Sunday, September 10, 2006

Face-Lift 183


Guess the Plot

Loving Yourself with Food

1. When sex therapist Trisha Garvey found her clientelle...flagging, she took up the radio talk show circuit. Her topic lit up the airwaves - and the produce aisles of the supermarkets.

2. The author of Romancing the Frogs has a new self-help hit, inspired by the eating habits of Oprah Winfrey and Kirstie Alley.

3. Mike Daley and tech support phone rep Chi meet when Mike calls in to find out just what the DVD player manual means by "loving yourself with food." Will their language barrier keep them from true love?

4. This new how-to cookbook/romance tantalizes with such utilitarian dishes as Portnoy's liver, low-cal chocolate sauce and oiled cucumbers. Profusely Illustrated.

5. Three hundred-pound fashion designer Sumona travels the world to find the most exotic foods, brings them back to New York, and puts on the year’s biggest fashion show--one like you’ve never tasted.

6. Margot thought no one knew what she did with the Japanese eggplant - until the handsome young clerk at the market slipped a can of Redi-Whip and a banana squash into her bag.


Original Version

Dear Eager Agent

Loving Yourself with Food: [Not sure I'd call canola oil "food," but if so, guilty.] How to Quit Emotional Eating and Overeating deals with the issues of emotional eating and subconscious eating that affect approximately 75% of women. [Subconscious eating? That must be what happened the time I was just sitting there watching TV and suddenly felt sick, so I looked down to find, on the plate I hadn't even realized was in front of me, an entire turkey carcass.] [Does it count as emotional eating when an editor sees the word "eating" so many times in the first sentence of a query letter that he stops reading and heads for the kitchen? Back in a minute.] In Loving Yourself with Food the author exposes common diet myths and explains why so many people choose to self-medicate with food. The book deals sympathetically with triggers for emotional eating such as boredom, loneliness, depression, anxiety and anger [This is starting to depress me. I need a pint of Häagen Daz.] drawing on the author’s own experiences with emotional eating supplemented by extensive research.

Loving Yourself with Food [No need to say the title in every sentence. It sounds repetitive and it's making me hungry and horny.] offers solutions that encompass cognitive behavioral change, taking the reader through worksheets and exercises to identify and change habitual eating patterns. [If they spent less time on worksheet exercises, and more time on aerobic exercises, they could get away with all that eating.] [Look who's talking. I decided to try aerobics once. I tuned in a half-hour exercise show on TV. The instructor was this small frail-looking woman who started off nice and slow, gaining my confidence. Then . . . well, how can I put this without sounding too dramatic? The woman tried to kill me. And I would have died, too, if I'd stuck with it, but I spent the last 25 minutes of the show lying on my back, panting like I'd just run a two-hour marathon.] Readers learn how to reprogram their dysfunctional beliefs, manage uncomfortable feelings [like hunger] without turning to food, and establish new eating habits. [I'm starving.]

Emotional eating is emerging as an area of weight management that is not adequately addressed in diet books or programs. In June 2006 Kirsty Alley confessed to gaining more than 20 pounds in six weeks as a result of loneliness. [Best to spell it "Kirstie" if you want the agent to respect your research skills.] Oprah has admitted to lifetime problems with emotional eating and compulsive eating. [Here's my theory on weight management. The secret isn't to quit eating, it's to quit eating food you don't even like. Here's a typical day of eating for me: For breakfast, a bowl of some kind of cereal I bought because it has fiber. It tastes like it was gathered from the forest floor three years ago, but that doesn't keep me from eating every last morsel. I simply make it more tolerable by adding some mushy berries or over-ripe banana. For lunch, burger, fries and a soft drink. The burger is cold, the fries are too greasy, and the drink is watered down, but do I toss it in the trash and save 1200 calories? No, I shovel it in like I'll never see food again. Dinner at a fancy restaurant. It's too salty, overcooked, and almost inedible, but at that price it must be good, so I clean my plate, and when the waiter asks, I tell him it was delicious. Restaurant desserts are always too sweet, but I order one anyway. Why can't I take one bite and say, "That's so disgustingly sweet it's making me sick, and I refuse to eat another bite," instead of downing it like it's ambrosia? Gaining weight is bad enough, but I'm gaining weight on stale, tasteless, sickening slop. I'd probably lose twenty pounds in a week if I gave up after one bite when the food is yucko.] [Now, where were we?]

The author is a psychologist and the author of two self-help books. Her first book, Romancing the Frogs: A Singles Guide to Love and Happiness, [has done more to advance the cause of human/amphibian relationships than any other book this year.] helps people find love. Her second book, The Art of Calm: Freedom from Stress and Worry, offers more than 100 tips on stress management. [Tip #1: Go in the kitchen and have a snack.] __________ is a former executive of two Fortune 500 companies and award winning speaker who is frequently quoted in New Zealand media. Her articles are published in business, health and self-growth websites and magazines.

The market for Loving Yourself with Food is readers of self-help and weight loss books. The completed manuscript will be approximately 50,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,


Revised Version

Dear Eager Agent

Loving Yourself with Food deals with emotional eating and subconscious eating--issues that affect approximately 75% of women. The author, psychologist __________, exposes common diet myths and explains why so many people choose to self-medicate with food. She sympathetically considers the most common triggers of emotional eating--boredom, loneliness, depression, anxiety and anger--drawing on her own experiences and on extensive research.

