I know very little about book publishing…infact I’d go as far as to say I probably could tell you more about subatomic particles than I could about getting a book in a high street store. However, for anyone who has ever dreamt of getting a book published (that includes me), I’d really like to share my personal experience with you, whether good or bad, as it evolves, so we can learn together.
A brief re-cap of the longest 5 weeks of my life… so far
- Received a chatty e-mail from a major publishing house in New York through my blog via an article by local writer, Stephany Aulenback in The Awl
- Ignored major publishing house in New York for a while, thinking someone was having a laugh
- Googled major publishing house and it’s representative to make sure e-mail was not from some sadistic nerd who hated 1940s food and WordPress blogs
- Responded to major publishing house’s e-mail pleasantly and inquisitively
- Waited a few days then developed a rather worrying case of checking-my-e-mail-every-10-minutes for an additional 2.5 days until I heard back from major publishing house
- Came over all dizzy and lost the power of speech momentarily when they still appeared to be interested.
- Several e-mails back and forth with publishing house who were quite amazing answering my questions and explaining a little about the book publishing process
- Publishing house sent a helpful list of what they would expect as a proposal for a non-fiction book
- Publishing house said I would need to find a literary agent to represent my project and said they could put me in touch with some agents that maybe interested
- Publishing house e-mailed me back today and had been discussing my project with a literary agent over “Organic salad” at lunch (oh yes!).
- Literary agent will be in contact….
I’ll be truthful with you… I’m excited but wobbly and seriously doubting whether I can control my bodily fluids..
Of course this is merely the beginning, there are no guarantees and it’s going to be very hard work pulling together quite a large non-fiction book incorporating many components of the blog such as weight loss memoirs, 1940s recipes, nostalgic facts, and glueing it all together with something special..the magic fairy dust. I’ve given it lots of thought and I have a vision and now it’s time to put something together, a proposal, to sell this idea of mine….
Writing a proposal for a non-fiction book
It seems many publishers do indeed spend quite some time on the World Wide Web, watching blogs and reading articles to see what is happening on our little planet worth writing about. That’s rather comforting in a way… There are many people out there who love writing about their passions on blogging platforms, but most of us lack the confidence to go ahead and try publishing a book. We just don’t think anyone would find us or what we write about interesting enough. So when a publishing house expresses an interest in your blog and plants a little seed, asking you whether you have ever considered writing a book and holds your hand through the initial stages, it is enough to finally tip the psychological scale…… you finally think OK I’m going to do it!
In this time of the internet and social media, having an established presence in these areas definitely helps…or so it seems, reading between the lines of the proposal guidelines below from the publishing house
Hope this helps you too!
a) What would your suggestion be to me for starting to put things together? What would you like to see from me in the near future (i.e. a plan, a first chapter?)
Usually for nonfiction books, we like to see a proposal. A proposal consists of a number of things, including:
– A description of what you would like your book to be, including a detailed outline (does not have to be bulleted or numbered, but a heading and a paragraph or two would be nice) as well as a first chapter or sample of your writing
– A list of comparable titles (as well as their publisher and what year they were published), what they are, what they’re about, and how your book would differ and/or cater to the same audience)
– Some stats about your “platform”. In publishing, your platform is essentially a CV of why you’re qualified to write a book on this subject, and these days, it includes things like your online reach (website and social media stats, as well as some examples of writing, or other places where you are known to be an “expert”)
b) In what format do you require submission in?
PDF or .doc, but .doc is preferred.
c) What sort of time scales do you work to?
At this juncture I do not have any—I would like to see a proposal first and see where to go from there. I do not want to rush you, and would rather see a well thought out proposal rather than something submitted to be because you have an arbitrary deadline.
d) Where do we go from here?
At this point, I think you should start looking for representation for your project. We deal with literary agents 90% of the time, and I think it is in your best interest to find someone who understands your vision for what you want to write, can help you best execute a proposal, and can explain to you the ins and outs of publishing. I have a few agents I know who might be interested in a project like yours, and if you would like, I can make an introduction. Please bear in mind that an agent works in his/her author’s best interest, and that money always flows to the author. If an agent charges you money for representation (or indeed for anything other than the 15% of sales/royalties that s/he is due—due AFTER a sale), then s/he is not a reputable agent.
Articles I’ve found on “Blog to Book Deals”
It’s the first time I’ve googled “blog to book” and it seems there is hope for all us bloggers out there. Here are some of the articles I am finding on the web that have appeared in newspapers, magazines and for web only.. keep on blogging about your passion!
