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Category ... Book Production

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 14

Nov 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production


We were very fortunate to have Davidson's Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs and our publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sponsor this virtual media tour. The Satellite Media Tour, aka SMT, went out to 11 cities and each appearance was under 5 minutes long.

The advantage of an SMT is to have an author be on several television shows without having to travel to each city. Instead, from a studio in Manhattan, within a span of 3 hours, via satellite hook up, I talked to individual television shows from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California. All of these cities were ones that were not on our actual tour schedule, so this gave the television hosts the opportunity to talk to me for the benefit of their audiences.

Woody and I both prepped all the recipes a few days ahead and then transported them to Wellesley MA on the first leg of the tour and on to New York City the following day to have everything ready for the morning of the SMT. Woody did a great job as food stylist and Erin Schwitter, of Artisan Production House, made everything run super smoothly in her beautiful new studio.

Here's a close up of the "Mud Turtle Pie:"


To see the podcast, click on this link:


The Baking Bible E-Book

Oct 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

This week the first rendition of the Baking Bible e-book arrived for download on my Ipad.


Woody and I immediately set to, flipping through the hard copy and scanning each page of the e-book to make sure there were no errors in electronic transition. Essentially, it's just the formatting that is different. To our delight, we discovered that in recent years technology has improved by leaps and bounds. The e-book very much looks like the hard copy. And although I wouldn't trade the pleasure of leafing through the actual book itself, touching the thick and satiny pages (it even smells good), I have to admit that the e-book is an excellent adjunct.

I enjoy using the Ipad when I bake because it doesn't risk getting butter, chocolate, or the like on the beautiful book pages. Of course searching through the book is a breeze. And I love that the index, instead of having page numbers, has direct links to each entry, and that there is an option to return to the page you were previously looking at. It's also great to be able to change the font size, even the style, and the brightness depending on the light.

I've been exploring all the various things the e-book can do and discovered how easy it is to highlight or make notes and then to find them when one needs them.

One of the features of an e-book dearest to my heart it that the author doesn't have to wait for the "next printing" to make modifications, changes or additions, in fact, better still, they are automatically downloaded onto the device.

If you are thinking of getting this e-book, I encourage you to get it now, before the publication date of October 28, as Amazon is offering it at half price. It will be delivered to your electronic device on the pub date!

The Baking Bible

: you don't need a Kindle to download a Kindle e-book to your Ipad. Just download the free Kindle App available un the App store on your Ipad.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12

Mar 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Proofing the First Pass

This phase of production began with the arrival of the laid out pages which represent the final design complete with photos. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather conditions, UPS was unable to navigate the icy mountain roads but that didn't stop Woody and me from chasing the driver down to the nearest large town. We lost no time in beginning the proofing process, checking the copy edited pages against the laid out pages to ensure that all the changes were implemented.


The inputting was excellent but upon seeing the clean copy, things that required finer tuning virtually leapt off the pages. For example, on the charts, when an ingredient weighed 29 grams followed by one that weighed 28 grams it looked odd that both were 1 ounce. This is the result of the higher exactitude of the metric system and need for rounding off ounces, as much as possible, to the nearest whole number. We decided to have the grams for both ingredients read the same so it wouldn't look odd or like a mistake. This wouldn't make any difference for most ingredients, but when it comes to minute ingredients such as yeast or baking powder it would make a great difference. Of course any change affects the entire rest of the 500 plus unwieldy legal-size pages. This took many hours and days.

We worked from sun up to sun down, enjoying beautiful sunsets as our reward.

We were overjoyed to discover, now that the pages were laid out, that there was room to put back some of the recipes that we thought had to be cut. One of them, we felt, needed a retest. Here's a photo of Woody, digging through two feet of snow to get to the silicone pan we needed for the test, that was buried in the little storage house nearby.


Another reward was this fabulous 10 layer lasagna, recipe compliments of Hector Wong. It took us 6 hours from start to finish, layering almost transparent thin home-made noodles, and two sauces, cheeses, and miniature sausage balls which were Elliott's request, but it gave us a much needed break.


Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 11

Mar 08, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

The Blad

Another very exciting moment in book production is the arrival of the Blad. Blad stands for basic layout and design and is intended to be sent to food and other publications with long lead time for review (ie the blad usually becomes available 6 to 8 months ahead of book publication). A blad can be considered a trailer similar to a movie trailer to create interest and offer a short preview of the contents.

I'd like to share with you this sneak preview of the front and back cover and two of the ten inside pages.




Baking Bible Book Production Phases 8 & 9, Part 1 of 2

Dec 28, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

The most intense and one of the most critical phases of book publishing is copy editing and this is the first time that it was done on line instead of on hardcopy. My feeling is that this is a better method because it eliminates the inevitability of mis-reading and thereby mis-inputting some of the myriad handwritten queries and responses. But it certainly wasn't easy following all the lines of notes that emanated from the side bar to the text not to mention revisiting what the original thinking had been. Both the editor, Stephanie Fletcher, and the copy editor, Deborah Weiss Geline, were meticulously detailed in their queries and suggestions and Woody and I spent many weeks discussing and going over all of them via telephone. We finished well before the most fun and most stressful Phase 9: Photography!


The photography phase of my books is always one of the most enjoyable parts of production, as it makes the book come alive. But it is a time of anxiety as well as I am putting my tested creations into the hands of a stylist to recreate my vision and then have it portrayed through the photographer's camera lens. And there is always the incredible pressure of having to produce a large number of stunning photos in an environment outside of my own kitchen in an extremely short amount of time.

