Celebrating 31 years
Celebrating 31 years

 

Today the Best Male Cook and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary.

We were married on a hot September Labor Day weekend in Lexington, KY.

Warren is an incredible person and loving father. He owns an old New Braunfels grill of which he is a master (follow my Instagram stories @greenapron to see the holey-grill) and he brews “liquid bread” for all to enjoy.

The fact that we’re celebrating our anniversary doesn’t have a lot to do with cookbooks, specifically, but I do believe there are a few similarities between long-term, committed relationships, and writing and running a business. If you’ll humor me, I’ll expand a little bit.

When I married Warren I made a decision to be married and to stay married to him. I also made a pact with myself: to hold up my end of the bargain to take care of myself and provide for my own happiness. I’ve always known that Warren isn’t here to make me happy. That’s my job and completely within my power. His job is to be here for me to love. And he does that well as a steady, consistent presence in my life.

With my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business I decided to think the same way. I hold up my end of the bargain. In order to cook, be on my feet in a kitchen, write, and manage my business, I take care of myself physically and emotionally. I value health so that I can show up to cook, write, and coach every day. My books and my business aren’t here to make me happy. It’s my job to manage my thoughts and have fun all along the way so that ideas and inspiration and motivation flow and so that I have a happy life, and not wait for the perfect book, clients, or situation to make me happy. Then, the offshoot is that I can write and create and teach from that good-feeling place. In turn, my books help you and you, in turn, can share your value with the world you live in. That’s the awesome, rippling power of making clear decision to do something.

After I decided to be married, I committed to Warren and to the idea of being married. I’m not saying that it was always easy, but it’s certainly been possible. I looked to create the future I wanted. I found friends who are examples of committed relationships. We spent time with them and valued what they did to remain committed. This commitment shut the door on entertaining other options and wow, that freed up so much of my brain power to do other fun things.

In a similar fashion, with my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business, I am committed to them all as well. Once I sign a contract, I finish the book. When a client enrolls in coaching, I show up and stick with them as long as they are gaining benefit from the coaching relationship. I commit to …

5 Myths About Writing A Cookbook
5 Myths About Writing A Cookbook

Writing a cookbook should not be a mysterious process. Writing a cookbook is not a project available only to celebrities and TV stars. If you have a passion for baking, nutrition, special diets, or cooking, and you have an audience who needs something you know about, then you can write a cookbook.

Over the past 8 years, I have written four cookbooks and have coached, and interviewed, numerous published cookbook authors. I’d like to take the opportunity here to dispel a few myths about writing a cookbook that may encourage you to get started writing your own cookbook so that you can share your expertise and get your message out into the world! You can have an impact with a book of your own.

Myth #1
I need to have a successful food blog before I write a cookbook.

While a food blog might help with the promotion of a cookbook or it may provide the path for you to connect with an agent or your audience, you do not have to have a food blog before you write a cookbook. I have written four cookbooks. I don’t have a food blog. I dabbled with a food blog many years ago, but it didn’t take long before I realized I had no interest in food photography. Also, I am interested more in cooking, writing recipes for future projects, and building my coaching business than I am in taking the time to learn how to photograph food. There are other cookbook authors who also don’t have a food blog. What I will say, however, is that you need a platform, and a website where your audience can find you and where you can collect email addresses to connect with them. If you are a nutrition consultant, dietitian, cooking or baking teacher, food or nutrition writer, you have a connection with an audience even without a food blog. Agents and publishers like robust platforms, but this is not always specifically built through a food blog.

Myth #2
I cannot write a book because someone has already written about my topic or concept.

Let’s put this myth to rest. Take a trip to a local bookstore or the Food, Cooking, and Wine section on Amazon.com and look at how many Italian cookbooks or cookie books or Paleo diet books are published and in print. Even if your topic has been written about before, there is room for you and your unique spin on the subject. That is the difference between your book and everyone else’s book – YOU! -and your unique approach to the topic. Insert yourself in any topic you write about and provide for your audience what they want and need in a way only you can. No one has written that book before.

Myth #3
I have to follow the traditional path to publication.

There are several routes to the publication of a cookbook. Large, commercial publishers look for authors with extensive, robust platforms that can drive big sales. Think …

July Roundup
July Roundup

I am writing this from an Orlando hotel room. My youngest son and I traveled to Orlando for a basketball tournament at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. His team, the Kentucky Defenders, finished the tournament on Sunday and placed 3rd out of 52 teams. We’ve had an enjoyable time and even soaked in some of the Disney magic while we were here.

What is my favorite Quote for the Day?
First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare. ~Walt Disney

What am I celebrating?
I celebrated a birthday in July. We had our children and their friends at our home for dinner. We grilled lamb burgers, and instead of birthday cake enjoyed a key lime pie from a local bakery. I feel good about being 54 and look forward to all the good things this year will bring.

