12.15.06 Rejuvenile: The Backstory
First, we talked cupcakes. Now, we talk business. Rachel Kramer Bussel, whose online presence is deliciously split between a blog about cupcakes and a blog about erotica, did a very nice piece this summer on the cupcake blog about rejuveniles and food.
This week she posted an equally good, if somewhat less tasty, question-and-answer about the mechanics and practicalities of writing this book. It’s posted on the journalism webzine Mediabistro. Here’s an excerpt:
Where did you first get the idea for The New York Times “rejuvenile” article and how long did you spend researching it? Did you have plans to turn it into a book at that time? Were there more things you wanted to explore and chronicle than you had room for in the Times piece?
I approached a few agents with the idea but was mostly met with “call us back when you have a proposal.” Betsy Amster—a former editor at Pantheon and Vintage, who now runs an independent agency here in L.A.—was the exception. She loved the idea, helped me plan and shape the proposal, and advised me on what material to concentrate on for a sample chapter.
After the rejuvenile story ran on the front page of the “Sunday Styles” section, I spent another month fleshing out the proposal, eager to submit it while the story was still relatively fresh. In the end, I didn’t do a sample chapter at all, opting instead to do a detailed overview and lengthy chapter summaries (which, of course, changed when I got the deal and actually began writing).
How did the book deal come about?
In your book proposal, how much of your research plans were mapped out?
Do you have any advice to first-time nonfiction authors? Is there anything you’d have done differently, either from a financial standpoint or a journalistic one? ?
Thanks for posting this, very interesting. As an author myself, I shared many of the same experiences and frustrations. It is totally true, old media may be fun to do, but new media leads to sales.
The best advice I can give (which I am sure you will concur) is that a finding a good book agent who believes in your idea is one of the best ways to make your dream of writing a book come true.
They know which publishers (and specifically which editors) will be interested in your concept and help you craft proposal so that it generates interest. This, hopefully, will all lead to the holy grail of selling that book before it is written.
Posted by Graham Walker on 12/15 at 03:33 PM
Well then…since you have so much stuff left over from the book, will you be bringing us Rejuvenile II? I hope so. Or maybe Rejuvenile the movie? Rejuvenile the lunch box? Merchandising, baby! Merchandising!
Oh yeah, I suspect that now that the book is out, you’ll have an easier time getting celebrity interviews for the next one.
Posted by Ms. Geek on 12/18 at 04:11 PM