Delicious Colors

Mar 28 22:36 2006 Daniel Punch Print This Article

Person with a cookbook for people without a sense of smell finds it isn’t commercially viable to publish. However, he finds out that it is viable to distribute by having his own website. Plus, he can make a cash profit.

“It’s a very nice cook book,” Mr. Masterson flipped through the clear plastic display book holding the cookbook manuscript. “And ‘Delicious Colors’ is quite an interesting title.”

Mike nodded,Guest Posting hoping there wasn’t another ‘shoe to drop’. Tape-À-L'oeil was the last publisher who’d agreed to see him. “Well, as an anosmic, I only care about the scent or aroma of...”
“Anosmic?” Masterson dropped the manuscript. “Is that a Christian sect, Mike, or something Middle Eastern?”
“It isn’t a Christian…” Mike’s voice trailed off. He felt a weird falling sensation as he realized the mental gulf between them. How could this man not know the cookbook was for people without a sense of smell? Had Masterson read the foreword to Mike’s cookbook? Had he read anything except the cover?

Masterson misread Mike’s silence. “Not that Tape-À-L'oeil Publishing would discriminate against any racial or religious group, but…” Masterson’s eye flicked left then right quickly, making Mike think of a cartoon rat. “But we do have to consider the size of the market for an 'Anosmian' book, especially a cookbook.” Masterson leaned back in his chair apparently feeling that he was back on safe ground. “How many 'Anosmians' are there in the United States?”

If there were enough, would Masterson’s greed overcome his misplaced bigotry? “As I wrote in the introduction, there are around two million anosmics in America.”
“Oh, so less than one percent of the population…and do all anosmics have to cook? I mean, on holydays or something?”
“Well, no. In fact, to many of us food has less appeal than it…”

Masterson interrupted him with a dismissive wave. “Well then. That’s that.” He slid the manuscript across the desk to Mike.
“But two million people, if even one in ten buys a copy that is…”
The perfectly manicured hand cut him off again. “That will mean three hundred million books returned to us. That’s what happens when you pitch to such a small percentage of the population.” Masterson leaned forward, teeth bared in a predatory grin. “And before we even get to forty percent sales we need to get it in front of people.” He pressed part of his desk and the door behind Mike opened. “Do you know how much it costs to make a book available to all three hundred million Americans?” Masterson stood and extended his hand for a farewell handshake. “For starters, twenty one percent of them live in rural areas.”

“Turns out, with a fifteen dollar book,” Dawn looked away from the computer, “you’d probably make less than a dollar.”
He glared at her. “The money isn’t the point.” He looked away. “Well, not the main point. I just want to give other anosmics cooking instructions so that they can make food that tastes good even without having a sense of smell. Plus it’ll have instructions on ways to cook that don’t depend upon a sense of smell.” He clenched his fist and muttered in a high nasal voice. “Sauté until the scent of the veal overpowers the scent of the onions.”
“If you’re really not interested in money, you could give your cookbook away.”
“I looked into that. It would cost at least five hundred dollars. I can’t afford that, and it would still only get me a hundred books.”
“Going that route, you’d have to collect those hundred books and somehow distribute them to other anosmics.  Or you could visit bookshops and try to get them to take a few on sale or return. You’d then have to go around a month later and try to collect the money for any that sell and take back the ones that didn’t.”
“Chr...” He stopped himself, “…istmas. I hadn’t thought about getting them to people, or even into the shops. I’d probably have to deal with a dozen people like Masterson.”
“A dozen, don’t you mean two or three dozen? But selling them you’d maybe make five dollars per book. So as long as you sell half you’ll break even.”
“Masterson said forty percent.” He frowned. “Five dollars, don’t you mean ten?”

She shook her head. “Tape-À-L'oeil publishing could sell them for fifteen because they’re a big publisher. You’d be better to sell them for ten so they do sell. That is, if you really do want the work of selling traditional paper books.”
“So, why did you even suggest self-publishing? It sounds like a lousy idea.”
She nodded. “That wasn’t what I suggested. I was thinking you could literally give it away, for a lot less than the cost of a single print run.” She paused, smiling. “For only ten or fifteen bucks you could set up a website, with the full text of your cookbook online. That way, all your fellow anosmics throughout the country can have your scentless recipes for free.”

Mike sat up, raised his hand and slapped them together in a loud clap. “Hel…eck yeah. According to one website, about twenty people a day type ‘anosmia’ into a search engine. With luck, most of them will find my webpage and get my recipes.”

Dawn tossed half a dozen sheets of paper onto the couch next to Mike. “Here are some more recipes for you to try and maybe add to your online cookbook.” She pointed to the top sheet. “Plus an angry email from another anosmic whose taste in food doesn’t match yours’?”

Once he picked up the pages she sat down next to him. “Oh, and someone else emailed wanting to send you money.” Dawn smiled. “I’ll give him the address of our post office box.”
Mike nodded. “Let’s just add our post office box into the webpage.” He picked up the sheets of paper. “Hopefully we’ll get enough each month to cover the cost of the website.”

As soon as Mike got home Dawn dashed out of her study and intercepted him in the kitchen. She had a handful of letters, and stared for a moment, obviously unable to resist smiling. Mike wondered what idiotic thing he’d done now. It had to be a ‘whale’ to provoke that much joy.
She held up an official looking envelope. It had the address of their post office box typed on the front, so it was probably a bill. “How many anosmics did you say there were?”

Mike shrugged, “About two million.”
“Yes, two million in America, and nearly one percent of them all seem willing to send us a dollar. But our website isn’t just seen in America. How many are there worldwide?”

He stared at her. When did it go from being his website to being ‘our website’? She silently handed him the envelope, which had a British stamp. “They say that to save them postage fees one person has volunteered to gather donations and send you a money order every three months. Apparently France and Spain are doing the same thing!”

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About Article Author

Daniel Punch
Daniel Punch

By: Allan T. Price
Allan T. Price is an anosmic writer working at M6.Net: ‘The web-hosting company for humans with or without a sense of smell.’ Although he has little interest in cooking, he does enjoy eating. He likes to challenge people to describe any smell without referencing to other smells.
Allan T. Price is a creative writer working at M6.Net: ‘The web-hosting company for humans.’ M6.Net is working hard to help humanity experience the power and freedom to develop their own part of the Internet, to share their information and connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

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