Fat Chance: 16 Months from Query to Bookstore

A little over a year ago I was in the middle of an exciting auction (the first I conducted as an agent) for a book by Julie Hadden, the 1st runner up on Season 4 of “The Biggest Loser.” I’m excited that the book, Fat Chance, released this week.

I wanted to give you a little background on how I became involved with this book. Each project has its own journey, and with this one, there was a lot of synchronicity involved, or should I say serendipity? Others will call it a “God thing.” Here’s how it happened.

In late 2007, I was looking for a good TV show I could watch with my kids. We enjoy shows like Amazing Race and American Idol, where we can watch people overcome challenges, and root for our favorites week by week. I decided on The Biggest Loser. I’d never watched it before, but my girls and I immediately got hooked. We watched the whole season together, and found ourselves inspired and motivated along the way. There was a woman on it named Julie. She was sweet, she was a mom, and she was such a hard worker. She was our favorite, and we rooted for her all the way to the final episode where she came in second place.

Fast forward seven months. In July of 2008, my query box held an email with a familiar name attached – Julie Hadden. Her query letter was beautifully written, just the right length (430 words) with the right pitch to pique my interest. She told me how her mind, spirit and body were transformed through her incredible experience on The Biggest Loser. She felt she had learned so many things that could help other people who were struggling with doubt, self-image and weight issues. She was already on the speaking circuit, inspiring hundreds of women at a time, and now she wanted to share her story in a book. Needless to say, she had the platform. Now all she needed was an agent and a publisher.

Well, to put it bluntly, I flipped. I couldn’t believe it was really Julie, my favorite contestant from the only season of The Biggest Loser I’d ever watched. I got in touch with her that same day. She had queried several agents, and I was the first to respond. Julie and I chatted a number of times and connected on numerous levels. I understood her vision for the book, and had a lot of ideas to add. I articulated for her what my plan of action would be if she signed with me. It helped that I already knew Julie’s story since I’d watched it unfold on national television and I felt a personal connection with her. (I don’t think any other agents she queried had that edge.)

It was only two weeks later that she signed on as a WordServe client and we went to work on the proposal and sample chapters. Two months later in October it was finally ready for submission and I began phoning a handful of editors and sending it out; in November we had our auction which involved four publishers (two NY houses and two CBA houses) and was won by Guideposts Publishing. In January 2009 we finally had signed contracts.

It’s been an incredibly busy year for Julie, with writing the book, caring for her two children, working hard to maintain her weight loss (she’s 80 pounds lighter than when she began The Biggest Loser!) and the considerable ongoing demands of publicity. Finally having a book on the shelves is the culmination of a dream, and being able to inspire and encourage people is what keeps her going.

See the book on Amazon HERE.

Julie is a strong and brave person who has been on an amazing journey, and whose heart is to serve others. I count it as a privilege to know her. You can visit her website here. Congratulations, Julie!

  1. Jennifer L. Griffith says:

    >I LOVE how God brought you two together. How awesome!!!!

  2. Sharon A. Lavy says:

    >How fun for you Rachelle to get her query. It is a small world after all!

  3. momishome2 says:

    >What a neat story of God bringing you two together. Julie's story will be inspirational to read. Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Bethany L.

  4. ParisBreakfasts says:

    >Congradulations to both of you!
    16 months to birthing a book is pretty darn quick is it not?

  5. june says:

    >Congratulations on your first auction and Julie for her amazing accomplishments. You're both blessed.
    I've noted the book on my blog.

  6. Rachel Hauck says:

    >I'M IN! I'll blog about it. I'd love to be a part of this book.


  7. Rachelle says:

    >Elaine 3:35, you have to send an email. Thanks.

    Folks, I still have copies left!

  8. Gwen Stewart says:

    >That story is amazing! Congrats to both of you, and best wishes for a successful launch!

  9. Elaine says:

    >Yes, I'll be happy to blog about Julie's book. My name is Elaine A. Schulte. My address is 5929 Pine Vista St SE, Grand Rapids MI 49548-6885. My blog can be found at the following location: http://elaineselectronicepistle.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for considering me.


  10. Julie Gillies says:

    >What a thrill, Rachelle, to represent the very woman you and your daughters rooted for. I love how God worked that out for you.

    Congrats to you and to Julie. I pray her book is wildly successful!

  11. Lisa Jordan says:

    >How exciting! I'll bet your girls were just as excited…or don't they get that excited about your job? I look forward to reading Julie's success story.

