Classy Quotes Wednesday–Julia Child

I’ve been devouring a particular book lately: My Life in France, by Julia Child. I love reading about her early years of marriage, including the struggles they endure while living abroad.

What I really love is that, in spite of everything, Julia has this awesome attitude that shines through the book. Life is like a great adventure for her.

She works on a cookbook for TEN years, testing recipes 10-15 times each, only to get rejected by two publishers who’d previously promised to publish it.

Her timing on the book wasn’t right–in other words, her topic wasn’t “hot” (read my post on hot topics over here: She wanted to teach the art of French cooking to working moms who were enjoying the speed of Jello and TV meals.

Finally, they found a publisher who recognized the detailed research that had gone into the book, as well as the culinary standard it set. As Julia and her co-author were checking over their 700-page galley of their cookbook, they started discovering many mistakes. This was Julia’s chipper, yet sobering take-away for her author friend:

“I’m afraid that surprise, shock, and regret is the fate of authors when they finally see themselves on the page.”

****How about you? Are you writing a book that might not be “hot” right now? Have you written a book and freaked out when you saw the galley?****

12 thoughts on “Classy Quotes Wednesday–Julia Child

  1. I hope my book will be "hot"! It's a historical fiction set in 1857 Minnesota Territory and it has love, betrayal, deception and hope. We shall see! Here's my tag line (I worked on it last week with the ACFW course loop!):In 1857, a headstrong bride-to-be arrives in Minnesota Territory and finds her groom missing, but a hundred eager bachelors step up to take his place.

  2. Oh, man, do I have a sad tale about a book not being "hot" right now. I have a book that won me a scholarship to a Founders Workshop where an editor told me this was the book that was going to break me in. It would be published, he said. It had everything it needed. It also won first place in the Genesis contest, won me an SCBWI work in progress grant, won the Novel Rocket prize for their overall winner for the year, had a dozen full requests from agents, had a couple of editors wanting me to work with them on it (I wouldn't work with them until I got an agent), got me an agent, and…by the time we finally got it out to the NY publishers, four other books had hit the NY Times bestseller lists with a premise like mine. When I first started my agent search there were no books with my premise. Mine was fresh. It was good. And people liked it. But it was such a slow process. I worked with one agent on revisions. We parted ways. I signed with another agent. It didn't need revisions but it took her a while to make connections to get the book out. And by the time we did get it out, it wasn't fresh anymore. It looked derivative, though I wrote it long before any of the other four had come out. This book would still be fresh in the Christian market, but I have parted with my last agent (I loved her, but she was reorganizing her business and I wasn't sure where she was going to end up), and I can't find an agent who wants to put it out in the Christian market. I'm thinking of self-pubbing it. Because even though it has a premise that feels old to editors, the story is very different from the other four books that are so well known, and I'm confident there is an audience for my book. It's under consideration at one large and one tiny publisher right now, and I'm convinced that it's worth publishing. But, oh, this timing thing! If those other books hit the NY Times list, I think mine could have, too, if my timing was a bit different. My reason for not being upset at all about this is that God is in charge of my timing. He's directing my steps. So I have not worries about missing the boat. I know if he wants me to be published, I will be.

  3. Gabrielle, what a fantastic logline! Sounds interesting! And Sally, that is SUCH a sad story. It stinks when you're way ahead of the trend curve, then you get knocked out of the running because os slow feedback. BUT I know all those awards give you MAJOR "sreet-cred" in the industry. Which agent are you with now?Jessica, I enjoyed that move so much, as well. Esp. the starter apt. in NYC-we had one when we first got married, too.Jennifer and TC, keep the faith! You're both hard workers and I think perserverence is the big key in today's pub. industry.

  4. And sorry, Sally, the rest of your comment just showed up on my screen–I seenyou don't have an agent right now. Self-pubbing or going with smaller presses sometimes seems the best answer for these tricky books. BUT the fact that a big pub is thinking about it sounds good too!

  5. Oh Sally, how wrong that all is!! Not fair!!Heather, suuuuuure it's the ipod's fault. Uh huh. I think someone's got chocolate covered fingers and is slip slidin' all over the place.;)

  6. I really am not sad about my book. It is a sad story on the one hand. It's just such a comedy of errors on the timing thing. On the other hand, my path is exactly the one God wants for me. That makes me very happy. I love writing. I love going to conferences. I love entering contests. I live with my mom, taking care of her (she's 90) and I get to sit around giving my opinions on blogs all day. I'm feeling pretty blessed.

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