What am I reading?
A Spoon of Blue Thread  by Anne Tyler. Literary Fiction. If you love character development and stories that display family life and relationships with families, Anne Tyler never disappoints. She’s from Baltimore and all her books are set in Baltimore. This book takes many twists and turns, keeping me interested as I read. This was a book I picked up last summer at a “take a book, share a book” shelf at a small hotel in Saugatuck, MI.

What am I learning? 
I do love Instagram. I am learning how to use Instagram more effectively to engage and connect with others rather than using Instagram to get inspired through pretty photos. I’m committing to more IG stories and DMs to connect with real people! Head on over to Instagram to join the fun @greenapron. And, DM me. I’ll DM back. That’s a real connection that we can’t get from just looking at the pretty photos.

What am I letting go of?
Expecting others to behave a certain way before I feel good and have fun. Guess what? People are going to say or do whatever they want to say or do. The good news is, it doesn’t have to affect me or my experience of the world. That’s my job to think thoughts that drive my experience of the world, and not relying on the actions of others to drive my experience. It all begins with how I think about things.

What can I share that you may find helpful?
Think of your best friend. Imagine your best friend sets a new, big goal. You’re so excited for them and cheer them on. Would we ever interfere with their goal or not cheer them on? They’re our friend!

Now, imagine that that best friend is you and that you’ve set a big goal. Here’s the good news: You deserve to treat yourself with the same respect you treat your best friend. You deserve to not let yourself interfere with your big goal.

When we interfere with our own goals it’s called self-sabotage. We self-sabotage our own work toward our goals in one of four ways: …

8 Tips from Q2
8 Tips from Q2

It’s the end of the 2nd quarter of the year, and I’m excited about my second 12 weeks of 2018. In early April, I set intentions about how I wanted Q2 to unfold. Here’s what has happened with some advice and tips for you and your business:

1. EVALUATE SOURCES OF FREE TRAFFIC
Look at how your potential customers are driven to your website. Where are they coming from? A lot of my traffic comes from Google searches, but in Q2 I worked to look at other ways to create free traffic such as being a guest on podcasts. Podcast content is evergreen. When you’re a guest, the episode is listened to over and over. I did see results from this with referrals of new clients from the podcasts where I was a guest.

2. START YOUR OWN PODCAST
This is a big one, and something you may want to consider, but, what about starting your own podcast? As of this blog post, I have purchased equipment, received training, hired a producer, scheduled interviews, created artwork, and named my podcast. I plan to record several episodes before the launch. And, if all goes well, I plan to launch in the 3rd quarter. I feel sort of scared about this – adding a piece of marketing that requires constant care and attention and updating, but I figure if I can write books, create recipe content, keep up with a weekly blog, etc., then I can add a podcast to the mix. I also at the same time feel excited to connect with the people who I will interview. I’m doing a podcast that I’d love to listen to, so for now, we’ll leave it at that, and hope that during our Q3 update, I have more specific news to share about how it’s going.

3. CREATE A HIGH-END OFFER
In March I created a high-end offer as a cookbook manuscript manager. The offer worked and I made sales around this offer. The service isn’t for everyone, but, it resonated with a few people on my list. That’s the spirit of a high-end offer. It needed to be of value, solve a problem, and help my customers get closer to their goal of writing a cookbook.

4. AUTOMATION AND ONBOARDING
I worked with my VA to create a streamlined and smooth system for onboarding private coaching clients. This makes the delivery of material for the coaching program easier and allows for very quick delivery of the materials once someone signs a coaching contract. Contracts are sent electronically for signature as well, which streamlines the process.

5. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
This quarter, with a focus on customer service, I decided to add my VA to the customer-service-side of email delivery and answering. I sell digital products, so having my VA monitor the customer service email box, responses are timely and prompt. This feels good and I like knowing that our customers are answered promptly and get their needs met and questions answered.…

How To Write A Cookbook Revisited
How To Write A Cookbook Revisited

If you have been following me here on this blog for any time, you may know I can pretty easily rattle off the action steps to write a cookbook.

  • Identify your goals for publication
  • Define your cookbook concept
  • Evaluate routes to publication
  • Build your author platform
  • Check you commitment
  • Study your competition
  • Write a cookbook proposal
  • Shop for an agent or editor
  • Sign a contract OR
  • Decide to self-publish
  • Write your cookbook manuscript
  • Publish your book
  • Market your new book
  • If you want to read all about this action on my blog, click here.

Sounds simple right.

Actually, it is pretty cut and dry.

It’s easy to talk about action. Just do this. Then do that. Follow the steps. Write and publish your cookbook.

Then our brains seize up. Our brain wants to protect us and it sees change as scary.

We feel:

  • Scared of putting ourselves “out there. People won’t like me or my ideas.
  • Uncomfortable when we sit down to work. I don’t like putting my ideas on paper.
  • Uncertain of our ability. I’ve never done this before.
  • Overwhelmed. I have so much to do.
  • Confused. What concept should I write about? I have so many ideas.
  • Self-doubt. I’m not a “real” writer am I?.

