Wednesday, 26 June 2013

No. 1 Best Seller?

This is a question that I have often pondered even before the days of ebooks, Amazon and self publishing.  Often I would see books advertised at "The No. 1 Bestseller" even though I who read avidly and spent far too long in bookshops and libraries had never heard of it.  How, I pondered, was best seller status established?

Now, with a couple of ebooks and a "real" book published this question is no longer purely academic for me - what does No. 1 Bestseller mean?  Does anyone know?  In reading and talking to people in the publishing and self publishing industry I understand that choosing one's category is a good way to reach the top of certain piles.  Incidentally and oddly the categories my books are actually listed under on Amazon are not quite what I selected but close enough. 

A couple of days ago my ice cream book was rated on Amazon thus ... 

#1 in Kindle Store > Books > Nonfiction > Food & Drink > Cooking by Ingredient > Cheese & Dairy
#38 in Kindle Store > Books > Nonfiction > Food & Drink > Desserts
#69 in Books > Food & Drink > Meals & Menus > Cheese & Dairy

And what I want to know is - in accordance with the first line above can I now advertise it as a best seller?  It would feel a bit cheeky but if that's way things are done I don't want to miss out!  What do you think?

In other news ...

Here's a picture of Rum Roasted Banana Ice Cream from the aforementioned book ...

... and rumour has it that my real book, "The Leftovers Handbook" has been favourably mentioned in Great British Food Magazine, if I find it I'll report back. 

I've just realised, I don't think the recipe for the crispy bananas in this picture is in Lush Ice Cream without a Machine but no worries - here it is.

Banana Brittle

30g butter
½ tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 possibly leftover banana

~   Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC/160°C fan/gas 4.
~   Melt together the butter and oil and brush evenly onto a baking tray.
~   Sprinkle with half of the sugar.
~   Thinly slice the banana and arrange on the tray in a single layer.
~   Sprinkle with the rest of the sugar.
~   Pop in the oven and keep an eye on them.  Every time a slice is golden and looks crisp (it won't actually be crisp till it cools) remove it from the oven and set aside.
~   Keep cooking till the plate is full and the tray is empty which takes about half an hour.

~   Cool the brittle till crisp - it will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days but you will probably have eaten it by then.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Press Release

Recently I have received quite a few press releases from companies inviting, asking or hoping that I will endorse them on my Sudden Lunch blog.  Some of them are completely out of the question such as one received recently about electronic cigarettes which are really not for me.  Some are interesting for instance concerning Laverstoke Park Farm's range of meaty products for summer BBQing such as delicious sounding wild boar and chorizo burgers and a lady offering to do a guest post about nutritional matters (including a link to her business client) but I say no as they don't quite fall within my ambit, aka what I want to do.

Recently  I received something  about porridge and as I have quite  a lot to say about porridge I did write a post on it here and I shall probably be doing one soon about rice - damn fine infographic they have!  Here's a sneak peek or see here for the whole thing.

All this activity gave me the idea of doing a press release myself copying the layout of those I have received and here it is ...

For immediate release ...

Well timed cookbook by LEFTOVERS FANATIC

The Leftovers Handbook ~ an A-Z of every conceivable ingredient in your kitchen, with inspirational ideas and recipes for using them.
By Suzy Bowler
ISBN: 978-1-908974-08-2
Spring Hill Books, Constable & Robinson
Paperback 288 pages
£12.99 May 2013

"Since receiving this book I have felt far more confident that I can reduce food waste in my kitchen and try new recipes at the same time. One of the major bonuses is that the recipes don’t force you into the cycle of buying more ingredients just to use up leftovers! ~ Mumtopia

"This user-friendly guide is filled with quick and easy recipes. They may well inspire you never to throw anything away again." ~ The Sun

"What this practical guide lacks in pretty photography, it more than makes up for in innovation." ~ Great British Food Magazine

"Her style of writing is just so easy to read it's as though you're chatting to a friend and one that's on the same wavelength as you too."

Suzy Bowler's comprehensive book is a real help in getting the very best out of leftovers - something we can all benefit from.

The bulk of the book comprises an A-Z of over 450 ingredients with many interesting and delicious way to use them including what to do if you have too much of an item, ways to present leftovers in a new guise, how stretch a small amount of something delicious so that lots of people get a taste or, even better, how to make yourself a selfish treat with a tiny morsel. Entries include food pairing suggestions (useful for combining leftovers), advice on storage and freezing and the occasional handy hint, together with jokes, anecdotes and quotes. At the end of the book is a chapter of basic recipes, some storecupboard suggestions and a short rant on best before dates. The whole book is cross referenced making it a very handy tool.

With food waste hitting the headlines and the cost of living soaring this is a very timely book indeed but whilst whole libraries of books have been written on frugality and being green – this isn’t one of them! The Leftovers Handbook is about getting the utmost pleasure out of every single scrap of food available; the waste it tackles is not so much about money or resources but of good eating opportunities. It’s a bonus, of course, that this will save money and may even help the planet.

After cooking professionally for many years in Cornwall (as joint owner of The House on the Strand at Trebarwith) Suzy Bowler spent 16 years working as a chef on a small island in the Caribbean. On Tortola the climate is fabulous, food supplies limited, deliveries unreliable and customers as pernickety as they are anywhere.  The use of all food available was very important to her and back in Cornwall seeing so much good food being thrown away she decided to tell people what to do with it, so to speak.



