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Everyone’s excited about the vegan cookbook – especially yours truly!

June 30, 2009 at 5:35 am

Vegan Yum Yum.

Even the title has a happy ring to it. And, to top that, its genius subtitle reads: “Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining & Every Day.”

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Could we have found a more timely, just plain yummy cookbook to add to the most stellar list of HCI titles ever? I’m giddy with booklist glee and think that a good vegan cookbook makes for refreshing contrast to the true crime books I’m working on and some of the heavier handed subject matter (internet defamation for one).

It’s also obvious that I’m mad for this September title because I’m mad about food.  Being vegetarian (most days) Vegan Yum Yum will add to my animal-free culinary repertoire. (I do make some pretty convincing faux ground beef and a mean hunk of homemade seitan)

The author’s being featured in Vegetarian Times this September and I’m going to do my darndest to get the book pictured if not reviewed in the subsequent issue. I’m also ecstatic that we went with the current cover. I did counter a few ed board members on this cover and am glad I was on the side with taste, I mean, the winning side.

What do you think of it? Just curious.

Today I’m going to share a preview of the book by posting a recipe. Even if you’re not vegan, you might try indulging your inner PETA soul here.

How about some…

Smokey Miso Tofu Sandwiches (picture gorgeous color photos to accompany the recipe)

Smokey Miso Tofu

Makes 18 to 20 thin slices

1 block extra/super firm tofu, drained and pressed

2 tablespoons red miso

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425º F.  Wrap your drained tofu in a few paper towels, then again in a terry cloth bar towel.  Press with something heavy, like a cast-iron skillet or a plate with some cans on top, for 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 2 Meanwhile, mix the marinade together.

Step 3 Unwrap the tofu and make many thin, width-wise slices with a large knife.  I got 18 to 20 slices out of one block of tofu.

Step 4 Line up your tofu slices on a baking sheet topped with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. [what if you don’t have a nonstick baking mat? – I added parchment paper option!] Brush both sides of the tofu with the marinade.

Step 5 Let the slices absorb the marinade for 10 minutes or so, then brush just the tops again. Bake for 20 minutes at 425º F. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the sheet. The tofu should be darkened around the edges, but not burnt. Use immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Yum!! That’s real vegan yum yum for you.  With me, you can look forward to a lot more where that came from.

p.s. while awaiting this awesome book, check out author, Lauren Ulm’s website:

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Fly on the wall: Should you be your own publicist? Well, yes and, errr, no!

June 29, 2009 at 6:46 am

bluefly

What is the best scenario for a book’s publicity campaign? Hiring a professional or reading lots of books, taking lots of seminars, tuning into the latest webcast and doing it yourself?

That depends on a lot of things.

Tell me something. When your car needs an oil change, do you get the how-to manual and commence to sliding under your car to let the dirty oil run out into a pan? (How would I know that? Did it once – accent on once) Or would you read about how to layer your own hair into the perfect shag rather than let your hairdresser do the job. Notice that I’m not choosing tasks that require medical or engineering degrees but even so, give me a capable grease monkey or hair stylist anytime. In both cases, I’m not really that interested in how the car engine works or the steps that go into my haircut.

I just show up.

When it comes to your book, as you noticed from other posts of mine, showing up is no longer all that’s required of you. Taking an active role in your publicity campaign is essential. However, do you have 15 years of relationships with newspaper writers, radio jocks, tv producers and magazine editors? Have you lots of practice and ample skill in creating press materials for your book? Do you know to whom you should direct your information? Is it the features editor, the health reporter, or maybe the local news desk?

Another element that you may not have developed is the publicist’s instinct. There’s another intangible that typically grows from experience. Publicist voodoo – you can’t learn that from a book.

Professional help costs money. We call it an investment. When planning for the future of your book, just as the publisher carves out a budget for the marketing, advertising and publicity, so must you.  Whether it’s self-published or commercially published, it’s a good idea to set aside some bucks for good help.

