Cookbook Author Interview Series: Lori Rice: Decide If You Want To Write A Book Or If You Are Married To An Idea
Cookbook Author Interview Series: Lori Rice: Decide If You Want To Write A Book Or If You Are Married To An Idea

When I introduce these interviews I  try to give readers a little insight into how I know the author I’m interviewing. Here’s the funny thing with Lori: I know her. We’ve met. I follow her on Instagram. We DM each other there, but I for the life of me couldn’t remember exactly who introduced us or how we met. I did recall a few details: we met in Lexington at the Incredible Food Show in the fall of 2011. I was promoting my first cookbook, and Lori lived in the Lexington-area at the time. Beyond that, the details escaped me. So I emailed Lori and told her that I couldn’t remember exactly who introduced us. Could she fill me in? 

Here was her reply: “I think we may have originally met online when the girl who wrote [insert name of a particular blog] (I can’t remember her name) approached me to review your cookbook. Then I think we met in person at the show. Although I can’t remember who introduced us. It might have been J. but I feel like there was someone else showing me around that show and I can’t peg who it was!”  This made me laugh out loud. Neither of us could remember who introduced us! Regardless, Lori is a breath of fresh air and I love her cookbook concept for her cookbooks. Lori now lives in California, is an accomplished photographer, cookbook author, mom to 2 pugs, and is a “liquid bread” expert. Here’s my interview with the lovely Lori Rice.

What is the name of your cookbook?

Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer

What was the publication date?

October 10, 2017

Is this your first cookbook?

Technically, no. Strangely, this is always a tough question for me to answer. My book, The Everything Guide to Food Remedies, published in March 2011. It contains 150 recipes focused on fighting and controlling disease. (I’m a nutritional scientist by education.) Writing it felt a lot like writing my blog, though.

My goal with cookbook writing was to have a book with focused recipes and photography. As a result, I rarely even mention my first book. I didn’t feel like a cookbook author until Food on Tap was published. Plus, I’m also a food photographer. It makes up the largest majority of my work these days. I really wanted to photograph my own book. Once I did, I felt like a part of the industry somehow. Like it solidified things for me professionally.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

I love print. I enjoy the web-based work I do for my food blog and for my clients, but I’ve always liked to hold something in my hands. I’m not sure how to explain it, but personally, it feels like a bigger accomplishment. I feel the same way when I write for magazines. Writing a cookbook seemed like a good fit for my goals.

Do you have a food blog? Was your blog a

Cookbook Author Interview Series: Clotilde Dusoulier: Build a List of Emails That You Own
Cookbook Author Interview Series: Clotilde Dusoulier: Build a List of Emails That You Own

In March 2009, I wrote my first cookbook proposal for One Year in My Kentucky Kitchen. (The was ultimately published as The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook in 2011).

In a cookbook proposal, it’s important to identify cookbooks that you like or that you believe are competitors to your proposed book. This gives the agent or editor a glimpse of your “vision” for your proposed cookbook.

One of the cookbooks I identified in my proposal was Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier. Here’s what I wrote “Based on a blog by the same name, this sweet book contains four-color photography and a unique design. I like the size and “feel” of this paperback cookbook.”  At the time I was very into how I wanted my cookbook to “feel” when someone used it. And, based on that criteria, I identified Clotilde’s book as a book I admired.

Now here we are in 2018. Clotilde just published her fifth cookbook and my third and fourth cookbooks will be published this fall of 2018. Clotilde lives in Paris. I live in Kentucky. Despite living across the ocean from each other, our paths crossed in a coaching program. 

Life delivers the most wonderful coincidences and it happens to me all the time. I cross paths with someone. I don’t see them for a while, and then all of the sudden our paths cross again, as we weave in and out of each other’s lives. 

I admire Clotilde and her work. And one day, I think we are going to meet, if not in Paris, then here in the beautiful state of Kentucky. And if you’re still reading this introduction, I hope you enjoy this interview with Clotilde, about her fifth book, Tasting Paris, which as listed as one of the 37 New Cookbooks To Buy This Spring, by Epicurious. 

What is the name of your cookbook(s)?

My new cookbook was published on March 20, 2018, and it is titled Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local.

This is the book I’ve long wanted to write to share the many and wonderful flavors of Paris from a local’s perspective. A cliché-free Paris that reflects the way real Parisians eat today.

Is this your first cookbook?

It is my fifth book! I have previously published:

Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen (my first cookbook, containing classics from my own and my family’s French repertoire)

Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris (a guide to Paris restaurants and food shops)

Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites (a little book of French expressions related to food, with watercolor illustrations)

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen (a French vegetarian cookbook)

Do you have a food blog? Was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract?

I am the author of a food blog called Chocolate & Zucchini, which I’ve been running for 14 1/2 years. I’m an OG blogger, and I was actually the …

Cookbook Author Interview Series: Elizabeth Weaver: Find A Mentor
Cookbook Author Interview Series: Elizabeth Weaver: Find A Mentor

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I had the privilege of working with Elizabeth in one of my mastermind groups. Elizabeth gets stuff done in her community, with her personal chef business, and now with her new cookbook. She is a delight to know and if you like southern food and recipes, you’ll love Generations of Edibles, Elizabeth’s first cookbook.

What is the name of your cookbook?

Generation of Edibles: A Southern Legacy
www.myelizabethsedibles.com

Is this your first cookbook?

It is!

