The woes of being an author - and a sweet potato pumpkin pie to nourish the soul
Funny thing, for the first time in my as yet short life as a self published author, I have everything ready for my up coming book launch. I always have the hardest time with uploading the files onto KDP, there's always layout problems and the more I try to tweak them, the worse it gets. So this time, I decided to actually start uploading my novel way ahead of time, to ensure I did have a large window on which to work out the things I would need to resolve. As it happens, this time it all went smooth. Like the proverbial baby's bottom, know what I mean? Book's uploaded, cover is uploaded, pricing is set, now it's only a matter of giving the ok and set loose out to the world. My baby. Actually, one of my babies. But such a big part of something that means the world to me, something that has changed me deeply and made me feel like a human being again.
Another good thing, and this is such a learn as you go world, this of self publishing, is that I have been making these little teasers and ads for my series, and have been psting them on Facebook and Instagram - follow me there, @kitchenwitchmiranda and you can see what I'm talking about. I never did that before, and it's actually a lot of fun coming up with those little ads, sometimes with snippets from the novels, others just teasers of the new releases. Being self published means I do need to do my own promoting, and that can get hard, and stressful, but actually putting together these pieces has been rather relaxing and exciting at the same time. And yet, even though I bust my arse off and work hard and long hours, it feels like it's just not panning out. Maybe it's still early days for me in the business, maybe I'm wanting too much, too soon. When I started out I didn't even promote or advertise my first novel, and only a few close ones bought it - I'm changing that, the novel is getting a revamp and I am going to advertise and promote it properly soon. But the truth remains: sales are few, and decreasing. And I refuse to put out my work for free.
I am very much in love with this series, with the writing and the story and the characters, and obviously enough, I want the world to feel the same way. I want to find readers who are so passionate about these books they spread the word. I want people to enjoy them and read them once and again, knowing everytime they do they will be having a good time, they will be entertained, and they will derive something from them. Have I accomplished it? I don't know. Ido believe that in between the lines on each and everyone of those novels there's something to take out and ponder. Be it love, in many forms, be it equality, or loyalty, friendship, power struggles and ethics. I do believe I have covered quite a few issues in those novels, that are there to be read in between the lines. But that's me. I also believe there's a very specific audience for those novels and I'm having a hard time reaching them, no matter how I try. Sometimes all it takes is actually a stroke of good luck to get the ball rolling. I always seem to miss that stroke. I even fear this new release is not gonna get any sales!
Still, I will persevere and the book will be out in December as planned, and I will keep writing other novels, and I'm sure I will publish more books and be as excited about them as I am about these. As long as I have my health and the possibility of carrying on doing what I do, I know I won't give up the trade. Perhaps I'll never sell more than one, two, three copies of each novel, perhaps I end up being a moderate success, time will tell. I never made it as a food blogger because I know I don't have the raw talent in me for food styling and food hotography - despite the talent for cooking. But as for writing, I do believe I have the talent, I have the way with words, the stories in my head are good, and exciting, the novels I put out are good and exciting too. That is what I believe. May not be what the rest of the world sees, and maybe I don't even manage to get that across, maybe I fail in luring people into wanting to at least check out the books. I'm at a loss, don't know what more to do. Financially I can't afford to do things differently, so this means the whole of the work falls down to me, good or bad. But I learnt how to cook and style and photograph, I can learn how to sell.
Right now I want to sell you all this pie. It's yummy, scrumptious, moore-ish, delicious. And it's vegetarian - with a possiblitity of making it completely vegan, also. I love pies, it's no secret, and have been wanting to try different fillings for my savouries, this was a win. There's butternut squash, there's mushrooms, there's carrots... there's all this goodness inside it, and the flakiest, tastiets pastry ever. You really need to try it, so here's how to:
For the pastry:
- 350 gr flour (we mixed in some spelt flour)
- 100 gr butter or magerine
- 150 to 200 ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- aromatics of your choice
Mix the flour, salt and aromatics on a food processor. Add the cubed butter or margerine and pulse until you have a sand like consistency dough. Pour onto a bowl and slowly add in the water, mixing with a knife to combine everything together. Once the dough comes together and looks smooth, wrap it in baking parchement, form into a ball and let it rest in the fridge until you're ready to use it. The longer it rests, the better.
As for the filling, this is how I did it:
- 1 small butternut squash, deseeded and peeled, cut into small chunks
- 3 medium sized carrots, cut into small chunks
- 1 small courgette, cut into small chunks
- 1 large-ish sweet potato, cut into small chunks
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- olive oil,
- white wine - just a glug
- salt, cayenne pepper, herbes de provence, all spice and nutmeg- a dash of each
- a glug of balsamic vinegar
Take the onion, carrots and garlic to the stove inside a pan with a glug of olive oil and let them sweat for a bit. Add the courgette, the squash and the sweet potato. Freshen up with the balsamic and stir, allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine, one small glass will do. Season well with the herbs and spices, cover with a lid and cook for about seven to eight minutes on a medium heat. Transfer into an oven dish. Roll the dough and cover the veggies with it. Cut a few holes in the middle so the steam lets out while cooking. Bake in the oven at 180º for about thirty minutes or until the pastry is golden and hollow sounding. Serve immediately, with a green salad on the side!