How my blog landed me a book deal (this is my favourite- its practical and useful)
I’ve learnt in life that you have to do what makes you happy no matter what others think…
If I have a bad day or a sad day, I now have to find coping mechanisms to ensure that I no longer stuff my face with food I really shouldn’t be eating. This is SOOOOOO important to me I’ll try just about anything to succeed.
Today it’s been a struggle, a real struggle.
Tonight I sit here in the dark trying to keep away from the fridge so I gave myself the task of trying to learn a few seconds of “Come Rain or Come Shine”… I love singing to myself, I enjoy it. I just can’t sing in front of anybody, only my computer.
But it stopped me emptying the fridge..
PS Here is the wonderful Bette Midler in the equally wonderful movie “For the Boys” singing “Come Rain or Come Shine” quite beautifully 🙂 I love this movie….
Just a quick reminder that you could win a replica WWII British Ration Book by leaving a comment on my blog here http://the1940sexperiment.com/2012/02/12/ration-book-giveaway/ 3 names will be chosen at random on March 1, 2012
Hugs to all and thanks for leaving comments- I’ve read them all and am hoping to snuggle up and send some responses tonight
Am feeling rather good today and yesterday was pretty awesome! It’s all about thinking positively and beginning to like yourself a little more and being in control of your own destiny. I turned a psychological corner yesterday… that was a huge thing for me.
Starting weight 299 lb (Oct 1, 2011)
Current weight 250 lb (Feb 22- 2012)
These were really tasty..
I think I made mine too thick. Aim for a much thinner finger for best crispiness!
- Mix 1 oz of flour with 1/2 lb of mashed potato and season with salt and pepper
- Shape into fingers, glaze with egg or milk (I used almond milk being vegan)
- Sprinkle with an extra pinch of salt and some mixed dried herbs
- Put into a hot oven 230 C for around 15 minutes until outside is crispy
Being a single woman I have no one living with me who can be there whenever I need someone to confide in. I have special and wonderful friends of course and my lovely Hobbits but there is no partner who’ll physically sit and hold my hand or put an arm around my shoulder or drop everything to be there for me… it’s difficult sometimes and I’m realizing now it’s unlikely to ever happen. I really am destined to be that strange goat lady from “Cold Mountain”… (grin)
I have many coping strategies and one of them is cooking (the other is walking and the best one is lovemaking but it’s been such a long, long time I don’t think that counts anymore! ). These things give me something else to focus on.
Today I’ve baked all day and it’s helping.. so be prepared to be overwhelmed by 1940s dishes over the next few days, hours, hell even minutes!
Eggs were in very short supply during the war and the ration was for 1 shell egg per week per person or 1 packet of dried eggs per person every 4 weeks. Consequently many recipes were eggless..such as mayonnaise.
- Mash one small cooked and skinned potato until very smooth and silky.
- Add one teaspoon of made up mustard and a few teaspoons of vinegar to your own taste
- Slowly add in 125 ml of salad oil (vegetable oil) then season with salt and pepper to taste
I had this for my lunch with lots of fresh raw veggies like cucumber sticks and sugar snap peas. It’s not really much like mayonnaise but nevertheless it is pretty yummy!
This is the 1940s equivalent of “Fast Food”… it’s not that good for you BUT….
Consumed occasionally, I am sure it helped fill a gap and a sweet tooth craving taking only minutes to prepare. Having baked lemon cupcakes and drop scones for the girls this morning (that weren’t vegan nor 1940s) I REALLY needed something quick and sweet to help me stay away from temptation so I fried these up..
Now I can carry on with some 1940s baking and feel less deprived knowing I’ve had something “naughty”…
Poor Knights Fritters (serves 4)
- 8 large slices of bread
- little bit of margarine (I used Earth Balance for vegans)
- jam, golden syrup or thick fruit puree
- little fat for frying
- Make sandwiches of the bread, margarine and jam (or whatever filling you choose)
- Cut into 4 fingers and fry in a little hot fat, turning once, until browned on both sides
- Sprinkle with sugar
You can make nicer fritters by mixing a beaten reconstituted dried egg with a little milk and dipping the fingers before frying..
100 Wartime Recipes will be recreated and photographed throughout the year of the 1940’s Experiment.
I promise to recreate, photograph and share a wartime recipe for every lb I lose!
Enjoy the 56 authentic wartime recipes I have re-created, tested and photographed to date. If you have a recipe you would like me to cook please leave a message xxx
As a twenty something year old I had often thought very deeply about many things and when I turned 30 decided to do something about those thoughts having first devoured many books on self-sufficiency and self-reliance (The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour being my very favourite at the time) .. I began to grow a vegetable garden, keep poultry and goats, all in my back garden.