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

I grew up around great Southern women who could cook. Food has always been an important part of my life. I started cooking dinner one night a week when I was 13. From there food became a way to help others or to de-stress my life. I could find a recipe, grab the ingredients and create something. Time in the kitchen for me is always perfect.

How did you publish your cookbook?

I decided to self-publish my cookbook. I worked in the arts for 30 years. During that time, I worked on many projects that require many of the same things needed to publish a cookbook. I have a neighbor who has photographed food before. He and I took a food style course. A dear friend from college, who designed my logo, took on the layout project. My husband is amazing with a spreadsheet. I simply felt like I had the tools to make this happen. I also liked the idea of being in control of my cookbook process.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your cookbook?

To be honest, allowing others to edit my work. You are really putting your personal self out there. It took me days to open the emails from my recipe testers. I was so nervous about what they would say! In the end, their comments were spot on and it was exciting to see someone else create recipes that I created and tweaked.

What was your biggest challenge in publishing your cookbook?

Picking a place to have it printed. I settled on IngramSpark. I sent hours researching, reading, and questioning. Working with IngramSpark has been a really good experience.

What advice do you have for an aspiring cookbook author who wants to self-publish a cookbook?

Go for it. Find a great mentor. I struggled with getting my cookbook off the ground because there was so much I didn’t know. Joining the Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group helped so much. It focused me. Gave me a great group to sound my ideas off of and you gave me such good information and goals to reach.

What strategies did you use if you ever felt overwhelmed with the process?

I started with when I wanted to publish to the cookbook. Then I worked backward on deadlines that needed to happen to meet that publication date. Then I only worried about those small goals. I also made sure there was extra time to reach all the mini goals. Let’s be honest, life …

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

I’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 …

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

WWFFIII.coverAuthor 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, …

Cookbook Author Interview: Lauren Harris-Pincus: Write And Fix It Later
Cookbook Author Interview: Lauren Harris-Pincus: Write And Fix It Later

File Jun 19, 11 34 42 AMA few years ago, I met Lauren virtually through a conFile Jun 19, 11 30 22 AMversation about her desire to write a cookbook. This is one of the things I love about taking with aspiring cookbook authors. I get to hear about their dream of writing a cookbook and help them see the possibility. Lauren took our conversation to heart. She identified her concept, wrote a cookbook proposal, found an agent, chose her best route to publication, and wrote her cookbook! I feel so happy for Lauren. I want everyone to learn from what she, and many other cookbook authors, has done. Please enjoy this interview with Lauren Pincus.

What is the name of your cookbook?

The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club: Easy High Protein Recipes with 300 Calories or Less to Help You Lose Weight and Boost Metabolism

Is this your first cookbook?

Yes.

When was your book published and by whom?

May 2017 by Create Space Independent Publishing Platform

What are the main components of your author platform?

Social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as my blog at Nutrition Starring You. I am frequently quoted in the media and on podcasts and radio.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

I have always been a breakfast lover, and I found it intriguing that the most common challenge of my patients is their inability to consume a healthy, balanced breakfast. Whether it’s lack of time/resources/ideas/knowledge, there’s always some excuse to skip breakfast or eat something that is not properly fueling your body. I wanted to create a resource for my own patients as well as other RDs whose clients struggle with the same issue.

How did you publish your cookbook?

I self-published through my book agent’s small publishing company, Eggplant Press, using CreateSpace. My heart was set on having a print book vs. simply an ebook. I’ve never liked cooking from a screen, so I always print out recipes from websites before I cook. I like to take notes in the margins and make ingredient substitutions which I’m unable to do with an ebook.

What advice do you have for an aspiring cookbook author who wants to write/self-publish a cookbook?

Just do it. Write and fix it later. Create a format for yourself and be consistent. Write all of your recipes in the same way which will save major editing time later. I wrote a thorough book proposal before I did anything else – it came out around 30 pages. I sent that out to agents and then my agent helped me tweak it before we submitted to publishers. If you don’t want to or choose not to go the traditional publishing route, I suggest setting a goal and breaking it down into small pieces. Write your own book proposal even if you don’t plan on submitting it to anyone. It will keep you focused and make a large project much more manageable. I think it’s important to understand that few people actually make money on a book, especially when …

Cookbook Author Interview: Jennie Schacht: Write Your Own Cookbook or Ghostwrite for Others
Cookbook Author Interview: Jennie Schacht: Write Your Own Cookbook or Ghostwrite for Others

I Scream Sandwich_book_coverAs with many of the cookbook authors I have interviewed for this blog, Jennie Schacht is a participant in the Cookbook Friends Facebook Group. This is an active group where cookbooks and publishing are discussed.

Group communities are a very popular way to interact on Facebook. In this group we hear different perspectives from aspiring and published cookbook authors, as well as those who have experience with copy-editing, design, promotion, and marketing. Jennie was kind to agree to do this interview and share her experiences about writing cookbooks and give some tips about ghostwriting as well. Thank you, Jennie for your participation.

What is the name of your most recently published cookbook?

i scream SANDWICH! published in 2013 by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.

Is this your first cookbook?

Actually, it is the seventh of eight books I have done so far. I feel very fortunate to have had these opportunities.

Tell us about your other cookbooks.

My first was a collaboration with a wonderfully creative pastry chef named Mary Cech, who taught at the Culinary Institute of America. The book was called The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook, and it was published in 2004. The first book I did entirely independently was called Farmers’ Market Desserts. Both of those two were with Chronicle Books in San Francisco. In addition to those two and the ice cream sandwich book, I’ve written five books for other authors, as either a named or a ghost writer. Those include Southern Italian Desserts with Rosetta Costantino (2013, Ten Speed) and Without Reservations with Joey Altman (2010, Wiley).