Preparing and styling over 150 recipes for this book within a three-week period would be virtually impossible without a team of talented professionals. I had the great fortune to put the difficult task of organizing and performing the styling into the hands of my dearest friend Caitlin Freeman Williams, author of "Modern Art Desserts." Although not a stylist by trade, her baking skills honed by her prior ownership days at Miette Bakery, her artistic imagination, skill, and integrity, extraordinary organizational ability, and her present occupation designing delicious bakery items for her husband's Blue Bottle Coffee shops, assured me that I could rely on her completely to reproduce my visions.

For her advance preparation which took place the week before, Caitlin was assisted by Jason Schreiber, formerly of Martha Stewart Living, and Ron Ben Israel Cakes.
The coordination of all of this was staggering, in fact, when Caitlin went to a copy center to print out the manuscript she was horrified by the size and then discovered that it represented only half the recipes--the rest was still in the machine to be printed! She called our editor, Stephanie Fletcher who assured her that she would have all the necessary support to accomplish the styling. This resulted in two baking teams for the photography site. The first team included Erin McDowell, formerly a baking instructor at the CIA, was brought in to be Caitlin's assistant for baking and styling. The second team consisted of my invaluable assistant Woody Wolston, who had made every recipe numerous times during the testing and development phase and who had just moved from Minnesota to nearby Pennsylvania and, of course, me. Woody and I broke in my new baker's kitchen by over a week of baking 27 cookie recipes, several cakes, and breads.


No time even for combing hair--we worked from 8 in the morning til 7 at night.



When our prep was completed and safely packed away, Woody went on to pack the enormous quantity of equipment needed to produce the remaining cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, pastry, and bread!

Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phases 8 & 9, Part 1 of 2" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 7

Mar 13, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

3-13-13 What an auspicious day to hand in The Baking Bible on disc to the new publisher, Houghton Mifflin!

Baking_Bible Disc.jpg

Now the might wheels of the publishing process will start spinning to turn this into a book. We are all hugely excited about it and I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 6

Feb 22, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

Baking BIble Production Postings.jpg

We Finished the Manuscript! (242,141 words, 1,118 pages)

After spending several days revising the entire order of the ingredient and equipment chapters, I reformatted the entire manuscript with the spacing and font required by the publisher.

The manuscript is now ready to be transferred to a disc to submit on March 13.

Woody is working on the style sheet to give to the copy editor. And soon production officially will begin in our new home, Houghton Mifflin. The Baking Bible is on its way to becoming a book.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 5

Feb 17, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

And I thought it was almost done!!! Woody and I finished proofing what turned out to be around 8,000 numbers for volume, ml, ounces, and grams, and integrating all the new Beta Baker notes. As we had already competed the read through, with me reading aloud over the phone and Woody checking the manuscript, I thought it was in really good shape but decided that I really should read it again to myself.

To my surprise, I turned up new changes such as eliminating the "into the glass bowl" which appeared many many times and unnecessarily each one! As the instructions begin with "Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a glass bowl," when I wrote "press the mixture through the strainer" there really was no need to repeat "into the glass bowl" as no one would strain it over the counter or floor!

Then there is the question of the use of the comma, for example, Have ready a 2 cup microwavable measure with a spout lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. As I reread that I realized that it could mean that the spout is lightly coated rather than the inside of the cup unless I put a comma after spout.

So far, I have found only one incident of ingredients not used in the order in which they were listed in the chart but my philosophy of "if there's one there's more" means Woody and I have to read each chart and compare it to the text to check for order.

Of course the copy editor and wonderful proofers will do all this but as I've discovered, this being my 10th cookbook, the eye so often sees what the brain thinks should be there rather than what actually is there. So once more into the breech dear friends. The cleaner the manuscript is when turned in to the publisher (29 days from today), the better the chance for a near perfect production.

It's such a blessing having a second pair of eyes participating in this process. Woody is king of the excel spread sheet and has created one for each of about 200 cross references so that when the manuscript goes into pages, we will know exactly what and where we are referencing. Here is Woody's break down of the seven stages of our work so far:

Besides a few to several draftings of each recipe, we have found it necessary to do a:
read through: I read each recipe over the phone to Woody while he read the text on his computer screen.
macros checks: we confirmed that if we wrote a certain technique for one recipe, ex: "melting chocolate" that it was the same for all recipes using the same technique.
global changes: since my use of words has changed over the course of many books, we standarized a set of words and terms.
page 00 charting: we refer the reader to see another page for a description or technique, which in the manuscript phase can be only stated as page"00." We checked to make sure the reference existed and noted where in the manuscript it could be found.
each ingredient checked: we confirmed that if we wrote, " 1 cup of bleached cake flour weighs 3.5 ounces/100 grams on page 4, that it was consistent throughout the rest of the recipes on other pages.
ingredients on the chart matched to the recipe's body: we made sure that every ingredient in the chart is also in the recipe's body in the order in which it was listed on the chart.
final read through: another read through with a fresh set of eyes and ears to confirm that everything made sense.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 4

Jan 23, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

This is the tears in the eyes moment in book production when the individual recipe documents are merged together in chapters to form a book.

One by one I inserted each document into a master document with Woody on the phone double checking that we were choosing the most up-to-date version.

Finally, with all in place, we counted 133 recipes and about 700 pages of single spaced text with double spacing between paragraphs which will help to shrink it a bit when formatted in the final version. This is going to be a big book, but then, the publisher, Natalie Chapman, encouraged and inspired me to write a "baking bible"!

The next step is for Woody and me to integrate all the global changes that came up during proof reading, one at a time as it is far too risky to do a global change throughout the whole document--there are always exceptions to the rule. This will take about a week.

Then we will go through each recipe chart and recipe to triple check all the numbers: the volume, ounces and grams. This will take at least two weeks.

