Day 16: With a Little Help from My Friends
Happy Wednesday! Today's another busy day: prepping for tonight's class, plus two book meetings. I was exhausted last night when I went to bed (photo shoot yesterday and small group dinner here last night) and feeling rather overwhelmed about all I have to do today. But - amazingly - I feel really peaceful about things right now. I still have lots to do, but I'm not aiming at perfect - I'm just going to do my best. And try to be present to enjoy each moment. Breathe in, breathe out.
You know that Beatles song, "With a Little Help from My Friends?" That song really resonates with me at the moment, as I am realizing more and more that I can't do this project alone. (Nor would I want to!) I don't have a publishing deal, and – according to conventional publishing wisdom – I'm years away from getting one.
Monday I had a really insightful meeting with a cookbook editor at a large publishing house. She was a friend of a friend, so it was more of an informational meeting than me trying to pitch myself, but I learned SO much. She answered all of my questions and could not have been any nicer. Basically, what I learned is this: since I am (clearly) not a Food Network star or celebrity chef, if I want to get a publishing deal, I have to build a *much* larger following than I currently have. (Like tens of thousands more followers.)
It was a sobering, but important, reality for me to hear. Publishing houses aren't really in the business of risk-taking right now. They want good ideas, sure, but ultimately they look at the numbers. They want authors who have a large following because that guarantees book sales. After the meeting, I realized I could do one of two things: either, a) slink away in discouragement and give up on the dream or b) seek out a little help from my friends. Option b) sounded WAY more fun so I am (once again!) asking for your help.
So many of you have volunteered to recipe test, and have taken the time to write me encouraging notes (thank you!!) that I feel like some of you believe in this project as much as I do. At this point, we just need to spread the word!! Given that this is a grass roots effort, and I don't have a PR team working to protote this project, would you mind telling a friend (or two)? Could you tweet about The Cookbook Diaries today, asking friends to follow the project? Could you like The Yellow Table's FB page (and maybe ask friends to do the same)? Basically the more people that start following this project, the more likely I am to actually get a publishing deal. Which means that the cookbook becomes a reality!
I realize that the way I'm going about this project - creating the book's content (with recipes and photos) pre-agent and pre-book deal - is definitely a little crazy, but I really believe that, together, we can make this work. I feel so weird even asking for you all to help spread the word, but I'm doing this book as much for you all as for myself, so I'm hoping we can just make this a team effort. :) I have a really hard time asking for help in life - probably a pride thing - but throughout this project I've been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement, and offers for help with recipe-testing, design, editing, and all sorts of other stuff from both friends and strangers. So thank you. I couldn't do this without a little help from my friends.
See you all tomorrow, with some fun hors d'oeuvres ideas for your holiday parties!