Writing can be lonely place
Writing can be lonely place

I know what it’s like to be alone when writing a cookbook. For me it wasn’t the time by myself that I found difficult, it was the not knowing where to turn to get my food questions answered or to receive some encouraging words when fear set in. My editor was busy with other projects and although she responded to my questions she wasn’t a food person. In addition I didn’t have an agent cheering me on from the sidelines. When I wrote my cookbook I spent most of my days typing and testing recipes all by myself, not talking to a single soul until later in the afternoon.

Flash forward to post-cookbook publication: I felt sympathy and compassion for aspiring cookbook authors who were in pre-publication phase of writing their cookbook. Whether they were mulling over a possible cookbook concept or trying to get their cookbook proposal written, I found myself feeling sorry for them. And since I’d been in that lonely place I decided to do something about it. I expanded my work to include cookbook coaching.

Starting in just a few weeks I’m excited to offer my basic cookbook writing program called Cookbook Camp®. In this a 5-part virtual, group-coaching program I teach Cookbook Campers about the process of writing a cookbook. I encourage aspiring cookbook authors to solidify their cookbook concept, and build their platform, but most of all I provide guidance and support from someone who understands food, cooking, and how to get a cookbook written.

So, if you’re an aspiring cookbook author in the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook and you feel isolated and alone in your work I know that Cookbook Camp is for you.  To learn more you have three options:

1. Visit my Cookbook Camp website and read the results of the program for yourself. Enroll by Friday, January 25th to receive the Early Bird Discount of $100.00 off the program price.

2. If you’re not sure a group coaching program like Cookbook Camp is for you make time to  schedule a complimentary cookbook clarity assessment with me. During this 30-minute phone call we evaluate where you are in your cookbook project and pick the cookbook coaching program or package that is best for your needs. Or, if you’re on the right track, I’ll send you on your way and hope that we meet again at a book fest or book fair in the cookbook aisle!

3. Regardless of whether or not you pick one of the two above options be sure to sign-up for my weekly cookbook writing wisdom tips in Fork, Pen, & Spoon. It might just provide the inspiration you need to get your cookbook project dream off the ground. And, when you receive it each week know that I’m thinking about you and hoping you’re not feeling lonely.

 …

Who Is Your Audience?
So here I am at  Holly Hill Inn speaking to over 30 guests who attended a Kentucky Fresh Cookbook luncheon.  Here’s the best part: all of these guests were my ideal audience.

My ideal cookbook audience are men and women who value cooking fresh meals at home using seasonal, local ingredients. They support restaurants such as Holly Hill Inn because the restaurant has the same mission about the food they serve. This event was so much fun because I talked to those who care about what I care about. Sounds selfish, kind of, but we connected and had such a good time talking about seasonal cooking and about cookbook trends. We also shared a delicious local, seasonal meal prepared by Chef Ouita Michel. It doesn’t get much better than that.

When I am offered the opportunity to speak to a group of people who are my ideal audience I take the opportunity if I can. There’s not a lot that I find more enjoyable than connecting with people who share my love of seasonal cooking and of course, cookbooks.

Want to connect with your ideal audience?  Here are 3 good ways to start:

1. Take time to define the ideal audience. Write down details about the people you most want to connect with. Define their age, gender, income level, cooking experience.

2. Write down their main problem or challenge when they cook or use the kitchen. Maybe they don’t know how to bake using gluten-free products or maybe they aren’t sure how to deep-fat fry Twinkies. Write down as many challenges as your audience might have.

3. Identify how can you help them with this challenge. What does your cookbook do to spread your message and help the reader at the same time with the challenges listed?

Every time you sit down to write your recipes, or cookbook content, keep this ideal audience in mind. Speak to him or her. I pretend I’m writing to them personally once I’ve defined them. This builds my cookbook platform (blog posts, articles, tweets, Facebook updates for example) and helps my audience solve their challenges. In essence, when I speak their language I have better luck connecting with them.

Who is your ideal audience?
What do they want to hear about when you write to them?

I’m sure you have many good things to say. Talk to them. You’ll enjoy the connection and they will too.
5  Mistakes of Aspiring Cookbook Authors
5 Mistakes of Aspiring Cookbook Authors

I recently talked on the phone with an aspiring cookbook author who reserved one of the spots in my upcoming Cookbook Camp. And she had a great question for me- so I wanted to pass this along to you too. She asked, “So, what would you say are the top 5 things an aspiring cookbook author does wrong in writing a cookbook?”

 

Wow. This was a great question. But, since I knew the answer so I dove right in. Here’s what I said:

  1. They give all their great content away for free on their food blog.
  2. They assume they need an agent before they find a publisher.
  3. They submit a full cookbook manuscript to a publishers.
  4. They spend very little time building their platform.
  5. And the #1 mistake: they write their manuscript first.
  6. I know there are only supposed to be 5, but I thought of one more: they sit back and wait to be noticed or found by a publisher. They aren’t proactive.

