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Last week, I shared with you my “Cookbook Story”–how I went from being a “hobbyist” to a published author. This week, I’d like to share with you the other side of that coin–my literary agent’s story.
How many of you have watched Jerry Maguire? If so, remember that scene at the very end, where Cuba Gooding Jr’s character gets all choked up?
I’d always wondered whether those kinds of relationships with agents were real or simply the stuff of Hollywood fluff. But I never in a million years imagined that I’d one day get a chance to find out, firsthand, by working with my own Jerry Maguire.
Charlie is the Brit who made all my dreams come true. He not only agreed to represent me when I was a full-time lawyer with a very small food blog, he encouraged me to write what I wanted to write–whatever shape that took. He helped me put together a book proposal, which led to him negotiating a 5-figure book deal that, at the time, had me picking my jaw off the ground.
But that’s not where this story ends, of course. A couple years ago, when I started getting bombarded with requests for speaking engagements, I turned to Charlie. He put me in touch with the head of an old school speaker’s agency, to help navigate a budding career as a keynote speaker (now a significant part of my income). He also helped me find a team to assist in managing my social media accounts, all of which exploded, it seemed, overnight.
But my “ambassador of quan” moment came in 2021. My first cookbook had just been published and it did a lot better than anyone imagined it would back when I was pitching an entire cookbook containing plant-based Korean food, lolol. But, I was determined to leave behind a full-time career in law and I knew that doing so rested heavily on whether I could land a second book deal that would serve as the launchpad for my creative career. In other words, the number attached to that book deal had to make sense–a number that not only provided me with some measure of financial confidence, but that also reflected my value as an author. Charlie and I had multiple conversations–not really about a “number,” so to speak, but about the dream, overall. I was basically tasking Charlie with going out there to make my dreams come true–again.
In late 2021, while I sat cross-legged on the bed in my hotel room in New York City and Charlie sat primly at his desk in London, both our eyes filled with tears as he broke the news: my publisher, the one that had faith in me when I was a virtual nobody, continued to have enough faith in me to put together a 2-book deal that would secure me for years to come.
So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Charlie. My agent. My ambassador of quan.
This Week’s Recipe Inspo.
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/4 red onion
- 1/2 honeycrisp apple
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- handful dried cranberries
- 2-3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2-1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Chop up all ingredients for salad into bite sized pieces and place into large bowl.
- Mix ingredients for salad dressing using either a whisk or immersion blender.
- Incorporate dressing a little bit at a time into veggies (you don’t want to overdress!).
- Let it is sit for 20-30 minutes before serving. Store in fridge for up to 3 days.
Spice Up Your Life.
Spicy Ramen Salt
A spicy, umami packed blend of seasonings that’ll enrich your broths, pop your popcorn, and heat up your pasta sauce!
Watching. I finished the first 2 seasons of Only Murders in the Building in just 2 days. This comedic trio is hard to beat and with only 30 minute episodes, it’s a doable commitment. Get your sleuthing on! Watch –>
Reading. I tried reading this award-winning book a few years ago and just couldn’t get into it, but a good friend recommended I give it another whirl. Let me know what you thought OR give it a try with me! Read –>
Wearing. I’ve worn this faux Sherpa Cocoon Coat every single day since I received it and have received DOZENS of compliments. You will too–it is impossibly comfortable and PERFECT for those excessively AC’d spots! Pick up yours NOW! Shop –>
I’ll be headed back to my alma-mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign next month on September 21 to do a LIVE cooking demonstration and book signing as part of Pygmalion Think 2023!! Make sure to pick up your tickets and come say hi!
I read something the other day about how victims of violent crime often revisit the scenes of their attack–not because they’re trying to prove that it was real and that it actually happened, but so they can look upon the rubble of their own trauma while knowing they are no longer in it, revel in the safety that now swaddles them from a position of power. Of course, where you are in the healing process will determine whether you are ready to assume that position of power (as opposed to re-injuring yourself by revisiting memories that are still too fresh); however, I thought it was an interesting idea–one that resonated with me as a storyteller who is often accused of spending too much time “wallowing” in my past.
I like to revisit those places that once controlled me. I enjoy picking my way through the shards of broken glass that still litter the ground, knowing that I’ve found a pair of really good boots that will protect me should I grow a bit careless, knowing that I can walk out of that place–that place that once trapped me and held me and hurt me–anytime I damn well please.
We find power in unlikely places, the unlikeliest being inside a body, a heart, that was once weak. And sometimes, we need to return to ground zero in order to remind ourselves how high we’ve managed to climb.