My cookbook is now accessible for those with vision loss

Whether at events, conferences, online, or via Facebook or Twitter, a question I often get is, “Will your cookbook be accessible for the blind?”

“Well, uh, that’s a good question…”

And then I’ll spiel into how my cookbook being accessible was a top priority (it was, and still is); how the editor and publisher agreed (they did); but that in the end, the economics just didn’t make sense—the cost of printing my cookbook in Braille would be too high, and the publisher would have no choice but to pass along that cost to the consumer. And we all know my cookbook may have been a NYT best seller, but who are we kidding? Nobody’s going to buy it for $200!

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Writing a New York Times bestseller: Check

Last Wednesday, I got an email from the communications director at Rodale (my cookbook publisher) stating that my very first book I’d ever published, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, was going to debut at #12 on the New York Times best sellers list for the week of July 14th under the Advice/How To/Misc. category. I was so incredibly stoked. I was in the car with my girlfriend on our way to a happy hour for a friend’s birthday.

“I’m not going to drink to her birthday,” I’d said. “I’m drinking to my making it to the NY Times best sellers list!”
I thought getting into University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and graduating with my MFA was an awesome feeling. Winning the title of MasterChef last year was superb. But I have to put being a NYT best selling author on to that same list if not at the top of it all. It was seriously yet another dream come true. Now to work on getting that Pulitzer…and then the Nobel…

Speaking of my cookbook, many of you have been asking since its release back in May, “Can I send my book to you for you to sign it?”

I’ve always had to turn down these requests because I simply, as a one-woman (with an occasional half or two) show, did not have the capacity to receive, sign, and ship back books. If I said yes to one person, I’d feel obligated to say yes to them all, and with all my traveling and workload, I just couldn’t do it. I felt bad because I don’t like disappointing people.

And then my local Houston book signing at Brazos Bookstore came and went. And then because I support Brazos for their long-lasting relationship with our graduate program, I decided to suggest they carry signed copies of my cookbook. It was a win-win situation: Brazos gets to be the exclusive store carrying signed copies of my cookbook which obviously leads to more sales for them, the fans get what they want, and I am happy to please everyone.

Ask, and you shall receive. Buy signed copies of my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, from Brazos Bookstore. As always, thank you so much for your love and support. xoxo

Christine, is your cookbook available in any accessible formats for the blind?

That’s the question I get most often right behind:

  1. Christine, when is your cookbook coming out?
  2. Christine, what’s Gordon Ramsay really like?
  3. Christine, are you really blind?
  4. Christine, how do you use Facebook or Twitter if you’re blind? (Or, Christine, is this really you?)

To which I answer:

  1. May 14, 2013.
  2. He’s hilarious, charismatic, and smells great.
  3. Yes.
  4. There’s something called technology—Apple has built-in screen readers on all their products called VoiceOver. Yes, it’s really me.

So back to our question of the day: is my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, available in accessible formats for the blind?

I had a long discussion back and forth with Rodale, the publishing house, about this matter since day one, before I’d even written a single recipe down. “It’s vital that my cookbook is accessible for the visually impaired. That’s a given. I can’t leave my biggest fan base in the dark (nyuk, nyuk generic name for xanax),” I’d said.

And so I was told by Rodale that they looked into all sorts of options, including publishing it in Braille or as an audio book. I was told Brailling quickly became too expensive, and they didn’t want to have to pass that price on to the consumer. I have no doubt, though, that my cookbook will one day be Brailled or recorded and made available for loan via the many resources for text-to-speech for the blind.

Currently, however, if you purchase a version for the Kindle, Nook, or from iBooks, These versions, I’ve been told, have audio capability so the text can be read aloud on their respective devices. The Kindle even recently came out with new features for the visually impaired.

Has anyone tried out any of these accessible formats of my cookbook? Your feedback is welcome. I will pass it along to Rodale.

Recipes from My Home Kitchen by Christine Ha: Houston book signing at Brazos Bookstore on June 11

Hello, hot Houstonians! I’ll be doing my first official book signing tomorrow, Tuesday, June 11th, at Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet St., 77005) at 7:00 PM. It’ll be preceded by slots casino a short talk and a Q&A—whatever question you have, bring it on. :) Please come out and support your local indie bookstore. Hope to “see” you there! xoxo

My cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, releases today!

FINALLY! There’s been so much anticipation. Thanks to everyone For the support. Go here to find out where you can get a copy.

Q&A with Graham Elliot, chef and MasterChef judge

Ten more days until my cookbook release! I can’t believe it, but it sure has been a long awaited milestone. I will be in NYC for my cookbook launch and the ”MasterChef” season 4 premiere—stay tuned. And for the Houstonians, there is a book signing slated for June 11th at Brazos Bookstore—I’ll have more details about that later.

For now, you can still pre-order my cookbook, and as a bonus, here’s a Q&A I did with Graham Elliot—he asks me what I’ve learned since being on the show and which of my recipes best represents my life journey and me. What do you think of the Q&A? Let me know with a comment.

Release date of my cookbook is May 14, but you can pre-order today

I got my advanced copy in the mail recently, and I sniffed the pages for, like, four minutes. No, it’s not a scratch-’n-sniff cookbook (though that is not a bad idea); as a lover of books, I just like to smell the new pages. I can’t wait for all of you to have your own copy in your hands. My hope is you’ll enjoy both reading and cooking from it. Pre-order your own copy of Recipes from My Home Kitchen today.

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