June 17, 2009
Persistence! Another Self-Published Author Lands a Traditional Contract By Roberta Roberti | printable version
After being told by countless literary agents and publishers that they liked my cookbook, What? No Meat, Traditional Italian Cooking the Vegetarian Way, but that I did not have a "platform," I decided to self-publish. I knew I had a good product - I'd spent years researching, writing, testing, and revising every recipe, every word.
I had faith in my book. I had the knowledge and experience in publishing to put it all together. And, frankly, I'd put too much into it to let it just die. This book was going to see the light of day if it was the last thing I did. I chose BookLocker and embarked on the odyssey that is self-publishing.
I spent the next year-and-a-half networking, revamping my website, starting a food blog and trying to get my articles published in a variety of publications, anything that would bring attention to my book.
During this time, I became friends with a fellow writer and we began collaborating on a number of projects, including co-editing an anthology. We pitched a publisher who we thought would be interested in the project and they gave us the thumbs up.
In corresponding with this publisher, the head editor discovered that I had a cookbook. She knew this because of the signature line on my e-mails: It contains the title of my book, the BookLocker link, and my blog address. The editor dropped me an e-mail saying that she (a vegetarian) and her other editor (a vegan) had been wanting to publish a vegetarian cookbook and that mine looked promising. I liked the company and agreed. This summer will see my cookbook being published by a traditional press.
Now, here I was thinking that for a traditional publisher to pick up my book, I'd have to sell thousands of copies first. Instead, it caught the attention of a small press that recognized the hard work that I'd put into it and wanted it on its merit alone.
Being successful does not have to be about going on book tours, taking out expensive ads, or guerilla marketing. Although I'm sure those things help, the simplest actions can have positive results. I poured my heart and soul into my project and my perseverance and faith (and madness) paid off.
Roberta Roberti is a freelance writer in New York. Her work has appeared in Link-Up, Sallys-place.com, Epicurean.com, Food-Writing.com, Not for Tourists Guide to Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Paper, Suite101.com, Evanescence, Luxury Travel Advisor, Home-Based Travel Agent, and Travel Agent, including a cover story on culinary tourism. While her website, http://www.rroberti-writer.com, is pretty nice, she's particularly fond of her food blog, http://www.mizchef.com. Her madness is causing her to continue writing cookbooks.