Today’s post is a guest post by author / cook “Alyssa Gangeri”. Welcome, and thanks for visiting!
I believe baking should be a fun and interactive activity for adults and children. I developed an interactive storybook cookbook because as a child, and as chef I have always been a visual learner. When trying to decide on what type of cookbook to write I quickly realized there were not a lot of children’s cookbooks. In this day and age with the amount of cooking shows, competition shows, and now even adolescent cooking competitions there is a large gap in the children’s cookbook category. I found that the cookbooks that did exist for children even though they were filled with bright colors, fun recipes and themes it was still a standard cookbook. Recipe, picture, procedure. I don’t believe we are engaging a child enough with that. Why read a boring cookbook filled with long procedures when you can read an interactive story that teaches you the same thing? It’s a new concept for the cookbook world but at the same time we are teaching children a lot of things through storybooks. Why not baking or cooking?
Great, so now I have a fantastic concept getting published and into the market should be a breeze! Not so much. (Que the screeching tires) I learned quickly that this was going to be a very long hard process with a lot of rejection, and when I say a lot I mean A LOT.
It took me a total of a two years to get published which felt like an eternity. Staying positive was key but hard work is what pays off. While on the road to getting published I found myself surfing the web reading articles, blog posts and whatever I could to gain knowledge about what to expect. These were my top five tips that saved my sanity:
- You will need a literary agent to be able to get into or even seen by a big time publisher, and I am sorry to say but they are as hard to get as landing a publisher. My biggest suggestion for this process if you have the means is to find a Writer’s Digest conference that offers a “pitch slam”. The conferences are really expensive to attend but you can buy a pass just to go to the pitch slam. A pitch slam is where you will be thrown into a room of agent hungry authors (seriously) where you will have three minutes to pitch your story and most importantly yourself! Do your research and figure out what agents are best suited for you and your book. Make a list and once they give you the map of the room plan your attack. You only get 90 minutes to see as many agents as you can. It is stressful but worth it. I received 7 different agents cards that were interested in my book. I received more attention in 90 minutes than I did over the past 4 months of submitting my manuscript via email. It will cost you, but well worth it compared to the months of checking your email vigorously hoping for a response. Sanity saved…for now.
- Okay you have landed an agent, (Wooohooo!) what now? Well first, you need to definitely celebrate. I know it sounds corny but this industry is all about small victories. You deserve some celebration! My biggest advice though will be do not sit back and wait. Keep writing, and keep searching for publishers that you think may be a good fit for you, preferably the small houses that will accept unsolicited manuscripts. Just because you have an agent does not mean they will be able to sell it. You need to continue to search for the best possible fit for your book. My agent had my book for over a year, and then I decided to take fate into my own hands… One year and three books later…. It’s possible. Anything is possible just as long as you’re willing to fight for it.
- Illustrations are key to your success. Find the illustrator that speaks to you, and one that brings your words to life. It will be difficult to not tell them exactly how you want something or how you want a character to look. Allow the right illustrator to bring it to life not just draw what you “think” you want it to look like. You will be amazed with what happens. Plus most illustrators do not like to be told how to do their jobs just like authors.
- Unless you’re famous I am sorry to say but you are going to be the biggest part of your marketing team. Once you’re published is when the hard part comes (unreal right? Like this process hasn’t been hard enough?) Go to stores, talk to the manager, arrange book signings, go to schools, blogs anything you can. Getting yourself in front of as many people as possible is your goal.
- Find solace in others experiences. I found that a forum called absolutewrite.com brought me comfort in times of rejection. But remember that everyone’s path is different. Try and enjoy the ride and always celebrate the small victories. Sanity found… for now.
About the Book
Author: Alyssa Gangeri
Genre: Children’s Book
Embark on a baking adventure with Mimi where she will measure, mix, and bake her way to the perfect batch of gingerbread men. If Mimi can do it, so can you!
Mimi’s Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men is the third book in the Mimi’s Adventures in Baking series.
Chef Alyssa has been baking since she was a little girl in her grandmother’s kitchen. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she has worked for famous chefs and elite companies such as the Ritz Carlton, Tom Colicchio, Norman Van Aken and Gray Kunz. She currently is the Executive Chef at Riverwalk Bar and Grill on the Historic nook of New York City, Roosevelt Island. She also has a boutique custom cake company called AllyCakesNYC where she creates cakes to appease the imagination. Through her journey of baking she developed Mimi, her very own miniature version of herself.
As a child she loved baking and everything that came with it. As an adult and food lover she realized there was something missing when she frequented bookstores. A interactive children’s cookbook. And we are not talking about a boring old cookbook for kids with lots and lots of recipes, and some pictures. Children these days have just as much interest in the kitchen as there parents do, but the ordinary cookbook is just not going to cut it. She created Mimi’s Adventures in Baking to give children and adults a way to get into the kitchen and allow the child to become the chef and the adult the assistant. Each book has one recipe and an interactive storyline the child can read, and at the end go into the kitchen and do what Mimi did! And for the “non-baking” parent, these elite pastry chef recipes are tested and ready for even the most inexperienced baker! Impress other moms with Mimi’s creations!
Mimi’s Adventures in Baking will also teach children how to measure, mix and bake their way through the kitchen while also giving safety tips along the way. No more boring cookbooks! Now there is a fun, exciting and educational way to learn how to bake!
Buy the book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Htmeht