25 Nov The Crip Up the Kitchen Cover Reveals a Year that Was
One year ago, on this date, I had “the call.” Today, CRIP UP THE KITCHEN: TOOLS, TIPS AND RECIPES FOR THE DISABLED COOK is off to the printer. And now I get to reveal to everyone the cover that tells the story of how I managed to make it through the longest yet shortest year of my life: by managing my spoons.
PRE-ORDER CRIP UP THE KITCHEN
This cover is deceptively simple. It was one of the most difficult parts of this publishing process. And with that difficulty, it is also one of the most rewarding. Behind it, a team that not only championed this book but were also fiercely protective of it and my voice.
And to get to the story of today, we need to start this story one year ago when I had the call with the acting publisher, Tori Elliott.
Going into that call, I had so much trepidation. I spent the day before creating a list of well-over 30 questions. And I only had that one day. I got the email requesting the call on 24 November 2021. The call happened on the 25th. The contract was signed on the 26th.
I had trepidation because as much as I wanted this book to be published, I had some redlines. Choosing TouchWood Editions as the home for CRIP UP THE KITCHEN, not only hinged on how Tori answered specific questions, but it also depended on how I answered her questions.
I knew I had a home with TouchWood when I asked questions about “why this book” and Tori told me that they had dreams of getting funding for a braille edition. I knew I had a home with Touchwood when Tori made sure that I wasn’t appropriating and whitewashing other cultures with my recipe choices. There were also tiny details that told me I wouldn’t be fighting against ableism during this process. At least, I was hopeful that would be the case.
CRIP UP THE KITCHEN COVER (front)
keep reading to see the full cover wrap
And of course, there was the chemistry. The call was long and fun and easy and casual and personal. Yes, we were entering into a business relationship. But with such an intimate relationship, and one filled with stressful situations, I required a level of rapport and a signal that I can be blunt when the situation requires it.
Nine out of the last 12 months have been spent focusing almost exclusively on getting to this day; the day that CRIP UP THE KITCHEN would go to the printer. I had December 2021 to plan the entirety of 2022 and how I’d effectively manage my spoons. I booked two-week breaks at the end of every quarter. I told my coordinating editor Kate Kennedy about those dates and that I need them to be protected if I was going to survive the year.
And did Kate ever protect my time and my boundaries. She created an editorial calendar around those dates.
Trust me when I tell you that nine months to write, do photography, edit, proofread, another round of photography, another round of proofreading plus creating the index with yet another round of photography, then the mad dash of little but important things needing to be tied up in the final 10 days, such as a third round of proofreading, before files go the printer is a lot. It is a rushed publishing schedule. I absolutely would not have been able to do it if it weren’t for Kate being fiercely protective of my time and my schedule. And beyond mindful of my spoons.
During this time there were also meetings with my in-house PR lad, Curtis Samuel. Curtis and I are just about to embark on our journey together. But we’ve already had one longer meeting where we discussed ways to keep me safe during the marketing and PR process.
Being disabled and trans puts me at multiple forms of risk as visibility for the book increases. It is one less thing to worry about knowing I won’t have to do anything that I am uncomfortable with, and I can say “no” if needed. In an industry where authors are expected to do increasingly more, including putting themselves in harm’s way to market their books, I am fortunate to not have that stress.
I promise I’m getting to the CRIP UP THE KITCHEN cover. Please indulge me just a little bit longer as I talk about my copyeditor Meg Yamamoto who amazes me. Funny (not funny) errors creep into my writing because of aphasia. Some of which are difficult to decipher. But she did. While also handling my voice with care and respect.
Also let me tell you a bit about interior designer Sydney Barnes. She took the time to research neurodivergent-friendly design and implemented what she learned. My proofreader Senica Maltese also helped to make sure my voice was handled with care. And the cover was designed by Jazmin Welch who came in at the 11th hour because, for months, we just couldn’t get jazzed about what we had before the original cover designer went on mat leave.
Let me be clear, what the original designer created was amazing. If it had been any other cookbook, the dozens of amazing covers they designed would have been phenomenal. But CRIP UP THE KITCHEN is more like Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat and less like a collection of recipes with short headnotes.
There were so many meetings about my cover. I lost track of how many. Everyone, both in-house and outside salespeople, became so invested in making sure the cover spoke to the fulsomeness of the contents, and would stand out in a sea of cookbooks. Because people absolutely do judge a book by its cover.
In one of the final meetings I had with Tori, she presented me with three new options for the cover direction. One of those options was text-based. That was my preference which made her happy because it was the in-house preference as well. Think Joy of Cooking but a bolder, chunkier, modern typeface. As I was falling asleep that night, it hit me. The cover should have a spoon on it, because the book is heavily influenced by the Spoon Theory, and I’m a “spoonie.”
The next morning, I emailed Tori with my idea. And that is why there was a third photoshoot at the 11th hour and a mad dash to create the cover you see today. A cover that will stand out in a crowded room. A cover that speaks to the contents of the book. A cover that I love.
A cover that would not have happened if it weren’t for that call one year ago today and the amazing fortune of having a team of people assembled who, just like me, believe in this book.
I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.