A Special Book and a Special Guest Star: Jane Travers and Tweet Treats

Today Catherine, Caffeinated has the honor of being the very first stop on a blog tour to celebrate the launch of a very special book for a very worthy cause. 

Last year you may remember seeing oodles of tweets tagged with “#tweettreats” – the search was on for complete recipes in 140 characters or less, and even celebrities were getting in on the act. Jane Travers (@janetravers) was the brains behind the operation and now O’Brien Press have published those recipes in the most gorgeous little book, Tweet Treats: 140 Characters, 140 Celebrities, Recipes for Every Occasion. With a forward by Marco Pierre White and all royalties going to Doctors Without Borders, it’s a worthwhile addition to your cookbook shelf – especially since it makes rustling something up for dinner easy, quick and simple. To explain how this all came to be and what you can expect from Tweet Treats, I’ll hand you over to Jane… 

One wet, miserable Thursday night in April of 2010 I was standing in my kitchen, staring blankly at the packet of chicken thighs that was mocking both my lack of culinary ability and my time-keeping. It was already 6.30pm, the child was eyeing the smallest dog hungrily, and I hadn’t even decided what I was going to cook yet.

Who has time to go scouring through weighty cookbooks, reading reams of flowery prose about how the author found the best tomatoes for this recipe in a little village in Sicily, when they’re under such time pressure? So I did what I always do when frustrated by life; I tweeted.

‘Anyone have any idea of what I can do with a packet of chicken thighs? No rude ones, please!’

Within a minute I’d received five perfect little recipes, each one complete in just one tweet, each different and lovely. I almost got an electric shock from the lightbulb that pinged on over my head as a mad idea formed. How many such twitter recipes could I collect? Could I get enough to fill a book? Could I donate the royalties to charity? How badly could I fail, and how stupid would I look?

A few months later I was completely mired in #tweettreats, as I had called it. I had been bombarded with hundreds of recipes, had been helped by dozens of friends, many of whom I’d never met except via Twitter, and I had received recipes from my coveted number of 140 celebrities. Vanessa O’Loughlin from writing.ie introduced me to a couple of publishers, and O’Brien Press pounced on it.

Tweet Treats took a year and a half of my life, and I now hold the results of all that work in my hot little hand. It’s a tiny book, a size that greatly belies all it contains. It’s crammed with recipes for every occasion, teeny ones, easy ones, cheap ones, vegetarian ones, as well as recipes so luxurious and indulgent that you gain five pounds just by reading them! I’m donating all the royalties to Medécins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), a fantastic organisation who are on the ground in places like Somalia and Haiti. I feel incredibly humbled by their gratitude for this, given all that they do.

I’ve learned a lot from pursuing this project, both about how the publishing world works (such as the fact that it is way easier to get a non-fiction book published than fiction) and about the world in general. I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, you won’t get; but that if you do ask, you might be very surprised by what people are willing to give you. Regarding Tweet Treats I asked for, and received; recipes from 140 celebrities, including my own idol Neil Gaiman; generous sponsorship from Knorr (Unilever); and a foreword very kindly donated by Marco Pierre White, rockstar amongst celebrity chefs. I also asked for representation from an agent, and got it.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/29140671]

This was my donation to the cause: a book trailer. Please watch and pass on!

It’s been a huge amount of work, so would I do it again? Hell yes, but it’d be really nice to make some money out of it myself next time! For now, though, I’m focusing on getting some of my fiction published, given that I’ve developed a relationship with a publisher. For me, this has been a really good way to gain a foothold in the publishing world.

Tweet Treats is published by O’Brien Press on 10th Oct 2011, and will be available from the following stores/websites:

and all other good bookstores! Click the blog tour banner (<–) to see a larger image and find out where the Tweet Treats blog tour is heading to next!

Thanks, Jane! 

To be in with a chance of winning your very own copy of Tweet Treats, leave a comment below. No words required; a smiley face will do. Or a “Me!!!” I’ll pick the winner on Monday.

Find out more about Tweet Treats on www.tweettreats.org where, in a feat of perfect blogosphere blog-touring synergy, I am launching my Results Not Typical blog tour today with an interview about Weight- Watchers, writing books and the Black Gates of Mordor… 

20 thoughts on “A Special Book and a Special Guest Star: Jane Travers and Tweet Treats

  1. susan elliot wright says:

    Fantastic idea, fantastic trailer. I’m a great believer in simple, short recipes, and this just about takes the biscuit (or at least, provides a brief recipe for one!) Very well done – wish Id thought of it first!

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