  12. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side says:

    >I totally remember Julie–she was our favorite too. Thanks for posting this. Emailing you now!

  13. Rebecca Knight says:

    >That's so exciting that you got to work with her when you were already a fan of her journey! πŸ˜€

    I love The Biggest Loser, and am always inspired by it. Thanks for this post!

  14. Eric says:

    >That is awesome, Rachelle. My wife and I watch that show all the time. Although I've never had weight difficulties, my wife has struggled with her weight for years. We both find inspiration and warm feelings in the show, watching as the competitors achieve goals they never before thought possible. Congratulations and I hope this book does really well. So many people can benefit from something like this.

    Eric Stallsworth

  15. Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God says:

    >Good morning, Rachelle;

    Wow! I love these God-at-work stories. He orchestrates everything down to the smallest detail. Thank you for allowing us to share in the adventure.

    Congratulations to you both.

    Be blessed,


  16. Rose McCauley says:

    >I can't wait to read this book and try some of Julie's weight-loss tips. I loved the personal touch your story adds to the book, Rachelle. And like all great stories, yours has a wonderful twist–the agent getting excited at the name in her inbox! LOL rose

  17. Kristen Torres-Toro says:

    >That's pretty cool for each of you! I really enjoy the "Biggest Loser", but didn't start watching until last season. Way to go, Julie–and Rachelle!

  18. Anita Saxena says:

    >Congratulations! What a great story!

  19. ninidee says:

    >I loooove reading about stories like this. What a neat situation.


  20. ninidee says:

    >I loooove reading about stories like this. What a neat situation.


  21. T. Anne says:

    >Wonderful and inspiring post. What a gorgeous cover as well. I'm glad you were able to land a project you were so eager to pursue,that in itself is a blessing too.

  22. ScarletSoccerMommy says:

    >Congrats to you both! It must have been fate that you received her query! Your girls must be so excited as well since they followed her journey.

  23. Rachel says:

    >OH MY GOSH!!! I am addicted to the Biggest Loser, and I, too, loved Julie. What a sweet relationship for the Lord to forge between the two of you! I am always inspired by BL, even though my self-sabotaging behaviors look different. I would love to blog about her new book (I blogged earlier last year about BL anyway, and can link it to a more recent post). I'm so excited for you to get to work with such an interesting person and–I'm sure–book.

  24. Steena Holmes says:

    >WOW! How exciting is that!

  25. Jen Chandler says:

    >A wonderful and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing Julie's story with us. Congratulations to you both on the publication.

    Happy Wednesday,

  26. Nicole O'Dell says:

    >Congratulations to you both!

  27. Cecelia says:

    >Wow! What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing with us!

  28. Roxane B. Salonen says:

    >I love it when those God moments happen. That in itself is a story, for sure. Congrats to both of you!

  29. Marla Taviano says:

    >Love, love, LOVE this story!! Congratulations to you both!!

  30. Alexis Grant says:

    >Great story, great client. And a fabulous Web site!

  31. Katy McKenna says:

    >Serendipity is my favorite word! Congrats to you and Julie for putting yourselves in the place to make it happen! So thrilled for both of you….

  32. Shelby says:

    >oh it looks fabulous! I sent you an email.. I'd love at a chance at Fat Chance!

    Cheers πŸ™‚

  33. Jessica says:

    >That's so inspiring! Congrats to her and to you. πŸ™‚

  34. Tamara Hart Heiner says:

    >That is so awesome! By coincidence, that's the only season of The Biggest Loser that my husband and I watched!

  35. Krista Phillips says:

    >I remember Julie from BL too… although I'm a fan of the show and watch it *most* seasons. Such an inspiration… thank you and congrats!

  36. Heather Sunseri says:

    >What a fantastic story! Very inspiring. Congratulations to Julie and to you, Rachelle.

  37. Susan at Stony River says:

    >It's hard to say which is more exciting and inspiring, the weight loss or writing the book. I'm impressed on both counts, and wish Julie all the best. Congratulations to you both on the auction!

  38. Ellen B says:

    >Hi Rachelle,

    That's an interesting story, and proof that watching television can be great for your career πŸ™‚

    Well done to Julie, I look forward to hearings lots more about her!

  39. Katie Ganshert says:

    >Wow! What a cool story! And 16 months? That's insanely fast. Congrats to Julie!

    I think something is up with blogger. For whatever reason, this post didn't show up in my dashboard. Hmmm…

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