In 1999 I had a brainstorm on the long subway ride from my job in Manhattan to my apartment in Brooklyn. I could do exactly what I was already doing, but on my own terms, as my own boss, and with my own rules. And BookEnds was born.
I’m not going to say it was all champagne and roses. In fact, it was a few years before I really felt like we had good reason to pop that cork. Like any career or business (and that includes writing) we’ve had our ups and downs, our killer sales and years, and our “what the hell are we doing” years. We struggled and we soared, but we never quit.
In those beginning years we worked primarily as packagers. The market was different back then and we were lucky that a lot of our old colleagues kept us in mind for projects they wanted to see on their lists. One of those was The Book of Christmas (and The Book of Thanksgiving). At the time we didn’t have much going on so rather than hire a writer to undertake the project, we opted to write it ourselves. Another reason why I know I’m not an author. It was a fun and challenging adventure, especially fun to share the book with grandmothers and others who were kind enough to contribute so many of their family recipes to our project, but it’s not something I would do again. I’ve since learned the art of delegating.
BookEnds has changed so much over the years, as has publishing. I’m pretty sure a project like this would never be considered today unless the author was a Food Network star. However, I will always be appreciative of the opportunity to do these books. They helped give us the seed money we needed, as well as the emotional boost, to become what BookEnds is today.