Finally we will integrate notes from the Beta Bakers who are testing about 10 more recipes. And I will be delivering the disc to the publisher on March 11 when major production will begin.

Woody and I have been discussing the cover. In a recent conversation I posed the question of what could exemplify baking best as no one thing such as a cake, pie, cookie, pastry or bread tells the whole story, and a collage of them lacks impact. Woody came up with the following shocking response: "There is only one thing that exemplifies all of baking." My response: "What could that possibly be?" Woody's answer:"You!"

Your vote is welcome!

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 3

Jan 05, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

It's been six months since I last posted about book production. I had forgotten all about it because I was that busy doing it!


Since the last posting, there are now 130 recipes all of which have been tested many times by both Woody and me. Marie Wolf is once again masterminding the group, formerly called the Heavenly Bakers, and now called the Beta Bakers (Marie's clever name). They have completed the 25 recipes that we've sent for testing, evaluating, and fine tuning. It is always a thrill to see each rendition and read each report.

Woody and I have finished with the read through. This is the first time I am doing it but I realized that it is desirable to read the entire text out loud in order to hit on a compromise between the written and spoken word. Along the way we've discovered enumerable inconsistencies and some errors that normally a copy editor would find but no copy editor could possibly find all of them in this complex a book so this gives us a real head start on the road to perfection. The greatest challenge is having four major subject matters to unify: cakes, pies and pastry, cookies, and bread. They are all related on some levels but each has it's own distinctive language and we are always striving for more clarity to make it easier for others to follow.

The next phase is integrating all the notes from the beta bakers. Then all the separate documents have to be compiled carefully into the separate chapters as single documents. Then comes the massive global changes that have to be made one-at-a-time as there are so many exceptions to the rules.

Only five months remain until the entire manuscript is due at the publishers, including all what is known as the front material (table of contents, sources, ingredients, equipment, and chapter openers). We have also completed all of these but it will be necessary to fact check all the sources. Then starts the massive production of editing, copyediting, photography, design and layout, and proof editing until finally, around June of 2015, the book goes to press. Whew! But we're not there yet.

Woody and I are hugely excited about the new recipes, both visually and gustatorially and we can't wait to share them all with all of you and to make them again, ourselves, this time just for the pure pleasure of it.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 2

Jun 09, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

I have finished my final testing of all the recipes which number 127, and Woody has about 43 he has not yet tried. Many of the recipes he will test several times in an effort to ensure that we have chosen the best possible option or variation. Each recipe he tests gives us the opportunity to fine-tune the writing and often the technique as well. I will miss the testing phase but will be remaking many of the recipes just for the shear pleasure of enjoying them again and sharing them with friends and family.

I'm now embarking on one of my favorite parts of book production: writing the headnotes. Once this is done comes the chapter intros, special techniques, equipment, and ingredients sections. This will probably take the entire summer at the end of which point we will be getting ready to engage the "heavenly bakers" to try out many of the recipes.

The most interesting thing I now have to report now is a major change in the entire writing process that has caused me to see the manuscript in an entirely new light.

Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 2" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 1

Feb 25, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

It starts again, but this time the process will be very different from the last book--Rose's Heavenly Cakes. For one thing, instead of having my wonderful "Heavenly Bakers" bake from the book after publication, they will be getting many of the recipes to try before publication. This will serve as the ideal way to tweak anything necessary and make the book ever more universally friendly. Also, with technology changing by leaps and bounds there will surely be the possibility of an eBook or Ap and more dynamic visualization of techniques. So much is now possible it creates a tremendous challenge and opportunity for communication.

This book presents a new challenge as it includes 4 major baking subjects (cake, pie and pastry, cookies, and bread). Consistency is very important to make a cookbook easier to use so we have created many macros for each subject. And recently I remembered the great auto text tool, which means that when typing one or two key words the computer fills in the rest. All this is very useful but also potentially dangerous due to the many exceptions to the rule presented by the uniqueness of the recipes!

One area of standardization that is essential and without exceptions, however, is consistency of weights for key ingredients. About a month ago I decided to revisit the weight values for all the basic ingredients I use and made up 18 pages of charts. I've been finding that it's easier to look at them in hard copy than on the computer but leafing through the 18 pages was slowing me down. As I moved most of my cookbooks to Hope I had a big empty wall in my New York office and I was wondering what to put on it. One day inspiration struck: I put up all the pages of weights. Some I can see just leaning over to the right of the computer but for others I'm forced to get up out of my seat and this is an added benefit as I tend to sit for far too many hours every day and night working on the recipe editing not to mention on this blog. Of course I could use my binoculars!

By the way, if anyone knows of an Ap that enables one to put in values in a chart and have them list automatically, I sure would love to know about it. The way it should work is that after inputting the values one time, when I type water and in the next cell type the volume, it should automatically put in the fluid ounces and then the ounces and grams in the appropriate cells.


Speaking of technology, recently my husband Elliott gave me a phenomenal gift. It's called Logitech Vid and it's a free AP for the computer. It enables one to make a phone call, free of charge, and see the other person on the computer screen at the same time as hearing them. Of course one needs a camera either as part of the computer or purchased separately. It didn't take me long to discover that instead of waiting for an email to see a still shot of Woody's latest recipe test he can simply hold it up while talking to me on Vid and I can see it in motion if necessary!

Screen Shot Logitech VIid.png

The book contract was signed on 11-11-11 but we have been working actively on recipe testing even before finishing RHC. Since I tend toward inspirational baking, there were many recipes I tested with notes all over them that were not finalized or formatted. It's much harder to revisit recipes months or sometimes years after making them so Woody has been encouraging me to put the recipes in at least semi-final shape before flying off to execute the next idea. It's hard to stop, especially once one starts making a recipe and it needs tweaking. I rarely can resist making it immediately again and often again and again.

