Can A Visual Story Become A Book Proposal?

That's what Toronto celebrity chef Zane Caplansky and I are going to find out, and you're invited to join us.

We're collaborating at Storia.me (formerly named Selfish), the new visual storytelling service where I've been heading content and community for the past year, to create the foundation of a book about his adventures building a deli empire.

Zane's a great storyteller, and his quest for the perfect smoked meat sandwich has taken him on a personal and professional journey around the world, from dive bars and divorce into foodie business ventures on wheels and construction lots, and onto the shelves of Whole Foods and television shows judging donuts and national radio airwaves talking about what makes Canadian food uniquely Canadian.

He's changed his name and returned to his roots and now he's serving handmade, homemade Jewish deli food the way his mother and grandmother taught him, and sharing his biggest lessons about life and how what we crave -- yes, it could be a sandwich -- holds the key to our future.

It's a story we can all enjoy.

In fact, a major Canadian literary agent requested Zane's book proposal.

Two years ago.

Does that sound familiar?

It's a common story and nightmare of many promising writers. You're busy. It's a lot of material to get your arms around. It's overwhelming! It takes time to pick out a narrative, pin down the content you want to draw from when you start writing. It also takes time to compare and contrast other related titles.

So here's what Zane and I are going to try at Storia.me, with its topic-specific, ongoing stories and its moments of photo, video and text:

We'll start capturing chapter ideas for his memoir in an exclusive story, and in this collaborative story Proposing Deli Man we'll walk you through what we’re doing together. Kind of like a blueprint for how we're doing it.

If you're a writer you'll probably find it interesting in a behind-the-scenes-in-publishing kind of way (and you might want to try it yourself, right along with us).

If you're a fan of Zane's food and his life stories, you might like to see him put together this book like he puts together his lovingly made smoked meat sandwiches.

He'll also be sharing about this project on all his platforms -- like a media- and audience-savvy book author needs to -- and inviting people to come peek in and comment. That includes you. We want to hear your thoughts every step of the way.

"It's a good example of collaboration, as well as a brilliant idea and useful for me," Zane says.

We can't wait to get started. So subscribe right now to our behind-the-scenes story Proposing Deli Man, and Zane Caplansky's Storywhere we'll be capturing all the delicious material representing his story, and be sure you're following Zane too so you don't miss any new stories he starts.

If you know anyone who would like to watch this unfold, or take part themselves, share this right now.

See you in the story!