And now for something different. This week, I'm feasting on a short interview with Abbe Diaz about publishing, eating in NYC, and her new series books. Her PX This book is free on Kindle, but only for a limited time.
Abbe Diaz is the author of PX This. (Diary of the “Maître d’ to the Stars”) and PX Me. (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire.) She is also a freelance commercial-artist, designer/dressmaker, and restaurant consultant. She has worked in the restaurant/bar industry for nearly 25 years, with numerous stints throughout the New York dining/party scene that include: Limelight, Palladium, Tunnel, Club USA, Coffee Shop, Spy, Cafe Tabac, The Strand (Miami Beach), Mercer Kitchen, Ilo, Lotus, and Theo. She served as the opening maître d’ for The Park, Smith, and 66.
|One of several volumes.|
What’s the one best improvement in self-publishing now over ten years ago?
Ten years ago eReaders didn't even exist. Basically, a self-published book was "print on demand" only. So although the process of publishing was relatively easy, the system of selling books was difficult because books which were printed "on demand" were very expensive, simply by virtue of the printing operation (not to mention the door-to-door delivery).
For example, my 468-page book retailed at $29.99— for a soft cover! That made it damned near impossible to market. I got so many complaints about it, and even my own family started demanding free copies instead of supporting a struggling new author like a loving family should. Most authors know it's hard enough to sell a book as it is; just imagine how challenging it is when you are charging an arm and a leg and a firstborn.
On top of all that, it turned out to be a double-edged sword. I declined a quasi-offer from a traditional publishing house, because I wanted to maintain creative control over my work. But then after I self-published, I reconsidered and spoke with several literary agents thinking I could find a publisher who could butcher enough trees and distribute so many copies of my book it would end up in the discount bin for 99 cents, but none of them were interested in representing me unless I'd sold "at least 5,000 units." Now I ask you, if I could have sold 5,000 units at thirty bucks a pop, what the hell would I need a literary agent for?
Now you can sell books for as little as 99 cents without all that rigmarole, if you want. Hooray!
What’s the one biggest disappointment in the lack of self-publishing progress?
Did you know that authors still cannot present their books in the specific font of their choice? They can't even control whether it's a serif or a sans-serif. I mean, yes there are expensive eBook conversion services which can "embed" fonts, but the Kindle devices themselves are not always compatible with the outcome.
Yea yea so what, you ask— who do I think I am, e.e. cummings? Well okay, let's assume I am e.e.cummings. Just imagine how frustrated I would be.
Are you still banned from restaurants?
Hey, I am not banned from restaurants; I am banned from one restaurant group. Because they're cowardly and cheesy. But if you were to ask any staffer that's below top-tier management all up in that mess, they would tell you what a hero I am.
All the other restaurants love me— I'm a great and frequent customer, I never complain, and I always tip really well. And besides, I never insulted any restaurateur who didn't patently deserve it.
Do you worry about retaliatory food in your orders? Skate disguised as flounder?
There are only handful of creepy chefs whose food I wouldn't trust. Believe me, I don't want to eat their food anyway. So no, I don't worry.
|Dine On This Book|
The killer asteroid is coming. To which NYC restaurant do you put on your Jimmy Choos and run there to eat?
Can I pick two places and pedal in my Jimmy Choos from one to the other on a Citibike or something? Cuz right now I can't decide between Omar's and Maison O.
Oh okay, I pick Omar's. Especially since the food is great but I hear they're maybe about to lose their chef, Kenny Cuomo. Oopsie, I think that's probably supposed to be a secret, but "news" like that is forever falling right into my lap.
Ha, you should forward this blog post to Eater New York, they would kill for a "scoop" like that. Then again, don't hold your breath for any acknowledgement, because supposedly I am "blacklisted" now for delineating all their depravity in my second book, PX Me (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire (available now on Amazon!) and for putting a photograph of their jerkfaced co-founder on my hilarious trailer video (viewable now on YouTube! http://youtu.be/kX5COWeUtMU).
I would give it a try anyway, though. The experiment alone is fascinating, no?
Bill Gates offers you his fortune if you eat at the worst restaurant you have ever eaten in. Do you eat there? Why/why not?
His entire fortune? Oh hell yes, I would do it for a mere one-tenth of his fortune. I would even eat at one of those places operated by that handful of aforementioned creepy chefs. I wouldn't worry about being poisoned, because I would take Bill Gates's fortune and just buy the entire restaurant. And if the owners were stubborn and egomaniacal and refused to sell the restaurant to me, then I would just buy the whole fucking building.
More About Abbe Diaz
Abbe has been featured in various media outlets such as The New York Daily News, The New York Post, msn.com, The Morning Show (Australia), CBS’s The Insider, The New York Observer, Blackbook, Time Out New York, Perez Hilton, Gawker, LXTV-NBC, NBC Chicago, New York magazine, Mediabistro, hamptons.com, and foodchannel.com, just to name a few. For more visit: . Twitter: . Facebook: