Bugs for Beginners Entomophagy Cookbook is Now on Kickstarter
Support if you want a physical copy for your bookshelf—or kitchen!
Nov. 24, 2019
May contain affiliate links.
Bugs for Beginners is on Kickstarter, from now until January 13th. If you've ever loved your ebook copy of Bugs for Beginners and wished you could hold a physical copy in your hands, this campaign is for you. That's the TL;DR, but if you want to know more about why I made a kickstarter, and why I'm breaking all the rules about promoting it, read on.
Why CrowdFund A Cookbook?
As I mentioned in the Kickstarter page, bugs for Beginners has been very well received in the entomophagy community, with common complaint: people want it in physical form. Many people prefer physical books to ebooks, and more than anything else, what I hear from people is:
"Why is this only available as an ebook? Let me know when I can buy it in real life, please."
Fair enough, everyone has their preferences. My own preference is, as a budding entomophagy aficionado, I was frustrated that many books about edible insects lack sufficient color photos of the dishes they described. The reason I compiled Bugs for Beginners in the first place is, I wanted to create the edible insect cookbook I wanted to see, one bleeding with full color images. I didn't include a single recipe that didn't have at least one picture, and many recipes have multiple pictures, in the form of step-by-step instructions.
The downside to having 150 color images in your book is, it makes printing very expensive. I found out later that that's precisely why most cookbooks have a ratio closer to 1 photo for every 4 recipes. Oops.
I can program an ebook and put it up on Amazon for practically nothing. In fact, Amazon does charge me a little bit more for this book, even as just an ebook, because of all the images. But the extra fee is something reasonable, like $1 or $2 per ebook. But when I looked up the cost to put Bugs for Beginners as an on-demand printing item, the minimum price was $59. That means that even if I want to make no profit whatsoever, I still need to charge people $60 per book. I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to ask someone to pay that much for a book. The point of Bug for Beginners is that it's for beginners. It needs to be accessible, and a book that costs $60 is not accessible.
So, the only option is printing in bulk, minimum 500 copies. I have never done this myself, but my husband's first book, a travel guide to Bangkok, was independently printed in this way. I don't know exactly how many images are in it, but it's almost as big and colorful as I'd like Bugs for Beginners to be. By ordering in bulk he's able to sell his book for more like $20 each.
For this reason, I know that Bugs for Beginners can be printed and offered affordably, but only if I can print in bulk. On-demand is not an option.
Why Aren't You Spamming Everyone You Know To Promote Your Kickstarter Campaign?
Printing and selling a book is a journey, not a destination. Even if I get the smallest possible order (500), it will take years to sell all of those copies. To be honest, I am not convinced there is currently a market to sell that many copies of this book in a reasonable amount of time. For ebooks, it doesn't matter if they sell. I make it available on Amazon, I sell it on this website, and it makes no difference to me if I sell 1 copy a month or 100 copies a month (I wish!). If I print 500 physical books, however.... that's a lot of cargo. Cargo I need to pay to house, from the day I receive them until they're all finally sold. Bugs for Beginners doesn't make a ton of money—It was always a labor of love—but at the very least it doesn't cost me anything either. My only loss is time, which I'm happy to give. A physical book, however, is a very different matter. Printing this book if there is insufficient demand for it could be a very costly endeavor.
In other words, the reason I'm not spamming everyone I know and begging them to support my Kickstarter is because I only want to go down this road if there is actually real, organic, demand for this product. Independent printing is a ton of work, and while it may be more accessible than people think, it's nonetheless in no way easy.
I'm scared Now. Should I even Support This Crowdfund?
I especially hope someone selects the benefit where I get to screen print T shirts. I don't know what the design will be yet, but it will be a lot more fun than just a logo. The thing I love about screen printing is the same thing I love about ebooks: after I make a screen, it's not much more expensive for me to print more shirts for my friends, than it is for me to make one for myself. I would super love to make a limited edition, hand-printed shirt that only me and a few hardcore bug supporters have!
All realistic concerns aside, I would really love to hold a copy of Bugs for Beginners in my hand, and I know I'm not the only one. If this also describes you, and you want this book to be a reality, please join me in this journey, and do share the campaign!
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I'm Mic. I love reading about, writing about, thinking about, photographing, and especially eating, food. Especially bug food. Enough talk, let's eat!