Here’s the best news I have for you today: You can’t write a cookbook from there with a brain trying to control the show. If you feel this way, follow my Revised Steps To Write A Cookbook.

Step 1:
Expect to feel scared, uncomfortable, and uncertain.

Yes, you heard me right: expect these negative emotions.

Be aware then when they show up, you have a choice to either curl up in a ball and hit the snooze button, or to get up, get out, and take action on your dreams. These negative emotions I like to call “dream currency” emotions. They are the price we pay to grow and evolve into the person we want to be. Writing a book is new and evolves us as people. We grow into our work as writers and authors action by action.

Every time (and I mean every time) I start a new project my brain does this. It tells me that what I have in mind isn’t a good idea.

The secret is not to let your brain win. Don’t let fear, discomfort, or uncertainty stand between you and what you want to do. Instead, say to your brain, “I’m on to you and you’re not getting in the way of my dreams. Let’s get to work.” Then, as if by magic, the fear, discomfort, and lack of confidence start to lessen just a bit as we take action. We make progress. Then, the negative emotions lessen more and our brains quiet down. The best thing is that we know that we have our own back. We show up for ourselves no matter how scared, uncomfortable, or how uncertain we feel. That’s huge.

Step 2:
Stop thinking (and talking) about the overwhelm, confusion, or

How To Love Your Brain
How To Love Your Brain

 

I don’t know about you, but my brain tends to stay on all the time.

It controls what I do and much to my amusement, it tries to control other people! That’s so funny because I don’t always do what my brain wants me to do, yet I spend time actually thinking about what everyone else “should” be doing.

The reality is: Our brains keep our legs moving, hearts beating, and fingers typing.

It secretes hormones, gives off nerve impulses and helps me remember my name, where I live, and what I am going to cook for dinner tonight.

In addition, my brain generates over 60,000 thoughts a day. Maybe you can relate? Thoughts about about injuries while my son plays sports, my kids grades, my son in Austria, shifts in my business, dirt on the kitchen floor, how my dog snores, cookbook sales, weeds in our yard no one was addressing, hair on the bathroom floor, errands I need to run, what someone said to me in that text message, what I thought that text  message meant, and how I need to generate a topic for my next newsletter.

My brain’s higher function can plan parties, make decisions for my business and believe it or not, even talks me out of my dream goals by telling me to stay safe, eat M&M’s, and watch Netflix. (In other words, be comfortable, Maggie. You’ve done enough.)

I really started thinking about this and came to the conclusion that we never really learn how to take care of our brains. We read a lot about how to care for our heart, skin, and lungs. Our legs, abs, and hair.When we do read about our brains, the focus is on staying sharp, preventing aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.

But what about all the other stuff our brain does for us as the amazing living, breathing, thinking machines that we humans are?

Then, I asked my brain this question,”What have I done for you lately?”

Here’s what my brain said: “you sometimes feed me crappy foods, you often think crappy thoughts, we hydrate with crappy drinks, you short-cut sleep, and we start our my day at 90 MPH, as soon as your feet hit the floor.” Wow. Nothing like a bit of brain honesty.

As a result of this conversation with my brain, I decided to experiment with brain love and care. My goal was to see how my brain responded to special loving treatment.  Here’s how the experiment went.

I decided to feed my brain better. This is naturally where dietitians start  – with nourishing food. So, to honor my brain, I fed it less peanut M&M’s and ice cream. (Two of my favorite sweets.) I served it less beer and wine.  (And I love red wine and a good stout beer.) I cooked it more organic vegetables, whole grains, plant-based entrees, and fish. I snacked on tasty nuts (and not Kettle chips), and blended morning smoothies with dark berries and green …

How To Trust Yourself
How To Trust Yourself

 

My daughter moved home from college over the weekend. She lived in her freshman dorm for eight months and had a great first year. I feel excited about our summer together and it’s good to have her home.

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about trust. Maybe as a first-time writer, parent, or business owner, you can relate to this.

Several years ago I really wanted to write a cookbook. I would schedule time on my calendar to write the table of contents for a book proposal,  record a recipe, or even test a recipe. These “scheduled times”  show up on my calendar and my brain would say, “Don’t worry about doing this. It won’t matter anyway. Plus it’s a lot of work, and it’s not going to make any difference if you do it just this once. No one will ever know.”

The sad thing is I listened to my brain.

I didn’t create.

I didn’t write.

I did this over and over. There was a time when the work I needed to do for my first cookbook wouldn’t get done, again.

I felt sluggish. I indulged in self-loathing. I didn’t do what I said I was going to do.

Instead of owning up to the truth of what was going on, I excused myself from myself with you’re really busy, feeling tired, or are confused about what to do.

