• 10 Ways to Persevere When Writing A Cookbook

    Perseverance1

    You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance. – Lou Holtz

    We live in a world where we want everything quick. Better yet, how about immediate, fast, and tomorrow is too late. In an instant-ramen-noodle-style life, we don’t want to wait, work hard, or feel challenged. We just want results.

    The truth is that most book projects are more like making a batch of chicken stock than they are like instant ramen noodles. Stock can’t be rushed if we want excellent results. To make the best stock we have to be willing to let the ingredients simmer and allow the heat to extract the flavor and gelatin from the bones. The results are worth the time and effort of preparing stock the correct way.

    Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite delay or difficulty in achieving success. I’m two weeks away from turning in two book manuscripts and today I launched my September Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Groups. For the past two months, I worked hard to promote and invite aspiring cookbook authors to participate in the Mastermind group. I met my goal and had members sign up. At the same time, to complete my cookbook manuscript, I have scheduled time on my calendar for results-focused activities.

    In a recent blog post, I wrote about commitment. Making the commitment to anything new provides fuel to get you started. When you sign a publishing contract, you commit to completing a manuscript. When you launch an online program, you see it through in spite of any difficulties you may encounter. Ask anyone who is in the middle of a book-writing project, or launching a new program, and they will tell you that determination and persistence, aka perseverance, drives them toward the finish line.

    While researching material for this blog post I created a set of questions based on qualities that are present in individuals who persevere. With those in mind, and using my experiences with book and work projects (and marriage and raising children!), I added more qualities that I’ve found to be helpful for perseverance.

    1. Do you feel resilient?  
    When you come upon a challenge or setback in a project, you may feel defeated. The choice is now yours: you can quit or bounce back and keep trying.

    2. Do you ask for help if you’re stuck? 
    Feeling supported and connected in the achievement of your goal help you persevere m. Seek out role models or mentors that you can turn to when you have questions.

    3. Do you practice self-compassion? 
    Take it easy on yourself if you make a mistake. Avoid negative thoughts about setbacks and do give yourself for a misstep. Practice positive self-talk and get yourself back on the track to completion.

    4. Do you accept that uncertainty of the outcome is a reality? 
    Surrender to the fact that you can’t control a lot of what happens in your life. Focus on what you can control – your hard work and effort.

    5. Do you maintain a sense of humor? 
    There’s a time to be serious and strict, but be sure you balance that with the ability to laugh at yourself and your mistakes and move on.

    6. Are you a mindful person? 
    Focus on today, and the hour you have before you. Work on small, accomplishment-oriented tasks to keep your project moving forward.

    7. Do you see the big picture? 
    While focusing on tasks for today, it is good to use your vision to keep you motivated. Imagine holding your printed cookbook. Imagine clients engaged in your programs. A view of the big picture can provide motivation to keep going.

    8. Do you love a challenge and work harder when something gets hard? 
    Adopt a growth mindset and accept the challenge as an opportunity to improve your skills and yourself. Be willing to take the stairs, not the elevator.

    9. Do you strive to be a better version of yourself, rather than trying to always compete with someone else? 
    Each time I write a cookbook, I try to improve on my last book and on my systems that I use to write the book. I learned from what I’ve done before and applied that to my next project. Competition needs to make us stronger in our actions and not lead to envy, bad feelings, or quitting because we don’t think we’re as good as the next person.

    10. Do you value practice? 
    Making an effort to try, and to keep learning even when you don’t see immediate results. Practice, practice, practice.

    Using the ten questions above, score your perseverance quotient. Take a look at the areas where you excel and be proud. Use them to build something new in your work or personal life. And for areas where you need to improve, use current projects or life situations to practice these qualities. Life always hands us what we need to learn, grown, and become people who persevere.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

     

     

  • Secrets to Cookbook Writing Progress

    Secrets to ProgressI’ve been thinking a lot about cookbook projects. They are complicated, but fun and rewarding when you have an idea you want to share with a curated set of recipes.

    Aspiring cookbook authors can do any of these three things: consume, indulge, or produce.

    When you consume you read and research. You scroll and watch. You listen and you learn. Consuming may tell you what you need to do, but it rarely leads to a cookbook. It doesn’t involve results-based action.