You have about a six-to-eight week window of time to pull out all the stops and I suggest you do just that. Make sure that whomever you bring on to represent your work is seasoned in the area of books. Not just a generalist, mind you, but someone who has connections and wherewithal in the publishing arena. As I’ve said before, don’t get snowed by the charm, smoke and mirrors that they present to you to win your business. If they used to represent Miley Cyrus, that doesn’t necessarily translate into good book publicity chops. Check them out carefully and by all means, talk to former or existing clients. You might cut them a little slack there as we all know that the imperfect art of book publicity can go awry in the most expert hands. (Call that publicist disclaimer #1)

By all means, read the books and check out those webinars, but allow someone to show you how it’s done  in the big leagues. Be sure to find someone who is seasoned but is also current in all the new publicity language and tools i.e. social networking, online media, and the like.

It can be deleterious to the health of your book campaign if you start going around calling up media and sometimes even bookstores. I’m sure the latter rule is less stringent when it comes to self-published books.

In the interim, bone up on what’s going on in the news that’s related to what your book is about. If you’re dealing in the fiction realm, there’s some wisdom to keeping up with this, but not as imperatively. Stay informed.

I’m speaking in generalities right now and keeping away from my platform rant. Just put the word platform in the search box to the lower left and you’ll find plenty of information on that.

Having a publicist at your publishing house (like this one at HCI), a publicist hired by your publishing house, or a professional employed by you will simply maximize your odds for success with media exposure.

Learn how to work with them.

And, hey, remember, I’m here. I won’t necessarily be your personal publicist as I’m otherwise engaged to slave away at my HCI publishing house job. I don’t have time for full-blown campaigns, but I do have time for some kickass consulting sessions to help you get your book promotion in gear and to help you make sure you’re heading the right way down the publishing AND the publicity road.

Just ask.

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iphone phun #2

June 28, 2009 at 8:23 am

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iphoto phun

June 27, 2009 at 5:23 am

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My blogging dilemma

June 26, 2009 at 7:18 am

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There are many people around me who are aware of my current state of confusion. I’d rather not give the details about what I’m confused about in my personal life but I’m starting to see the confusion seeping into my happy little blogging world. Once a safe and cozy place for me to express myself and set free my creative juices, my precious bloggy is becoming something else.

My blogging dilemma: Do I take the advice of experts who I am lucky to have in my virtual corner and constantly feed my blog audience practical information? Statistics show that my readership swells when I teach or demonstrate a thing or two about this publishing game.

Or, do I protect this online sanctuary and keep it strictly as my outlet to muse, cajole and generally dispense words and more words for the sake of words themselves.

Thoughts?

I know, the obvious answer. I can do both. Or, why not keep separate blogs for separate causes.

That sounds tedious.

When blogging in any shape or form costs big chunks of time in my day do I want to double that?

Not really.

Should I have “Fly on the Wall” Mondays, iphoto Tuesdays, and I don’t give a rat’s patutti on Wednesdays?

You see? I told you. I am a confused person. Some people close to me tell me that confusion is a place of familiarity and therefore, comfort for me. How could I ever admit to that? That would be the stuff for an analyst’s couch (or in my case, a shaman healer’s tepee).

Facebook tells me I’m right brained (after all, they are authorities on this, arent they?) so I must be creative. But, my colleagues and my pocketbook tell me to pay attention to the other side. Follow formula. Tweet this many times. Have this many Facebook friends. Comment on other blogs.

Just writing that exhausted me.

I am the reluctant entrepreneur. I am the gentically pre-disposed artist. I rather sing and strum than sweat over a hot computer.

Am I just lazy?

I think you know what I’ll do. I’ll keep writing about the writing business and I’ll keep sharing my thoughts about the world as we know it. How I know it. Or better said, how it confuses me.

So, I’ll leave you now and get myself a salad for lunch. Or maybe it’ll be soup today. Maybe soup and salad.

That’s it. Soup and salad.

Publishing information and blog content  “beyond” .

Guest bloggers? Save me from myself. Write in and share your wisdom with my audience.

We welcome you.

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