What compelled you to want to write cookbooks?

I’ve pretty much always wanted to write a cookbook. When I met Mary Cech we just clicked, and I asked her to be in touch if she ever wanted to do a book. She was and we did, and it was so much fun, I guess I couldn’t stop after that.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook? 

For the first cookbook, I worked with my co-author to develop our concept, and then I drafted a letter and sent it to several agents. Only one replied with interest but she was very enthusiastic, and she was successful in selling the book concept to Chronicle Books. I think enthusiasm for the work goes a long way in selling the concept to a publisher.

You mentioned that you have been a ghost writer for some cookbooks. Tell us more about ghost writing a cookbook.

Ghost writing typically means that you write the book for the author in their voice, as if they wrote it themselves. Sometimes it can include developing recipes, other times it’s writing the narrative portions (front and back matter, chapter openers, recipe headnotes, etc.). I really enjoy channelling other people’s voices and personalities, so I find it a fun challenge to write books for others.

Should an aspiring cookbook author hire a ghost writer?

In most cases, ghost writers are used by …

Cookbook Author Interview: Michele Jordan: Know Your Voice And Stand Up For It
Cookbook Author Interview: Michele Jordan: Know Your Voice And Stand Up For It

thegoodcook'sjournalI’ve met a lot of cookbook authors through our Facebook group for Cookbook Friends. And the truth is that they are all willing to share their story of publication. Michele comes to writing a cookbook truly through the world of writing. That’s what she does and what she always wanted to do. In this interview Michele discusses the importance of working with a good editor and building a platform for your work.

What is the name of your cookbook? 

I published five books this year, the Good Cook’s series: of Tomatoes; of Oil & Vinegar; of Salt & Pepper; of Mustard; and the Good Cook’s Journal. More Than Meatballs came out in November ’14. Vinaigrettes & Other Dressings was released in April, ’13.

When was it published?

The series was released in Summer, 2015.

Is this your first cookbook?

No.

Tell us about your other cookbooks.

My first book, A Cook’s Tour of Sonoma, was published in 1990. The book is a narrative exploration of Sonoma County, California, with about 200 recipes. By 2000, I had written 13 books. California Home Cooking, published in 1997, won a number of awards and remains in print today. The total number now is 24, with more to come . . .

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

It’s what I do. I’ve always cooked, I’ve always written and I’ve always told stories. Writing books about food weaves these endeavors together.

Do you have a food blog? If so, was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract? Or deciding to write a cookbook?

I have two blogs but they have had nothing to do with obtaining a contract or with my decision to write books.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

My most recent books were sold by my agent, Andy Ross, who is brilliant. Things went fairly quickly during the negotiations–the publisher was pretty much unwilling to negotiate anything–and he advised me to take the deal so I did. With my first book, a publisher I met asked for a proposal and very quickly offered a contract. I didn’t have an agent until I was about to write my third or fourth book. I didn’t find the right agent until I had published 16 or so books.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs? If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your food writing work?)

Today, any writer, including cookbook authors, needs what is called a platform, which is basically your means of access to an audience. A food blog, teaching at cookware stores and cooking schools, a farm, a radio show, television contacts, a restaurant: All these things are platforms and the more you have and the more successful they are, the better your chances of landing a good contract. If you don’t have at least one solid platform, it will be hard to get an offer. If you …

Cookbook Author: Leeann Lavin: A Blog Is Surely A Go-To Way To Recognition
Cookbook Author: Leeann Lavin: A Blog Is Surely A Go-To Way To Recognition

homegrowncookbookLeeann’s cookbook stems from her experiences working at a botanical garden and earning a certificate in Landscape Design. I find it most interesting with these interviews the path that cookbook authors take to publication. Over and over again cookbook authors interviewed for this series talk about the importance of a platform and Leeann is no different. I appreciate her generosity and time to share more tips, successes, and struggles of writing a cookbook.

What is the name of your cookbook?

The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

When was it published?

Summer 2012

Is this your first cookbook?

Yes.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

As a garden designer, writer, naturalist and environmental enthusiast, I wanted to explore what inspired what was then a burgeoning area of locavore chefs. Key to answering this question is that my book’s story/narrative is a journey I started in early 2002. Following the attacks in New York City, I had migrated from supercharged, technology public relations – to working at The New York Botanical Garden in public relations. I had been studying there for years, and eventually saw that I only had a few classes remaining to earn a Certificate in Landscape Design. I came at the cookbook from the grower’s standpoint. I asked the Garden Coordinator – a published author – for an introduction to her editor. This was all so early in the timeline of what is now a readily accepted/understood farm-to-table/dock-to-dish approach to market-driven, seasonal food. However when I started my book – this was all so foreign. I’d gotten signed on straight away with a major NYC-based publisher as a garden book and then was told there were too many garden books on the market. So I shelved the idea for the book – until all the cooking competition TV shows started to pop up, especially the chef and cooking entertainment shows. I thought – “Hey, I had this idea years ago.” So I dusted off the pitch, took away the emphasis on celebrity – as the concept was now hijacked – and focused on the local and seasonal ingredients, and the relationship to the local, artisanal food maker and grower.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

Through introductions from published authors I knew, I pursued an introduction, prepared a detailed pitch with sample TOC, chapter, and photography. I interviewed two chefs and their growers and presented a sample manuscript.