Carolyn EkinsAnd what you are saying is exactly has been proven in books like the China Study (mindless consumption of animal proteins and junk/processed foods) and YES I am completely shocked just how many MEDS so many people in their 40s and 50s are on and a lot of it is purely diet related. Food can be our drug of choice and that leads to health problems just as drinking, smoking does too. Many people who have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, etc have the ability to cure themselves by changing their diet (its been proven over and over again) but it’s kind of heard to make that radical change if food is your drug of choice. But WE DO have a choice…. we can try and fight our addiction or carry on as we are and keep buying those meds and continue to suffer. (I’m not dissing meds here- some of them are absolutely necessary but just really sad that today we have to take so many of them- where did our health go?)
KarenLove LOVE all of this^. My thought? Our health went at the same time as the concept of personal responsibility. We bred a generation of people that were told, “science will fix everything. Do what you want!”, and now that’s come home to roost. My grandmother, now 100, always said, “everything in moderation”. Since she lived through two world wars, the Spanish flu *and* me as a child, I think that’s still pretty sound advice.13 hours ago · Unlike · 2
KeithBless your grandmother, her wisdom has served her well and it is a lesson passed on to others. Like you said, Take responsibility for your action includes what we nourish our bodies with. There are dire consequences to mindless eating. I have been down that road, though. Put stuff in my mouth without thinking. Grandmother is right, moderation and always leave the table a little hungry but satisfied with what you have ate.13 hours ago · Unlike · 1
Carolyn Ekins Loving this thread too ♥13 hours ago · Like · 1
Carolyn Ekins I’m also interested in WHY we have stopped taking personal responsibility for ourselves- do you think it is that and if so what caused it? Ideas….?13 hours ago · Like · 1
JulieI have a thought that once rationing finished in 1954 and with the advent of better accessibility to food and scientific research we perhaps got ‘carried away’ with what we could ‘achieve’ to make lives easier. So many housewives of the time were so excited about frozen food and convenience foods that natural and wholesome foods were in some part forgotten about. That the natural progression of being taught how to cook properly and the advent of such things as the microwave made us forget that actually the best jacket potatoes are the ones that you prick all over with a fork and put in the oven for an hour… I had the fortune to work for a wonderfully inspiring lady called Helen Browning who is the Chairman of the Soil Association on her Organic Farm in Wiltshire – such an inspiring time – and as her PA I had a fabulous insight into what actually does go into our food and how it could be so much better for us if only we went back to basics and did do crop rotation and natural pest control.11 hours ago · Unlike · 2
KeithMy dad and mom were children of the Great Depression in the 1930 and so learned by necessity. Make do what you have. It may not have been a lot, but it was nutritious and enough calories to sustain. But the advantage they had compared to nowadays was the tradition they came from. They were from the preindustrial food era. When organic was organic.There was process food, but not any thing like it is today. My parents’ folks didn’t have a lot of money, but they raised most of their food, butchered their own livestock, bartered and worked for what they didn’t have. Think about it, to a certain degree things didn’t change for country folk for thousands of years and in certain parts of the world today it is still the same way. For me, things started to change pretty fast for country folk when electricity came to the farm. Then it really accelerated after WWII. The world changed dramatically and old ways faded. Farms increasingly got mechanized and grew larger to be more efficient as production dramatically increased. It didn’t take a lot of people to grow a lot of food. Industrial methods invaded livestock production and slaughter houses grew large and fabricated all the meat products on the line eliminating the butcher at the corner store, which itself gave way to the supermarket. Efficient transportation methods were able bring food grown 1,500 miles away just days after it was harvested. To make sure that factory food stayed on the supermarket shelves for God knows how long, a new array of chemicals were added to the food not only to better preserve it, to make it look, smell, sound and taste better for sophisticated palettes. Old ways and traditions were forgotten when grandpa and grandma died. Now we are three or four generations off the farm and don’t have a clue about how what we eat is produced and processed as long as it is “fresh and yummy” when bitten into every where but at the family supper table. What the hell are the basics any more anyway? And can we get it at the supermarket? Oh, by the way kids, I don’t have time to cook any thing in the microwave, so why don’t we do it the way mom used to and i’ll go for a bucket of chicken and we will eat it in the mini-van as I drop you guy off for what ever you are going to do tonight. Or, do we even to have time for that? When are the going to invent a pill so we just pop it In our mouths and we won’t have to bother to eat at all.about an hour ago · Unlike · 1
Carolyn Ekins I really don’t want this conversation to disappear….it has to be preserved and added too. Maybe I could post some snippets on my blog and see if there is anyone else who would like to join in…. its very important. Thank you for adding you thoughts Keith xx39 minutes ago · Like