    When you indulge, you have self-pity, confusion, and a don’t-know-how attitude. There is overwhelm. Indulging equals stuck and doesn’t lead to a cookbook.

    When you produce, you focus on results. You plan. You commit. You seek help and direction. You take action on your plan. You schedule the time to rest. You enjoy the journey. You make progress on your goals. You write a cookbook and you find a publisher.

    Discomfort is real. It can be the temporary discomfort of sticking to a schedule when we want to consume. That’s a good discomfort because it is the currency of our dreams.

    Discomfort can also be long term when we indulge in confusion and overwhelm instead of producing. It is uncomfortable to not go after our dreams. When we are stuck we fail ahead of time and that doesn’t feel good.

    Which discomfort do you choose?

    If you’re stuck consuming (watching others write their books on Instagram or Facebook) or indulging (feeling overwhelmed and stuck), you are a perfect fit for Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group. You’re so close to producing and achieving results.

    Hungry For A Cookbook starts September 19th.

    I want you to produce results.

    I want you to get your cookbook written and published.

    I can show you how to get there. And you can make progress with only temporary discomfort as you go after your dream.

    Apply for Hungry For A Cookbook today.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

  • Fall Cookbook Roundup

    Fall Cookbook Roundup 17Fall is a favorite time of year for cookbook publication, so it’s time for my annual fall cookbook roundup referencing lists from foodies websites, Publishers Weekly, and newspapers. The lists include authors who have written more than one book, I like to remember that for many of the authors this their first book. And every book starts with an idea they had about a topic related to food, cooking, or the kitchen.

    And be sure to read the last link about a 19-year old who published a print food magazine.

    Huffington Post
    Huff Post looks foward to the end of summer with their top 10 fall cookbooks, some from food bloggers, and some from chefs who’ve written mutiple cookbooks. All give us a chance this fall to bake, cook, and slow-cook.

    Epicurious
    Epicurious takes a look at cookbooks as “the pendulum has swung back to home cooking, and publishers have heard the call.” Chefs and restaurants are no longer front and center of the list that Epicurious has chosen.

    Eater
    Eater take a look at the Biggest Restaurant Cookbooks of Fall 2017.

    Publishers Weekly
    PW describes their list as “eclectic” as the books address topics from work hunger to feeding the resistance.

    Tasting Table
    TT claims that the 37 books they’ve selected will change the way you cook.

    LA Times
    An “impressive” list with first books about Native American cuisine, drinking food of Thailand, and making bread.

    COOKBOOK WRITING
    Here’s what I call an amazing story about a 19-year old college student who wanted to write a print publication. So, she went “nerd deep” on a topic and published a magazine. Don’t ever let anyone stop you from your cookbook or print-publication dreams.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors on writing cookbooks and cookbook proposals and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

     

     

  • Q & A: How Do I Write a Cookbook Proposal that Attracts Agents and Publishers?

    question-mark-463497_640Agents and publishers love well-written cookbook proposals. They want to read proposals that are unforgettable and read about aspiring authors who have excitement and passion for a topic. This is attractive!

    The nuts and bolts of a cookbook proposal are pretty standard. Think of a cookbook proposal as a business plan for your cookbook. It identifies your cookbook concept as well as your ideas for marketing and sales of your cookbook. You may be lucky enough to have a publisher approach you about writing your first cookbook, you may choose to self-publish your cookbook, or you may send your proposal to agents and/or publishing house, but in any case you’ll need a plan for your cookbook before you start writing it. In most cases, a cookbook proposal is the tool to use. In the end the proposal communicates to everyone involved in your cookbook project your vision for your cookbook.

    Writing a solid cookbook proposal takes time and energy.

    Cathy Barrow spent one year writing her proposal. With her research, she turned her ideas into a proposal that gained her a cookbook contract. Her book was published in November 2014 and Cathy won an IACP award at the recent 2015 IACP conference.

    Heidi Swanson, from food blog 101 Cookbooks, has a four to five year cycle for writing new cookbooks. She likes to take time for her ideas to gel. In addition, she started to write part of her manuscript for the book before she writes her proposal. Her third cookbook, Near & Far, will be published in 2015.

    Some other cookbook authors write their proposals in a few months, once they have started building their platform and connecting with potential buyers of their book.

