TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has decided to do something a little different to whet the appetite (no pun intended) of our readers. Simply put, we are going to do something out of the ordinary. With the holidays close at hand we are going to introduce all of you to a new type of author.
Lee Truslow writes cookbook recipes and is selling them like hotcakes (pun intended) on Amazon. Lee, what first started you on this new venture?
LT-I don’t have a job, and I came up with an easy, stir-up recipe. Because I have done disability-related stuff for about 40 years, I rolled it around and came up with the idea of a book series with easy recipes and easy language, combined with photographs and a regular recipe for parents or caregivers. In addition, Text-to-Speech, an Amazon offering with most of its e-books which reads text aloud in a robotic voice, is also activated for those machines that can use it (such as Fire second generation). If somebody has a problem with a word, or if somebody is non-verbal, he or she can have the tablet read it aloud with the touch of an on-screen button.
LT-I dearly love my Fires, and I’d never seen any cookbooks of this sort in either e-format or paper. Young kids are using tablets more commonly, and people with disabilities use them quite a bit for communication and recreation. TAEM- Who were these originally made for, and how have the interests in these expanded.
I originally intended them for new readers and people with disabilities or reading problems, but busy adults like the quick recipes, too. Teachers of English in other countries are also using them, as well as parents of new cooks. The older kids can read the regular recipes, but they can also go back to the pictures if they have questions.
TAEM- What was the first of these endeavors, and how were they received?
LT-The first book was 1, 2 Pie, http://www.amazon.com/Pie-easy-Reader-Recipes-ebook/dp/B00DYUMKYW/ref=sr_1_32?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381759174&sr=1-32&keywords=truslow+a , a coconut/pineapple (Pina colada-type) concoction. I use a lot of yogurt and sugar free pudding mixes to try to lighten most of the recipes up while also making them quick and easy. It’s been a long road getting them to catch on, as most writers would probably agree. Europeans have bought more of them than anybody else, possibly for people learning English.
LT-Probably the biggest thing I had to figure out was making a photo table of contents for the books that have more than 1 recipe, because I can’t assume that my readers will be able to read titles. This way they can touch the picture and have it go to the Easy Reader Recipe for that food.
In addition, I use recipes with no chopping or cutting, and, at most, 3 minutes in the microwave. Recipes that need or suggest a mixer (mostly with cream cheese) or microwave use get a notation on the cover of the book in case they are being used with an intellectually disabled person who lives alone. I also substitute frequently, like using couscous instead of rice or longer-cooking grains. Lastly, I use photo programs to add graphics, such as a swirled arrow for stirring or an up and down arrow for mashing, to photos as needed to try to demonstrate what is necessary for the recipe.
TAEM- How many recipes have you created thus far, and are there others to follow?
LT-I’m currently in the 40’s for my books, and I presently put up 2 to 4 new ones every week. Until now I’ve done everything myself—recipes, cooking, photography, covers, and formatting, but a teenaged guest photographer helped with the last two books (the candy turkeys and the second Spooky Special). I don’t know whether she’ll continue, but that was a big help.
LT-There are so many of them that here’s the link to my author search instead. 2 that aren’t mine show up at the end. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Atruslow+a&keywords=truslow+a&ie=UTF8&qid=1381761023
TAEM- Is there a culmination of recipes that you intend to put into a full scale cookbook in the future ?
LT-Maybe, but people prefer the 99 cent price for the e-book singles. They don’t like the higher price that Amazon makes me use for the larger file sizes, even if more recipes are included. I’m starting to look at the possibility of publishing on demand for some print copies, though; I want to try them to see if people like them.
TAEM- Lee, this has been a new and enjoyable experience and we want to thank you for your time on this interview. I know that our readers will enjoy it and we hope that all of them will look for all your recipes to add to their cupboards.