Hunter-forager-food blogger and cookbook author Hank Shaw of Sacramento is preparing his third wild-game cookbook – after “Hunt, Gather, Cook” and “Duck, Duck, Goose” – to be on bookstore shelves by August 2016, at the start of deer-hunting season in California.
For this one, though, he left the mainstream-publishing path for the riskier self-publishing trail, turning to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.
Launching the campaign early morning on Monday, Oct. 5, he was asking for $30,000 to produce “Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Antelope, Moose and Other Antlered Things.” By late afternoon, he had surpassed his goal. By Tuesday, Oct. 6, 521 backers had pledged $41,248.
“I’m floored, shocked and amazed,” Shaw said. “My initial goal going into this was to raise $15,000 in the first week, but we had that much by noon (Monday). Every dollar beyond the $30,000 will allow us to increase the print run, which will let more people pre-order the book.”
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Earlier this year, Shaw was offered a deal for “Buck, Buck, Moose” by a New York publisher, he said, but turned it down because “it wasn’t the best fit for the success of the book. The (venison-eating) market is gigantic, but one that’s not easy for mainstream publishers to reach.”
That’s why Shaw formed H&H Books with his girlfriend, photographer Holly Heyser, and his sister, book designer Laura Shaw, for the in-house “Buck, Buck, Moose” project. “We can put out the book exactly how we want it, and with the technical skills to execute it,” he said.
Given the successes of Shaw’s previous books, there’s a market for “Buck, Buck, Moose.” “I call it the ‘venison diaspora,’” he said. “There are almost 14 million deer hunters in the U.S. and another 1.5 million in Canada. For every person who hunts deer, there are often two or three other people who are being given venison (by the hunters). So the number of North Americans who eat venison is something along the order of 20 to 30 million a year.”