Dinner for Dad

Dinner for Dad: Over 200 Recipes that Homeschool Kids like to make for their Dads by Daniele Davis, $9.95, 117 pages. This book is filled with recipes that homeschooled kids liked to cook for their fathers.

The Making of Dinner for Dad

by Danielle Davis
[from Fall 2005 Issue 92 of PA Homeschoolers Newsletter]

My dad had the idea. He suggested I create a cookbook filled with recipes that homeschool girls liked to cook for their fathers. His idea became the cookbook, Dinner for Dad. Iíd like to tell you a little bit about the process of making the book.

First of all, a long letter was written explaining the project to homeschool girls, with a form on the back of the letter for submitting recipes. Then I wrote to all the support leaders listed on the PA Homeschoolers website, telling them about the project and asking if they would help me get the word out by distributing the letters at their meetings. Everyone was very interested and helpful. (Thanks everybody!)

Some recipes were submitted, but not nearly enough. I realized that to reach more people, the Internet was going to have to be used to contact girls directly, and make it easier to submit to the cookbook.

With the help of my friend Jonathan Snyder, also homeschooled and a computer-wiz, Dinner for Dad soon had its own website. My parents bought some server space, and we spent a few days putting the site together- Jonathan doing the computer work while I wrote the content and decided on the layouts of pages.

Back at the beginning of November, Mrs. Richman had offered to put the informational letter Iíd been sending to people into the winter issue of PA Homeschoolers. With the newsletter being mailed just as the site went up it was decided to extend the deadline to January 31st- allowing extra time to submit for those just learning of the project and the new website.

The site went up at the beginning of December. A few days later Jonathan added a page of CGI script. That meant that recipes could be typed into a special page on the website, and then would be sent directly to my familyís e-mail address! While the CGI script was going up, I spent an entire day writing to every homeschool e-mail account that could be found. Support groups, forums, co-ops, and families- over 800 emails that day. Most of the addresses were found on www.homeschoolcentral.com, and the information was sent to anyone who spoke English!

Within just a few days, the recipes started pouring in, much to my delight. Contributions were received from all over the US, as well as,Australia, Scotland, and Guam! And as the word got around about the project, there were a lot of requests to include recipes from boys in the cookbook as well. I hadnít realized how many boys would be interested! So now the project was geared towards homeschool girls and guys too!

Once most of the recipes were received, I started typing and editing them into a program called Type ní Save. Itís a special program to get recipes ready for a cookbook. It came free when I sent away for some information on a publishing company. Over 200 recipes were typed into the program, only for me to discover that they couldnít be gotten out without a key- and the publishing company held it. We had decided to self-publish- so I had to start all over again and type them into Microsoft Word. We then moved the recipes into a program document on Microsoft Publisher. It was really hard to arrange everything so that the printer wouldnít cut anything off and so that it would look nice. This all took about four months.

While working on the format of the cookbook, everyone was emailed again and it was announced that they could submit artwork if they wanted. A contest was also held to choose the drawing for the cover, the prize being a free cookbook. The winner was NoŽl Rascher of Virginia. Additional illustrations by her and others were received and the cookbook started looking better and better!

At last, at the end of April, eight months after the project had begun, the cookbook was ready to print out. It took almost three hours to print off the final draft, and then we spent 2 or 3 days making copies. The copies were taken to Drake Printing, along with the cover Iíd designed. The covers were printed on coated card stock, which is thicker and glossier than regular card stock. The sheets of copies were cut, punched, and finished with comb binding. We found a few typos in the first 30 copies completed- they were corrected, the cookbooks taken apart, and the new pages inserted.

And it was done.

Well, of course, not ever entirely done. I changed the website design (learned how!), and now update it regularly. The cookbook and some other materials that my mother and sister self-published at the same time Dinner for Dad was being done are sold there. (Yes, this family was busy for awhile!) I fill orders for the cookbooks when they come, and Dinner for Dad has been placed in a couple of specialty gift shops in the area.

The cookbook has been an enormous amount of work for an English project! But it certainly has been worth it! Iíve gotten to correspond with homeschoolers from all over, have learned a lot about how a book is put together, how to create a website, and marketing skills. And most of all, itís been fun! Please visit our website at www.davispublishing.net and check it out! We might even get a guestbook up there for you to sign!

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