    Brian Yarvin follows the instructions in the book Writer’s Market to write his proposals. According to Brian, Writer’s Market lists “many legit, paying cookbook publishers and gives clear instructions for how to write a good proposal. I have sold every cookbook proposal I’ve circulated using the method spelled out there. (Although an agent helped me get better deals in some cases.)”

    No matter how long you take to write your proposal, here are key components to include:

    Cookbook Concept: There’s no reason to write a cookbook unless you feel that you have something different to say or are writing on a different topic or have a unique approach. Your concept should be a natural fit for you. If you’re struggling to define your concept, or struggling to pitch your idea, the concept probably needs to be refined. Once you get the flow, your idea will delight you and you can speak in your own voice and experience and be authentic.

    Target Audience: It’s important to have your audience defined. Be specific. Who are you writing this book for? It is fine to write a cookbook to fulfill a personal dream, but in the end if you want to sell the book (after you write it) you need to have an audience for your book. Describe the audience in detail. Are they male or female? How old are they? Do they buy artisan or store-bought value brands of ingredients? How experienced of a cook or baker are they? What kind of recipes will they like?

    Marketing and Sales Plan: This is the second part of your job after you write your book. First, you write the book. Then, you sell the book. What can you bring to the table for potential? Do you have a blog audience or social media connections who want to buy your book? Are you willing to do speaking engagements or cooking demonstrations? Publishers want to know what you can do to add to sales.

    Table of Contents: The table of contents provides an outline of your book and gives an overview of the project in outline form. I like to suggest annotating the TOC. Annotation adds brief descriptions of the chapters so that the agent/editor won’t have to guess what you plan to do with a section of information.

    One Sample Chapter with Recipes and Photography If Applicable: Don’t write the entire cookbook manuscript. Focus on writing one chapter and writing it well. Include teach text, supporting information, and sample recipes. Make sure the recipes are tested and formatted correctly. Don’t be surprised if the editor cooks one of the recipes to try it out and get a feel for the flavor of your book. If you have ideas for photography, or if you do your own photography, include some photos here too so that the agent/publisher gets a feel for your vision for the design element of your cookbook concept.

    Author Bio: This is where you define what you bring to the table for your book. Describe you, your experience, and anything that connects you to your audience and your concept. Toot your horn. Be memorable.

    If you want to read other blog posts about cookbook proposals visit these links below:

    Cookbook Proposals are Important

    Writing a Cookbook Proposal: 5 Tips for Success

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

  • Why Join a Mastermind Group?

    Mastermind Groups 2Last week I introduced the concept of a Mastermind Group and how a Mastermind Group can be beneficial for support, growth, accountability, and positive mental energy when it comes to your business, career, or personal life.

    I like the idea of joining a Mastermind Group and can see at least five advantages belonging to one:

    1. There is typically an application process to join a Mastermind Group. This screening process ensures that members are committed to the Mastermind Group and that group members are not in competition with each other.

    2. Decision making is enhanced because a Mastermind Group serves as a personal board of directors and advisors to group members. These members come together to help each other decide what to do and create a plan to work on their goals.

    3. There is a spirit of collaboration to achieve more together, as well as a spirit of assistance because members brainstorm ideas to implement goals.

    4. Networks grow to include the members of the Mastermind Group as well as to include the network of each individual member collectively.

    5. Members gain a broader perspective to solutions to their problems through the shared-solutions that a Mastermind Group offers. This “Master Mind” is the best part of a group. It’s a wisdom and brain-power that allows members to think big as they access the collective wisdom of all the group members.

    If you would like to apply to join the Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group, you can read more about the Mastermind Group here.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. 

  • Cookbook Expert Interview Series: Cameron Ludwick: Trust Your Publisher

    image1I’ve known Cameron for several years. She worked for my first publisher, the University Press of Kentucky. When I thought of someone to interview for this expert series, Cameron came to mind. She’s everything I imagine a book publicist to be: always looking for creative ways to get “free” promotion for a book. Cameron has moved on to another publisher, but because of the relationship we developed I know she’s always part of my cookbook business and I love her for that. Thanks, Cameron. Can’t wait to visit Austin!

    What is the name of your company?