Do you have a food blog? 

Yes, I have a blog. It’s called Garden Glamour.

Was Garden Glamour a driving force in obtaining a contract? Or deciding to write a cookbook?

No, my book’s blog (now defunct Celebrity Chefs and Their Gardens) came after – as a consequence – and my other blog, Garden Glamour was already in place.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs? If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your food writing work?)

No, they don’t …

Cookbook Author Interview: Gintare Marcel: Everything Is Possible Once You Put Your Mind To It
Cookbook Author Interview: Gintare Marcel: Everything Is Possible Once You Put Your Mind To It

L’Art de la TableFacebook groups have become places where I like to interact with other cooks, writers, and authors.  What I like about Facebook Groups is that the people who are there and who participate in the group want to be there and choose to participate. The groups are also a nice place to ask questions, gather current information about your topic of interest, and meet others (from all over the world) who share your interests. I’ve mentioned the Cookbook Writers Facebook group before. That is how I came into contact with Gintare. What I like Gintare’s beautiful work is that her interest and skill in photography and design and comes through in her work. Take note in this interview that Gintare reveals that due to the visual appeal of her work, one of her favorite and most successful social media platforms is Instagram. Keep in mind for your social media use the ideas of where your audience hangs out and what platform highlights your content best. I agree that Instagram works to highlight Gintare’s work. Please join me in welcoming Gintare, for the latest installment of my Cookbook Author Interview Series. 

What is the name of your cookbook?

My latest cookbook is L’Art de la Table: Taste of the Mediterranean, published by Dutch based Aerial Media Company.

When was it published?

It was published in June 2015 in Europe and just reached US a few months ago.

Is this your first cookbook?

No, I have three others.

Tell us about your other cookbooks.

I have published three cookbooks before. Two (Gems of the Cold and Sunshine Delights), were ebooks focused on different seasons. I have published myself via my blog and Amazon. Flavors of Provence was published in my home; Lithuania with a local publisher.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

I love telling stories. Writing cookbooks, most of all the latest one, L’Art de la Table: Taste of the Mediterranean, was a way to bring together my passion for food, writing and visual arts. With my cookbooks I want to take my readers on a journey to place, to give an experience that goes along the food and recipes, to bottle up the experience of the Mediterranean so you could enjoy it once you are no longer there.

Do you have a food blog? If so, was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract?

I’ve been writing a food blog – Gourmantine – since 2010. While it certainly helped, I think having two ebooks was a great way of showing a body of work. I am also able to cover the whole creative process from writing to photography and design, which helps immensely too.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook? 

It’s quite an unusual story. I had already two ebooks published when I got an interview feature in a magazine, and I got a call from a publisher a few days after it came out …

Cookbook Author Interview: Ann Benoit: There Are No Excuses For Anything Less Than The Best Quality Possible.
Cookbook Author Interview: Ann Benoit: There Are No Excuses For Anything Less Than The Best Quality Possible.

NOB Seafood CoverFormer assistant attorney general for the State of Louisiana, Ann Benoit lives, loves, photographs, and writes about New Orleans. Ann is a member of Cookbook Friends Facebook Group and I met her there. As a fellow-member of IACP, I reached out to Ann to do this interview about her experiences writing cookbooks. I find her insights full of good tips and suggestions for anyone in the cookbook-writing business. 

What is the name of your cookbook?

New Orleans Best Seafood Restaurants

Discover the best seafood in the city that defines seafood. Cook with established celebrity restaurants—including Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill, John Besh’s Borgne, and Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House Seafood—and classic eateries such as Middendorf’s and Pascal’s Manale. Explore fresh tastes from the newest generation of great chefs: Jason Seither of Seither’s Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Edgar Caro of Basin Seafood and Spirits and Crudo+Bar at Baru, Keith and Nealy Frentz of LOLA Restaurant, and many others. From Ann Benoit, the celebrated food photographer and writer who gave us two of Louisiana’s Top 20 Cookbooks, comes New Orleans’ Best Seafood Restaurants, an adventure into the five basic seafood groups: crab, crawfish, oysters, fish, and shrimp—plus turtle and alligator: a little bit of lagniappe.

When was it published?

September 18, 2015.

Is this your first cookbook? If no, tell us about your other cookbooks.

No. It is the third cookbook published in my name. My prior cookbooks include New Orleans Best Ethnic Restaurants [Pelican Publishing Co., 2014] and the Broussard’s Restaurant and Courtyard Cookbook [Pelican Publishing Co., 2012].

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook? Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

I am less compelled and more evolved into cookbook writing through a gradual process and long-term acquisition of skills. Looking back, the path seems almost pre-ordained, but it neither looked nor felt that way at the time; it was a long and difficult struggle. A New Orleans native, I was blessed to be raised in America’s mecca of food and to be the product of a number of food-obsessed family roots including Cajun and Italian. The food industry is the culture of New Orleans the way the auto industry is the culture of Detroit, the entertainment industry is the culture of Los Angeles, the gambling industry is the culture of Las Vegas, and the publishing and financial industries are the culture of New York.

In acquiring the necessary skills, I have been a writer all my life. In grammar school, I was the kid the teachers chose to write the fifth grade newsletter, in high school I was editor of the literary magazine, in college I started an underground newspaper, in law school I wrote the food and entertainment column for the law school newspaper. In my professional career as a lawyer for 25 years, I was a legal researcher and writer for appellate judges, writing legal opinions, speeches, legal journal articles, legal textbooks and scholarly publications, legislation for inclusion in …

Cookbook Author Interview: Robyn Webb: You Must Believe In Yourself!
Cookbook Author Interview: Robyn Webb: You Must Believe In Yourself!