And the more I told myself that I was busy, tired, or confused, the more my world showed me evidence that I was tired, busy, or confused. They cycle continued. I less I showed up for myself, and the less I showed up the fewer tasks related to dreams were accomplished.

Maybe this sounds familiar?

I’d do anything for my kids, and for my clients. I show up for them, on time. I buy them healthy food, cook for them, feed them. I deliver projects to my clients on time, and when I drove my kids around, I delivered them to their activities on time. I don’t expect my kids or clients to be perfect. I help them with kindness and compassion. I commit to them, and for sure I do what I say I’m going to do. A natural result of this is that my kids and my clients trust me.

How come I couldn’t trust me? Why when I scheduled time for myself, I didn’t show up?

After some introspection, I was onto myself.

I could see the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.

I was in reality over here: making plans to write and create content, but instead, my brain was over there: telling me to do everything for everyone, and telling me I was too tired, confused, or busy for myself.

In order to make permanent changes, the first thing I had to do was decide to become a person who could trust myself. I knew I had it in me, and my decision to grow started everything.…

5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation
5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation

One of my superpowers is creating consistent content for my business.

*Regular blog posts since 2010

*Four cookbooks since 2011

*Weekly newsletters since 2012

Do you struggle with regular content creation? Do you start strong with a good idea for a book, blog, or newsletter, but then fizzle out and lack consistency in the producing of the blog posts, newsletters, or cookbooks?

Consistency is king. Customers like consistency. It’s trustworthy. Publishers like consistency. It’s dependable. Your readers like consistency. They want to hear from you. They like what you write about.

In order to help you move from struggling and overwhelmed, I want to share my five secrets to consistent content creation.

1. Decide if you want to create consistent content. You can do this if you want to. If your answer is yes, then let’s do it! If your answer is no, that’s ok. Quit beating yourself up and move on to another way to spend your time.

2. Pick one day and a specific time: I write newsletter and blog post content once a week on Mondays. I spend no more than two hours to do this. I get it done and don’t have to worry about the newsletter or blog post until the next Monday. On Mondays, my sweet spot is between the hours of  8 – 10 am. I set myself up for success. I don’t schedule phone calls during this time. I don’t run errands during this time. I don’t go get coffee with a friend during this time. This time is for my content. Each and every Monday morning. For you, it might be midnight – 2 am. The time doesn’t matter. Just pick a time where you are awake, alert, focused. And I hear what you’re thinking: but I’ve got little kids, I have a job, I have so much to do, I’m so busy. If that’s the case, go back to #1 and decide.

3. Get yourself in a good feeling place before you write. I like to show up on Mondays (and every day, quite frankly) refreshed and ready. For me, this means I have completed my morning routine and I’m cleaned up for the day. I can’t produce when I’m sitting around feeling and smelling like I just crawled out of bed. I work better when I’m clean, dressed, smell good, and my household tasks that I do on Monday mornings are underway.

4. Show up at your computer or laptop. Sit down (or stand up if you want to), and write (or create). By the time I actually sit down, I have a topic in mind to write about. These topics pop into my head in a variety of ways, but most often they occur to me during my morning routine. (This routine is a no-brainer and consists of some quiet coffee time, breakfast with my son, clean up the kitchen, shower, and morning notebook time.) You’d be amazed how many ideas pop into my head when I’m focused …

11 Tips From Q1
11 Tips From Q1

It’s the end of the 1st quarter of the year, and I’m fired up about my first 12 weeks of the year. In early January, I set intentions about my coaching programs and moved forward with positive action. Here’s what has happened in my first quarter along with some advice and tips for you and your business:

1. TRIM YOUR EMAIL LIST
I have an active and engaged email list. And we’re trimming the fat. If subscribers aren’t opening the emails, they will be deleted. (Don’t worry, if you’re reading this you’re good to go!) Don’t be afraid to trim down your list to those who want to hear from you. It helps engagement with your regular, consistent emails.

2. CREATE REGULAR, CONSISTENT CONTENT
I continue weekly blog posts on cookbook writing, mindset, and productivity. When a new client finds me, it’s often because of a Google search. They join my list. We get in touch. They buy a program. For sure, I will keep up my regular consistent blog posts. If you’re not creating regular content in your business (blog posts, live streams, videos, something, anything) it’s time to start. Be sure to read my latest blog post with Clotilde Dusoulier, author of Tasting Paris, noted as one of the 37 new cookbooks for Spring 2018 by Epicurious.

3. GO LIVE
I presented two webinars on cookbook writing and it was fun and a great way to give results ahead of time to my audience. I plan to provide more online LIVE events in Q2. Going live and sharing your expertise is the wave of the future.

4. OFFER VIP PROGRAMS
I created a VIP level offer for my mastermind group. This is a way to stay connected to those who want to keep working with me and offer them more value, more opportunities to connect, all at the same price. Consider a VIP level if you don’t have one in your program. One benefit for my VIPs is the opportunity to promote their work in the Tasty Client News section at the end of my newsletter. I hope you love my VIPs as much as I do.