    University of Texas Press (Full disclosure: I came to Texas from Kentucky, where I worked at the University Press of Kentucky, which published The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook.)

    Please explain about your role in the publishing industry. Do you own an agency? Have you written a book? Or do you provide a service?­

    I’m a Publicist, which basically makes me the carnival barker at the press. I’m always working to make sure media not only know about new and forthcoming books but also connect them to backlist titles and authors who can help inform or interpret their reporting.

    Most of what I’ll talk about below refers to publicity and not to marketing, meaning I’ll be talking about promotion for your book that’s not paid for. Marketing would be another round of answers to these questions that would encompass advertising, exhibits, direct mail, and other ways of pushing your book out to the widest audience possible.

    What are the most important parts of a cookbook author’s platform in today’s digital media driven world?

    Having a platform at all gives an author an immediate leg-up on the publicity game. I realize it’s a lot to juggle—turning yourself into a charming, multi-platform, multi-media, chef/nutritionist/writer/photographer/tweeter/podcaster/curator, and all-around culinary guru. But! If you take a step back, it’s really just about having something to say that people want to listen to.

    When you have a clear point-of-view and a passion for what you want to share, it’s not terribly difficult to get the message out. I think authors often get so caught up in the newness of new media, that is, the ever-changing social networking apps that all the kids are downloading these days, that they don’t take a beat to consider, “What do I want to share?” and, “Where are the people I want to share it with?”

    The other thing to always keep in mind when you’re talking about publicity is, “What’s the result I want?” Your digital marketing approach will be different if you’re looking to build followers than if you’re trying to sell a product, and different still if you’re doing both. That difference, by the way, between building an audience and selling a product is a subtle but important one—especially for cookbook authors.

    I always coach my authors to build their platform with themselves as the product and not the individual book. For example, one of the things I liked best about working on Maggie’s cookbook, The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook, is that she had a personal brand first as a nutritionist and as the Green Apron Company. It made my job and her’s much easier to be able to springboard off that.

    What kinds of marketing and publicity support should a cookbook author expect from their publisher?

    This is going to vary pretty widely from press to press, but I can definitely speak from the stand point of a University Press. I’ve loved working at University Presses because they really are a caring bunch. You’ll be working with a smaller staff—unless you’re published at one of the big, big presses—which generally means more communication amongst the marketing staff and interdepartmentally.

    Before your book is even announced in a season, the marketing and publicity staff are working with your editor and the production team to come up with the best “package” for your book. As a quick aside, I’ll say that this is one area where authors who have a publisher benefit in ways that self-published authors have a tougher time. A publisher will take the time to make sure they’re getting the right title—unique, with great keywords that will make it easy to find in a search—the right cover image and cover design—something that pops on a bookstore and a digital bookshelf—the right endorsements—from other experts and authors—and the right copy—a description that will convert to sales from customers discovering your book.

    Once your book is announced, that is, the data is out to vendors and your publisher is going public with the news that new books are coming soon, a publisher will start calling on media and other PR contacts to preview the forthcoming titles. To keep using The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook as an example, the PR team took our list of titles to our contacts at various media outlets, including national contacts in New York and Washington D.C., and local contacts around the state. This allows editors to begin planning their editorial calendars and to begin making mental lists about the interesting and important projects that will be hitting their desks. It’s also how the PR team compiles their list of requests and, hopefully, commitments to reviews or coverage. This is the biggest way that I reinforce my relationships with editors, so I try to be honest and forthright about whether or not I think a book is a good fit for their outlet. Realistically, not every book is going to be attractive to the New York Times.

    That was my long-winded way of saying it’s all about the pitch. You’ll probably experience some radio silence after your publicist makes their initial PR calls as they shift their attention back to the current season in which new books are rolling off the press, and that’s OK! If there’s something you should be working on as a result of the publicist’s meetings, they’ll let you know. Things will ramp up as you get closer to your publication date.

    Once we have an actual book to send, your publicist will send out review copies to media who requested it as well as media we might not have a personal connection with, but who we think would be interested in the book and might review or feature it. We’ll send wider notice of a book’s publication to media via email as well. There are a lot of places that don’t necessarily need a print copy of a new book, or who would prefer an electronic review copy. Radio and television stations are usually an example here.