As you’ll read in this interview, Robyn is a prolific cookbook author. However, little did I know when I asked Robyn to participate in this series, that she had even written a travel guide about Paris.

One of the secrets to Robyn’s cookbook success revolves around her area of expertise with diabetes. As a result, she became known for her knowledge and was sought after to write cookbooks on the topic of diabetes. In addition, Robyn is connected with her audience as the food editor for Diabetes Forecast magazine. 

It was the result of her extensive travel that Robyn made the leap into another book genre – travel guides. I think this is of value to remember – just because you want to write a cookbook, it doesn’t always mean that you will always be stuck in that genre. There are topics for both fiction and non-fiction books that aspiring authors can write about, as well as many routes to publication of your books including eBooks.

Thanks, Robyn, for participating in this interview series and for being a good role model for everyone who wants to write books, especially cookbooks. 

What is the name of your most recent cookbook?

I’ve actually written 16 books and at work on one now. My last cookbook was the 2-time award winning The Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook. It has remained in the top 5% of all books on Amazon since 2011 and is still the number one bestseller in the American Diabetes Association book store sales.

When was it published?

2011

Tell us about your other cookbooks. 

Wow there are many. Most of my books are with the American Diabetes Association as my expertise as a nutritionist is diabetes. I serve as the Food Editor of their award winning magazine Diabetes Forecast. All of my books are special to me, starting with the bestseller (and my largest money maker) Diabetic Meals in 30 Minutes or Less written in 1998.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

At first, I thought, oh right, just what the world needs – another cookbook! I actually never planned on writing cookbooks at all. But when American Diabetes Association came calling in 1996, they hired me as a consultant to the magazine at first, then they added me to their editorial board, then they gave me my own column, and then asked me to write a cookbook for them. Ever since then it snowballed into making diabetes my niche.

Do you have a food blog? If so, was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract?

I’m from an entirely different generation well before we even used computers in our everyday lives! I started a blog several years ago, but honestly I don’t come from that arena – I honed my skills as a writer the old-fashioned way. So no, a blog was not instrumental in my cookbook success.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

I …

Cookbook Author Interview: Sandra Gutierrez: Cookbooks Are Selling Big Time
Cookbook Author Interview: Sandra Gutierrez: Cookbooks Are Selling Big Time

beans and field peas

It is a thrill to interview a cookbook author who has published with a university press. I appreciate the work that university presses do to further the exploration of regional food topics through the publication of regional cookbooks. I have to admit that I may be partial, though, because University Press of Kentucky published my first cookbook. I always encourage aspiring cookbook authors to consider a university press as a worthy publisher for topics related to regional food and cooking. 

Sandra’s publisher, The University of North Carolina Press, is known for their cookbook publishing division. UNC Press publishes  cookbooks and foodways books including an appealing series of Savor the South cookbooks that cover single topics from Crab & Oysters to Sunday Dinner, as well as Sandra’s contribution to the series, a staple in southern cooking, Beans & Field Peas

Sandra is a fellow member of IACP and a member of a Facebook Group called Cookbook Writers. She has written four cookbooks, so her experience spans the publication of these books. Her experience is valuable and helpful to aspiring cookbook authors, especially with her advice about developing a platform for your writing. Thanks, Sandra for participating in this interview series. 

What is the name of your cookbook? 

Beans and Field Peas: A Savor the South Cookbook (UNC Press)

When was it published?

September 7, 2015

Is this your first cookbook?

No, it’s my fourth cookbook.

Tell us about your other cookbooks. 

My first cookbook is called The New Southern-Latino Table (UNC Press, 2011) where I expose the new culinary branch of southern cuisine that is blending with Latin American elements. My second book, Latin American Street Food (UNC Press, 2013) explores favorite street food from Mexico to Argentina. My third book is Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, May 2015) is all about these beloved morsels from Mexico to Brazil.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook? 

It was a natural progression of my career as a food writer and culinary instructor. I was the food editor for The Cary News (a McClatchy publication) for 8 years, and a freelance food writer for almost a decade. I have been teaching about food and food history since the late 80’s. Writing books allows me to reach a wider audience and to continue to share the food that I love and know.

Do you have a food blog? If so, was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract or deciding to write a cookbook?

Yes, I do have a blog, Sandra’s Kitchen Studio but it didn’t have anything to do with my obtaining my first contract. I mostly use it to inform my students and readers of upcoming events or breaking news. Writing books has made my number of followers grow, so it’s worked in the opposite direction but it didn’t make a difference in getting my first book.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

Cookbook Author Interview: Cynthia Graubart: No One Should Write a Cookbook That Contains Untested Recipes
Cookbook Author Interview: Cynthia Graubart: No One Should Write a Cookbook That Contains Untested Recipes

Slow Cooking For TwoI met Cynthia serendipitously through IACP, a professional culinary organization that we both belong to. On the morning we met, we both thought we were joining an IACP Food Writers and Editors Google Hangout, but for some reason we both ended up being the only two people in our Hangout. I still haven’t figured why no else showed up to that particular the Hangout.  Either Cynthia and I were technologically advanced and made it to the Hangout while others did not, or we were in one Hangout while our colleagues were in another. Regardless of the set of circumstances, we took advantage of our time together to get to know each other and to share information about our cookbook projects.

