Firstly thank you all so much for all the good wishes for the book. I really do have the loveliest readers and food blogging friends in the world. I promised to share with you some of my experiences of writing this book and I’d like to give you some inside info. on the world of publishing too. Where better to start than with the fabulous lunch meeting I had with my publisher yesterday?
This was the second time we’d met; the first was way back last summer when my agent introduced us and we talked about the possibility of them becoming the publisher of my book. It was one of the most nerve-wracking yet exhilarating meetings of my life. I met my agent at a rather glamorous London hotel and there in the lounge we met the Managing Director and the Commissioning Editor of the publishing company. Did I mention nerve-wracking? But they were both so very lovely and, whilst I can’t say I was completely at ease in that first meeting, I soon found myself feeling a little less like a rabbit in headlights. The more we talked the more I found that they really understood the kind of book I wanted to write and that we were thinking alike; and the more I felt like this was the publisher for me. I just hoped they felt the same. Just over one nail-biting week later I found out; they did!
So, just who is this mystery publisher? Well, they’re one of the UK’s leading independent publishers, they specialise in food & drink, and they have published books such as Essence: Recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage by David Everitt-Matthias, Aga Year: 365 Seasonal Recipesby Louise Walker and none other than The Frugal Cookby renowned author and fellow food blogger Fiona Beckett. I’m very proud to reveal that they are Absolute Press.
With the contract signed and the book writing and recipe development well underway, yesterday’s meeting was much less daunting than the first – especially as it was over lunch rather than a formal meeting in a stuffy office – although I still had butterflies in the morning. Absolute Press are based in Bath and so I travelled into London bright and early and took the train down from Paddington. It was a beautiful, sunny morning and I had a very pleasant journey watching the landscape rush by, reading a food magazine (what else?) and even typing up a recipe on my laptop. I arrived at Bath Spa station in good time and took out the map I’d printed out. I looked at it one way, I looked at it another, I turned it upside down and then, realising I had no idea how to get to Absolute’s offices, jumped into a waiting taxi.
When I arrived I took a few moments to compose myself, took a deep breath and rang the bell. I was greeted by Matt, the Art Director, who gave me a warm welcome and showed me in. The offices are small and quaint and I found it fascinating to be in one of the hubs of the publishing world and a place where books are born. The most exciting room was the one which contained shelves and shelves full of neatly piled copies of the books Absolute have published. I allowed myself a moment to imagine that one day copies of my very own book would be on those shelves too.
Jon, the Managing Director, and Matt took me out for a lovely lunch during which we laughed and joked and straight away my butterflies flew away and I felt completely at ease. Fiona had told me lunch with Jon and Matt would be fun but I had no idea just how much fun. I felt like I was with old friends as we talked about food, blogging, recipe development, dispatching a lobster and the best way of roasting a chicken. Of course much of our time was spent discussing the book and how we saw it developing. There and then, over a few bottles of wine and a good meal, it started to take real shape. Absolute create beautiful books and I’m so very pleased that it is they who will be working on mine; I know it’s in the very best hands.
In other news I’ve just found out that I’m the second blogger to be featured in The Times Online’s series of weekly interviews with the bloggers featured in their ’50 of the World’s Best Food Blogs list’. Last week’s interview was with US blogger Matt from Matt Bites. I’m so thrilled to be featured alongside such prominent and fantastic bloggers, I can hardly contain myself! The Food & Drink editor sent me the link to the next interview (sneakily without telling me it was I who was featured!) which I picked up on my BlackBerry on my way home and when I clicked on the link and saw my picture I think I blushed so profusely that my fellow train passengers must have wondered what on earth it was that I was reading! Here’s a link to the interview. Thank you so much to The Times for the feature. I’m really looking forward to reading the next interview in the series.