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Getting published  

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Jim,

First let me say thanks for being here it is a real honor to have a chance to ask you a few questions. I have been a fan of your work and appreciate the detail and effort that you put into each of your books.

For the past year I have been working on my first book which is about grilling and I am near completion. Overall I am satisfied with what I have but I am still making a few changes. The few people I have given a copy to have spoken highly of it, but friends and colleagues tend to be kind.

Could you shed some light on how you broke into the writing business and got your first book published? I am considering going the self publishing route but would like to hear your thoughts.

I am also at a loss on what to expect payment wise? With a first book is there much room for negotiating on the percentage of the revenue?

Thanks for your time.
post #2 of 3
I had a lot of luck in breaking into the writing business (a case of being in the right place at the right time) and was brought into it when I worked at the French Culinary Institute. A publisher came by asking if anyone could translate French into English and I volunteered for the job. I ended up working with a publisher in New York who then said that they'd be interested in working with me if I wanted to do my own book. So I came up with the idea of the sauce book. They offered me a $5000 advance which I got up (with the help of an agent) to $25,000. From there I went through a good few years in which my advanced doubled every year but hit a ceiling at $200K. Anyway, don't expect a lot for a first book. I'd say you might get $25K for a first book. Sad to say the same as I got twenty years ago. As concerns negotiating a percentage of the gross, it's common now to negotiate a percentage of the net, in other words, the amount received by the publisher from the book stores. I think the current negotiating tactic is to go for the advance and worry less about royalties. This, unless of course you think the book will sell and stay in print for many years. I was very lucky with Sauces because it earned out its relatively small advance quite quickly. In any case you'll need an agent anyway as some publishers don't look at books that come through agents. Good luck with your grilling book.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jim, very helpful.
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