Thursday, June 18, 2009

In search of recipe testers: An adventure

Yesterday morning I decided it was time to get a team of recipe testers in place for my second cookbook. I'm in the thick of the recipe creation process right now, moving through it as fast as I can considering how little time I have, really. The manuscript is due at the start of September, right around the time I start school.

I had done this for Get It Ripe, but knowing there would likely be more people interested this time around, I thought I could do it better this time. Instead of taking anyone I could get, I set up more structured criteria: Tell me why you're interested, and your culinary experience, if any; promise not to go all substitutiony on me.

Using all the social media vehicles I had access to, I put up a post on my blog, sent a link to the post to my fbook groups and tweeted it. Letting people know about my search on the walls of various fbook groups lead to facebook threatening to shut down my account (so I'm still treading cautiously here). More than 15 people RT'ed the message on twitter (nice!).

Some e-mails were saying "Pick me!", "I really want to help out!" and "I'd be honored if you chose me" with this I-hope-I-get-the-job tone. Many promised to follow the recipes to the letter, as I'd mention in the call for testers. At first I thought it was cute that people were so eager and worried about being not-good-enough, but 50 e-mails or so in, it got to the point in reading e-mails that if people weren't gushing about Get It Ripe, I'd unconsciously question how much they really liked it because enough people were saying such super kind things about the book and my approach (I was getting spoiled!). The instructions in the call for testers was perfectly clear about needing an e-mail to my gmail account, so I knew not to take people who responded through facebook or twitter or in the comments on my blog, taking it as a sign that perhaps they weren't going to be super at following directions.

I sent out the first package of 38 recipes for my long list of testers at 10:30 last night.
As I was shutting down my computer an hour later I was saying to myself "Really, NO MORE TESTERS!", but then I awoke this morning to find this fantastic e-mail from David...

I am a 72 year old newbie vegan, having decided to take the plunge on April 1st. I bought Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet which sent me to check out a local health food store, Planet Organic. A very enthusiastic young woman there said I really should buy a book called Get It Ripe, but unfortunately they were sold out. I had just been given a gift card for Chapters so I rushed out there and got your book and didn't put it down for three hours after I got home! You did a wonderful job!
As for my culinary experience, it is quite basic but improving. My mother began teaching basic cooking (as well as sewing and cleaning) to me and my two brothers at age eight. My late wife was an excellent cook and so I did very little cooking during our 37 year marriage. When I retired, she said "I want to retire, too! I will retire from cooking!" OK said I, and I was just beginning to relax in the kitchen and be creative and adventurous when she was diagnosed with cancer and died 15 months later. That was four years ago and I am only now getting interested in cooking again. I started the year with a baking stone and Peter Reinhart's
Whole Grain Breads. Now I am beginning to delve into your book.
I really wanna test recipes for you!!


...and there was no way I could turn him down.

So I now, even after turning dozens away, have 82 recipe testers!
And while I love the company, this really is not sustainable for me - I have to manage all that feedback!
I suspect that for round 2 of testing I will need to narrow it down to about 30 people, but for now we'll all just have some fun with it.

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"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.

hello?

about the blog:
domesticaffairATgmail.com

about the cookbooks:
getitripeATgmail.com

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!

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