Behind the Scenes of Chicken Soup
I was shocked one June, when I received an email from Chicken Soup for the Soul. I found it in my spam filter. They were interested in the potato salad story I’d submitted to their Food and Love edition.
Their website is writer-friendly. You click on “submit your story,” pick a topic, then copy and paste. If they like your work, you begin a friendly correspondence via email. If not, you hear nothing. I like that best. Rejection letters hurt my feelings.
The process was different from what I expected. Chicken Soup has “rounds of acceptance.” The assistant publisher, I’ll call her Deena, said that most of the stories from the first round would appear in the book. That sounded ominous. However, Deena invited me to sign and fax a “permission to release” agreement.
A couple of weeks later, my new best friend, Deena, informed me that my story had made a second round of cuts. Apparently, Chicken Soup accepts a larger number of stories than can fit in the book, just in case some turn out to be previously published or are otherwise declined for some reason. I confirmed that my story had never been published.
That August, Deena emailed me an edited version of my story for my final approval. There were word choices I wanted to change. I’d actually written and submitted the story about 18 months prior. However, Deena cautioned me that only spelling, grammar, or small factual errors could be corrected. I took this to mean that if I wanted my story in the book, I shouldn’t get all writer-finicky on her. I saw no errors and approved the final draft.
Then Deena requested my mother’s potato salad recipe from my story since this was the Food and Love edition. Unfortunately, my mother doesn’t cook that way. She keeps old recipes in her head. So I had Mom make several batches, while I took notes. Eventually, even my then 11-year-old son was able replicate her potato salad. I emailed Deena and crossed my fingers. If she wanted the recipe, publication seemed likely.
But weeks later, I was getting worried. I checked my Spam filter and found “Congratulations! Your story will appear…”
By November, I had a box of author’s copies. Chicken Soup does a nice job on their books. Food and Love received good reviews, and I didn’t even write them.
“The Potato Salad Rule” can be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul – Food and Love
Go to My Stories and click on the link.