The added benefit of having the recipes formatted and in close to final shape is that when we retest them we can add smaller valuable details that often get lost in the larger picture.

The amount of sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and chocolate that we go through is staggering. The results are thrilling. The delivery date of this book's manuscript is June 2013. Then starts production with the rest of the team. I'll be posting production phases all along as interesting activities arise. Stay tuned!

Post Book Production Phase One!

Aug 09, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

This was my first visit to my publisher, Wiley, in Hoboken, NJ since the book arrived.

Pam (my editor), her assistant, and Ava (production manager) and I had lunch at Zafra www.zafrakitchens.com a wonderful Cuban/Latino restaurant owned by my friend and fellow author Maricel Priscilla.


Pam and Ava


Pam's lovely assistant and I

Continue reading "Post Book Production Phase One!" »

Book Production Phase 20 This is IT!!!

Jul 26, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

This is the last day of my vacation with my now 95 year old dad. He has gained 8 pounds and I have lost 5. There have been breads, and cakes, and cherry pie, and roasts (prime ribs and duck)...photos to come at a later time. I have learned that cooking and baking burn a lot more calories than blogging! But I had to turn on the computer just to share this terrific surprise experience: The Book arrived!

It was "born" on my Dad's birthday, July 23, as it arrived at the publishers (Wiley) two weeks early, and was sent overnight to me in Hope where it arrived on July 24. I have gone through it page by page at least 4 times and have taken it from room to room so it is always there to gaze at and stroke as I pass it by. (I love feeling the raised spot lamination of the title.) Of course I even took it to bed to look at one more time before placing it on the night stand on top of The Cake Bible.

As an amusing aside, when my friend Randy Johnson came to visit with his wife Cathy a few years ago, he looked at the lineup of my then 8 books on the kitchen shelf and said: "a foot of books"! to which I responded: "quite a feat"!

My Dad, whose vision sadly is quite poor, also leafed through the entire book and had major compliments for Ben Fink, the photographer. My Dad was a big time amateur photographer, even developing his own photos. When he returns to upstate NY he will be receiving a magnifier from the VA. When his copy of the book arrives he'll be able to see the photos much better!

The book is so exquisitely beautiful, so true to my vision of what I had hoped for it to be, that it takes my breath away, defying adequate description. Everyone at Wiley is astonished by its beauty and my dear editor Pam Chirls sent the loveliest e-card which I shall always treasure.

This really is my last production posting as the book doesn't get more produced than this! Soon you'll be able to hold the book in your hards and see for yourself. I so look forward to your feedback. Meantime, I'll be sure to bring this advance copy to the Epicurean Event in Michigan end of August for anyone who is coming and would like a preview. If another miracle of earlier than expected shipment occurs, we may even have some copies for sale at the event.

Be sure to check out Marie Wolf's blog http://www.heavenlycakeplace.blogspot.comfor more sneak previews of the cakes she is baking from the book and next Saturday Hector's wedding cake from the wedding cake chapter will be posted on this blog.

Book Production Phase 19

Jul 13, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Book production editor, Ava Wilder, is going to have the last word on this, the very last book production posting. Her eloquent words speak for themselves but I can't resist adding that she is an extraordinary person, professional, and writer in her own right (as you will see); and I think it is important for everyone, but especially for all book writers present and future, to hear her views on book production.

The first paragraph are the words of praise that were music to my ears but which I was planning to keep private until Ava encouraged me to share them. The second paragraph is what she wrote specifically for all of you.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 19" »

Book Production Phase 18 Beyond Final

Jul 12, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I thought I had reached my final posting of book production with Phase 17 but lo and behold it was not over! Yesterday I received a great surprise: the "folded pages"!

I've written eight books before and never received the unbound book pages so this was totally unexpected. These pages come from the printer and are exactly what is in the book minus the end papers, box (the hard cover) and book jacket.

I am stunned by the beauty of this production. Tears come to my eyes as I page through the book and remember all the hard work and decisions made by so many people of the team that created it. They have done it proud.

I can just imagine what it will be like for all of you to turn each page--surprise after surprise. I remember feeling this way with other's books for example Maida Heatter's (putting sticky notes on all the many things I HAD to try, and I'll never forget experiencing this with Lisa Yockelson's Chocolate Chocolate as our editor Pam Chirls was visiting me the day before Lisa (who lives in D.C.) received her book and brought me a copy. I called Lisa and described everything I could about the beauty of her book production. Getting to present her with the best book in the baking category at IACP was a moment we both will always remember. (Neither of us knew beforehand.)

So now that I've seen the actual pages of Heavenly Cakes I can be a lot more patient until September.

Book Production Phase 17 FINALE!

May 28, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Book Production Phase 17 Final

I don't have any photos of our celebration dinner--not because I forgot the camera (which I didn't) but because we were having too good a time to remember to document it!

Production manager Ava brought the beautiful end pages (these are the first pages you see when opening the book). Earlier in the day Pam's assistant Rebecca sent the final cover. You can see the front on the blog upper right corner. The rest will be a surprise. I think it is stunning.

Now that it's all complete it is close to unbearable to have to wait THREE MONTHS to see it. But it will be worth the wait--it takes time for this quality of production. By the way, Ava explained that the reason some books are printed in China is because that is where the best quality is produced. Even Swedish publishers who win awards for design and production have their books printed in Italy or China.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 17 FINALE!" »

Book Production Phase 16 SEMI-FINALE!

