Cookbook Author Interview: Bonnie R. Giller: It Takes Time But You Will Be Very Proud Once You Have Finished The Book
Cookbook Author Interview: Bonnie R. Giller: It Takes Time But You Will Be Very Proud Once You Have Finished The Book

Bonnie is a fellow RD and has just self-published this beautiful cookbook about Passover. She was kind enough to take some time to share her thoughts about writing a cookbook and self-publishing.

What is the name of your cookbook?

The name of my cookbook is Passover the Healthy Way:  Light, Tasty and Easy Recipes Your Whole Family Will Enjoy!  

Is this your first cookbook?

My first cookbook is called Recipes to Remember:  Heart Healthy Can Be Delicious.

Did you have a food blog prior to writing your cookbook?

No, I did not.  I started the blog 5 months ago.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

The reason I wrote this latest cookbook is because of 4 common concerns I hear year after year each Passover from my clients.  First, “I never get out of the kitchen; I am always cooking and baking”.  Second, “I always gain weight over Passover”.  Third, “Passover recipes contain huge amounts of eggs and oil”.  Fourth, “I serve the same recipes year after year with little variety”. I wanted to show people that they can serve traditional holiday recipes with a healthy twist, which are easy to prepare so they can get out of the kitchen and enjoy their company.

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

Take the time to research and speak to colleagues who have self-published.  Don’t rush the process.  It takes time but you will be very proud once you have finished the book.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your cookbook?

My biggest challenge is that I was under a tight deadline.  I wanted to finish the cookbook, and have it published enough time before Passover so I can sell it.  This is a niche book and if I wanted to be successful in selling, I had to have it available at least 2 months before Passover, when most people will begin to look for recipes and new cookbooks.  There was a lot of pressure and late nights.

You self-published, so what was your biggest challenge in that process?

The biggest challenge in the publishing process was the editing.  I did not hire an editor…I did the proofing myself.  Every time a new PDF was sent to me from the publisher, I had to print all the pages (a lot) and proof each page.  Inevitably, I missed some things, and after it was published, I did do an update and made those corrections.  Next time around (I am working on my 3rd cookbook now), I think I will hire an editor.

Any thoughts you’d like to share on the marketing and sales of your cookbook?

The self-publishing company I went with was charging a fortune for marketing.  So, I decided to do the marketing myself.  It is very time consuming.  This year, I have some nutrition interns who are helping me with the marketing.  This has been very valuable.  I have also started using social media (Facebook and …

Cookbook Author Interview: June Hersh: That’s What It’s All About; Finding the Fun In Your Passion
Cookbook Author Interview: June Hersh: That’s What It’s All About; Finding the Fun In Your Passion

In February I (Maggie) attended a fun and informative Cookbook Conference in New York City. June Hersh participated on a panel during a pre-conference session on about cookbook publishing. The panel included an agent and several cookbook authors – one of them was June. I loved the energy with which she spoke about writing a cookbook and could feel her passion for her topic. In addition she was encouraging to aspiring cookbook authors in the audience. She passed out her business card and I was excited to contact June when I returned home to ask her to participate in this interview series. She was more than willing and here we are. June has two books under her belt, and a third one is in the works. She’ll be the first to tell you that if you want to write a cookbook, you can do it – just find the fun in your passion. Thanks, June. You’re a wonderful ambassador for cookbooks.

How/why did you become interested in writing your first cookbook, Recipes Remembered?

Recipes Remembered was born from a directive my sister gave me after we sold our family business. She said, “We did well, not let’s do good.” I found myself with time and energy to do something that would be both fulfilling for me and charitable. At that time my family was supportive of the Museum of Jewish Heritage- a Living memorial to the Holocaust.  I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could combine my passion for cooking, my love of writing with my respect for the Museum.  The book evolved from that point.  I gathered a list of Holocaust survivors from the Museum, explained to them I would donate all proceeds the book might earn, and began interviewing survivors; writing their stories and testing their recipes.

Did you work with an agent for your first cookbook?  And if so (or if not) would you recommend that an aspiring cookbook author work with an agent?

