Lately it seems like all signs in my life are pointing toward cupcakes, at least, in terms of success. My other writing is going okay, I'm the main holdup, and I've sortof let a lot of things falter and taken bad, twisted paths and agreed to things I shouldn't have.
But cupcakes haven't let me down, at least, so far. Our partnership at Foodbuzz means we're seeing actual income from Cupcakes Take the Cake. Not enough to live on, but a nice check every month, and also some compensation for the many, many hours I put into it. I certainly can see that the more a blog succeeds, the more work it takes. It's all a learning experience, I hope, and I try to remind myself of that when the going gets tough. I've definitely learned things about myself and how I work and made mistakes I wouldn't repeat, and I hope I can use those lessons wisely going forward, because I have lots of blog plans.
I sometimes forget just how popular the blog is until, say, I go to buy an iPhone and am recognized as a cupcake blogger. I used to feel icky and weird and still do if someone recognizes me from sex writing, because no matter how well-intentioned they are, it's still awkward for me to know that they know about my sex life. Yes, I'm aware that I write about it, and all writers should want the maximum number of readers possible, but I am so grateful to have something else to do too, and, yes, something that often feels more valuable, more acceptable. Better, I guess, and then I feel guilty about that. I remember when I used to be Miss Erotica Defender and ready to leap in and verbally pound anyone who tried to disparage it. I still believe in erotica and sex writing but I think I've lost much of my zeal for it, or maybe my ability to do it. It comes and goes; sometimes I get so inspired and bang out a story and am so smitten with it I could go down on it. Imagine if you could perform oral sex on a story? That would be hot.
Anyway, in happy cupcake land, as opposed to the rest of my life, a lot of good stuff is happening. My panel "Nom Nom Nom: The Secrets of Successful Foodblogging" was accepted for SXSW 2009.
I'm quoted several times, as is the blog, in the "Let Them Eat Cupcakes" chapter of Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat. I was so thrilled to find that galley on election night at Housing Works, but it's also surreal, to see my name in a book when it's not my byline. I'm used to people linking to us, and get my own little thrill when they do, especially when they're so excited that we've posted one of their images. But being called a "cupcake maven" is a little different.
And on Monday I'll be speaking at the Food Marketing & Publicity 2008 Summit. As if I weren't nervous enough, I then saw the roster of speakers and that it costs $795 to get in. But, I also realized that in almost 4 years of cupcake blogging, I know a lot. I have things to say and am eager to hear what the other panelists have to share.
It's strange and fun yet also confusing to take something you love and turn it into a business. I don't have the conflicts around it that I do about sex writing, but at the same time, any time something goes from purely fun to more businesslike, it gets tricky. I don't know what the future holds but I have lots of plans and dreams, and I like being part of something that I can love unabashedly. The rest of the writing I do so often comes with assumptions and complications. I had my totally amazing assistant Inara send out my newsletter today, and while one of the first responses was someone just saying getting my newsletter made them smile, another was someone sending me some crazy incest story and spanking photos. DO. NOT. WANT. But how do you say that to someone and then potentially lose them as a reader? Do I even want someone like that as a reader? That's where my head starts to explode.
I struggle with wondering whether by dint of being a "sex writer," whatever the hell that means, we bring on those kinds of inappropriate emails. Sometimes I wish I could be more gung-ho about sex writing, could let all that roll off my back, but I can't. I so often want to erase all the things I've written and start over, but I can't, and ultimately, if I did, I'd probably be unhappy. So for now, I have my little fraction of a section of the food blogosphere, and I love it, love the people I've met through it, love the cupcakes that seem to follow me. I want to try to focus on that rather than the stress and aggravations that come with it. We are cooking up lots of great events and giveaways and projects. And, fingers crossed, a book deal, though, well, my fingers aren't really crossed on that, but it would make me prouder than any other book I've done to get a cupcake book deal, I can say that. And the thing is, I'm not crossing my fingers because I know it will happen. Probably not as fast as I'd like, but that's been a goal for two years, so there's time.
Labels: Cupcakes Take the Cake