WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER, GETTING AN AGENT & WRITING A BOOK PROPOSAL

January 7, 2016

Update: The cookbook on sale date has been moved to Winter 2017. You know how that goes. Excitement levels are optimum!

While the hard work of “published author” becoming a reality is in full swing, this post will share a few finer details of the past several months and how it happened for me.

First, I started a blog. That is sort of a joke, but also a vital part of the story.

DOUGHNUT MILKSHAKE copy

Next, lots of time passed! This site began in February 2012 and I have been plugging away since. You could say the biggest step in this whole process was just keeping at it day in and day out. The blog was never a means to the end of book publishing, but it is what helped me get there.

Then, about three years in, I got an e-mail in my inbox from the editorial director for gift books at HarperCollins Christian Publishing. She found my blog through Pinterest and said she thought I might be a good fit to write a devotional, cookbook, or hybrid of both. She mailed me some copies of similar books they have put out and I proceeded to scream and then black out. Really, getting free copies of books has been one of the parts that had me most giddy. Free merch! Like college athlete recruits! But not as cool. (Note: I am safe and did not really black out.)

She said if I had any interest we should set up an appointment. She asked if I had an agent who needed to be present on the call. I did not have an agent. I blog in my living room between changing diapers and vacuuming.

I promptly e-mailed the only two people I know at all involved in the publishing world. My main question was – do I need an agent? I learned most first time authors do not have one, but they both have really loved working with theirs. Also, one of them explained having a publisher approach you is pretty special (dying) and it could be a good time to use the leverage to secure a great agent.

I asked who a certain well known author has as his agent because, of course, I decided he had to be mine too. (I have problems.) I wrote him, Andrew Wolgemuth, and we chatted on the phone. He agreed to be with me on the coming conference call with HarperCollins and in the coming weeks as things continued to progress, we signed on together. He has been fantastic and I would undoubtedly say hiring him has been the best choice for me.

After the publisher and I got to know each other over a few phone calls, she requested I put together a book proposal. This is not usually the order people’s publishing journey goes (to my understanding). It normally progresses: write a proposal, get an agent, shop proposal around to publishers, get a publisher.

The proposal was mostly creating and running with a vision for what a book I would like to write would be. This was then shown to the marketing and sales team. They used it to decide if 1) they really did want to make my book and 2) how many they project to sell. That information and their estimates are how they write an offer. They sent Andrew and I the formal contract (with numbers, deadline, and some creative stuff). We negotiated some pieces of it and then signed.

This brings us up to the point in the process where I am currently, writing and photographing my way to the deadline. That reminds me, I never really said what my book is about! It is going to be a cookbook about hospitality, building community through food, and food based tradition – due on shelves Fall of 2016.

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

Comments

  • Wow! Talk about a posting knnocikg my socks off!

  • Congrats, Rachel! Getting a book deal with a proposal (or in your case- pre-proposal) is amazing! My husband is a lit agent and author and doesn’t consider authors to represent unless they are finished (except in unique circumstances- his agent does the same). Shows how much the publisher believes in your amazing work! I wish you the best and definitely look forward to buying your book in the fall!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Wow, thank you!

  • Cath

    Congrats!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Cath!

  • Andrea

    What an amazing opportunity! It’s so nice to see someone’s hard work pay off. I really love reading your blog – it gets me through the monotony of the work week. We just bought a house, too, so I’m definitely taking notes! I can’t wait to see your book when it’s finished! :)

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Andrea! Congrats on your house!

  • Annali

    Congratulations!! Fall 2016….just in time for Christmas gifting!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Annali!

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