needs some adjustments, but for a first attempt, I am pleased. The filling is delicious! And it's gluten free!! WOW! I also made the peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, the chocolate chip cookies, and the double chocolate cookies with carmel bits. (In the chocolate chip recipe, I switched the cornstarch for tapioca (I am corn intolerant too) but resolved to tweak it a bit more next time, perhaps add part mesquite/part tapioca instead of all tapioca. My husband and sons loved everything, though!So nice to see them smiling after eating a treat, instead of guzzling down a quart of milk to get their saliva going again!Anyway, I tried to email the suretalent-books website but it bounced back to me -undeliverable for some reason.... So I will tell you - I would like to get on your alert list for the next book you put out (biscotti and scones).Yours is the first book that really takes taste to the next level. Our whole family deals with celiac disease and multiple food allergies, and our youngest son was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just before Halloween. We've waded through some pretty awful gluten free meals and desserts in the past.... but things are looking up! I've bought dozens of cook books but your book is definitely the best! I can't wait to try the rest of the recipes!I offer one suggestion for the next book: it would be absolutely wonderful if you added nutrition information for each recipe, especially a carb count. That would really help out with insulin adjustments.
Well, it's [now] Tuesday and the chocolate carmel cookies I made Sunday night are already completely gone! Tell your wife my husband is a dentist and he's pretty darn nervous about the delicious sweets proliferating in our household since the purchase of your dessert book! My son (with Type1 Diabetes), made me figure his dinner insulin last night to include a piece of the peanut butter pie and a chocolate caramel cookie! And tho my husband frowned a bit, he broke into a grin and dug into the dessert plate himself -- it's been a long time since dessert tasted so good!
I used to bake (before celiac) all our breads and treats, and everything just came to a halt suddenly when we were diagnosed. I immediately tacked on a few extra allergies for myself, which was overwhelming. For awhile I just quit cooking "creatively" and bought mixes and boxes that were "safe". I was afraid I'd hurt my family accidentally, I guess. For so long, we ate for "fuel", not for taste. When Hunter [my son] ended up with diabetes last fall, I thought "I HAVE to start baking and cooking "REAL" food again. No more bland mixes. I have to find a way to get back some sense of normalcy for our family, especially Hunter."
My husband, who paid his way through college and med school working as a bar tender and chef, jumped in to offer help researching whole food dinners. (gluten free/ corn free /soy free /potato free /diabetic-safe - whew!) I will never forget the first dinner he brought to the table - eating it, I was so stunned I could barely chew. Tears poured down my cheeks. I cannot express how blissful it felt to eat that meal. I had completely forgotten how joyous! a delicious dinner with family and friends could be. Right after that, I met another woman (with a celiac/diabetic son too) who gave me a bag of her homemade cookies. Her cookies were so good compared to the ones I'd been buying...
I threw all our boxed versions out, and inspired by her efforts, bought every gluten free dessert book I could find and started experimenting. That was last Fall. There have been a few successes, but most of the good things came simply from experimenting with and converting my old favorite recipes. Not so much from my immense new collection of recipe books. Oh, some were "okay" and definitely better than the boxed items.... but none were spectacular. (I didn't have tears pouring down my face)
You and your wife, though,... your dessert recipes are different!! They are spectacular! And I can't wait to try the rest of them! Most celiacs (or those on a gluten free diet anyway) have gotten so used to mediocrity... and it doesn't have to be that way! NO MORE MEDIOCRITY! With a little extra time and effort, gluten free can be extraordinary.... maybe even better than wheat - maybe even (am I really saying this?) a blessing in disguise!!
And to think I was scolding myself: "Kel, OF ALL THINGS - YOU DO NOT NEED yet ANOTHER GLUTEN FREE DESSERT BOOK!" Funny how life is never quite what you expect!!Thanks to you and your family, (and make sure you let me know when the new book is available!)Warm regards,Kelly S.
After I replied to Kelly, thanking her for her wonderfully kind feedback and letting her know that the upcoming (whenever I can find time to finish it) Biscotti and Scones book would probably be releaed as a free "E-Book", she emailed me back and said:
Maybe you guys should publish your second book. Just based on the recipes I tried Sunday [from your Gluten-Free Gourmet Desserts Book], I couldn't wait to get put on your alert list for the biscotti / scones book. I'm sure I can stir up some interest and word of mouth for you.Perhaps she is right, but I am more interested in just getting these recipes out to people suffering from Coeliac / Celiac Disease, and/or anyone else living a gluten-free diet or wheat-free diet. So, plans are to still release the next book for free (in E-Book form), and certainly as such for those who have my first book.
Kelly, thank you so much for your incredibly kind (and detailed) feedback! You can't even start to imagine how much that brightened my day, and how much it made my wife happy to know that her gluten-free baking and recipe efforts are appreciated.