Writers: Defy publishing labels 

by Brette Sember
The author of more than 40 books on never giving up, and trusting her instincts.

I’ve been a writer for almost fifteen years, but before that I was a lawyer. Sometimes, I compare where I started to where I am now and I am amazed. I’ve just released my latest project, an ebook called Cookie: A Love Story: Fun Facts, Delicious Stories, Fascinating History, Tasty Recipes, and More, a project near and dear to my heart – truly the book I wanted to read about my favorite treat. It didn’t exist, so I wrote it myself. How I got from a law office to writing a book about all the fun things there are to know about cookies has been a long journey and one that has happened because I’ve never given up and always trusted my instincts.

Publishers like to paste a label on you as an author and closely define who you are as a writer. For me, being a writer means I want to write and learn about everything that piques my interest. It’s not a lot of fun to keep writing about the same topics, particularly when they are topics I already know well. What is exciting for me as a writer is to learn about new things and then share those with my readers. The publishing industry used to have more tolerance for this than it does now, but it’s still possible to listen to your inner muse as a non-fiction writer.

My first books were self-help law titles, but I wanted to break out of that niche. I started by writing on hybrid topics: pregnancy and law, parenting after divorce, credit and finance, business. These all linked somehow to my credentials yet let me write about new and interesting topics.

Along the way, there were projects that were completely outside of the mold: a quiz book for tweens for American Girl, contributing to a craft book, and a kids book about money. I wanted to do more though. I started a food blog and after a couple of years sold my first cookbook. Before that was even out, I contracted for a second cookbook and a book about kitchen organizing. Suddenly I had broken free from the labels and was writing about things that had nothing to do with my background, but everything to do with my interests. This is when I feel truly alive, when I am writing, exploring, and learning.

Cookie: A Love Story feels like the culmination of my dreams. It’s a book filled with all the fascinating things I wanted to know. It’s a little bit history, a little bit cookbook, a little bit social psychology, a little bit anthropology, a little bit politics, and a lot of love: my love for cookies, and many, many stories from people all over the country about their own meaningful cookie moments. It was so fun to write (and I fear it may have spoiled me for drier subjects!). Fifteen years ago when I started this journey, I had hopes that I would write books that would inspire and excite me and now I can say that I have fully achieved that goal. I have so many more books I want to write about a variety of topics and I hope this is just the beginning of my writing independence.

Brette Sember is the author of over 40 books. Her latest is Cookie: A Love Story: Fun Facts, Delicious Stories, Fascinating History, Tasty Recipes, and More. Learn more at www.CookieALoveStory.com. Brette’s web site is www.BretteSember.com and she blogs at http://PuttingItAllontheTable.com.

Photo by Stas Knop

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