May 23, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

This is iT! The third pass page proofs arrived two days after my return from Europe, just as I was on my way to the all day anniversary seminar of the NYU Experimental Cuisine Collaborative. With difficulty, I left the proofs at home, to attend the morning session where I learned the exciting news that a new publication called The Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science is on the horizon. I was sad to miss Harold McGee's afternoon talk and hope it will be available on tape. I asked him what he planned to discuss and he said, in essence, that his focus will be on the importance of taking a lot of what is purported to be 'food science' in the press and elsewhere with a grain of salt (my translation). Hal is a terrific speaker and engaging gentle person and I never miss the chance to attend his lectures if at all possible. I would love to have seen if he mentioned how scientific theories are just that--theories-- until they so often change to other theories, and the importance of being open to observation and questioning everything. But the page proofs were calling to me, as this was the very last chance to ensure that all the corrections had been implemented.

Incidentally, one of the morning speakers did a lecture on egg yolks which gave me the chance to pose a question I've long wondered about: Does the age of whole eggs have an affect on a cake's texture? I've asked the Egg Board and not only did they say "No one has ever asked this before," (which struck me as tantamount to saying so why bother to investigate) they never got back to me with an answer either (which proves my supposition).

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 16 SEMI-FINALE!" »

Book Production Phase 15

Apr 25, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I guess you could call it a pre birth announcement. Now that we have a final cover and presales has begun, it has become possible to add a link to blog home page for preorders from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Jessica's Biscuit.

It was so thrilling finally to see the beautiful cover on the top of the 8 book line up. And I now have one copy of the bound galley, which has the entire book with soft cover in color but black and white inside. This is created to send to publications with long lead times and though not nearly as beautiful as the final book will be it feels so good to see it all there in its near final permutation.

The wheels of publicity are turning and my old friend and publicist par excellence
Carrie Bachman has already lined up two major events coming up in August and October.

Last week the official book presentation was made to Barnes and Noble. This is the time when they are deciding the size of their first order so to "sweeten the deal" I baked two of my favorite cakes from the book to bring to the meeting: The Golden Gift Lemon Almond Cake.

Rebecca, editor Pam Chirls multi-talented assistant, and I both had bad colds (aren't they always!) but this didn't stop me from baking or her from choosing the most exquisite packaging for the presentation.

It was a sunny spring blossom golden day as we walked up Fifth Avenue, me to Jefferson Market to pick up a blue foot chicken for the weekend and her to drop off the cakes. It was a lovely moment to share.

Book Production Phase 14

Apr 12, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Second Pass Page Proofs and the End in Sight (or should I say beginning)!

It doesn't seem possible that it's two months since I posted Phase 13!

The momentum is now stepping up at an incredibly dramatic pace so I want to be sure to keep you in the loop!

The most recent version of the first pass pages, the one where all the changes from me and the proofers were input, came back with Lillian the final proofreader's comments and marks. At the same time, 80 double spaced single column pages of index arrived, due back in a mere three days. This index will be about 15 book pages and is the best index I've ever had for any of my books as it puts entries in several categories for example a chocolate butter cake will be under chocolate cakes, butter cakes, and also under the actual name of the cake. This makes it much easier to find things. But it made it sheer hell to proof! Woody and I went through each entry to make sure it was in the proper category and the proper order and word sequence. This took hours and hours but was well worth the effort.

On to the pages: Ava Wilder (dream production manager) assured me that the final proofer would find everything. Well! Not only did she find all but maybe one or two little things I had found from the last round, she found several more other ones that were quite important.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 14" »

Book Production Phase 14

Mar 28, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Did you think I stopped posting about book production because there was a lull? au contraire--I have been too busy doing it to document it. Let me try to retrace all that has happened since the last posting back in January. It will be brief as things are really stepping up what with the shipping to the printer coming up in (gasp) 5 weeks and the deadlines for the remaining phases growing shorter!

After bringing in the first pass page proofs will all the corrections submitted by three wonderful proof readers, Woody, and me, Ava returned them as a preview a few weeks before the second round of proofing by the second official proofer (called the second pass page proofs). This was to give me a head start on seeing if all my 100's corrections were correctly made by the inputter.

I found 70 plus changes that were not made or not made correctly.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 14" »

Book Production Phase 13

Jan 24, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

First Pass Page Proofs

I had thought, when Woody left in August after a thorough proofing of the galleys, that they were in near perfect shape! There were so many colored post-its marking the pages with corrections it looked like the "united colors of Benetton," and I realized belatedly that I would have been better off attaching them to the pages without changes as they were far fewer.

In case you missed this photo on the January greeting, here it is now. By the way, to avoid missing any postings be sure to subscribe to the newsletter--it's in the upper right hand corner of the main blog page.

Ava, our wise production manager, warned me that is never so--that with each new set of eyes more 'mistakes' are found. And along came the first set of page proofs. What a pleasure it was to input all the corrections from the galleys onto the final design with all the color photos in place. Of course, in the final production, the photos will be more beautiful still but I have to report that I am extraordinarily happy with the way they look even in proofs-- they seem to jump off the page. In fact, yesterday, I tried brushing away some chocolate crumbs from the pages and to my amusement and delight discovered they were not on the page but in the photo!