5. CREATE LIVE WORKSHOPS
I created a 6-Week LIVE Cookbook Publishing Workshop. Each week, for 6 weeks,  I showed up live to present the class and answer Q & A. It was well-received and now I have the videos to use for other purposes. More content creation – yay! I’m thinking now of my 6-WEEK LIVE course for Q2. Keep your eyes peeled.

6. TRY SOMETHING NEW
My Cookbook Publishing Blueprint phone calls were a new idea. Through this phone call and simple set of questions, I worked 1:1 with several clients and set them on their path to cookbook publication. Through LIVE Zoom calls, we discussed their projects and set up a timeline for their work. These new, one-time calls are fun and a great way to connect with first-time cookbook authors who just need a little nudge in the …

Are You A Pro?
Are You A Pro?

I’m fascinated with pros.

(And if you haven’t read Steven Pressfield’s book Turning Pro, I recommend you head to the library or bookstore.)

Here is what Steven Pressfield says about pros. And, I’ve added a few of my own.

  • Pros show up every day even when no one else looks or claps.
  • Pros stay on the job.
  • Pros are patient.
  • Pros seek order.
  • Pros act in the face of fear.
  • Pros accept no excuses from themselves.
  • Pros are prepared.
  • Pros ask for help.
  • Pros master techniques of their craft.
  • Pros practice.
  • Pros don’t take success or failure personally.
  • Pros endure adversity.
  • Pros reinvent themselves.
  • Pros are recognized by other pros.
  • Pros use their mornings effectively.
  • Pros are courageous.
  • Pros are committed.
  • Pros focus.
  • Pros decide.
  • Pros work. (Steven Pressfield says, “Amateurs Tweet. Pros Work.” Ouch.)
  • Pros have integrity even to themselves.
  • Pros live in today, not the past stories.
  • Pros defer gratification.
  • Pros aren’t afraid of negative emotion, in fact, they allow it and act in spite of it.
  • Pros don’t wait for inspiration to sit down and focus.
  • Pros act in anticipation of inspiration.
  • Pros don’t give their power to their ex, kids, spouse, mother, father, co-workers, clients, or neighbors.
  • Pros help others.
  • Pros are consistent.
  • Pros rock.

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?
Why Join a Mastermind Group?

In a recent blog post, 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. 

The Power of Mastermind Groups
The Power of Mastermind Groups

When 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 sounding board for 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 lives extraordinary. They want to be in a supportive group that helps them reach or exceed their goals. They are ready …

Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus
Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus

Recently I overheard a conversation about the “struggle bus”. There were people on this struggle bus. The story involved drama and situations described as hard and unfair.

Since that conversation, I’ve heard a lot of people using the word struggle to describe their clients, jobs, writing, relationships, toddlers, and teens.

Struggle is a verb. A struggle is defined as to “make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.”

Battle. Conflict. Clash. All the same as a struggle.

Struggle is a thought we choose to think about a circumstance.

When we take a circumstance, such as a toddler who won’t nap, a recipe that won’t come together, or a blog post that won’t flow and attach struggle to it, we feel bad. As a result, we have a negative reaction to our feeling and we may yell, feel ashamed, or sit at our computer and resist the blog post we need to write. The results we get are a crying, non-sleeping toddler, feeling bad about ourselves, or a blog post that’s not written.

When we take the same circumstance (or someone else maybe has the same circumstance) and attach ease or flow to it instead of struggle, we feel a better emotion and we can have a positive reaction to it. We realize nothing has gone wrong and that this circumstance is temporary. We lay on the couch with our wide-awake toddler and watch Caillou reruns, make notes on the recipe and plan to try it again, or we get up from our computer and focus on something else for a while until the ideas for the blog post flows a little bit better. As a result, our outcomes are more positive.

A struggle isn’t real. It’s our mind playing tricks on us telling us something about situations we all face. So we get to choose. Would we rather have battles, conflicts, and clashes, or flow, ease, and peace?

It’s a new year. And a new day. It’s time for the struggle bus to leave the station.

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?”. 

First Snow Day of 2018!
First Snow Day of 2018!

Welcome to 2018 and my first blog post of the new year. And guess what, today we have a Snow Day!

I’ve always loved snow days. And, I love them for the same reason I love being a mom who runs her business from home. Snow Days are fun. Snow Days are different. And, when they’re unexpected they’re even better. Who doesn’t love a little bit of unexpected fun now and then?

You see, I thought my Monday would be different. I thought it would be my first full Monday after Christmas break that I’d have available to “work.” I was planning to get “so much done.” Today was going to be “all about me and my to-do list.” Because, on Mondays, I focus on Marketing. I was going to write my weekly emails, write a blog post, meet virtually with my VA, and set up email sequences for my upcoming webinar. This was going to be my day.

