A digesting reader

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A digesting reader

Sometimes you just have to stay in your lane.

6 minute read plus 4 minutes of video

Amanda Zito created my last 3 book covers, she is one of those multi talented and dedicated people who succeeds at whatever she puts her hand to. For me her illustration skills are something I can only aspire to.

Predominantly though she is a YouTuber, the fact she has 50,000 subscribers speaks for itself. A solo female motorcyclist, with precision, regularity and reliability she produces a new video every week. I can’t even be consistent in my newsletters. Google and YouTube love regular contributors for their algorithm’s and content makers get higher SEO’s…or something. Thing is, if I don’t have something to say I don’t say it. I want to engage with whatever I chose to post, not just ring in like an alarm when there is nothing to get up for.

Anyway Amanda has produced a motorcycle camping cookbook, I was given an advance copy.

It’s so stunningly professional in its format. This, I should mention, is her first ever book. It covers everything from what cooking equipment to pack, ingredients and ultimately, simple to follow recipes. Fully illustrated, obviously, with inspiring and exemplary photos. I was, as you can tell, mightily impressed with the book. It took her 2 and a half years to produce (much like my yet to be completed Rambling On trilogy) and it shows. Faultless it is, to my very critical, and experienced eye, at least when it comes to self-published work.

I said I would do my bit to promote it for her, and this is where I stepped out of my lane. Last week my girlfriend and I took off into the Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria for some wild camping. We had the inspired idea (the kind you get when you’re on the road) to cook one of the recipes over a campfire and film it. It was a recipe for disaster, fun to make but so ridiculously amateur it was a cringeworthy, an embarrassment to watch. The fire was too hot, the wind to strong, the whole scenario unrehearsed and overcooked. It did though have an element of spontenunity to it and was absolutly genuine in that we had never cooked the meal before…and it turned out alright.

Not only am I not a YouTuber, the editing bores the arse off me too. I can edit the first draft of my audio books (more about that later) but to do video I know what tricks I should use but really can’t be bothered to spend the time on it. What were we thinking, to try and promote a experienced YouTuber with a YouTube video? In the end I made a 3 minute out take from the reels of footage, you might not learn much but it’s kind of entertaining.

Then ‘one take Galena’ did her chosen 50 second recipe.

Yesterday evening I lit a fire in the garden with the intention of doing a retake of the burrito thing, but in the end, much like golf is a good walk spoiled, so attempting to video the cooking of a camp meal, is a good way to take the enjoyment out of a fire.

So as I watched the flames die down and faced the daunting task of setting up tripods and tables, getting the mic and gimble charged, gathering the ingredients, and cooking utensils, then actually cooking and commenting in real time while simultaneously actually trying to produce something edible I had a little epiphany. This is not what I do, I’m a writer, I’ll write about it. I’ll tell how difficult it is to actually do a good cooking video while promoting how easy it is to use the cookbook.

So we made the food in the kitchen instead and it was bloody brilliant.

So Amanda decided to launch her first book with a crowdfunding Indigogo campaign. The page like everything else she does is beautifully set up and her target was $5000. It went live last week and in 2 hours she exceeded her target. As I write less than a week into the month-long campaign she has exceeded $22,500 in pre-orders.

That is massive, I’m very pleased for her. Generally when someone comes to me with the idea of a book they want to write I tell them to expect no profit form it at all. Amanda, as a first-time author is an exception, the dedication has clearly paid off. She’s not lucky, she deserves this, her followers, subscribers, her networking and presence on social media has done what I know I should do, and got her a substantial audience. Me, I just write, ride and sling a newsletter together when I feel the pressure to. Marketing is not my thing; I’ve built up my niche readership and every week I get a few more subscribers and unsubscribes.

Im going to pitch it justttttt here. Kazakhstan Steppe

If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know, and I explained this to Amanda, on the road I eat like a camel. Stuff my face and then digest it for 36 hours, I don’t even carry a stove anymore. Through the barren Kazakhstan steppe I would fill up at a truck stop and with a bit of stale bread in my pannier, perhaps some cheese and salami too I would happily go a day or more before the need for more sustenance. Camp cooking is a skill, I though, like interior design, either you have it or you don’t. Actually the quality of the food produced I’ve found is more due to the preparation, implements and ingredients, carried, and these are all clearly explained in Amanda’s book.

Turns out the quality of the meal I made is based on how much I took from her book. I think this could be a game changer for my next trip, I will have to redesign the interior of my panniers to accommodate the necessarily supplies suggested in the book. I should be OK, I need less hair care products these days. I’ll be the one on the campsite with flavour filled smoke signalling my gastronomical ability to those who those who haven’t got it, the book that is, not the ability, that comes free inside. I’ll be the reader who digests.

Oh and I’ve decided to keep the free global postage of all my products going to the end of the Month. Plus soon my audio books will be available for instant download direct from my site too, no multinational subscription needed.

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