Here’s a taste of what they said:
“What a treat! A wonderful parable, inspirational, very moving. And the lessons really work.”
“It made me tear up—and I love novels that evoke emotion.”
“A life-lessons-through-food novel for a new generation. Owen is a sympathetic, relatable character, and his struggle to put his life back together is truly moving.”
“The writing is top-notch and totally immersive. I enjoyed following Owen’s character growth.”
“Heartwarming . . . the writing is fantastically specific about the feeling of cooking and all of the equipment surrounding it, which made the story really rich.”
“The authors’ passion for food and cooking shine in this manuscript, and the descriptive details were absolutely mouthwatering.”
“Owen is an endearing character, and I quite like how cooking changes his life.”
“The premise is both clever and interesting, the authentic culinary detail a nice touch.”
“Owen’s story is big-hearted and wholesome, even aspirational.”
“A lovely read that I immensely enjoyed” . . . “A moving story” . . . “The writing is intriguing, and the cooking bits are glorious” . . . “I appreciate the book’s unique blend of narrative, life advice, and culinary tips” . . . “I think this could be a big hit.”
WOW, right? That’s what more than a dozen New York editors said after reading the manuscript for my next book, The Recipe.
And they all passed.
Every single one.
Coauthored with my good friend, Culinary Olympian multiple gold-medalist Chef Charles Carroll (yes, there is a Culinary Olympics, held every four years, just like that other Olympics), The Recipe is a tale of heartbreak and redemption, the story of a boy who learns to overcome personal tragedy and carve out a life of excellence and honor through cooking lessons at the hands of a crusty old diner chef. The Karate Kid meets Master Chef.
So you’re probably wondering: “Wait a minute — if they all loved it so much, why did all those publishers pass?”
We wondered, too. Turns out, it was because our book didn’t fit their particular category. Or in some cases, because they couldn’t quite figure out what category to fit us into. As one editor commented:
“It’s a book that straddles three genres: self-help, fiction, and cooking. I was hoping to pitch it [to my boss] as a book that would encompass all three — but there’s a concern that it would get lost in between.”
Which to us is another way of saying “It appeals to too many people.” (I know: crazy, right?)
Here’s the thing: We didn’t write The Recipe for readers who love to learn core success principles they can apply in their own lives … or for readers who love a personal story of struggle and triumph … or for “foodie” readers who love to learn about how to cook amazing food.
We wrote it for all three.
Because in our experience, there are a lot of smart readers out there who fit all three of those descriptions. You’re probably one yourself.
- You love to learn principles you can use to better your life.
- You love a compelling story of an underdog who comes out on top.
- You love great food, and love learning secrets of a world-class chef.
The publishers didn’t get that. But we think you will. In fact, we think you’ll love it. So we’re publishing it ourselves … for you.
Between now and then, Chef Charles and I will be looking for people who want to join our Launch Team — readers and fans who love the book and want to help spread the word. If you think that might be you, let me know. Just click on the “Contact” link here on my website (or email me if we already know each other) and put “Launch Team” at the top. I’ll get an advance copy in your hands, and we’ll take it from there.
Together, we’ll show the publishers what they missed!