The "Leftovers Handbook" has to date been mentioned in:

                     The Sun Newspape
                     The Independent Newspap
                     Great  British Food Magazine
•           Scottish Home and Country
                     Saga Online
                     Vegetarian Living Magazine
                     Eat In Magazine
                     Writing Magazine
                     Cornwall Property News

I have sent this to a few local papers and to someone farther afield who was talking about leftovers so fingers crossed.  I've had one response so far asking for photos and saying they will mention The Leftovers Handbook in their next issue - Cornwall Property News which has a Living and Lifestyle, Food & Drink section at the back.

Has anyone got any good ideas for promoting books?  It's a lot harder than writing!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Summer Special Offer ~ "Lush Ice Cream without a Machine"

I didn't make a big thing of this in my last post so I'd just like to mention it again.  As the weather was so good for a couple of days last week (and rumour has it the sun will be out next Friday - yippee!) I have reduced the price of my ebook "Lush Ice Cream without a Machine" to £1.98 which is about the same price as a carton of ice cream and much, much cheaper than an ice cream machine. You'd better see here and get a copy so you'll be ready next Friday!

This method makes rich creamy dairy ice cream quickly and easily, I promise you, and the reason I wrote the book is that it's so simple and foolproof that I felt it would be a shame not to pass it on. 

Here is easy peasy Clotted Cream Ice Cream, one of the first recipes in the book, as part of a twist on traditional Cornish Cream Tea. 

Incidentally and regardless of the above photo I hope everyone now realises that the Cornish have always been right - it is jam on first, topped with cream.  See here for the maths!  

Showing off a bit - sorry!

Look what I saw in Wadebridge.

I know for most people this is not very exciting but this is the first time I have seen my book in a real, live book shop and, not only that, in the window and, not only that, above Rick Stein!!!

Tomorrow I am giving a talk to a local craft group on getting published.  This is the first time I'll have done this too but presume that if I just chat along giving useful info I've picked up together with some jokes and anecdotes I should be OK and they have promised coffee and biscuits.

One of the things I am going to stress is how much work the publicity is, I feel I could sit here on my computer till the end of time pitching magazines, blogging, tweeting, commenting on Linkedin, posting on Facebook, emailing and so on and so forth. I don't mind at all, in fact I enjoy it but at the same time it is a) frustrating (magazines take ages to reply if at all) and b) there is so much to do I keep forgetting what I am doing.  Serves me right for being so old, I suppose.

And for visitors to Cornwall ... 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

My Neverending List!

I have always been prone to list making, I even enjoy it - especially the crossing off bit when a thing is done. I like that bit so much that if I do something not on the list I add it and then cross it off.  Sad or what!

Now, with my "writing career" "taking off" I have so many things to do I have a running list which despite all my delicious crossing off never seems to get any shorter.  I use iDailyDiary a very simple and free program which means I can copy and paste my unaccomplished tasks to the next day.
I do highlight urgent stuff in red and that usually gets done but some things just get transferred over and over again and then when I do look down the list I can no longer remember what I was talking about, eg.

·         "Twang it into a tree" - this is a little catch phrase we use at home but why did I add it to my list?  Twang what?
·         "Wombles - I mean it this time" (I did eventually remember what this was and wrote this blog post as a result but I'm still not sure why I put "I mean it this time"!)  
·         "Laupahoehoe Position" - after some stroky chin pondering this too resulted in a blog post. 
·         "Senegalese" - no idea.

Click here!
For a while I have had "Update Lush Description" in red on the list, waiting to be accomplished and yesterday I got round to it.  This is as a direct result of reading an excellent little eBook on my Kindle; "Unlimited Books Sales Machine" which makes some really good points and from which I realised that I could probably do better than just repeating the start of the book when describing my "Lush Ice Cream without a Machine" on Amazon, it does after all have a Look Inside option.  Have a look and see what you think of the new improved description here. 

Whilst I was making changes and also, as the sun was out (note the past tense!) I decided to do a Summer Special and reduced the price by 12%!  I put at the end of the description "get it whilst the sun's out!" which I wrote in a burst of enthusiasm but there's nothing like being prepared and anyway ice cream is good at any time.  Here's one I made earlier ...

Maple Syrup Ice Cream with Sugared Walnuts

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Surely it's time for ice cream now, isn't it?

Lavender Honey Ice Cream
I have been concentrating so hard on my Leftovers book I had almost forgotten my ebook, "Lush Ice Cream without a Machine - or much time, or effort or having to mash the stuff as it freezes" but now, with the weather so much improved, it has somehow sprung to mind again.

I wrote Lush Ice Cream having seen how many homemade ice cream books there are on the market, often involving complicated methods and expensive ice cream machines.  I felt it would be shame not to pass on this undemanding but excellent recipe

Cherry Ice Cream Sandwich
In the book I give over 100 ice cream recipes plus lots of others for accompaniments, inclusions and serving idea.  For more details and photos see the tab at the top of the page or go here and have yourself a "Look Inside".  At only £2.25 it's about the price of a tub of ice cream in the supermarket and I am sure it will give you more pleasure.

Peach Melba Ice Cream from Leftover Fruit
The thing I hadn't realised is that this recipe is superb for using up leftovers - raw and cooked fruit, broken biccies, cake crumbs, crushed meringues, leftover sauces and "unwanted" chocolate.  Bonus!