    Review copies will generally go out about a month before your book’s official publication date. But your publicist will follow-up with anyone who received a review copy to 1. make sure the book was received, and 2. give them the elevator pitch. After this, it’s all about managing the requests that start rolling in.

    The other thing I’m constantly trying to stay aware of is current events and news trends—and I ask all of my authors to be aware too. This is a bit more creative when it comes to food and cookbooks, but I’ll try to give you an example. Say, there’s a big trend toward CSAs popping up at farmer’s markets around Kentucky—there totally is, by the way—I would ask Maggie (jump on it!) to pull together a quick 500-750 words on the trend. Or, maybe it’s a list of the “6 Best Recipes to Make with This Month’s CSA Basket.” Whatever it is, it’s great material that promotes Maggie as an expert on fresh, local, seasonal foods and delicious recipes to make and share. The bonus is, Maggie’s expertise is that she’s the author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook and Tasting Kentucky, and hey, they’re both available wherever fine books are sold. Working with your publicist to provide this kind of material and content helps immensely! It’s a pretty big ask to go to a book review editor, send them a book, then expect them to read it, consider it, maybe find an outside reviewer for it, write a story or review, and slot it in for publication. Your publicist will love you for having well-written, timely, relevant content they can send to editors to plug-and-play for their readers. This is also the way your publicist can help the book stay relevant beyond the first blush of newness. For more information, scope out The OpEd Project as a resource.

    Is there anything unrealistic to expect?

    I touched on this a bit above, but to reiterate—not every book will be a New York Times bestseller. And, bless her for being an amazing platform for literature and writers, but not every book will make it to Oprah’s Book Club. Would I LOVE it if yours did? Would I shoot fireworks from my office for a month to celebrate if it did? Would I carry around your book with the Oprah’s Book Club Seal and show it off to every person I meet for the rest of my life? Yes! I 100% would! But, realistically, is that likely to happen? Probably not. Dang it.

    One of the earliest lessons I had to learn in publishing was that an author’s book is quite literally their baby. They worked hard. They sweated. They battled writer’s block, and typing cramps, and self-doubt, and deadlines, and by God, they wrote a book! But the truth is, more than 300,000 books are published in the US each year, and as a publicist, I’m responsible for 100 of them, including yours. And I promise you (I’ve raised my right hand, you just can’t see it,) I will be your partner in promotion and do everything I can to maximize you and your book’s potential audience. I will make pitches, and send review copies, and consult with your editor and advertising, and make sure the social media manager is aware of all your great clips. But I’ve also made this promise to 99 other authors, and I’m keeping them all. Sometimes that means you’re not going to get a daily/weekly/maybe even a monthly update. I might not be in touch every day with a new opportunity or review. You might even, and I apologize in advance for this, have to nudge me about something. Publicity can be a crazy, swirling morass of emails and phone calls for many disparate projects all at once. Something might happen in the middle of my day that incinerates my to-do list, and then the rest of my week shifts to a different track.

    Here’s what you should expect: A publicist who tells you, up front, the plan for your book. A publicist who invites your input. A publicist who helps you define success for your book. And a publicist who will help you achieve it. For me, this includes setting up phone calls with authors early in the process. The best time for this, I think, is after I’ve made my PR calls. Once your book has been announced and I’ve had an opportunity to talk about it with media, I’ll have a better idea of how media will receive your book, and will be better equipped to work with you on a plan.

    What are the top 3 things an author can do to support the publisher’s efforts?

    1. Fill out your marketing questionnaire.

    2. Fill out your marketing questionnaire.

    3. FILL OUT YOUR MARKETING QUESTIONNAIRE!

    No, seriously, please, for the love of all that is good, fill out your marketing questionnaire. I know, it feels so strange and formulaic, and nobody likes filling out paperwork, but this will be the foundation on which we build your marketing and publicity campaign. I cannot begin to count how many times I’ve opened an author’s marketing questionnaire to pull their ideas about the most important review media who should receive a copy of their book, and saw an answer like this: “I’ll leave it up to you. You probably know what’s best.” You’re the expert—you know best! It’s why we’re publishing your book!

    Phew, sorry, I’ve just taken three deep, cleansing breaths. Please. Just fill out your marketing questionnaire.

