P.S. One more story about how we got started
P.S. We ran this essay in our complimentary e-newsletter (which goes out to more than 20,000 food-and-wine-loving readers across North America and around the globe; to subscribe, just send your email address to CookbookRave@aol.com
) on the 10th anniverary of BECOMING A CHEF
's publication in 2005. We thought it might be of interest to any aspiring food writers reading this:
<<On this occasion of the 10th anniversary of the publication of our first book BECOMING A CHEF
, we wanted to reflect on the experience of shopping the proposal for this book —
which was a test of perseverance in the face of rejection.
Our former literary agent Elizabeth, with whom we'd worked on an initial book proposal that went unsold, had received several encouraging letters from editors saying that while they weren't crazy about our initial idea, they'd be interested in seeing other proposals from us. However, when we shortly thereafter came up with the idea to write BECOMING A CHEF, even our agent turned it down (ouch!). She wrote:
"This isn't really the sort of book I feel I could get behind at this time. While I know there is a strong interest in food and cooking schools, etc. (my own interest not to be excluded), I feel that the market for this would be somewhat small."
We decided to take the unorthodox move of submitting our proposal for BECOMING A CHEF
ourselves to the editors by whom our initial idea had been rejected. Again, we received a flurry of rejection letters:
"I'm afraid the market is too specialized for us."
"I had the opportunity to show your proposal to our publisher, and we both agree that to our way of thinking, this book, as you envision it, would be very small — in other words, a tough sell to the book-buying audience."
"Thanks for the chance to read your proposal...It's a good idea that is, however, interesting to only a limited number of people. As a trade book, I doubt it would have much commercial success."
On July 8, 1992, one declining editor took the time to suggest, "Have you considered sending it to a publisher that has a stronger professional list than I do? Perhaps Van Nostrand?"
Despite our bruised egos at having been turned down by every publisher we'd contacted previously, we continued to persevere. Our faith never waivered in our idea, nor in our ability to deliver a book that could reach (and help) a lot of people. We weren't familiar with Van Nostrand Reinhold, but that day, we FedExed a copy of our proposal to them. The next morning, we received a call expressing interest in it. A series of meetings ensued, and we signed our first book deal on our two-year wedding anniversary: August 25, 1992.
Ten years ago this month, in May 1995, our book BECOMING A CHEF
was published. The book that no one wanted, that no one thought could find a decent audience, went on to be featured on the "Today" show, to win the 1996 James Beard Book Award for Best Writing on Food, and to sell more than 100,000 copies.
Persevering to receive that one crucial "yes" led to our writing a half-dozen books and signing an exciting book deal recently with Bulfinch Press
, the prestigious division of AOL Time Warner's Little Brown, which will publish our next book on food and beverage pairing next year.
"Not for would-be chefs only...Contains tidbits of wisdom for all business warriors."
* HELP US CELEBRATE:
— Judith Dobrzynski, The New York Times' Business section
Please join us in celebrating BECOMING A CHEF
's 10th anniversary by sharing the gift of this book with your favorite food lover —
or enjoying it yourself! You'll not only read the heart-warming stories of how some of America's top chefs (from Mario Batali
to Daniel Boulud
to Alice Waters
) got to be where they are today, but you'll also enjoy dozens of mouth-watering recipes that inspired them along their journeys —
everything from the Chocolate Pecan Pie that Rick Bayless
can't take off his menu at Frontera Grill to Todd English
's grandmother's Gnocchi to Emeril Lagasse
's Portuguese Kale Soup!We're including a link so you can purchase BECOMING A CHEF here.
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
Co-Authors, BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF
, and WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EATwww.becomingachef.com