But first, the stories worth reading this week:
All the Food That’s Fit to Print: How Culinary Scientists are Building the Meal of the Future, Layer by Layer (Susie Neilson for The New Yorker): This is an absolutely fascinating look at what 3-D printing can do in the food world. If you don’t have time to read the full story, watch the 2-minute video here.
What Makes a Bestseller? Two SMP Authors Say They Know the Formula (Jim Milliot for Publisher’s Weekly): “What are the components a manuscript needs to become a bestseller? According to two St. Martin’s authors, Dave Eggers knows.” It’s also worth reading Mike Shatzkin’s rebuttal on The Shatzkin Files: “The idea that the odds a book will make the bestseller list can be calculated from the content of the book alone, without regard to consumer analysis, branding, or the marketing effort to promote the book, is ridiculous.”
Webinars & Summits: An Author’s Guide to Selling Books through Online Events (Chad Cannon): “Secret ingredients to sell books: win someone’s email address, demonstrate your authority and teach valuable content, strategically get in front of a captive audience. A killer way to do these three things online… for free… all in one fell swoop? Online events.”
Dissecting the Success of Malcolm Gladwell (The Tim Ferriss Show): A great listen for any fans of Gladwell who want to learn more about his writing process. One sneak peek: “’For every hour I spend writing, I spend three hours thinking about writing.’”
11 of Our Best Potato Salads (Sam Sifton for New York Times Cooking): This has nothing to do with publishing, but everything to do with your happiness this weekend. Seriously: do you have your potato salad game on lock for this weekend? Jarrett and I are ready–we special ordered Duke’s Mayo off of Amazon just to make the potato salad recipe you’ll see below. This is both something to be ashamed of and something to be very, very excited about. We’ll be making it tonight, so follow me on Twitter to see how it turns out!
How to Handle a Writing (or Kitchen) Disaster
Here’s something I hear myself saying to authors a lot: “It’s going to be okay—don’t worry!”
That’s because disasters happen. They always do. And that’s okay. There’s no good challenge you’ll take on that doesn’t experience a hiccup, change of course, or outright fiasco along the way.
It’s just like being in the kitchen—sometimes you perfectly poach that egg and other times you end up with egg on your face.
Which has happened to me. I tried to poach an egg in the microwave once, and it exploded in my face. At work. In front of other people. At a publishing house.
After a good cry in the bathroom and many, many paper towels to wipe the shell and yolk and mild burn marks off myself, I got it together and went back and sat at my desk like nothing had happened. And it was okay. And I laughed about it.
It’s the same thing with your manuscript or your book. Yes, it’s much more important, and deeply personal, and it’s your life’s work. There is no contesting that.
But it’s also all very fixable. What’s not fixable? Losing your health. Losing someone you love. Losing a part of yourself that guided you.