IN THE LIBRARY
I stopped by my local branch of the NYC public library this week. I wasn’t hunting for books, but actually was looking for a copy machine that takes coins. I needed a single copy of a sales receipt from Toshiba to send in with the mail-in rebate form. I’ve been disappointed with the quality of my last two Dell laptops, on one the hard drive died after three years and with the most recent one the hinges and frame cracked after two years. (No, I didn’t drop it. And the casing isn’t covered by the warranty.) So I decided to try a Toshiba. (I am a little worried, because the brand new computer starts clicking every so often.) And I can get about $100 rebate back from Toshiba once I get this copy. Unfortunately, the copy machine in the library was “Out of Service.” The old-style copy machine with coin slots seem to be a thing to the past, as today most require credit cards.
Anyway while I was at the library, I thought I would take a look at its small cookbook collection. And much to my delight, there on the shelf was a copy of my Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. (Oops, my laptop just clicked again. I do hope it’s not a sign of a problem.) Anyway, I’m quite pleased by the acceptance of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food as a resource tool. I visited the offices of Saveur magazine a few weeks ago and everyone there was already familiar with EJF. Karen, the research editor, keeps a copy of EJF on her desk as one of her primary research tools, but admits it is borrowed frequently by other staff members. In addition, I noticed from my Google Alerts that quite a few writers are citing EJF. (I also noticed that some writers lately have been using information directly from EJF without an acknowledgement, which is irritating.) Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is even the source to use in Mumbai, India: http://www.mid-day.com/specials/2011/jul/240711-Falooda-Badshah-dessert-drink.htm
Anyway, it is gratifying that EJF is being recognized and used. I would hate to think that it would be one of those volumes that sits on the shelf and gathers dust.
Yet it seems that a lot of people still aren’t aware of its existence. This week I ran into a high school classmate, Moshe, who I had not seen in a number of years. As we quickly attempted to catch up and I discussed EJF, he had not heard about it. I was in Baltimore for the weekend (that’s why this blog is a little late) and ran into several old acquaintances who were also unaware of EJF. Without massive advertising (or actually any advertising), I have to rely on word of mouth to spread the news about EJF. (Don’t forget to tell your friends and relatives about the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. And it makes a great gift.) Part of the nature of the book publishing world is that an author has to sell enough copies of their current book in order to publish the next one.
I’ll be appearing at Stony Brook Hillel Sunday Sept 4 at 3:30 for Festival of Bites: http://alumniandfriends.stonybrook.edu/page.aspx?pid=299&cid=1&ceid=131&cerid=0&cdt=9%2F4%2F2011
I even have a few appearances in Israel in September and October, including for the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews. Later I’ll be at the Denver JCC Book Fair 350 S. Dahila Street on Monday October 31 at noon. And at the Great Neck Library 159 Bayview Avenue, Great Neck on Sunday December 11 at 11:00 am. And I have a few scholar-in-residence gigs in the winter and spring. (For information on my demos/lectures, see http://www.gilmarks.com/1257.html on my website.)
Writing a book is not only about getting it published, but promoting it. Any I have to rely on word of mouth to help spread the word. My previous book, Olive Trees and Honey, is doing as well today as ever (it was published in 2005), precisely because of world of mouth. And Encyclopedia of Jewish Food showing up on library shelves is a good sign. But years ago I once had a lady approach me after a lecture, telling me how much she loved my book and how she Xeroxed recipes from it from a copy in her library. Not exactly what an author wants to hear.