Just got back from the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest. This is a 5 day veg affair in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for everything vegan or raw. It is where everyone in the plant-based food land launches their books, hangs out and gives presentations on nutrition, environment and activism. I think even mosquitos are safe here.
I gave 3 presentations – You’re Not Dead, Yet; Why do I have Stubborn Belly fat when I do a Million Crunches a day?; Pregnant? Vegan? FAB! – and was part of a panel on raising vegan kids.
At this conference dietitians [RD-registered dietitian] are royalty. Which is a good/bad thing. Great that people respect you enough to ask questions, bad if you want to eat hot food or meet friends. But I am with the creme of the dietetics world – Brenda Davis, RD; Jill Nussinow, MS, RD; Mark Rifkin, MS, RD; Juliana Hever, MS, RD; Dina Aronson, MS, RD and Myriam Parham, MS, RD and I know I am leaving other folks out. Then there are the MDs. Well, who really cares about MDs? Their wives, and don’t get me started on male MDs telling us all how to eat and cook for families!
Anyway, there I was listening to everyone talk about their book deals and festivals. And I had nothing to say. Mainly because there was so much great information about publishers, book deals and other folderol that I have never dealt with. One RD looked at me and said, “Are you okay? You’re not saying anything. You are so calm.”
Well, I was calm and also overwhelmed by the fact that all these people were doing things I want to do. And I was fairly clueless as to how to get into their league. I felt like a teenager allowed to sit at the adult table. They have “people” like publishers, book designers, literary agents. I do goofy dancing on videos and LUV immersion blenders. So, I decided to be a sponge. Also, to use my 2 ears and 1 mouth in that proportion.
Later that day, I ran into one of my esteemed colleagues. I told them about my email to the publisher for my book because it had been months with no communication. The publisher did respond to my “maybe we don’t have a fit” email. They said that they are still interested, but they aren’t picking up anyone’s book at the moment. My colleague said that they knew this publisher had a reputation of dragging their feet. My colleague gave me some good advice – Publish it yourself. I nodded, not totally in agreement. I mean who wants to do ALL the work?
They said, “The publisher is going to take a large cut. They are dragging their feet. You could put together the book as a PDF, sell it, put up the cooking videos yourself and keep all the profit. Why are you going to wait to make money and then give so much of it to someone else?”
It did make sense, but what about getting me out on a publicity tour?
They said, “Book yourself. Sell some books. Get some good response. Then, go to someone, a publisher, when you have sales to show your worth and have them together the print version.”
For a split second I felt stupid, like I should have known that. But, then I thought, how cool that these folks think of me as a peer. There was no “please, god, don’t let that LaDiva person sit at our table.” There was an expectance that my book would be worth reading and that my presentations would be interesting and well-researched. One of them even said, “I want to be you!” And I thought, no, you don’t. That made me think, maybe I don’t want to be them, either. But I don’t think I’ll mention it.
One mouth and two ears. That’s what Abraham Lincoln was thinking when he said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”