Winter Study produces professional cookbook

In April, Alex Nimetz ’99, Jason Stanley ’00, and Emmy Starr ’98 signed their final Author-Publisher Agreements with Storey Communications, a locally based publishing company, confirming their authorship of an upcoming Storey book.

The three students participated in the Book Publishing Winter Study course last January and together generated the concept for the book as their class project.

Tentatively titled “The Healthy College Cookbook,” the book will be an informal guide to preparing cheap, simple, nutritious meals. Its target audience is the typical student who wants more sustenance than a bag of Tostitos can provide, but whose means, time and experience in the kitchen doesn’t necessarily amount to something that satisfies. The potential buyer includes, then, not just college students, but anyone under similar circumstances.

In terms of style, the authors realize the strength in their student identity. Said Nimetz, “We want our personalities to come through in the book. We aren’t writing this book as experienced chefs and hope to use this to our advantage. We expect that buyers will be able to relate to our simple terminology and straightforward tone.” Stanley comments on his culinary inexperience: “I’m not a plethora of knowledge on how to blanch something.”

The Winter Study course that inspired the idea was team-taught by a number of Storey Communications professionals who represented different aspects of the publishing world. Lectures and workshops were given on topics such as editing, marketing, graphic design and production/manufacturing. The four student groups used the insight and information given in class to thoroughly and knowledgeably develop their book ideas. Mock sales presentations, complete with page spreads and PNL (profit and loss) projections, were given on the final day of class.

Storey Communications was started in 1983 by husband and wife team John and Martha Storey. John graduated from Williams in 1965. They were asked by the college to teach the course, which was in part inspired by the two week intensive Stanford Publishing Course that Martha Storey took in 1984. Martha reflected, “We decided that the best way to help inform and enlighten the students at Williams was to have people at Storey, who are actually doing these various tasks and had the various professional responsibilities, get involved and volunteer their time to actually teach a portion of the course.”

Some interesting events for students in the class included sitting in on an actual sales presentation, and visiting Storey Communications in Pownal, VT and Storey Books, a subdivision, in Williamstown. Students also toured the Excelsior printing company in North Adams, a large old brick structure alive with periodic bells and the pervasive stench of ink. On the last day of class, final projects in the form of sales presentations were given by the students, diplomas were warmly distributed, and a class photograph was taken.

Martha Storey approached Nimetz, Stanley and Starr and asked them to give a second authentic sales presentation, essentially to persuade the publishing company to take on the development of the group’s idea. Pam Art, CEO of Storey Books, commented: “Storey’s delighted to be publishing this book, to be working with the authors. It was clear all the way through the course that this team was on to a great idea, and one that we felt would have real viability in the publishing world.”

When asked to talk about the collaborative nature of the effort, Nimetz commented: “We all get along very well so it is fun working together. We have been doing some cooking together but we don’t do all the writing together. Of course, we all meet to decide the overall content of each person’s assignment and also read over each other’s writing, edit and offer suggestions.”

Although some recipes are adapted from ones found on the internet, the group is gathering the bulk of their dishes by soliciting friends at other schools. “We have friends from high school that are all over the country and beyond,” remarked Stanley, “the breadth of geographic diversity in our recipe section should help with regard to marketing.”

Nimetz makes a plea and tempts us with the prospect of modest fame: “If anyone reading this has any ideas, please let us know. There’s even a bonus in it for you: Your name will be printed in the acknowledgments!”

“The Healthy College Cookbook” is due to be released in April of 1999.

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