I was very fortunate. Because this was a philanthropic endeavor, I was able to attract like-minded people to the project. To that end, a Museum member who is a published cookbook author referred me to her agent and she graciously represented the book without compensation.  Interestingly enough, it was a teacher of mine, Andrew F. Smith, from The New School who actually found my publisher for me, but I thanked the agent appropriately and she represented me on my next book, which she did sell to a mainstream publisher. I found that by working with an agent I had someone to bounce ideas off of and she proofed and critiqued both my proposals and negotiated my second book deal. As a novice, I found this very helpful, so if you can snag the attention of an agent I would tell new authors to do just that. It helps you gain credibility when approaching a publisher and makes the process less stressful. It does, however, cut into your proceeds, so it is …

Cookbook Author Interview: Lynne Curry: Prepare To Dedicate Yourself To This One Project
Cookbook Author Interview: Lynne Curry: Prepare To Dedicate Yourself To This One Project

One of the best things about social media are the people you can interact with who have similar interests. I am a member of LinkedIn and they offer groups that their members can join. Guess what? There’s a group called Cookbook Writers. The Cookbook Writers group is chock-full of discussions about cookbook writing, it’s various components, and the group has over 200 members. Lynne Curry is one of the members I met there. She responded to my call for cookbook authors to participate in my interview series. Lynne’s book is due out in May and she was in the middle of her work with the book at the time of this interview. I thank Lynne for her willingness to participate and if you’re interested in the Cookbook Writers group on LinkedIn, visit here.

 

What is the name of your book?

Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut

How is your book published?

Traditional publishing house, hardcover book

When is your book released?

May 2012

Did you write a cookbook proposal first, or jump straight in the manuscript?

I wrote the proposal first.

What were your biggest challenges writing this book?

Coordinating all the moving parts—researching, writing introduction/informational content/developing recipes/testing recipes—and making sure that it was all on track.

Also, I’m in the steep learning curve of becoming a book promoter/marketer. It really is the second phase of the book process, as you well know. It’s one of those things that you can’t do until you’ve invested all the time and energy in writing the thing, but the promotion component is just as intensive. I’m a little bit shocked, though I can’t say that I wasn’t warned. Happily, I have the full support of my publisher and a publicity manager who is really on the ball. We are in close contact to coordinate all of our efforts to bring this book to market.

What did you find most rewarding writing this book?

Creating a recipe collection that is comprehensive and at the same time conveys my personal tastes and slant on the topic

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring cookbook author?

Prepare to dedicate yourself to this one project like you’ve never done before; it is the most involved, intensive and long-lasting as I’ve ever experienced.

About Lynne

Lynne Curry is the author of Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut (Running Press, 2012). An experienced freelance writer, professional cook and baker, she has written food article and recipes for many regional and national publications, including Relish, Saveur and Fine Cooking. She is a contributing writer for Zester Daily, writes frequently for the food section of Portland’s The Oregonian. She lives with her family in the mountains of eastern Oregon.

 …

Cookbook Author Interview: Part #2 with Jeanne Sauvage: Write Down Everything!
Cookbook Author Interview: Part #2 with Jeanne Sauvage: Write Down Everything!

Back in March 2011 I interviewed Jeanne about her cookbook contract with Chronicle for The Art of Gluten-Free Holiday Baking.  Since our interview, Jeanne and I have kept in touch via Twitter and Facebook and I’m excited that I’ll get to meet Jeanne *in person* at the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference in just a few weeks. Thanks, Jeanne, again for sharing your experience, and if you place to stay while on book tour in my area, you’re more than welcome to stay at Casa Green.

Needless to say, Jeanne has been working very hard on her cookbook and I’d like to provide this update on her book.

Is everything still on track for pub date of Fall 2012?

Yes.

What stage of production are you in? Have you finished the manuscript?

I am currently waiting for the proofs. This is the stage where I look over the book one final time to make sure there are no glaring/obvious mistakes.

What is your biggest piece of advice to an aspiring cookbook author who has a contract, but now must write the manuscript?

I would highly encourage folks to make a schedule with all the deadlines for themselves. Among other things, they should put on it when recipe testing will be done, when each chapter will be done, when the whole thing should be done, etc. This makes things so much less stressful. You can see what work you have to do, and what work you have done, and how close you are to finishing on a day to day basis. This helps avoid the last minute freakout.

Any words of advice about developing and testing recipes?

Write down every single thing that happens during the development process.  There were a couple of recipes for which I didn’t write down certain key issues with the recipe and then I had to re-test them (even though they should have been done testing). Also, when your recipes go out to outside testers, make sure your testers understand that they need to follow the recipes exactly and not play around with them. I had some communication problems around this issue with my testers. We eventually got things settled, but it took a bit of time to get things straightened out. Also, I recommend writing the headnotes as you write the recipes. It makes things so much easier.

Has your work been edited? How did that feel for you as the author?

Yes, it has been edited. And I have to say–it completely rocked my world.  I was shocked at how badly I responded to the edits. I have written a Ph.D. dissertation, for goodness sakes, so I assumed that I would sail through the cookbook editing process. My manuscript was a sea of red when it came back from the copy editor. It turns out that the style sheet I thought I was supposed to use (the one on the publisher’s site) was different from the style sheet I should have used. So, every single …

Readers Ask: How Long Did It To Write Your Cookbook?
Readers Ask: How Long Did It To Write Your Cookbook?
How long did it take for you to write your cookbook manuscript?

