Publishing and Patience with Hilary Hattenbach

Hilary Hattenbach
Hilary Hattenbach
Hilary Hattenbach

My guest today is Hilary Hattenbach, a freelance writer based in LA. Hilary majored in magazine journalism but ended up working in entertainment marketing for studios like Disney and 20th Century Fox before a chance meeting in a bakery led her to do-author The Kitchen Decoded Cookbook. Hilary tells me about that meeting and the cookbook that resulted, why being in an “artistic adjacent” field didn’t work for her, and how she began working as a freelance writer instead. She also has some great insight and advice into how working with editors as a freelancer really works—some of which might surprise you—and the pros and cons of writing for others vs. writing on your own platform, like Substack.

Episode breakdown:

[00:08:10] Storyteller at heart, not traditional career writer.
[00:13:03] Family death prompted job switch.
[00:18:03] Consulting, marketing, and a surprise cookbook
[00:23:50] Agent vanished; publisher wants book decision.
[00:26:34] Be transparent about money in publishing; people often think authors make (much) more than they do.
[00:35:00] The discomfort of uncertainty hinders our progress.
[00:43:04] Questioning assumptions, discovering new possibilities, embracing change.
[00:49:56] Writing workshops and mentor leads to publishing as a freelancer.
[00:53:08] Essay collection explores impact of friendships with older adults.
[01:01:16] Old Hollywood and a piece on the retirement home for actors and industry insiders.
[01:04:15] Interviews cut, piece rewritten by someone else.

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Show links

Hilary’s Instagram


Substack: In with the Old

Hilary’s piece on Sadie Vimmerstedt, who inspired Tony Bennett’s “I Wanna Be Around.”


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Creative Commons License