Then, Wham-O. An ice storm, followed by snow. School was first delayed 90 minutes, then they canceled. So, I did what every mom of school-aged kids does when there’s a snow day, and everyone is still asleep. I made another cup of coffee, watched Oprah’s video from the Golden Globes, listened to a podcast, put a load of laundry in the dryer, washed my face, put on my favorite jeans, cozy sweater and boots, lit a candle in my office, and basked in not having to leave the house just yet. I am also secretly hoping that when my son wakes up, we can make chocolate-chip pancakes and enjoy some breakfast together.

Yes, we have a snow day on our hands, and yes, my idea of how my day was planned suddenly changed. But you know what? My thoughts about the circumstance that I couldn’t change changed too. As you see, changing my thoughts in response to a circumstance I can’t change is my secret to a life as a mom who runs her business, and writes her cookbooks, from home. A life filled with snow days, sick kids, day-care closed, and anything else life throws at a mom who runs her business from home. In short, it’s called “going with the flow”.

Rather than resisting and raising my blood pressure, raging on social media, or texting my sister or friend to complain, I did one simple thing. I changed my thoughts. Rather than think thoughts that my list of to-dos wouldn’t get done in the way I envisioned, I shifted to, well if we’re all at home I might as well make the best of it. Suddenly I felt cozy, appreciative and ready for some fun with a boy who could eat three-times as many pancakes as I could.

My change in thought and my feelings then changed my actions. And as a result, my day is already going great. And this will spill over to my son because whether you want to believe this or not, a mom set …

Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 8: Find An Agent or Publisher
Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 8: Find An Agent or Publisher

If you have decided not to self-publish your cookbook, the route from your cookbook proposal to a finished book will either move through an agent or a publisher.

If you’re writing your cookbook for family and friends, or if you want to pay a vanity or subsidy publisher to publisher your book, you won’t need to find an agent. For this reason, take time now to evaluate how you want to get your cookbook publisher so you can follow the correct steps. Read this blog post Routes to Publication for tips and discussion on various ways to get a cookbook published.

After writing a cookbook proposal, which we discussed here, your next step is to query agents or publishers. Query means a question, but in the publishing world, it actually has more than one meaning. In this case, it means to ask someone or to inquire about the acceptability of a cookbook concept or other book idea. The purpose of a query is to determine if an agent wants to represent you and/or if a publisher wants to publish your cookbook. (The other type of query refers to a term used when editing a book manuscript.)

In this blog post, we will discuss querying agents and publishers, as well as other methods to attract attention from an agent or publisher.

FIND AN AGENT
The purpose of finding an agent is so that they can be your ally in the publishing world.  If you feel uncomfortable navigating a book contract alone, or if you want to go after a larger publisher and get the best deal possible, you may want to use an agent.

If you want to find an agent, you need to research cookbook agents and then to retain an agent you need to send them your cookbook proposal or concept summarized in query letter according to their submission guidelines. These can be found on their website and submissions are done either via email, snail mail, or an online form on their website. Some cookbook agents also publish an outline of a cookbook proposal on their website. If they expect you to follow their outline, organize your proposal according to their guidelines as well.

Once you find an agent and sign a contract they will make sure your proposal is in top notch shape to submit to publishers. Agents often know what different editors are looking for, so they can help submit to the best publisher for your concept.

Agents are paid a percentage of your advance and royalties so they are motivated to find the most lucrative deal for your cookbook. The standard rate for agents if 15%.

Here are some suggested ways to find a cookbook agents:

1. Refer to print or online edition of A Guide To Literary Agents. They even maintain a list of cookbook literary agents.

2. Use Query Tracker to find literary agents. With this site you can also organize and track your queries. You do have to create an account, …

Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 7: Write a Cookbook Proposal
Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 7: Write a Cookbook Proposal

Welcome to Part 7 of my blog series Steps to Write a Cookbook. If this is the first blog post you’ve read in this series, I encourage you to go back and review the previous blog posts in the series:

Identify your goals for publication

Define your cookbook concept

Evaluate routes to publication

Build your author platform

Check your commitment

Research the competition

This is the place where aspiring authors get antsy to write their cookbook manuscript. The good news is that the entire book manuscript isn’t necessary at this point. What you need to focus on next is writing a cookbook proposal.

What is a cookbook proposal?
A cookbook proposal is a business plan for your cookbook. In a proposal, you summarize your cookbook concept and sell yourself as the author of the cookbook. You may be lucky enough to have a publisher approach you about writing your cookbook, you may choose to self-publish your cookbook, or you may send your proposal to agents and/or a publishing house, but in any case, it’s recommended to focus now on writing a proposal. How long it takes to write a proposal depends on your motivation, your platform development, and how many recipes you have ready to include. I’ve seen aspiring author focus and write a proposal in 90 days, but a lot will depend on your ability to concentrate and prioritize the work to write the proposal.