When all was said and done I asked Cynthia to participate in this interview series and she asked me to write a Sunday Supper tip for her next cookbook. She was completing her 7th cookbook manuscript and had a hole to fill from a Kentucky cookbook author and I knew she’d have a lot to offer aspiring cookbook authors in an interview. Thank, Cynthia, for sharing your knowledge and tips here. I can’t wait to see the Sunday Suppers cookbook. And, I enjoyed our private Google Hangout a few months ago.

What is the name of your most recently sold-written cookbook?

Slow Cooking for Two, Gibbs-Smith 2013

Is this your first cookbook?

No.

Tell us about your other cookbooks.

My first cookbook was The One-Armed Cook: Quick and Easy Recipes, Smart Meal Plans, and Savvy Advice For The New and Not-So-New Moms. I co-authored it with a dear friend. Our agent in New York had just sent out copies of our manuscript to publishers the day before 9/11 and they became lost in mailrooms across the city. Publishing froze for a time. I then formed my own publishing company and we published the book to great success. Meredith Books approached us after we sold 4,000 copies in 4 months and they became our new publishers.

My next two cookbooks were co-authored with Nathalie Dupree. First came Southern Biscuits (Gibbs-Smith 2011) and next Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (Gibbs-Smith 2012), which won a James Beard Award.

Next came Slow Cooking for Two (Gibbs-Smith September 2013), and 6 months later Slow Cooker Double Dinners for Two (Gibbs-Smith April 2014). Those were authored solo.

Coming this spring is Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables (Gibb-Smith 2015) which I wrote with Nathalie Dupree.

Fall 2015 will see the release of my 7th cookbook: Sunday Suppers (Southern Living/Oxmoor House).

I’m currently writing the Chicken volume for the Savor the South cookbook series published by University of North Carolina Press.

What compels you to want to write cookbooks?

I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing a cookbook. I enjoy conceiving a book map, inventing and testing recipes, and writing the various sidebars and headnotes to comfort and encourage my readers. I plan to do many more!

Can you tell us

Cookbook Author Interview: Jeanne Sauvage: An Agent Can Get You The Best Deal Possible
Cookbook Author Interview: Jeanne Sauvage: An Agent Can Get You The Best Deal Possible

This is the third time I’ve interviewed my friend, Jeanne Sauvage. Jeanne and I met via Facebook and Twitter and then we met in person at the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference in New York City. We enjoyed dinner together with other cookbook friends and I learned about Jeanne’s days living in New York City.

Jeanne participated in this interview series twice with her first cookbook. The first interview was after she was finished writing her first cookbook The Art of Gluten-Free Holiday Baking and then the second interview offers an update during the production process. This fall, Jeanne’s second cookbook, Gluten-Free Wish List  is scheduled for publication. This interview offers her insights about the importance of an agent, a platform, and a writing schedule (with deadlines). Thanks, again, Jeanne. I can’t wait to see the next cookbook! And your support and tips for aspiring cookbook authors are very helpful.

What is the name of your second cookbook?

Gluten-Free Wish List: Sweet and Savory Treats You’ve Missed the Most

When was it published?

It is to be published this September 29, 2015.

What compelled you to want to write a second cookbook?

I really enjoyed the process of writing the first book. And I am, at heart, a teacher. One of my ways of teaching is via cookbooks. I love to share information!

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your second cookbook? Did you have an agent?

I wrote a proposal and sent it to my publisher, Chronicle Books, via my agent. (So yes, I do have an agent). They loved the proposal and made me an offer.

If I want to write a cookbook, do I need to retain an agent?

I think that if you want to get a cookbook published through a publishing house (versus self-publishing) that you absolutely need an agent. The industry is changing by the minute and I think it’s truly become necessary to have someone working for you who knows the business and the people. I can’t imagine trying to negotiate the publishing houses and then trying to figure out a contract without an agent. People sometimes tell you that you can avoid an agent by hiring a lawyer to negotiate the contract. But there is so much more to the process than that—even in terms of the contract. An agent knows the business and the system and can help you get the best deal possible. I highly recommend getting an agent. They are worth their weight in gold.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your food writing work?)

I think some sort of platform is necessary. Whether it’s a blog or a cooking show or a restaurant or a teaching facility or a body of freelance writing, you need some place where the publishers can see you connecting with potential readers of your proposed book. A website (even if it’s not …

Cookbook Author Interview: Fiona Young-Brown: Don’t Be In a Hurry. Figure Out Your Niche.
Cookbook Author Interview: Fiona Young-Brown: Don’t Be In a Hurry. Figure Out Your Niche.

A Culinary History of KentuckyIt’s Kentucky cookbook author month here on the interview series and today I introduce a cookbook author who first wrote two history books, one about Lexington, KY. Originally from England, Fiona spent several years living in Japan before moving to Kentucky. With an academic background in American history and women’s studies, she was fascinated with the similarities between Kentucky and her native England. In June, Fiona and I are sharing a space at the Lexington Farmers’ Market “Homegrown Author Series” and I look forward to spending the morning with Fiona. 

What is the name of your book?

A Culinary History of Kentucky: Burgoo, Beer Cheese, & Goetta.

When was it published?

April 2014

Is this your first food history book?

Yes. I’d written two local history books but this was my first to look at this history of food.

