Today’s Write On! Online Author Q&A is with Jodi Lipper, co-author of the Hot Chick book series: How to Eat Like a Hot Chick: Eat What You Love, Love How You Feel, How To Love Like a Hot Chick: The Girlfriend to Girlfriend Guide to Getting the Love You Deserve, and the upcoming How to Live Like a Hot Chick. She has been featured on Extra and the Tyra Banks Show, and has made regular appearances on The Today Show. Jodi previously edited at Atria Books, where she worked with numerous #1 New York Times bestselling authors. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor, and is in the process of writing her first novel.

How to Love Like a Hot Chick,jodi Lipper,Cerina Vincent

How did the Hot Chick series come about? Describe the concept …
The concept of the series is that ALL women are Hot Chicks who just need a reminder and perhaps a little refresher course on how to embrace that fact! My co-author Cerina Vincent and I describe a Hot Chick as a confident, empowered woman who knows what she wants, isn’t afraid to go after it, and won’t settle for anything less. Our books are about teaching women to approach every aspect of their lives with that deep level of confidence—from the way they eat to their relationships, work lives, etc.

We came up with the idea because we were sick of all the fad diets and tabloids that make women feel terrible about themselves and tell them that they just aren’t good enough. We wanted to create a fun, uplifting line of books that would send the opposite message—that you are perfect just the way you are; in fact, you are a total Hot Chick and you didn’t even know it!

How did you experience in acquisitions help you on the author side?
It helps tremendously in terms of understanding what editors and publishers are looking for, but it helps the most when it comes to knowing exactly what to expect. The publishing process is long and can be filled with many different ups and downs—from disagreements with your editor to publicity disappointments and so on. Having realistic expectations going into the process helped me deal with each issue that arose (luckily not too many) without panicking. And of course it always helps to know the shorthand of the business you’re working in and to be fluent enough in it to be able to see the cold truth through a well-crafted email.

What’s it like working with a co-author? What’s your process for writing together?
I’m very lucky that my co-author and I work together amazingly well and collaborating is actually one of my favorite parts of the entire process. We’re just so in tune with each other’s personalities and senses of humor that it’s easy to finish the other’s joke or see where the other was trying to get with something and help her get there. I was once taught in a writing class that writers must take on four roles throughout their process—that of madman, architect, carpenter and judge. Cerina and I basically split these roles up; more often than not, I play the carpenter and judge, but it can vary.

What are the challenges and benefits of working on a novel, as opposed to the Hot Chick series?
They have so little in common that it’s hard to compare! The Hot Chick series is completely based on the experiences that Cerina and I have gone through and the girlfriend-to-girlfriend advice we’ve given each other along the way, so it is not a stretch at all to sit down and write it. It’s still hard work, but it comes very naturally to me to write down all the advice I’d give to my friends. When I write fiction, it’s not about me at all and I have to stretch myself to imagine what other people (the characters) are thinking and feeling and why they’re behaving the way they are. They both take creativity, but fiction obviously requires a lot more focus and imagination, which can be a challenge for me, especially when I’m juggling numerous projects.

The main reward of writing the Hot Chick series is getting emails from women saying that the books made them feel good or even just made them laugh. With the novel, the biggest reward so far is looking at the page and thinking, “Wow, I made something out of literally nothing.”

Any more Hot Chick books on the horizon?
Yes, I’m glad you asked! We just made a deal for the third book, tentatively titled How to Live Like a Hot Chick. It will focus on creating a work/life balance and help women find the time and the confidence to feel like Hot Chicks in every aspect of their lives. HarperCollins is publishing again, most likely in May of 2010.

How is the publishing world changing?
It’s under great pressure to keep up with changing times and technology, and I don’t think they’re there yet, but I also don’t think the publishing industry is going anywhere. People may not always want to feel a book in their hands, but the written word has been around a lot longer than paper and will outlive it, too. I trust that there are people on the other side of the industry who will come up with successful ways of marrying the publishing industry to technology and I can’t wait to see.

Is there anything a writer can do to get the advantage in getting published?
For non-fiction, it’s all about that dreaded term, building a platform. The good news is that’s easier these days than it used to be. You don’t have to be a major celebrity, but if you have a popular blog or even a lot of Twitter followers, you’ll have a lot better chance of getting a publisher. They’re not looking to take a lot of chances right now, so if you already have a fan base it greatly raises your odds.

For fiction, I think it’s crucial to be unique. Remember that editors have a stack of manuscripts to go through and they are looking for any excuse to stop reading, so don’t give them one! If you have a truly unique voice and a good story to go along with it, they will not be able to say no.

Advice for writers?
Don’t take no for an answer, but don’t be stubborn, either. It’s important to have a creative vision and stick by it, but don’t use that as an excuse to ignore notes from an agent or editor. Instead, really listen to what their issue is and come up with a solution for it that you can live with. Very often, editors will ask you to add a monkey (for example) not because the story needs a monkey per se but because it’s lacking something else. So instead of saying, “Screw you; I’m not adding a monkey,” take a step back and try to figure out what the monkey represents and what the editor is trying to accomplish by adding the monkey. Then find your own way of accomplishing the same thing without sacrificing your vision. Nine times out of ten this will lead to a better book. (Sorry if the monkey thing was weird.)

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
That I could do it! It took so long for me to even admit to myself that it was what I wanted to do because I was so scared that if I admitted it I would have to go after it and risk complete failure. If I knew that I could have a career as a writer, I probably would have started a lot sooner.

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  1. dawnallred 10 years ago

    I like “How To Eat Like a Hot Chick”, “Cook Yourself Thin”, and Jillian Michaels new book, “master Your Metabolism”. We all know what we are supposed to do, but these three offer simple ways to think about food and many very small changes that make a very big difference.

    Thanks,
    Dawn

  2. […] Jodi Lipper, The Hot Chick series […]

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