From idea (February 2008) to printed book (April 2011) the process of writing my cookbook took a little over 3 years. But the actual time it took to write the typed manuscript was 9 months. That means I spent the better part of 9 months (except for sleeping, eating, family time, and recipe testing) sitting at my computer typing, typing, typing – recipe, stories, and supporting text. This commitment to writing wasn’t always easy. But, I knew if I didn’t sit down to write everyday, the manuscript deadline wouldn’t be met. So, I scheduled time at the computer. I shut down my email, and internet connection, and wrote every day, whether I wanted to or not.

That said, before I wrote the manuscript, I first had to first conceptualize the book I wanted to write. For me this stage was more of a challenge than writing the cookbook manuscript. It took me about 6 months from the time I had the idea of writing a cookbook until I solidified my cookbook concept. A cookbook concept has to be an idea for food, cooking, or the kitchen that people are interested in buying, reading, and more importantly for me, a book that someone will want to cook from. I wanted to write a working cookbook for home cooks using fresh, seasonal ingredients from around Kentucky. It needed to present delicious recipes and compelling reasons for someone to get into their kitchen and actually cook the recipes.

Once I finished developing my concept, I wrote a cookbook proposal. The proposal was submitted to a publisher. After the proposal was accepted by their editorial board, I was offered a contract. This is when I began to write my manuscript. 99% of the time, a cookbook proposal precedes the writing of a cookbook manuscript. If I had written the manuscript first, I would have placed the cart before the horse, so to speak.
Ask any book author, if you are under the gun to write a manuscript, you need to plan (schedule!) time to write – every day. But first, before a cookbook manuscript, it’s necessary to plan (schedule!) time to create a compelling cookbook concept and then write a solid cookbook proposal. The manuscript phase then comes after the cookbook proposal is written.

You can read and learn more from other aspiring cookbook authors on this blog where I interview cookbook authors. I  believe we have much to learn from one another. If you dream of writing your own cookbook, feel free to schedule a complimentary Cookbook Content Clarity Call with me. As a cookbook coach I help aspiring author get their book on the road to publication. 2012 just might be the year for you to write your own cookbook manuscript!

Cookbook Author Interview: Sharon Palmer: People Like to Hold Cookbooks in Their Hands
Cookbook Author Interview: Sharon Palmer: People Like to Hold Cookbooks in Their Hands

As a Registered Dietitian I am fortunate to be in daily contact with other RD’s around the country. These ladies and gentlemen are smart, savvy, and aware of what it takes to eat healthy and translate the science of nutrition into good food. Sharon is no exception. She willingly participated in this interview series and I wish Sharon all the best with the upcoming publication of her new book.

What is the name of your book, and who published it? When was it published?

The Plant-Powered Diet (The Experiment, 2012).  It’s a diet book that is very food focused and includes 75 recipes.

Do you have any experience writing other books, or is this your first?

I have contributed to several books, and I have been a writer and editor for 11 years.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook and the working title? Was a blog a part of the contract?

I took an online course on writing a book proposal, completed the book proposal, solicited some agents that had been referred to me, and found an agent, who sent my book proposal to about 20 publishers.  One publisher in particular made an offer for my book.  A blog was not part of the contract, but building a platform was stressed.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  Or any recommendations about building a platform?

Yes, I think you need a blog, Facebook page, Twitter following, and much more.  You need to build a following, so do what ever you can.  Guest blog, write guest columns, do interviews, and send out feelers to everyone you know.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

It was a career goal to write a book on plant-based eating. I felt that nobody had written a book yet that took on my approach and that it could help so many people.

Tell us about the process of finding a co-author for the recipe part of your book?

I have written all of my own recipes.

Do you find the publishing industry daunting in any way?

I am lucky because I work closely with an independent publisher.  But to get a book published is a minor miracle.  There is such competition.

What are your thoughts about non-Food TV network stars writing their own cookbooks?

It is very difficult to get a book deal, because they want a built in following for the author.  You have to set yourself apart.

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

Do your homework, find a unique theme, build a platform–which may take awhile–solicit professional help in crafting a book proposal that sells.

What will be the biggest challenge in completing your manuscript?

Simply getting it done on time will be difficult!  You can’t give up your day job!

What is your biggest fear about writing a cookbook?