Through worksheets and exercises, the book helps readers to identify and change habitual eating patterns, to reprogram their dysfunctional beliefs, and to manage uncomfortable feelings without turning to food. This leads to establishing healthier eating habits.

Emotional eating is emerging as a vital area of weight management, one that is not adequately addressed in diet books or programs. In June 2006 Kirstie Alley confessed to gaining more than 20 pounds in six weeks as a result of loneliness. Oprah Winfrey has admitted to lifetime problems with emotional and compulsive eating.

I am the author of two self-help books: Romancing the Frogs: A Singles Guide to Love and Happiness (Toadlick Press, 1999), and The Art of Calm: Freedom from Stress and Worry (Tranquil House, 2002). I am a former executive of two Fortune 500 companies and an award-winning speaker, frequently quoted in New Zealand media. My articles are published in business, health and self-growth websites and magazines.

The completed manuscript will be approximately 50,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,


Notes

I can appreciate writing in 3rd person, but if none of it is in 1st person, it may seem it's being submitted by someone other than the author. Her current agent, for instance.

At least some of your credentials should be up front, so the agent isn't worried she'll get to the end and find your only qualification is a lifetime of stuffing yourself. By which I of course mean eating.

I took the subtitle out because the next phrase is so similar it sounds repetitive. I wasn't crazy about it anyway. I can't tell if it's plain overeating or emotional overeating the way it's worded. Maybe the subtitle should be How to Keep from Pigging Out When You Feel Like Crap.

One could argue that the title, while inspirational to Guess the Plot authors, has the opposite meaning from the book's point, which is (in the words of my mom the time she caught me in my bedroom with a cantaloupe, a coring knife, and a can of Vienna sausages): Stop Loving Yourself with Food!

17 comments:

Undercover said...

Is it all right to speak of yourself in 3rd and 1st person within the same query?

Anonymous said...

I think Patty Duke did something like this in a lifetime TV docudrama.

My takeaway was that when a baby cries parents put a bottle in the mouth before checking the diaper, baby's comfort level, boredom, etc. Baby learns to solve every discomfort with food.

Are there recipes? If so, how does that help over-eaters or emotional eaters? I'm on my way to the bookstore for Andrea Immer's EVERYDAY DINING WITH WINE... or how to make yourself happy after an agent rejection by eating Apple, Sage and Onion Soup with Cheddar Bacon croutons served with lots of Alsace white wine.

Anonymous said...

OMG Cathy that meal sounds amazing. Ugh, I gotta go eat lunch.

Feisty said...

That would be a great book for my husband. I hope she publishes it.

In my house we call every biteful of food another spoonful of love!

Hey, what's wrong with being chubby?

HawkOwl said...

I'm sure this would totally sell to the people who think there is a perfectly valid reason why they eat way more than they need. Which should make it a runaway best seller.

That being said, it should contain just two sentences:

1. Never keep any snacks in your house.
2. Never eat out.

Anonymous said...

OMG, EE you outdid yourself with that one! It's true how some people just eat what's in front of them because they don't know what else to do. Like stop.

Verification word oecwnun. WTF? Not me!

none said...

Having fun, EE? You haven't hit this form in a while.

heheehehehehehehee

Anonymous said...

I googled Romancing the Frog and here's why I came up with...

http://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Stove-Celebrated-Delicious-Kitchen/dp/1573248584/sr=1-1/qid=1157922791/ref=sr_1_1/104-3705782-4515945?ie=UTF8&s=books

Anonymous said...

Fake plot #4 made me spew! LOL.

And EE is right-the title is wrong.

Obesity is now a world-wide problem (but most prevalent in the US?). This book would probably get published. But sorry, author, I don't want to read it. (I like eating cheesecake when I feel depressed.)

Talia said...

P.S. I like the suggestion "Stop Loving Yourself with Food". Excellent amendment to the title.

The original title was "The Healing Power of Fudge" as that is my favourite medicine...

Feemus said...

It's a good thing Gene Harrogate's mom didn't make him stop loving himself with food. Suttree wouldn't have been the same...

Anonymous said...

Talia, I hope you use EE's subtitle "How to Keep from Pigging Out When You Feel Like Crap" becasue it's just brilliant! Just the kind of snappy, funny title that is hot these days.
Good luck woth your book, it's needed. I used to overeat a lot in my youth and got really, really fat. And all through lack of self-esteem.

Anonymous said...

Would it be a good idea for the author to address _Intuitive Eating_, a book which touches on the exact same topic but not very thoroughly?

magz said...

Talia? You GO Girl, for this is a heavy subject!(wince)
Research hard, write well (as you've demonstrated aptly) and keep that compassion going- You're going to sell this.
People need information, for eating disorders are really not a joke, and sure not uncommon.
Kudos, and thank you for taking this on.

Anonymous said...

EE, that was hysterical. Loved it. I really have to marry you.

NB

Talia said...

Thanks for the comment and support everyone.

Marykaye I will address competing works in the full proposal.

The pigging out title makes me laugh :-) I'll keep it in reserve. The current working title is as EE suggested Stop LYWF...

Anonymous said...

You keep the soup, Cathy, I'll just grab me a bottle and that's dinner right there.

Hawkowl's right--snacks=bad.

Anyone find it odd that most of the people at risk of becoming obese in North America are lower income? Used to be, healthy food was cheap and junk was expensive. Where I live now, you pay more, pound for pound, for apples than doritos. How freaking sad is that? When did bell peppers get more pricey than ground beef?