What compelled you to want to write a your Kentucky food history? Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your book?  Did you have an agent, self-publish, or find a publisher without an agent?

I’ve been interested in collecting recipes for some time and have been food blogging for a few years at CrazyEnglishWomanCooks.com, but that was always more as a way of sharing what I was cooking with my family and friends back in England.

Since moving to Kentucky about 13 years ago, I’ve always been struck by the similarities in culture (food, music, language, etc.) between here and the British Isles. I think the anthropologist in me is always keen to find common points between cultures.

The History Press, with whom I’d published Wicked Lexington, approached me to say they would like to work with me again, but I felt as if I had gone as far as I wanted to with Lexington history. I mentioned my food blog and they happened to have started a new collection: “American Palate, Exploring America’s Regional History Through Food”. They sent me a few samples of other books in the series and I instantly knew that I wanted to write something for them.

Their first suggestion was bourbon but there are many writers who know much more about that subject than me. I had just written a piece for Culture magazine about the history of beer cheese, and so I suggested a more general history of Kentucky food – looking at the influence of immigrant groups and at regional dishes. Kentucky has so many foods that are very specific to certain locales – beer cheese in Central Kentucky, goetta just across from Cincinnati, etc. These were fascinating to me.

The History Press loved the idea, and then all I had to do was write the book!

If I want to write a book, do I need to retain an agent?

No, not in my experience for non-fiction with smaller presses.

Do aspiring cookbook/book authors need food blogs?  If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your food writing work)?

I …

Cookbook Author Interview: Rona Roberts: If you Love Some Aspect of the Food World...Write A Cookbook
Cookbook Author Interview: Rona Roberts: If you Love Some Aspect of the Food World...Write A Cookbook

Classic Kentucky MealsRona and I are both Kentucky cookbook authors. We shared space at book-signing events for our first books and we also share a love for Kentucky – it’s food, people, and kitchens. It is with great joy that I was able to interview Rona about her cookbook, Classic Kentucky Meals. Though we live 90 miles apart, I ‘m sure that if we lived in the same town I’d frequent her weekly Cornbread Suppers as much as possible. The suppers are a fun way to share what we love: meals, stories, and the company of others who enjoy the same. 

What is the name of your cookbook?

Classic Kentucky Meals: Stories, Ingredients & Recipes from the Traditional Bluegrass Kitchen 

When was it published?

November, 2014

Is this your first cookbook?

This is my second book. My first, Sweet, Sweet Sorghum: Kentucky’s Golden Wonder, focuses on an ingredient, sweet sorghum syrup, and included eight recipes. It is primarily an introduction to the culture and uses of sorghum, not a cookbook. People buy it for the recipes, though, to my surprise.

What compelled you to want to write a second cookbook?

Kentucky’s growers and the great food they produce inspire me. I delight in telling the stories of Kentucky growers and Kentucky foods. I take great pleasure in using words and beautiful images to share stories about Kentucky cuisine and the people behind it. Classic Kentucky Meals came with two added bonuses: the opportunity to work with world class photographer Sarah Jane Sanders, and the great fun of having friends and fellow cooks coming together to prepare and share the five meals that form the book’s framework. In other words, I did it for love and for fun. The months of working on Classic Kentucky Meals were among the happiest of my life.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook? Did you have an agent, self-publish, or find a publisher without an agent?

A commissioning editor from The History Press sent me a tweet praising my blog, Savoring Kentucky, and asking whether I had ever considered making a book built from blog entries. I did some research on the Press before responding. It took a few months for the idea that most excited me to take a firm shape. Fortunately, The History Press liked the proposed structure, topic, and framework, even though it was not drawn from my blog.

If I want to write a cookbook, do I need to retain an agent?

No. But it probably would help if your aim is to be published by a major press. On the other hand, if you simply love writing about food and writing and promoting recipes, it may be better to forge ahead, get work done, and become better at the craft. You can use all that evidence to attract the right agent.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs? If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your

Cookbook Author Interview: Dana White: Make Sure You Are Truly Passionate About Your Topic
Cookbook Author Interview: Dana White: Make Sure You Are Truly Passionate About Your Topic

First Bites Cookbook

I’ve interviewed several dietitians who are also cookbook authors on my site. I believe that dietitians are well-suited to write nutrition-related cookbooks because of their knowledge of food, nutrition, and cooking. Dana and I are both members of a specialty practice group for dietitians who own their own businesses. Dana’s first cookbook was published in 2015 after she was approached by an agent to write about a cookbook about an area of her expertise.  After successfully writing a proposal, her agent helped her find a publisher for her work. This is yet another way that cookbooks come to life for aspiring authors who are passionate about a topic related to nutrition and cooking. 

What is the name of your cookbook?

First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers 

When was it published?

February 3, 2015

Is this your first cookbook?

YES – I have contributed to other projects and created some sports nutrition e-cookbooks, but this is my first published cookbook.

What compelled you to want to write a cookbook?

I am a culinary dietitian and a mom of 2 so a cookbook for families was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was lucky enough to be approached by a literary agency so I could make this book a reality. I put the proposal together and they helped shop it around to publishers.

Do you have a food blog? Was your blog a driving force in obtaining a contract?

I have two. A personal blog at DanaWhiteNutrition.com that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves in terms of frequently posting content – but even before that I helped to create the Healthy Eats Blog for FoodNetwork.com. I have been with them for 8 years and that has been a wonderful opportunity.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook?

