Without further ado, I present to you the cover of Classic German Baking! When you hold the book in your hands, you'll see and feel that the title is embossed and that the cute little cake pan is both embossed and in matte foil.
Getting to a final cover on any book can be a lengthy, dramatic process, but especially so with illustrated books like cookbooks. Still, I had a feeling that Ten Speed Press, my amazing publisher, wouldn't disappoint me and I was right. I knew pretty early on that I didn't want a photo on the cover of the book and I'm still so happy and grateful that the publisher, my editor and the designer were game to try some other options. To help the designer along, I sat down at my desk one morning and spent about seven hours doing Google Image searches for everything relating to German and Austrian baking, culinary history, historical lifestyle items and ingredient packaging. I collected the best and most beautiful - and relevant - image links into one very long email and sent it off (hoping that the designer wouldn't think I was the most annoying, meddlesome author ever). It was really important to me to call attention to the kind of visual information that Germans and Austrians take for granted but that feels so integral to the subject. For example, the fact that blue and white are emblematic of the German kitchen, the elegance of the script that adorns antique porcelain kitchen canisters, or the Bauhaus-ian colors and patterns on my beloved Bollhagen ceramics.
A few months later, a variation on the cover above appeared in my inbox. I felt that the illustrator had nailed the design almost on the first try. There were just a few small tweaks to be done before it was final, like getting everyone to agree on the right reddish orange color of the line elements, figuring out which illustration would be the best (the first go-around featured a slice of a fancy torte with a cup of tea, then it changed to a braided, sugar-spangled loaf that I was quite partial to, but we finally settled on the classic cake mold you see on the cover now), and ironing out the minutiae of the dots, whirls and lines. What I like best about the cover now is how well the design straddles the old-fashioned and the contemporary. It feels classic without being fusty and, my most fervent hope, will age well.
A final funny anecdote about the title and subtitle: Agreeing on the title was surprisingly painless. We played around with a few options, but both my editor and I separately - and simultaneously - came to the conclusion that for this book, the simplest, most declarative title would be best. We felt so accomplished! A title without any blood, sweat and tears - amazing. And then, dear reader, and then: the subtitle. I think that a minimum of 38 emails were exchanged in our attempts to nail the subtitle. Oh, the variations we tried! For example, just agreeing on "Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen" - hoo! Which were the German recipe names that would resonate most with potential readers, which ones were most traditional and therefore wouldn't irritate or alienate a native speaker for whom the subtle regional differences could be quite glaring, and which ones, quite simply, were the easiest to pronounce? Then there was the construct of the sentence itself. It wasn't just me and my editor working on this one, no, the sales and marketing team had their brainstorming caps on, too, and so back and forth, back and forth it went until one day - not even so long ago! - we finally lit upon the formulation you see on the cover above.
It's always so funny, at the end of a long, involved project like this one, to look back and see which decisions ended up being the most difficult ones and which ones were surprisingly easy. I would have never guessed that the subtitle would be the source of so much angst. Still, all those back-and-forths were worth it to get a cover, title, and subtitle that all feel just right. What do you think? I so hope you like it.