OH HEYYY! You probably already know that THE SUGAR HIT cookbook is coming out this year in September. In fact, you can pre-order it! (Amazon – Book Depository – Booktopia – Dymocks – Barnes and Noble) And I will love you forever if you do!
So, because I’m always so fascinated by other people’s stories of how their books came together, I thought I would talk about that today! There are also a bunch of this photos in this post, so I’ve kept all the text together at the top. Feel free to scroll on by if you’re just here for the pretty pictures. And one last thing – I’ll be talking more about this, so if you have any questions at all that you would like answered, please send me an email, leave a comment, tweet me, tag me on instagram or comment on Facebook! I’m an open book.
Like so many bloggers, I have always been completely food-obsessed. My parents have those cute pictures of my brother and sister completely covered in food when they were babies – but not me. I ate the food, it went in my mouth, I wasn’t spilling it. My favourite picture books were Spot Bakes a Cake, and Piccolo Peperroni’s Perfect Pizza. Name any Disney movie and I’ll tell you the food scene. You get the picture.
So from a very young age I loved to eat, loved to sit on the bench with my mum and cook (aka hack away at a potato with a butter knife), but for whatever reason even though all the way through school I was cooking and reading about food and eating, I never ever considered it as a career. I was a pretty typical ‘smart kid’, always got good grades, and as far as I knew the only way to be ‘in food’ was to become a chef. I briefly flirted with the idea of dropping out of high school and doing an apprenticeship, but my parents wisely steered me away from that course.
What does this all have to do with the book? Well fast forward to a few years after high-school, and I have started about four different degrees, and failed to finish all of them. So I went and got a full time job, thinking I’d better get my act together. I started as a receptionist, and worked my way up over two years to project management. And then, after I did that for a while, I started to kind of hate it. I just knew it wasn’t for me, the cubicle life.
I had been blogging on and off, in a very amateurish fashion, and decided that since other people were making a living at it, then dammit I could too. So I took all my savings, quit my job, and with the support of my boyfried, and the support/deep concern of everyone else I love, started this blogging gig full time. Fast forward to the end of last year, when I got an email from Hardie Grant asking me if I’d ever thought about writing a cookbook.
If you’re a blogger, you probably know what I thought at first. We bloggers get peppered with emails daily about great ‘opportunities’. Write about our product and we might share your post! Create your own cookbook for only $29.99! I think your readers would really be interested in my company’s new take on cinnamon! Things that seem to good to be true often are. So yeah, I immediately assumed it was a scam.
You guys? It was not a scam. A quick google confirmed the legitimacy of the email address, and with trembling fingers and a bursting heart, I replied strongly in the affirmative. This had been my dream since I was a kid eating raw potato chunks on the bench while my mum cooked. HELL YEAH I want to do a cookbook.
From there I put together a cookbook proposal, and at first, it was knocked back. The concept was a little out-there, and in hindsight, I can see why they weren’t keen. Lucky for me, Paul (the director of publishing) kindly put me on the right track and said have another go. So, a whirlwind two weeks later, I had deconstructed and reconstructed the book back into something that checked all the boxes. I loved it, they read it, and they said let’s do this!
I flew down to Melbourne and met with the team at Hardie Grant. May I tell you, they are so flipping lovely. Making a book is a full-on, sometimes stressful process. I don’t think I could have asked for a more cool team of people to do this with for the first time (<—hopefully there is a second time!). Once we drummed out all the nuts and bolts, they sent me a contract to sign and from there I had…gulp…10 weeks to write the manuscript and test all the recipes!
I remember almost nothing about that 10 weeks. I don’t think I left the house unless it was to go to the grocery store. I didn’t see any of my friends, I barely saw my family, and I agonized over every word and line and step and detail. Anyone who has tested recipes knows what this is like. A constant game of tinkering and re-tinkering, and then testing and re-testing again. Plus writing the thing! All I cared about was doing a good job.
Now that it’s over, I’m really glad that I took to the process like it was a military campaign. I have total confidence that every recipe in The Sugar Hit! is going to do me proud, and make you happy! I don’t think I could handle it if I thought there was a recipe in there that would let you down. As it is now, this book is full of just pure, unadulterated happiness in food form. So, the long and short of it is, I got all the testing done and filed my manuscript by the deadline. I breathed a sigh of relief…and then braced myself for the next part, editing. I was afraid, very afraid.
These are a bunch of photos from the two trips I took to Melbourne for the book. The rest of the story, including the editing process, design, the shoot, and wrapping things up, will be around soon in Part II.
And like I said, if there’s anything at all you’d like to know, just ask! I’m always so curious about how this stuff works, so I’m happy to answer any and all questions. Talk soon!
Check out PART 2 of this series – That Time I Wrote a Cookbook Part 2
Belle’s Hot Chicken ^ amazing.
I really regret not liberating this duck mug that was in the hallway of the building where I stayed for the entire week.