What happens when you combine three talented authors with a group of coffee aficionados, some of whom share the dream of one day being published? If you were one of the SCAA attendees that were in the room on Sunday, April 18 for the Penning the Perfect Cup: Writing about Coffee panel discussion you know that the answer is an invigorating discussion with lots of helpful hints for aspiring writers.
The panel consisted of Susan Zimmer, author of I Love Coffee! Over 100 Easy and Delicious Coffee Drinks; Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: the History of Coffee and How it Transformed our World; and Timothy Castle, author of The Perfect Cup: A Coffee Lovers Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Tasting.
Each of the authors shared helpful hints based on their experiences, which were quite varied. Susan encouraged the audience to explore cross merchandising opportunities and shared several examples where a manufacturer has used her book as a gift premium.
Mark encouraged the aspiring writers in the audience to read as much as possible on the topic before they begin writing. He said that his background as a research librarian was great preparation for the massive amounts of historical reading he did in order to understand the coffee industry and its history.
Timothy talked about the challenges an author has to keep his or her book in the news since publishers have a short-term focus on sales and promotions efforts. He also warned the audience to be aware of the long-term consequences of their actions because a number of people have told him that they are in the coffee business because they read his book.
After the presentations and a Q&A session, the authors were available at the booth on the SCAA show floor, where they were able to speak one-on-one with people and provide more advice based on their experiences. They also autographed books for their fans, many of whom asked to have their pictures taken with the author.
To my knowledge, this is the first panel discussion of this kind and based on the very positive response I hope that the SCAA will consider having a similar discussion in 2010
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