And then came the return of the 3 sets of page proofs from the 3 proofers. Why is it I've never had to work so hard on any of my previous books? Could it be because this is the first large four color production? Could be but it's probably more because I had two gifted and devoted volunteer proof-readers in addition to a fastidious professional proof reader employed by the publisher. Matthew Boyer, whose many helpful comments appear on the blog, sent me his findings in batches on spread sheets via e-mail, giving me the chance to get a much needed head start. Anthony Wright, cake decorator and baker par excellence and former assistant to former student Jan Kish, hand delivered his proofs the day of my return from Hope, and Rochelle Palermo, Wiley's official proof reader sent in her set to Ava to review which was then forwarded to me with more comments from her.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 13" »

Book Production Phase 12

Nov 01, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

The MGM Production of Photo Shoots

I'm back from 10 glorious days in Switzerland and eight dramatic days of book photography so there is much to catch up on, but before I forget the details I must tell you about the final round of book photography. First, though, I started a loaf of bread, and now I know that I will be grounded and quickly regain my sense of order and routine. I must add that it was especially pleasing to scoop into the bag of flour that was "my" flour, i.e. "Better for Bread" flour with my picture on the bag. Also, I noticed that Elliott's freezer bread section was nearing empty.

The bread I chose to make is a whole wheat bread previously posted in the 50% version "for whole wheat wimps." But as Elliott is a whole-wheat super wimp, the one I make for him is only 18.5% whole wheat. It's still very delicious and wheaty. Elliott is not only a "super taster," he also has a great sensitivity to bitterness which he perceives in the whole wheat flour if it goes over this percentage.

As I was mixing the bread, I realized that one of the best feelings that results from the process is a that of self-sufficiency, and how valuable it is-- always, but especially now in troubled and financially uncertain times.

And now, for a brief description (it didn't turn out to be all that brief) of the incredibly intense eight final days of photography for the upcoming book.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 12" »

Book Production Phase 11 ¾

Sep 27, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Wild Roses

it was back in early July that I saw the preliminary design for the book pages and fell in love with the theme of wild roses on the chapter opener pages. They were both beautiful and appropriate given my name but it turned out that the sales force at the publisher was concerned with the possibility that it would be perceived as too feminine for the male audience. After my wonderful editor Pam Chirls and I ran out of arguments as to why we should have those roses I came up with an inspiration: to bring the design of the book pages to the Oracle: Nach Waxman Kitchen Arts and Letters.(A visit to New York is not complete without a long stop at the store which specializes in cookbooks from all over the world.)

I have known Nach for well over 20 years. His store is right next to the 92nd St YMCA where my mother swam every week. More often than not she would stop at this store to remind Nach that her daughter was writing a book. Eventually she introduced us over lunch in a nearby restaurant. Over the years, whenever I had a book published, I would go and sign a bunch of them at Kitchen Arts and Letters. For the Cake Bible I brought the dotted Swiss wedding cake on loan for the store window. And whenever I had a question about publishing, such as a book title, the first person I would go to for advice was Nach. So now, even though I wanted those roses at all cost, I trusted Nach's wisdom enough to put the decision in his hands.

Pam invited us both to Sfoglia, a charming Italian restaurant one block away from Nach's store. (She will be publishing Sfoglia's book the same year as mine.) Just before lunch arrived, Nach looked at the book pages and after several minutes of serious deliberation (while I silently prayed) and then announced that he loved the pages with the wild roses in the background. Pam and I were practically speechless with delight as we hadn't yet told him that it was the main concern. When we did, he said something along the lines of: "Rose is not hard-edged or new wave; she is graceful and the book should reflect that."(Did I not say he was a wise oracle?!)

I went home on wings of song. I get to keep my roses with Nach's blessing.

Book Production Phase 11 ½ aka and I thought I Was in the Home Stretch!

Sep 14, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Last week I brought the corrected galleys in to my publisher Wiley, in Hoboken. NJ and Ava (the production editor) and I went to lunch at my friend Maricel Priscilla's wonderful Cuban restaurant Zaffra
Ava is the best production editor I have ever encountered in fact she is just plain incomparable: clear, organized, concerned, calm, gently but firm, loving, intelligent, and just plain charming and adorable. This is not to say that we always see eye to eye. If you read the article about Marcella Hazan in this week's New York Times, you will have had a glimpse of the possible/inevitable battles that often take place between the author's point of view and that of the publisher's. They can be quite acrimonious so I am all the more grateful that Ava comes from the approach of appreciating team work and wanting what is best for the book.

Our major point of contention was the subcomponent recipes. About 8 of my buttercream recipes have two or more components. Most publishers like to put these components before the title of the recipe in which they are used. Most bakers and cooks passionately prefer them in the order in which they will be needed when baking/cooking.

Most of these incidences appear in the wedding cake chapter--for obvious reasons the most complicated chapter in the book. Together we found a way to have the sequence as I envisioned it but with far greater clarity than it was originally. This meant my reconfiguring many things from the pdf galley files--hard to see--hard to copy into word documents--and how I spent the entire weekend.

Changes like these are fraught with potential for mistakes but thankfully Lisa Story, the typesetter, is a meticulous genius so I am only a little concerned. Ava will review my reconfigurations and then send them to Lisa so we can see how they will look before making them final. I should say semi-final because after Lisa completes the process of inputting over 1000 changes from Woody and my review of the galleys, the book will then go into design and first pass pages. This will begin happening while I am in Switzerland on a culinary press trip the first 10 days of October. The week of my return we will take the final group of cake and process photos and it will not be until the first week of January that I get to review the first pass pages with all the photos in place--I think.

Judging from the past phases, no doubt there will be more happening in the interim. Stay tuned!

Book Production Phase 11 Proofing the Galleys

Sep 06, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

After having spent a week addressing all the copy editor's newest queries in the second round of copy editing Woody arrived from MN to spend 8 days proofing the transition of copy edited manuscript to galleys. Galleys are essentially the actual design of the book pages but without the photos or the exact placement of sidebars, but we got to see the charts and fonts in color for the first time. How beautiful the 444 pages looked compared to the heavily copy edited manuscript which was close to 800 pages. It's akin to witnessing an embryo becoming a fetus! (Many an author has compared this process of creation--writing a book--to childbirth.)