    What are the top 3 things an author can do to self-promote their book?

    1. Build your personal platform before you start selling a product. Back to the top on this one—again, it’s about building an audience and crafting your image as an expert. If you want your cookbook to be taken seriously, work to make yourself a serious resource!

    2. Do your research. Look for titles that are similar to yours and explore all the ways they built a successful marketing campaign. Who were the reviewers that wrote about the book? Were there any particular radio shows that they were interviewed on? What blogs did they pitch for excerpts or Q&As? Similarly, look further into what your publisher will be doing on behalf of your book. A really great resource is Jane Friedman. She’s a former publisher with an amazing newsletter and blog for aspiring and published authors.

    3. Be ready to share! Your publisher will provide you with a flyer, and if they don’t, just ask. Or, be armed with business cards that mention your book. Or bookmarks you can pass out. Or, whatever! Just be ready to share your book with whomever, wherever. If you’re in a cute gift shop that you think could carry your book, drop a business card. If someone asks what you do, tell them about your book! You’re your best advocate—so talk it up!

    Any other advice would you give aspiring cookbook authors?

    I’ll leave you with my advice for anyone who asks me the best way to get a book published: Go to your local bookstore and check out the shelf. Which publisher is publishing the books that most closely resemble yours? Snag the publisher’s name on the copyright page. Is there an acknowledgements section? Did they acknowledge an agent or an editor to whom you can address a query letter? Those are your resources!

    If you could tell every aspiring cookbook author one thing about the publishing industry what would it be?

    At the risk of this sounding too self-aggrandizing—trust your publisher. This goes for everyone on your team—and it is your team—from acquisitions to editorial to marketing. We’re in the business of promoting and selling books, and we want to create opportunities to get as much promotion and as many sales as possible for yours. We understand that you’ve been working on your book for a long time, and that you have a vision for it. If we’re looking to change the title or emphasizing something in the marketing copy, there’s probably a good reason for it. Keep an open mind and trust that your publisher wants to make your book the best that it can be.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

  • Mastermind Groups

    Mastermind GroupsWhen I graduated from chef school, one of the first books I read was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I can remember the night I visited the local bookstore, most probably to look at the cookbook section, but found myself in the Business and Money section of the bookstore reading this book. I still have the book (with the date of purchase recorded on the inside first page) and I read parts of the book regularly.

    Written in 1960, this book is considered an influential book for the achievement of personal goals, financial independence, and a spirit-filled life. In the book, such concepts as self-direction, organized planning, auto-suggestion, imagination, faith, persistence, and mastermind association are reviewed in detail and have helped countless individuals realize the power they have to create their future.

    In his discussion of “the power of the Master Mind,” Hill says, “economic advantage may be created by any person who surrounds himself with the advice, counsel, and personal cooperation of a group of people who are willing to lend wholehearted aid, in a spirit of perfect harmony.” Hill believed in the power of association with others. “When a group of individual brains is coordinated, and function in harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual brain in that group.”

    So what’s the take-home message for those of us who have projects, careers, businesses, and families? The message is that if we band together in a spirit of harmony, with a common purpose, we too can use our experiences, intelligence, and knowledge to benefit one another. It’s in this spirit of cooperation that I have become more interested in mastermind groups.

    Mastermind Groups are a win-win for everyone involved. If you feel stuck, alone in your work, or unable to move forward with a project, then joining a Mastermind Group may be perfect for you.

    What is a mastermind group?

    A Mastermind Group is a group of individuals who meet on a regular basis to challenge each other to set goals, brainstorm ideas and support each other in a spirit of compassion, respect, and honesty. Mastermind Groups help participants grow because the other participants are supportive, but can also help to clarify goals through being a devil’s advocate to one another.

    Each Mastermind Group meeting has an agenda, but participation by each group member is key, for the group cannot function without participants who are committed to attend the meetings, set goals, and help others set their goals as they grow alongside each other. Brainstorming and a spirit of community and cooperation are key to the success of a Mastermind Group.

    Anyone can join a Mastermind Group. Typically there are 5 to 8 people in a Mastermind Group. The members have a shared interest, similar skill or success level, and have a desire to make the next months of their life extraordinary. The want to be in a supportive group that helps them reach or exceed their goals. They are ready to let their desire to reach their goals overcome any fear of change or goal setting that they may have.