Why write a proposal?
It’s worth the time and effort to write a cookbook proposal. A cookbook proposal provides you with:

1. A plan that organizes your concept, competition, content, audience, and marketing/promotion ideas. A proposal communicates in detail your vision for your cookbook. When shared with agents and editors you can find out if they are willing to invest time and money on the publication of your idea. It is possible to query an agent, and some editors, by only sharing your cookbook concept, but be prepared for them to request a proposal if they want to see more. In some cases, agents like to only see a  cookbook summary submitted and then they help shape the proposal before submission to a publisher.

2. A snapshot of your writing style and voice, as well as a taste of your cookbook through a sample of your best recipes. Well written text and delicious recipes make a strong case for you as the author of this book. If you can write a proposal, chances are you can write a cookbook.

3. A litmus test for your commitment to writing a cookbook. Any aspiring author who can follow-through on writing a proposal shows commitment to their cookbook project.

4. A tool that forces you to think not only about your book but what you bring to the table for marketing and sales of the book. Here you define your platform and how it can help sell the book. idea.

What to include in a proposal
Agents and publishers devour well-written cookbook proposals. They want to read …

You can write a cookbook and get it published
You can write a cookbook and get it published

 

One thing you will never hear me say is that you can’t write a cookbook and get it published.

I don’t believe that’s true.

Some writing coaches talk about hard and impossible. They act like publishing is an exclusive special club that you can’t belong to.

“It’s hard to get a traditional publisher interested in you and your idea”, they say.

“It’s hard to get a publishing contract”, they’ll tell you.

They say publishing is so hard in fact that, “we’re going to do you a favor and not even work with you.”

Some book coaches, agents, and editors talk a lot about having a certain number of followers on social media.

What if I told you that I have 900 followers on Instagram, 300 followers on Pinterest, 3000 on Twitter, a mailing list of 1500, and I don’t have a food blog?

What if I told you that this number of followers is considered laughable to many coaches, agents, and publishers?

I’ve written 2 cookbooks (both still in print) and have 2 more in production for publication in 2018. And, I’m fairly confident that as a result of a 5th idea (and maybe even a 6th) I pitched to a publisher, I could be extended another contract or two if I said I wanted to write those books.

I know it’s possible. I’m proof it’s possible.

I’m proud of my books, proud of my work, and feel excited every time I get to connect with the people who buy my books.

In fact, just yesterday, I presented at a local gathering. We had such a nice day and I sold cookbooks to some of my raving fans. I came home feeling pleased and satisfied. To me, that’s what writing a cookbook, and connecting with your audience, is all about. We all get to define our own meaning of success.

So many aspiring authors I know won’t try to write a cookbook because they believe the BS that coaches, agents, and editors tell them. They think they won’t succeed at writing or gaining a publishing contract, so they don’t even try.

What if I told you that believing naysaying coaches, agents, and editors, and not believing in yourself is failing ahead of time?

What if I told you it’s time to start to tell a new story of possibility?

What if I told you that you will never hear me say “you can’t” or that “I won’t help you”?

I truly believe that if you really want to write a cookbook, and get it published, you can – in your own way, with your own audience, and no matter what the heck anyone else says.

2018 is going to be an amazing year.

If you want to learn and work with someone who believes in you (and who has done the work of writing traditionally published cookbooks), you’re in the right place.

We’re going to learn about how to write cookbooks, how to get them published, how to promote …

Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 6: Research the Competition
Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 6: Research the Competition

Welcome to Part 6 of my ongoing series Steps to Write a Cookbook. If this is your first visit to this series, I encourage you to go back and review the previous blog posts in the series:

Identify your goals for publication

Define your cookbook concept

Evaluate routes to publication

Build your author platform

Check your commitment

Now it’s time to study other cookbooks. If you plan to write a family cookbook this step isn’t required. Otherwise, if you plan to publish your book via either the traditional- or self-publishing route, there are two reasons to study other cookbooks:

1. Competitive title research
You need to research competing cookbooks to show how your book will fit into the current publishing landscape. The purpose of studying competitive books is to generate list of cookbooks that are similar in their audience, concept, and category to the book you want to write. This list is then shared with potential agents and editors so they can visualize where your book fits in the context of other published cookbooks. It’s important to realize that the goal of the research isn’t to prove that your concept is unique and that you don’t have any competition. In fact, the opposite is true. You want to point out your competition to validate your idea and then add why it’s time for you to write a similar book for this audience and what you plan to add to the conversation regarding your perceived cookbook concept.

2. Inspiration and design research
The study of published cookbooks can be a source of inspiration as well. While looking at other cookbooks pay attention to what delights you – cover design, paper, fonts, interior colors, photography, recipe or text layout, trim size, or other features. Parts of other books that attract (or repel) you are clues about the type of book you may want to write.