The Heavily Copy Edited Manuscript

Woody Pouring over the Galleys

It was 8 of the most intense days of my life because it took incredible focus over an incredible amount of time. We averaged 12 hours of work a day, starting at 8 in the morning, stopping for a quick lunch, breaking for an hour of tennis with Elliott at 6 and then dinner, and returning to the proofing until around 1 in the morning.

Woody and Me Proofing

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 11 Proofing the Galleys" »

Book Production Phase 10

Aug 15, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Copy Editing Revisited

I'm lucky! My wonderful production editor Ava Wilder was willing to send me an advance copy of the revised copy editing with all of Debbie's new queries in green (and there were many).

So once again I have gone through the close to 800 pages, answering her queries on post-its as I will need to transfer them to the "pre-pages" for the typesetter Lisa Story (isn't THAT a perfect name)! I also checked all the changes Debbie made to the manuscript to ensure that they were in keeping with what I had intended. Debbie is most meticulous and has done a totally brilliant job of finding inconsistencies and moving things around to suit the design and make the recipe easier to follow. But there ARE over 30 changes I need to adjust which have to do with leveling batter in the cake pan. In most cases a small offset spatula works best but not when there is a center tube--you bakers out there will get the idea!

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 10" »

Book Production Phase 9 Online Demo Production & Pre Photography Meeting

Jun 23, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the production of the online video was the most intense 3 days of my life. This was in good part because I wanted to make the most of this golden opportunity to show what is impossible to describe as effectively in any other medium. After spending months in advance planning of techniques, recipes, ingredients, and equipment, I compiled a vastly over-ambitious list of what I wanted to present. Christina Zwicky who orchestrated the whole production encouraged me to go for it and amazingly we didn't have to cut much. None of what we cut was essential, for example, the angel food cake which was already taped at the NYU demo and available through the blog thanks to Hector.

We had the most wonderful crew, both for the production itself and for makeup, food prep and styling, and equipment organization. Melissa Martin is a London trained makeup artist and she took me at my word that I wanted to look like me and not some made-up Hollywood Star. Nancy who was in charge of getting all the equipment set up for each take also sat in on the filming and as a knowledgeable food person she caught every little thing that didn't precisely reflect what she knew I wanted to convey. She started off by assuring me that she was well-organized and had to be as a mother of four children she home-schools! She lives 60 miles from General Mills and needed to leave her home at 5 a.m. each day but never looked anything but calm and alert.

But I couldn't have carried off the whole thing without Woody who lives not far from General Mills. He is so familiar with all my recipes and equipment he was able to oversee production and fix any glitches. He also built me a 7 foot platform so that the work counter would be at the right height for my 5 feet 3 inches plus Chefwear clogs.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 9 Online Demo Production & Pre Photography Meeting" »

Book Production Phase 8 Copy Editing Revisions

May 31, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I know, I know--I already submitted the changes and answers to queries a few weeks ago but this past week I've been agonizing over the wedding cake chapter--always the most complicated.

There is one special wedding cake that always dips about a half inch at the edge of each layer which means either you have to fill in the edges where it dips with extra buttercream or level it losing some of the cake.

Woody and I tested every possible variation to try to fix this problem. What worked best was a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch but the all-purpose flour with its higher protein than cake flour darkened the 8 inch layers so with the longer baking time of the 12 inch layers it would be too dark.

Finally we decided that this is one cake that requires cake flour and that we would compromise and level it half way between the edges and the rest of the top so as not to lose much cake but not to have as big a gap at the very edges.

Of course revisiting this cake brought a few other things in to question among which was the buttercream itself. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar should have been 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon according to the weight in the chart. How did this happen? How did none of us catch this? How many more things are lurking in other recipes? How can this be when we've gone over everything a hundred million times?! well you'll be the first to tell me when you catch any inconsistencies but as the saying goes: "Don't sweat the small stuff," because some things have to be rounded off so won't correlate perfectly from volume to ounces to grams. And some cakes, though they look similar, are not. Even one change in an ingredient may necessitate a change in another ingredient or ingredients. So don't take this on as a challenge!

Just a little over a week til we film the tips at General Mills/Gold Medal. Really exciting. And now going over all the revisions with Ava. All this does not end until the book ships to China and then instead of being fully relieved one agonizes over it being too late to change anything in this the first printing! Nonetheless, I feeling very "complete" for the moment.

Book Production Phase 7 Pre Design Meeting

May 21, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Yesterday,in the pouring rain I delivered the 780 page copy edited manuscript . As there were no taxi's to be found (there never are when you really need them) I walked the one mile to my friend Maury Rubin's City Bakery, wheeling the manuscript in my new Magellan carryon bag that I thought to be waterproof. Much to my horror I discovered that the zipper component is not as the edges of the manuscript got wet. But Rebecca, Pam's wonderful assistant, assured me it got to NJ safely (and dry) later in the afternoon. I also brought slices of a flourless chocolate and walnut cake glazed with apricot lekvar (from the upcoming book) which managed to stay dry and perfect since I carried them upright all the way in an airtight tupperware container! Lesson learned--always put the precious manuscript in plastic bags and trust nothing else to be waterproof.

