From blog to book deal – Part 1

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)

From blog to book deal

Rate of blog to book deals reaches past heights

From blog to book deal: How 6 authors did it

From blog to book deal in just two months 

How to blog a book

Writing a book..

I am a great believer in whatever life throws at you, something good will eventually come from it.  Every hardship, trauma, happiness or indeed, the simple act of daily living, teaches us something valuable..

Although I tend to gravitate towards science & practicality in making everyday informed decisions, sometimes, something so unexpectedly awesome happens in your life, that despite your own personal insecurities or the enormity of the task to achieve it, you HAVE TO sit up and take notice. This has happened to me…. a veritable beacon is flashing on my horizon.

Last month, completely and totally out of the blue (or rather the virtual grey matter in cyberspace) I received an e-mail. The friendly, chatty, e-mail was from a rather large publishing house in the US, based in New York (I know that because I thought it was someone pulling my leg so I checked everything out before responding).

Part of the e-mail went like this..

QUOTE: I came across your blog via the article in THE AWL and I was wondering if you had ever considered publishing a book. I can think of a lot of women who would be interested in a book like this!

Initially I was very confused, did publishers really plant seeds in this way and actually help germinate them?  Of course I responded (I mean we all have a little dream of writing a book one day right?)…

Several e-mails later it seems so..

The publishing house (who shall remain nameless) have been very encouraging indeed. Not only that but they have taken time to answer many questions coming from myself (she who has little clue about book publishing and certainly NO CLUE about book writing!) and now I finally have a plan of action.

They have asked me to take my time and produce a well thought out proposal and have asked me to seek out representation as most major publishing houses only deal with literary agents (This protects the author and works in their best interests). Infact they say they can put me in contact with a couple of literary agents that could well be interested in my project…

As you can imagine my head is spinning somewhat akin to a certain young lady, tied to a bed in the “Exorcist”.  And then there is that nagging self-doubt…

“Do I have the dedication and commitment for such a project…”

“What if after all my efforts nothing comes of it…?”

“Would anyone actually buy a book based on the 1940s Experiment?”

But once I had spent many days trying to rationalize things I knew there was absolutely only one option and that was to give it a go!  This is my passion! I’ve been writing, living and breathing the 1940s Experiment, on and off, since 2006 and it is my way of life and I know I’ll lose that 100 lbs.

Sometimes life offers us opportunities from the most unexpected places and we should grasp these firmly..

There is always, always HOPE…

C xxxxxxxxxxxx