When graduates of the Superstars Writing Seminar talk about Eggs Benedict, we are referring to how we sell our stories, not a delicious breakfast. You see, on one business trip, James A Owen sat in a little hotel considering the breakfast menu. When the waiter approached him, James asked for a recommendation.
“Well sir, I am so glad that you asked,” the waiter said. “Do we have an absolute treat for you. You see, our very own chef has a particular specialty, a recipe handed down through the generations of his family. The Eggs Benedict.”
“Before the crack of dawn, our chef personally went to the hen house to sift the day’s eggs. He then reported for work and prepared the English muffins with flour that he ground himself on the same pedestal that his forbearers reserved for the very same purpose. The Hollandaise sauce is ambrosia and is made fresh for each and every order.” At this point, the man leaned in confidentially, “He even named the pig from which the ham was taken.”
“Well,” said James with a laugh, “I guess that I’ll have the Eggs Benedict.” Left to wait, James contemplated his place setting. He adjusted the angle of the fork slightly, turned the water glass a quarter turn and otherwise fiddled, preparing his setting to receive the promised gustatory glory.
When the plate came and was set before him with a flourish, the waiter stepped back and respectfully waited for judgment. Looking to the kitchen, James saw that the chef also anticipated his response and was peaking through the small round window set into the door. Taking a deep breath, James cut into the dish and took the first, tentative bite.
And it was delicious. Everything promised, the best Eggs Benedict James had ever had. Nodding appreciatively, James began to devour his breakfast and was left to his enjoyment.
As he ate, James tried to figure out what made the food so amazing. There was a poached egg, resting on a thin slice of ham and an English muffin. The Hollandaise sauce was good, but not significantly different from others. So what was there to explain the gustatory joy he was experiencing?
It was the presentation, the expectation, and the delivery on a promise of quality. When James asked for a recommendation, the waiter could have said, “Eh, well, the chef has been working on the Eggs Benedict for a while. At nights, after work, you see. He’s given it to some people who eat a lot of Eggs Benedict and they think it is pretty good too. You could try it if you want.”
The key then, is to sell your books like you sell your Eggs Benedict. With gusto.
“No one will think that your ideas are more awesome than you do… [Writers] have the audacity to believe that the ideas we make up in our heads are so awesome that other people should pay to enjoy them. It’s our business.” ~James A. OwenTags: Sequence 04: On the Shoulders of Giants