We all discussed the look, design, and size of the book and I learned that Alison, the designer, had done what's referred to as a cast-off which gives a sense of projected book pages based on the present design. Again to my horror I discovered we are presently 42 pages over.
On my return home last night I spent several hours deliberating which if any recipes could be cut and conferred with Woody who reminded me of a 12 1/4 manuscript page recipe that might be sacrificed. Thankfully I heard back from Pam, my beloved editor, this morning that she LOVES the recipe and doesn't want to cut it. We will try to find our solution through design. The one thing upon which I was insistent was not to reduce the size of the font in the ingredient charts or for recipe instruction. That's where it's essential to see clearly and easily.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 7 Pre Design Meeting" »

Book Production Phase 6 Copy Editing

May 10, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Phase 6 Copy Editing

This is the awful one and I always forget just how awful. Foolishly I look forward to having the "baby" back. I also suffer from the illusion that I have submitted a manuscript that is in perfect shape. My illusions are shattered with amazing speed. Take a look at a sample of a copy edited page and you'll begin to understand what the author is up against--especially the author of a cookbook and most especially the author of a detailed baking book.

The production editors notes are in grey pencil, the copy editor's in red, and mine in purple.

Continue reading "Book Production Phase 6 Copy Editing" »

Production of Rose's Heavenly Cakes Part 2

Apr 26, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Phase 5 April 2008 Photography
This is always my favorite moment in book production. It must be akin to a playwright getting to see her play enacted with a full cast of the characters she has envisioned. It's scary and thrilling at the same time.

This was the first session of what will probably be two, possibly three. But I doubt if we will repeat 10 days in a row of about 6 cakes a day. This was my first experience with professional digital food photography and what a fascinating process. Food stylist Liz Duffy brought two assistants and loads of ingredients and equipment.

Liz Primping the Cake for the Camera

A Small Sampling of the Groceries

Roy Finamore, a long time friend, who was one of the senior editors of Clarkson Potter is now a prop stylist. He contributed infinitely more than inspired props--he majorly participated in the over-all look of the photos, carefully considering how they should appear in relation to where they would be placed in the book.

Photographer Ben Fink repeatedly turned out such astonishingly beautiful photographs every day was a new surprise and joy. I brought my knitting and only succeeded in doing one row in 10 days. Every time I turned away from the set I regretted it as I found I needed to be present to ensure that the cakes reflected the recipes in the book. Liz is the most meticulous and devoted food stylist plus a former pastry chef but producing 6 or more photo worthy cakes a day was a challenge I myself could not have managed and I was grateful that my recipes were in good enough shape that there were no errors or time wasted due to mistakes. Still, we ended up with what was supposed to be an ice cream sandwich as an ice cream cake. It was so beautiful I rewrote the recipe to include both.

I learned several great tricks from Liz and her long time assistant Jan which I will include in the book. One was how to make the top of a cake baked in a fluted tube pan look as a perfect and without air pockets as much as possible. They filled the pans about one inch full with batter and then used the back of a spoon with a side to side motion to press the batter into the grooves of the pan before adding the remainder of the batter. Priceless! And what was poly grip denture cream doing on the baking cart? Turns out it's the perfect food safe glue for everything from fallen cake crumbs to broken pie crust.

Another exciting learning experience was when the pears in the almond cream pear cake ended up at the top of the cake instead of sinking toward the bottom where they were supposed to land. The entire cake was a brown color that it had never been before. After much Sherlock Holmesing I discovered that the almond cream, when mixed just a little too long, breaks down and infiltrates through the cake batter turning it a deeper color and changing the texture so that the pears are suspended at the top!

Next session is projected to be the last two weeks of July. I'll be leaving my knitting at home! And now on to the copy editing of the 760 page manuscript which is why you won't be hearing much from me for the next few weeks!

(More photos on the full post page)

Continue reading "Production of Rose's Heavenly Cakes Part 2" »

Day One of Photography for the New Book

Mar 30, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

I am keeping careful notes to share with you. I'm thrilled with the results of today's photo shoot. We are scheduled for 10 solid uninterrupted days of photography (including on my birthday--never will I have had so many birthday cakes!) after which I will be going to Minneapolis to visit General Mills/Gold Medal Flour to plan the DVD.

It looks like it's going to be near impossible to respond to any blog questions until after April 11 but there will be a posting from me every Saturday as usual.

And I'll check in as often as possible just so that I don't miss anything!

Production of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes"

Mar 01, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

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

Continue reading "Production of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes"" »


Apr 09, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

4-10-07, 852 pages, weighing in at under an ounce (15.1 grams)--ah the miracles of technology! I'll be delivering it tomorrow--well actually it's tomorrow already being 12:30 a.m.

Thank you all for jumping in and responding to blog postings. Please continue to do so. I fear I'll never catch up as I'm about 75 postings behind in just one week, but I'll try to answer as many questions as I can before I leave for France on the 16th.

Soon after I return we enter a whole new book phase of editing, photography and production. You'll be hearing all about it! Stay tuned.....

Update on the New Book!

Mar 07, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

i can't believe it--i'm actually ahead of schedule for the first time after 8 other books! i think it's because i have been loving working on this book such much i just can't stop into the wee hours of the morning. i finished the enormous ingredients and equipment chapter and now have only the special effects and chapter intros to do before handing it in.

but loving the recipes and information so much i've been agonizing over what the visual aspect of this four color book would be. the best news is that we've chosen a photographer whose work i have adored since i first say it in "artisan bread," and most recently in "chocolate chocolate." there are many talented photographer but Ben Fink has something that is a rare addition to talent. he has soul. when i first say his photographs i immediately saw the love for his subject through the lens. it was my dream to have a photographer who loved his work as much as i love mine.
so now i look forward to the next stage of book production: Editing and photography.
i had a teacher in high school (music and art) who had never been able to afford to hire an orchestra to play his compositions so had never actually heard them performed live until he came to teach. that's how i feel each time my books go into production. the photographs breath life into the recipes. and i am blessed with a publisher and editor who believe in me and this book enough to give it a full score production. stay tuned!


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