Thursday, June 03, 2010
Well, that takes the (cup)cake
The Kiddo's birthday is this month. I may be 40, I may have graduated magna cum laude, I may know how to fold fitted sheets. But I also know my limits.
Those limits butt nose-to-nose up against cake decorating.
The last time I tried to decorate a cake, it was strictly an emergency job. The Sister had made a wonderful flip-flop shaped cake for The Kiddo's 7th birthday, and I had neglected to properly reinforce the bottom. It flip-flopped right out of The Sister's hand and instantly became dog food.
So I baked a rushed-up square layer cake and tried to decorate it to look like a present. The Kiddo didn't say much. She didn't have to. The pity on her face did not belong to a 7-year-old. I would have much rather have had her sling a fit.
Last year, I screwed up even worse. The hotel where we were staying was supposed to provide a cake. The Kiddo wound up with the rest of a honeybun that The Husband didn't eat.
It was not an ideal solution.
So this year, since The Kiddo's birthday falls on Father's Day weekend & we are traveling out of town AGAIN this year, I thought, Self. Call the bakery. Get them to make some neat little iPod shaped cupcakes.
They called me back with a price quote. Five bucks a pop for a single-serving size of cake.
My mind reeled at that, and I politely hung up. I got all bent out of shape about the cost of that iPod shaped cupcake. I mean, cake doesn't cost that much, right?
But then I thought about how we, as authors, expect, hope, pray that readers will pay five or six dollars for a paperback to nearly $30 for a hardcover. No, we don't see all that money -- barely a sliver of it. But it's what the market asks the reader to pay for our intellectual property.
The reader can't/doesn't have time/doesn't know how to write a book like I've written. I can't/don't have time/don't know how to turn flour and eggs and sugar into an iPod shaped cupcake.
That baker and I are hoping for the same thing: that someone will think the price we're asking is a bargain of a swap.
But as a writer who still keeps the dayjob to keep the bills paid, I can't afford those $5 cupcakes. Not until I go test my limits and see if I can whip up an iPod cupcake of my own.