    Mastermind Groups are organized by an individual who is responsible to gather the group, set up the meeting space, set the agenda for the meetings, and ensure that the meetings run smoothly. Because of the group nature of a Mastermind Group, commitment from each member is crucial. Highly motivated participants who are willing to ask, and give, help and support, and who commit to showing up for meetings make the group successful.

    Mastermind Groups meet at least once a month, but sometimes more frequently such as weekly or every other week. The agenda is the same at each meeting, and every group member has a chance to share their goals and their progress on their goals and gain access to the brainstorming power of the group. Groups meet either in person, on the phone, or in a virtual conference room either through Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook groups, or Skype.

    There are many benefits of a Mastermind Group such as:

    *Emotional support through brainstorming to lead you to answers to your questions, solutions to your problems, or ideas for moving forward with a project or goal

    *Social contact and shared experiences add to your knowledge base and enhances your experience

    *Confidence that your decisions are vetted and decisions are in alignment with your goals

    *Accountability to get your goals accomplished and that you can make progress on your goals

    *Connection as you network and gain valuable support from colleagues

    *Sense of belonging through shared work and knowing there are others who support your goals

    *Positive mental energy through meeting with others and working towards your goals

    You can see that a Mastermind Group can be a powerful tool for moving forward in your goals related projects, business, or personal life. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time I join a Mastermind Group.

    If you would like to apply to join the Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group, you can read more about the Mastermind Group here.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

     

     

  • Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 10

    Cookbook and Food Writing LinksINSPIRATION
    I’ve always loved Nora Ephron. Her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, is too relate-able. I also love lists so was drawn to this list, written by Nora, who sadly died in 2006, but her list here is a poignant reminder of life, and what’s to be missed (or not missed) when we no longer inhabit our physical bodies.

    WRITING
    It’s often recommended, to be a good writer we need to be a reader. This article looks at the relationship between reading and writing.

    COOKBOOKS
    An argument for cookbooks as a source of recipes. Love it.

    Points to the concept that a kitchen appliance provides the basis for a new cookbook. Six (6!) cookbooks are being written about the Instant Pot.

    PUBLISHING
    This link is to my favorite graphic about publishing, created and updated every year by Jane Friedman. This graphic is always relevant and helpful for anyone dipping their toes into the world of book publishing.

    If you want an agent to represent you and shop around a proposal, here are some tips.

    BOOK DESIGN
    A book cover speaks volumes to your book buyer. Learn some mistakes made on book covers.

    SELF-PUBLISHING
    A fascinating story about self-publishing revenue.

    Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?  Applications are now open for the next Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group.

  • Focus List and Ignore List

    Lists to read in the morningIn 2009, Peter Bregman wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review called Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning. Even though he wrote the article 7 years ago, the content rings true.

    In Bregman’s article, he encourages readers to create two lists: Your Focus List and Your Ignore List. Through a series of questions, Bregman helps you define “your road ahead”: what makes you happy, what you’re trying to achieve, and what’s important to you, as well as to define “your distractions”: what you’re not willing to do, what’s not important, and what gets in the way of focusing on where you want to go. Bregman suggests that you write down your two lists and then take time to read them before you start your day.

    I’m a big believer in early morning routines that allow time to read, write, and reflect. For me this usually happens before anyone else in my house steps out of bed. It’s a sacrifice to get up early, but I know that my morning routine has been an integral part of my focus and determination as a nutrition writer, cookbook author, cookbook editor, and parent. The coffee pot that brews coffee at a time I specify doesn’t hurt either.

    This week I encourage you to write down your Focus and Ignore lists. See if your actions lead you down the right path and shape your day with intentional action. See if the lists help you avoid distractions that take you away from the work you need to do. And, before you know it, your intentional actions will help your goals and dreams come to life.

    Read the original article here.

    And more about Peter Bregman here.

    Author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook? 

  • Cookbook Expert Interview Series: Dianne Jacob: Have Something New To Say That Will Appeal To A Large Audience

    DianneJacob-1-portraitWWFFIII.cover

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Author and writing coach Dianne Jacob is considered a go-to expert for food writers. Both her book, Will Write for Food, and her blog, are considered go-to resources for those who want to dip their toes in the world of food writing. As a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, I have had opportunities to hear Dianne speak about food writing, so I knew she would make a nice addition my interview series. Thanks to Dianne for sharing her knowledge and I hope you enjoy this interview with Dianne. 

