I was approached years ago to write the St. Louis version of Marilyn Pocius’ “A Cook’s Guide to Chicago” by my now co-publisher, Sharon Woodhouse. Here is Sharon’s perspective on the Chicago project and how it changed things for cooks, the culinary identity, and the shop owners of Chicagoland.
I hope we can make such a difference.
She had me at varak. Edible silver paper. Chef and author Marilyn Pocius came to our press in 2002 with her book idea, A Cook’s Guide to Chicago: Where to Find Everything You Need and Lots of Things You Didn’t Know You Did. The book was everything our publishing company stood for: niche-specific local guides, authors with a particular passion and knowledge base, encouraging readers to get out of the house and exploring the entire city around them, and promoting local businesses.
We billed it as a tasty romp through gourmet shops, ethnic supermarkets, chef’s equipment stores, and much more, releasing editions in 2003 and 2006 that were amongst our best-selling titles ever. Who doesn’t love food and what publisher or author doesn’t love brisk book sales?
Much to our delight, we quickly discovered that the book was also making a difference. Once they bought it, people actually did use the book to expand their geographic and culinary horizons. Local stores on and off the beaten track were enjoying new customers and greater exposure. They were also making some extra money selling the books next to their cash register. Folks were buying extra copies for gifts and to keep in the glove box of their car.
Downtown gift shops sold A Cook’s Guide to tourists, and independent and chain bookstores sold it to the reading public. But here’s where the book really sold: Ethnic grocers, large and small; liquor stores and wine shops; health food stores; neighborhood delis; boutique equipment dealers; restaurant wholesale suppliers; author workshops and parties; artisanal cheesemakers; summer festivals; and farmers market stands.
And knife sharpeners. I save this one for last because one hole-in-the-wall knife sharpening joint sold an average of 12 copies a month every month for at least 6 years, that’s about 900 books and over $7,000 profit for just one store.
And this is what we’re here to help Chef Clara Moore and co-author Matt Sorrell do with their new book–for themselves, for St. Louis, for St. Louis home cooks and food lovers, and for the local, independent food-related businesses of St. Louis.
Shop Like a Chef: A Food Lover’s Tour of St. Louis Neighborhoods is A Cook’s Guide for your town, but with the added bonus of Chef Clara Moore’s long-standing commitment to St. Louis and shopping local, eating local; Matt Sorrell’s insights into St. Louis neighborhoods; and both their personalities.
How can you help? Support their Kickstarter campaign and spread the word so that others can support it too. Spread the word to the businesses you know that might be a good fit for selling the book and bringing themselves some extra income (we offer generous discounts). Or, drop me a line with your ideas and I’ll add them to our list to pursue.
Thanks so much for reading this far and helping out if you can! Please contact me with any questions.
Publisher, Everything Goes Media
Here is our KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN. Thanks.