First Bites was under consideration by a few publishers. I actually did turn down a few of the initial offers because they wanted to change the concept in ways I didn’t believe in. Looking back, I am so glad I stuck to my guns and held out for an opportunity I was truly excited about.

Do you find the publishing industry daunting in any way?

Sure, especially for a first time author. I heard stories about how brutal the first round of edits could be – this actually helped! It was better to expect the worst going in. There was a lot to process, but overall it wasn’t that bad at all!

What is your advice for an aspiring cookbook author who is reading this interview?

Make sure you are truly passionate about your topic – you have to put in way too much work not to be!

What was the biggest challenge in completing your manuscript?

It’s a lot of work and projects like this are almost always on a tight timeline – time management is soooo important!

What was your biggest fear about writing a cookbook?

Maybe that it won’t be …

Cookbook Author Interview: Monica Bhide: Good Agents Are Worth Their Weight In Gold
Cookbook Author Interview: Monica Bhide: Good Agents Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

modern-spice

Monica Bhide – an engineer turned writer – lives in Washington D.C. An expert in Indian cooking, Monica has written three cookbooks. In 2014 her first work of fiction, The Devil in Us, was published. Monica belongs to IACP and our paths cross on social media in IACP and cookbook writing groups.  In this interview Monica shares her expertise on writing and what it takes to write three cookbooks. 

What are the names of your three cookbooks and when were they published?

The Spice is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today (2002) 

Everything Indian: 300 Tantalizing Recipes – From Sizzling Tandoori Chicken to Firey Lamb Vindaloo a life of spice(2004).

My third cookbook is called Modern Spice and was published by Simon & Schuster (S&S) in 2009.

My most recent cookbook is A Life of Spice (2015).

After you wrote your first cookbook, what compelled you to want to write more cookbooks?

My second book was a work for hire and it came to me through an agent. (This means that my agent helped connect me with a publisher who wanted to publish a book on my topic of expertise.)

My third cookbook, Modern Spice, I pitched the idea [to my agent] and the proposal was bought by S&S.

What compelled you to write a cookbook proposal for your third cookbook, Modern Spice, and pitch it to your agent and publishers? 

I felt that there was a need for an easy Indian cookbook that celebrated the cuisine of India but in a modern way. I wrote the proposal, and my agent submitted the book proposal to several publishers. He then helped negotiate the contract and contract terms with the editor at S&S.

If someone wants to write a cookbook, do they need to retain an agent?

I think having an agent is a bonus as [agents] know the market and have the right connections. Many [publishing] houses do not accept un-agented manuscripts. That said, if you have a followership [audience] of over 100K people, I am sure the publishing houses will be open to hearing from you. Also, and this is important, good agents really help you all along the way – from writing the proposal, to selling your idea to a publisher, to helping you work with your publisher. Good agents are worth their weight in gold!

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  If no, what other ways can they promote their work (or how do you promote your food writing work)?

Tough question. I get this all the time. I think it is critical to have a presence that YOU CONTROL – meaning FB, Twitter, or your own blog. Writing on a blog that is not your own (like say Huffington Post) – you have no control. If they close tomorrow or change their policy,  you have no way of saving your work and your platform.

As far as promotion, I am of the opinion that these days the marketing strategy for a book needs to come WAY before …

Cookbook Author Interview: Brian Yarvin: Put Effort Into Contacting Publishers Directly
Cookbook Author Interview: Brian Yarvin: Put Effort Into Contacting Publishers Directly

Brian and I belong to a group of cookbook writers on Facebook. In this group any cookbook writer can ask a question and get a variety of answers from a variety of cookbook writers. Earlier this year I inquired about this set of interviews for my blog and Brian responded favorably to my request.

Brian‘s approach to getting his ideas in front of a publisher through submitting a well-written cookbook proposal has worked well for him. This past summer his sixth cookbook was published.  Enjoy this interview with Brian where he gives his insights into cookbook writing, cookbook publishing, and getting your name out there as an expert. 

What is the name of your cookbook?

My most recent book was A World of Noodles from Countryman Press

When was it published?

This past summer (2014)

Is this your first cookbook?

No, it’s my sixth.

If no, tell us about your other cookbook(s).

Most of my other books are similar single-subject cookbooks but two; Cucina Piemontese and The Ploughman’s Lunch and the Miser’s Feast explored whole cuisines. I’m now branching out and starting to work with a chef too.
      
What compelled you to want to write a second cookbook?

There is always more out there! I am always eating new foods and meeting new cooks. As I learn, I take pictures and compile recipes. Right now, I have at least three different partially executed ideas. Only one has even been circulated as a proposal.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook? Did you have an agent, self-publish, or find a publisher without an agent?

I followed the instructions in the book Writer’s Market. It 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.)

Agents are a tougher question. I had one for a while, but he seems to have lost interest in the cookbook market. So while I am putting some modest effort into seeking out another agent, I’ll put far more into contacting publishers directly. However, you almost certainly need an agent to reach the top of the market.

I would never self-publish a cookbook. Self-publishing ensures that your books will never appear in the places where most cookbooks are sold – especially big box stores, kitchen supply chains and supermarkets. Even online though, self-publishing supporters like Amazon.com rank self-published books below conventionally published ones in keyword searches and almost never includes them in bundles or “if you liked …” style suggestion lists.

Have you ever seen a self-published book on sale at Willams Sonoma or Target? Those are the sorts of places your books have to be in order to earn real money. Selling a few copies at a demo is just not the same as having your books on store shelves.

So far, the only successful self-published …