    Please explain your role in the publishing industry. Do you own an agency? Have you written a book? Or do you provide a service?­

    I am a writing coach for people who want to create an irresistible cookbook proposal for traditional publishers or help to start improving a food blog. I also teach food writing at conferences and in workshops around the world. I’ve written a multiple award-winning book called Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More. I’m also the co-author of two pizza cookbooks with chef Craig Priebe: The United States of Pizza and Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas. I have a blog on the subject of food writing, and a free newsletter on the subject as well.

    What are some key factors for aspiring authors to consider in the development of a cookbook concept?

    Have something new to say that will appeal to a large audience. A general soup-to-nuts cookbook will be a hard sell because you’re competing with Ina Garten and The Joy of Cooking.

    Develop a big enough audience for the book through social media, writing, or teaching – before you send out the proposal.

    Can you expand a bit on what a publisher looks for in terms of “big enough audience”?

    No one agrees on what constitutes a “big enough” audience. The issue is that publishers need to know you have developed an audience for your book. If your social media numbers add up to under 500, they will wonder who will buy this book, since you have limited contacts. Writing freelance articles on the subject of the book, teaching, building a newsletter list and other similar strategies will also be helpful in showing publishers that you communicate regularly with the target buyer of your book.

    What are the most important parts of a cookbook author’s visibility in today’s digital-media-driven world?

    Both aspiring and continuing authors need a consistently growing social media platform and an engaged readership. See this guest post on my blog: What Bloggers Need for a Book Deal: Reader Relationships.

    What advice do you have for aspiring authors who want to self-publish her cookbook?

    Find out what it will cost before you dive in. I’ve heard of books that cost $5000 to produce, and books that cost $60,000. There are so many variables: how many copies you want, whether you want color pages, whether you have to pay for photography, whether you’d like a hardcover book.

    If your book is for family and friends only, that’s great. If you plan to sell your book to an awaiting audience, do you have one in place?

    You can learn about what other authors have learned when self-publishing through these posts on my blog.

    What advice do you have for aspiring authors who want to find an agent?

    Network with friends who have already published a cookbook to find out if they will introduce you to their agents. Agents want a referral rather than a cold call. If you have no friends in this category, join an organization such as The International Association of Culinary Professionals, so you can meet cookbook authors at the annual conference. I’ve also interviewed literary agents on my blog.

    What advice do you have for submitting an unagented/unsolicited proposal?

    The biggest publishing houses, such as Clarkson Potter and Random House, will consider your proposal a low priority and it will take a while to hear back. If they are interested, you might want to find an agent to represent you, as it is difficult to negotiate your own contract. Smaller publishers, such as Storey and Page Street Publishing, do not require you to work with an agent. They are accustomed to doing so, however.

    What are your top tips for writing a cookbook proposal?

    Backup before going forward. If you have no expertise on the subject of the book, start a blog or Facebook page about it, or teach a class. If your social media numbers are low work on increasing them before sending out the proposal.

    Take your time. Since proposals have a 1 percent acceptance rate, you need time to make sure you eliminate any objections or concerns that an agent or editor would have.

    If you are a first-timer, you might also benefit from reading my blog post called 5 Rookie Mistakes in Cookbook Proposals.

    What other advice would you give aspiring cookbook authors?

    Be prepared to be in love with your subject for years. You should be creating your expertise on the subject before writing a proposal. It can take at least a year to then write a proposal, get an agent and contract, and then another year or so to write the book, and then at least six months to promote it. If you’re not prepared to be known as the writer of this cookbook for years, and to be enthusiastic about it, it’s not the right title for you.

    If you could tell every aspiring cookbook author one thing about the publishing industry what would it be?

    It takes only one agent to love you and your book, so be prepared to approach lots until you find that person. Rejection is hard, but what’s harder is to abandon your dream because you are afraid of being turned down. And it only takes one editor to buy your book, so expect the agent to go through a similar process until he or she finds an excited publisher.

    Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?   Applications are now open for the next Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group.  

     

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