Memo: On Considering Independent Publishing

From: Sgt Mom
To: Ms Paula Deen
Re: Your Latest Cookbook

1. I would like to make it clear that I have never actually been one of your fans, or indeed of traditional southern cooking, outside of BBQ and pecan pie. Frankly, the general run of traditional southern food is just too fattening, too sweet and too light on fresh vegetables for my taste. I much prefer Italian food, and if I am a fan of any TV celebrity cooks it would be a toss-up between Ina Garton and Ree Drummond. As a Tea Party libertarian type, I also find your enthusiasm for the current administration off-putting. And the down-home southern maw-maw shtick strikes me as overdone, and eventually grating – but since it has likely brought you more income in a week than I have ever made in a year – eh. But it was a bit … ill-considered, pushing all those rich recipes out into the public, and then belatedly outing yourself as a diabetic. This might account for much of the current animus; hypocrisy, rather than racial hatred. Alas, your apology tour has not made your situation any better – in fact, it appears to have made it all much, much worse.

2. This animus, with the subsequent economic shunning on the part of the Food Network, those corporations who had previously signed deals with you, and most especially your publisher, who apparently took it amiss that your fans who put your next cookbook at #1 on Amazon are guilty of double-plus-un-good-thinking, all strikes me as being exceedingly unfair … random, even. Alec Baldwin goes all homophobic on a reporter for a tabloidish British newspaper this week, and allowances are made for him, and yet you are the one essentially burnt at the stake for injudicious use of a racial epithet years ago.

3. So – all that being said, Ms Deen, if I may offer you some advice in the wake of Random House dropping your next cookbook as if it were suddenly plutonium – go indy. Claw the publishing rights back from them, make a separate arrangement with the co-author, and hie the over to Lightning Source International, and establish yourself as your own publisher. Should the materiel still need editing, formatting (interior design) photographs and cover design – go out and hire freelance talent to accomplish that. Then upload the files to LSI, set your retail price, and arrange to have the book distributed by Ingram and in their catalog, where it will appear on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and be available for brick and mortar stores … and there you go. You probably won’t need to hire a publicist – and that’s the good side of all this. A lot of people still want your book.

Sincerely, and with my best wishes, although I probably will never actually cook from it – I remain, Sgt. Mom