Feast packing party!

Feast packing party! I highly recommend feeding your friends and having them help pack if you are trying to indie publish your first book. Like a barn raising!

It was such a big pile of books and sheets of paper, and I hadn’t even finished grinding the hand-roasted spices for the curry powder packets. I would’ve been quite discouraged, facing that alone. Luckily, Paul and Craig were perfectly willing to grind spices and fill bags. Teri, a former bookseller, even brought her packing tape gun!

PaulTeriAlli, Karen (and her kids!), StephanieEulàlia, and and Craig all came by to help — we certainly didn’t finish packing that night, but we made very good progress. And may I recommend a big pot of rice as the base for your packing? Rice will sustain you! I made a vegetarian pilaf with a mix of red and basmati rice, and a nice chicken biryani. Mmm…

Even just sorting out all the packing sheets was a big task, because due to our inexperience (I think), we didn’t manage to get BackerKit to sort it all out properly for us. So there was much shuffling of papers and many questions about who exactly was getting WHICH postcards.

Honestly, I’m sure we’ve added hours and hours to the task of just packing up the books, this first time through. Thank all the little gods for friends, and their willingness to take salmon curry and pol sambol in exchange for labor!

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have had quite so many different reward tiers and BackerKit items — they added exponentially to the complexity of it all. Stephanie estimated that there were at least 30 different unique sets that people could order, and SKUs are more complicated than you’d think.

If I ever indie publish another book (I do love the putting-the-book-together part, if not the business side — I think I could use a business partner should that happen), at least we’ll have learned from our mistakes along the way here!

With the ‘help’ of a #spacecat, we worked steadily for hours, from 6-9 on Wednesday night. It didn’t FEEL like the stacks of books were getting any smaller, but some eggplant curry and Roshani‘s lentils kept us going.

She’d brought over a huge batch for an earlier lunch with a visiting writer, and I’d frozen the extra, so was able to serve them for this. SO helpful. One fabulous aspect to our food is that so much of it freezes beautifully.

If you need to feed vegetarians Sri Lankan food, I’d particularly recommend eggplant curry + lentils; you get that rich curry flavor and luscious mouthfeel with the eggplant & the substantial protein of the lentils. Also excellent for non-vegetarians. 

That looks like good progress, doesn’t it? It does! Look at all those neat rows. I think we’ll be ready to actually start taking packages to the post office by….I want to say Thursday of this week? If not, definitely next Tuesday (11/12).

And Jed has just finished the ePub (yesterday!), and ALMOST finished the Kindle formatting, so those lovely electronic editions will be flying through the electrons towards Kickstarter backers momentarily.

Print books would go out sooner, but World Fantasy in L.A. and Scott Woods‘s Parallels writing conference in Columbus next weekend are intervening. I can’t pack if I’m not actually physically there! But 11/12 shipping out should still get A Feast of Serendib to Kickstarter backers and other pre-orders everywhere in the U.S., at least, in good time for holiday gifts.

The current plan is that you can still order copies of books and packets of curry powder from me on the Serendib Kitchen website directly, through the end of November. #Spacecat Aryabhata says, “You need a Sri Lankan cookbook! And your friend / relative / co-worker does too!”

That’ll be it, though; I need to take a break and ‘go dark’ for a while after that, to recover and write a novel. I may even turn off FB for a week or two. (What? Will I be able to breathe without FB? We’ll see.)

Then back for the official launch in March.  Thankfully, THAT distribution will be handled by Mascot Books (though I’ll still be able to send out signed & personalized copies directly.

My packing friends loved this dessert experiment, by the way — I took the leftover bits of marshmallows and made…umm…not sure what to call it actually. Marshmallow brittle? Tropical rocky road? Something like that! Details and more photos of that coming soon.

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