A word of caution
Don’t let the study of other cookbooks deter you from writing your cookbook. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to see so many cookbooks already published. When we see these books we may feel doubt that we can see a cookbook project through to publication. The best remedy for this feeling is to acknowledge that there are hundreds of cookbooks published each year, but the exact book you want to write hasn’t been written yet because you haven’t written it. Your message can only be communicated in a way that you can write it. Use the study of published cookbooks to motivate you and not deter you. Work hard and commit to move forward with your project.

Advice about finding sales figures
I emailed four acquisitions editors to ask about obtaining sales figures for published cookbooks. They all acknowledged that sales data is hard to obtain outside of Nielsen BookScan. As a result, they don’t expect to see exact sales figures, but Amazon and other research can give clues about the popularity of a cookbook.

How much time to spend on research
A common …

Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 5: Check Your Commitment
Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 5: Check Your Commitment

“Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. [S]He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if [s]he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”
—Lawrence Clark Powell, author.

Cookbook projects are multi-step processes. Each project has a unique set of nuances and challenges. My goal for this blog post is to acknowledge the challenges and help you evaluate your commitment to seeing the project through to completion.

Commitment to your cookbook project is an essential ingredient for successful completion of  all phases of the book – your book proposal, manuscript, and ultimate publication and book promotion.  In the end, your willingness to commit to these all phases defines the success of your book.  Below are several steps that can help you to commit and take action on your cookbook project.

Determine your path in the publishing landscape. As I discussed in a recent blog post on routes to publication, there are various options for publishing your cookbook. If you are not clear on your route to publication I encourage you to stop and take time to make this decision. Once you decide on your path, take time to learn and follow that path. Commitment to your options on the path will help you ignore the shiny parts of other choices.

Dream big, but work small with patience. It’s ok to keep your end goal in mind and imagine how it will feel to share a copy of your book with your audience, family, or friends. But, once you imagine the excitement, thrill, or exhilaration, you have to be patient with the process. This is when it’s important to return to your next step in the process and do the work of the next stage well. With patience and deliberate actions, your cookbook will get written and published as you desire.

Enhance focus and concentration. Focus and concentration are harder than ever in our virtual- and social-media driven lives. I receive numerous texts, phone calls, emails, Twitter notifications, and package deliveries in the course of my typical work day. The outside world wants in even when I have the need to focus or concentrate. It’s up to me to commit to creating time and a place where I can focus and concentrate. 

Create a space and place to write. Everyone has a different place where they like to write. What’s most important is to commit to a physical space and place to write where you are the most focused and productive. In that place, keep supplies handy and work diligently. My writing space is a clutter-free desk. At my side, I keep my iPhone (for the timer), my computer, a notebook, a pen, a candle, and reference books. The reference books are important to me so that I’m not tempted to go online to “research”. For me, “research” equals a rabbit hole and I get distracted with online research and am definitely not writing. Also during my writing time, I prefer …

Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 4: Build Your Platform
Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 4: Build Your Platform

Welcome to part 4 of my ongoing series Steps to Write a Cookbook. If you’re new to this series, I encourage you to go back to part 1 and work your way through the series. In each blog post I’ve provided a worksheet or checklist to help you identify:

Your goals for cookbook publication

Your cookbook concept

Your route to cookbook publication

In part 4 we are going to talk about your author platform as a key part of writing your cookbook. Your author platform serves to help your audience get to know you better. It’s how they see you, hear you, and get to trust you. One reason to define your audience early in the process of writing a cookbook is to help you determine if building a platform is necessary. For example, if your audience is your family or college-aged kids, a platform isn’t essential. But, if your audience is middle-aged professional women who suffer from heartburn, then your platform is essential. You need to have a way to get in touch with these women, and they need to be able to find you, hear you, and see you as an expert in the treatment of heartburn through food and/or nutrition.

Your platform forms the foundation of most of the promotional work you will do for your brand, business, and cookbook. Through the various parts of your platform, you are able to stay in touch with your audience and build a relationship with those who are interested in what you have to say. Every aspiring cookbook author, including those who want to self-publish their cookbook, needs to have a way to connect with their audience. In addition, if you desire to have your cookbook published with the help of an agent and/or traditional publisher know that they will find you as a potential author more attractive if they know you have a platform.

Below are some specific ideas for you to consider as you build or expand your platform. The first five tasks I would consider to be the highest priority for an aspiring cookbook author. I also recommend that you consider building the first four tasks before querying an agent/and or editor with your cookbook concept. Tasks five and six provide additional ideas for how to let your audience get to know you better. It’s not essential to do everything on this list. You can reach your goals as a cookbook author with only a few of these in place. What’s important is to do something, and to be consistent. Your audience does want to, and they need to, hear from you. As a result, they will get to know you better, and hopefully, like you and trust you all because of the work you’ve put in to build your author platform.

1. Create a hub or home on the web. Build a website or blog with a unique domain name that belongs to you. (Or hire someone to build it for you. You’ll save a lot …