Anyway, I hope this helps you too. It’s important and your dream of writing a cookbook is important. So, you should be starting on the work of writing your cookbook, right? Right! And then you need to use 2012 as the year to take action on getting your cookbook published.

Like I said above, the spots in my upcoming Cookbook Camp are filling up. If you are interested in getting your cookbook on the road to publication, learn more at www.cookbookcamp.com. I am still accepting applications. Don’t keep doing the same things wrong. In Cookbook Camp I’ll give you all of my essential ingredients to writing a cookbook that I’ve learned from being a cookbook editor and cookbook author.…

Want To Write A Cookbook: Wonder Where To Start?
Want To Write A Cookbook: Wonder Where To Start?

If you have the dream of writing a cookbook but wonder where to start, how to find a publisher, whether there’s money to be made, or if you need an agent, then you need to keep reading. As a cookbook editor and cookbook author I have experienced cookbook writing from both sides of the fence. Because of these experiences it’s not unusual for aspiring cookbook authors ask me questions about writing cookbooks. It’s funny, but in answering their questions I soon realized how much I enjoy helping others with their cookbook writing questions. For example, a food blogger who worked with me felt unclear and confused about her cookbook concept. After we reviewed together my Essential Ingredients For Writing A CookbookTM the “light bulb went on.” Her cookbook concept became crystal clear. She was thrilled and confident about moving forward with her cookbook project.

We all know there are several ways to get a cookbook published. But, the problem is that there aren’t many places that an aspiring cookbook author can turn to get their cookbook writing and publishing questions answered. In fact it seems that during the pre-publication stage of writing cookbooks there’s just not much support out there leaving aspiring cookbook authors feeling frustrated, isolated, and confused.
For these reasons, and for a limited time in early 2012, I am offering a new cookbook coaching program. This program contains a combination of group and private coaching calls, and if you so desire, assistance with writing a solid cookbook proposal.

Everyone who signs up for one of the cookbook coaching programs will receive support and lots of checklists and assessments about whipping their cookbook into shape. More importantly, aspiring cookbook authors who participate will feel supported as they are given the direction and confidence they need to move forward with their dream cookbook project.
In the end, participation in this cookbook coaching program will save you time. In this day and age where everything moves so quickly this is key because it’s possible that someone else is out there working on a cookbook with the same concept you want to write about. Now is the time to stop trying to answer all the cookbook writing questions on your own. Now is the time to get some direction and focus in your cookbook writing project.
So, here’s the rub:

I’m currently hard at work on my own writing and consulting business, and because of the nature of the program, and the personal interaction we will have, space is limited. To get a spot you’ll need to act quickly because I don’t know how many times next year I will offer this particular cookbook coaching program. To learn more all you have to do is send me an email at info (at) greenapron (dot) com let me know if you are interested. I will then send you all the details. I sincerely hope you will join me. It’s going to provide the direction you need and boost your confidence so you …

3 Ways to Build Your Cookbook Platform
3 Ways to Build Your Cookbook Platform

So here I am, back in September, at a book event. Yes, a public speaking event about seasonal cooking and this was followed by a book signing.  Public speaking events at libraries, extension offices, women’s and senior’s groups, and specialty food markets are part of my platform. Public speaking puts me in front of a group of people and they get to know me better. If they like me, and let’s hope they do, and if they like my message about seasonal foods and cooking, they might even buy my cookbook. This is the goal of an author platform: to connect me with my customers. To get them to know, like, and trust me, so that they buy my books and products from me.

In addition to this goal of connecting with customers, an aspiring cookbook author develops a platform for an additional reason: to attract attention around their message, and to attract attention from publishers and agents. Then they might just want to publish a book you write, all because they know, like, and trust you. They trust that you can help bring in book sales because you’ve built a strong platform.

Here are 3 ways to start building your author platform:

1. Define the target audience for your book and your message. Who is your ideal client or customer for your book? Who are you speaking to when you write? Is it: teens who want to learn to cook? Home-bakers who use gluten-free flours? or perhaps it’s single professional men who love to cook, but want simple, delicious recipes so they can entertain clients at home? Define who you are talking to and who your message is targeted for. Then get out there and talk to them – in person, in print, in digital media, and virtually.

2. Build a strong base or hub such as a blog or website. All of the work you do in your platform drives people back to your base or your hub. This is the center-piece of your book or your business. Everything revolves around here. If you don’t have a blog or website yet, start to develop one. Simple and free blogs are available from WordPress.comand Blogger.com. When you start to blog, remember you are having a conversation with your audience. There is no magic number about how often to blog, what’s more important is to strive to blog consistently.

3. Focus on getting to know your customers through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. Be selective about your social media. I limit my involvement to the three I just mentioned, but there are many more social media opportunities out there, such as Google + and MySpace. Pick the few  you want to use, set up profiles that align with your message and with your website or blog, and start socializing. You don’t need to spend all day with social media to be effective. Your goal is to get to know your ideal customers and to develop …