I have written 11 hot sauce reviews to date, which are being posted on InsaneChicken.com (look for reviews by "jason"). Even though I'm only getting paid five bucks per review, I've tasted some good products and there's really no cost of doing business so it's not a bad gig overall.
The publisher who contacted me, New Century Publishing out of Indiana, turned out to be a vanity/subsidy press, which requires you to pay to be published. I had a very nice conversation with the president, who was effusive in his praise for my work, and he sent me a publishing agreement. According to the terms, I had to pay $1,750 to cover 50% of the publishing costs (including editing and printing), and I also was required to purchase 40 books. All told, it could have cost me three grand or more, and while I would do it as a last resort, the fact is that the industry doesn't consider this legitimate so my book would never end up in a bookstore or be reviewed by professionals.
I can't tell you how good it felt to finally hear someone give me positive feedback on my book, but ultimately it was all a sham. It hurts to know that (and I spoke with various writers, including one who was published by New Century, and with a woman who runs the website Writer Beware, so I do know the truth about New Century), but at the same time it has given me new resolve to keep at it and to work harder to realize my dream of becoming a published author.
In the meantime, I've also been writing articles and columns for The Jewish Advocate, a weekly based in Boston, so while nothing is bringing in the windfall of fame and fortune as of yet, I'm keeping busy getting my name out there and hopefully that will help wheels to turn and doors to open.
By the way, I'm on Facebook so if you happened to land on this blog and like what you see, I invite you to friend me. I've learned that a writer needs a platform and without an audience or a community, no platform can stand.