Production of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes"
Mar 01, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
Each book (and there have been eight before this one!) my husband says: "write down the production process so you will know what to expect for the next one." And each time I'm far too busy participating in the production to do it. But now I'm going to do it for YOU. So if you're interested in following the progress, put a check mark in the box Let me know if someone adds a comment and you will be alerted to new comments (mine will be in pink). That way those who are not interested won't be bothered with new postings
Phase One May 2007
I should have started this early because already I've forgotten how many times I resubmitted the manuscript on disc, each one labeled final! My guess is three. I kept tweaking and adding.
Phase Two September 2007
Pam Chirls, my editor went through the entire manuscript and returned it to me via e-mail with tons of queries and suggestions which I addressed directly on the computer. This is a first for me as I didn't know how to edit this way but was given an in person lesson by Pam's terrific assistant Christine Di Como. Apparently some authors and editors prefer to do the editing on hard copy but loving technology as i do, I took to it like a duck to water! Pam and I met twice to go over the changes and Christine then went through the entire manuscript, cleaning up the queries and responses and forwarded the new "final" to Ava Wilder in production.
Meantime, we had several meetings with out "art team" which included photographer Ben Fink, Stylist Liz Duffy, and designer Alison Lew of Vertigo. And Woody and I continued to bake and retest and review the recipes occasionally finding some little thing to improve or change. We also are continuing to experiment and try out techniques or queries that come through from the blog.
Phase Three February 2008
Ava sent me many initial queries concerning my design preferences and consistency questions, such as: " vs. inches, 9 x 5 inch pan vs 9 by 5 inch, the order of the chapters, and many other design elements. (I had already submitted a style sheet of my preferences.)
Next the manuscript will go to copy editor Deborah Weiss Geline whom I worked with many years ago at William Morrow. She is wonderfully detail-oriented and knows my work very well. In fact, she has baked from The Cake Bible and I even made her wedding cake! Since that time she has been an editor at Artisan Books and I'm most fortunate that she is now working free lance so that she can be the copy editor for my upcoming book.
I'll be receiving a sample section early March and the majority of it mid-April (at which time you may not be hearing much from me on this blog as it will be an intense 8 weeks doing photography, copy editing, and producing the DVD all at the same time)!
Phase 4 March 2008
Instead of sending me the copy editing sample Ava brought it to the production meeting with Alison, Pam, and Rebecca (her new assistant). I brought a chocolate swirl coffee cake from the upcoming book as I think it's fun for everyone to become acquainted with the actual cakes as we discuss how they will be photographed and written about.
We had an intense over two hour discussion about the design of the book which included not just appearance but also style of the text such as in the chart headers--do we need them or not and if so should the headers be volume and weight or measure and weight. i voted for keeping the headers because in the American system of weights and measures ounces applies both to fluid ounces (measure) and weight ounces which can be very confusing. these decisions may seem inconsequential but they add up to making a book user friendly and approachable or not! The detail in a four color book (where there is a photo on just about every page) is astonishingly staggering.
My goal is to have all the information needed and placed where it is needed but at the same time be as clear and straightforward as possible with nothing in the way of effortless comprehension and enjoyment. This is not easy to come by--take my word for it. By the time I got home I felt as exhausted and fragmented as my computer which was being replaced that night. Five minutes later my friend and computer guru Rob Ruotolo arrived and we were up til 4 am installing and working out the glitches. I stayed up another hour and then spent the following day working out more glitches such as having lost the audio from my monitor. After a long phone conversation with Rob we discovered that during the process of moving the monitor two of the plug had worked their way out. (This happens every time so I spent several more hours writing up all I had learned of the procedure for the next time.) When my computer is down I feel like the center of my life has dropped out. (This is because it has!)
Then back to the manuscript--this time a long phone conversation with Ava to go through the sample editing queries which will determine the consistency of the copy editor's work, for example should the walnuts that will be chopped be entered as walnuts, coarsely chopped in the chart or as walnut halves and then have the chopping part in the instructions after the toasting which is the way chose. (It's shocking to see how inconsistent one's brain is--I managed to alternate between the two ways of listing them, sometimes even listing them only as "walnuts" and this is only one example of ingredient or technique consistency throughout the manuscript.) We also agonized over whether to refer to the little specks inside the vanilla bean as grains or seeds. You often see vanilla bean on ice cream containers but that's because they are using the pod ground up which is not as aromatic as the actuall seeds or grains contained in the bod aka bean (yikes!). using the correct terminology is often not an entirely viable solution if no one recognizes what it is!
My old friend and copy editor Debbie did a brilliant job making suggestions that improve graceful expression and clarity without changing 'my voice.' And Ava agreed that our meeting of the day before was intense to the point of exhaustion. What a kindred spirit I have found in her. I've never before had the benefit of a production editor who was involved with the physical look of the book in addition to the text and now I see that the two are inextricably connected. This is so exciting. What could be better than enjoying and respecting the people with whom one will work so closely for a long period of time. I can see that this team of gifted professionals is going to breathe new life into this book and I know that I am going to agonize, exult and be totally wrapped up in this process which ultimately will produce the book of my dreams.
Phase 5 April 2008 Photography
This posting is getting so long and I have some photos to go with the new entry so I will start it as a new posting in a few days.
Phase 6 May 2008 Copy Editing
Posted May 10, 2008