That it will not be as successful as you had hoped

If you had a crystal

Cookbook Author Interview: Jaclyn Douma: You Are The Only One That Can Devote The Time Into The Full Success Of Your Book
Cookbook Author Interview: Jaclyn Douma: You Are The Only One That Can Devote The Time Into The Full Success Of Your Book

Over the past few months I have enjoyed interviewing a variety of cookbook authors. Today I introduce Jaclyn Douma. What I love about Jaclyn is her positive attitude and her willingness to put the work into the success of her book. She also identified a niche audience, newlyweds, and wrote to them. What a neat concept. Here’s more about Jaclyn’s experience as a published cookbook author.

What is the name of your book?

The name of my cookbook is Our First Year: Cost Effective Recipes from the Home of Newlyweds. All of the recipes were written by my husband and I during our first year of marriage.

How is your book published?

Originally, I had it published by a local publisher here in Phoenix, which they were somewhat of a “print-on-demand” type company. It was a tricky situation as I had originally partnered with them to dually promote my book, but during the process of production they were bought out by another company who focused mainly on travel print. The publisher did his best to help but cookbooks were not his forte. Then in September of 2010, I submitted my manuscript to a national publisher who extended me a contract. This also is similar to a print on demand publishing company, but they focus on giving the authors a lot of freedom in the production, while guiding us along with their expertise in each particular department.  I also work along side a marketing representative to brainstorm ideas and she helped to promote my book as well.

When was your book released?

The official release date of my cookbook was October 11, 2011

Did you write a cookbook proposal first, or jump straight in the manuscript?

When I approached my first publisher, I provided a proposal to pitch my idea of the cookbook I was planning to write. I felt that I could really narrow my niche market with a unique product that included cost effective recipes along with several how-to tips in the kitchen, party ideas and bits of advice I had learned throughout the years.  I was inspired to first write the cookbook because of the cookbooks I had received as wedding gifts, all including culinary lingo that, although I new bits and pieces of, my husband was completely oblivious too.  I also did not feel that many of the recipes were very practical for every day living. Don’t get me wrong, the recipes sounded and looked delicious, but we were barely paying our bills as newlyweds and just trying to get something on our plate that we both enjoyed was a challenge in some of the cookbooks.  I also realized that through my years of cooking with my family, many things I had learned I took for granted when talking with my friends who were also newlyweds but living on take out and box dinners.

After my original proposal I got to work on my manuscript, which took much longer than expected, especially when I would continue …

Cookbook Author Interview: Karen Ansel: Teaming Up With Someone Who Has a Different Skill Set Can Double Your Chances of Success
Cookbook Author Interview: Karen Ansel: Teaming Up With Someone Who Has a Different Skill Set Can Double Your Chances of Success
What is the name of your book, and who published it? When was it published?

I have two books, one which came out last year and another which is going to be published this coming April. The first is The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh Homemade Books for a Healthy Start (2010) and the second is Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day (April, 2012). Both were published by Weldon Owen.

Do you have any experience writing other books, or is this your first?

The Baby & Toddler Cookbook was my first book but I have had lots of experience writing for magazines which definitely helped make the process easier.


Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook and the working title? Was a blog a part of the contract?

My experience was a little unusual in that the publisher actually found me. They already had a concept, title and a recipe developer for the book so all I had to do was write the text. Unlike lots of other cookbooks, this one doesn’t have a blog.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  Or any recommendations about building a platform?

I don’t think aspiring cookbook authors need to have a blog but it certainly helps. Anything you can do to build your platform and establish yourself as an expert is a plus.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

Before I was approached for this book a cookbook never occurred to me, but it’s one of the best paths my career has taken. Now I spend much more of my time on culinary pursuits and developing recipes, which I love.


Tell us about the process of finding a co-author for the recipe part of your book?

Even though I develop recipes for magazines, I didn’t develop the recipes for these books. The book publisher, who coordinated the project, has an incredible recipe developer, Charity Ferreira, who created all of the recipes.

Do you find the publishing industry daunting in any way?

The publishing industry has definitely become much more competitive in recent years, but that shouldn’t deter aspiring book writers. It can take many, many tries to land a contract for your dream book, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.


What are your thoughts about non-Food TV network stars writing their own cookbooks?

I don’t think you have to be a food TV star to write a cookbook (although it doesn’t hurt!). RD’s have unique skills and perspectives that they can bring to the publishing industry that other culinary professionals may not have. I would also advise aspiring writers to consider working with a co-author. If you can team up with someone who has a different skill set or an existing platform it can double your chances of success.

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

Work as hard as you can to establish yourself as an expert in …

Cookbook Author Interview:  Jill Nussinow: The Veggie Queen™
Cookbook Author Interview: Jill Nussinow: The Veggie Queen™

What is the name of your book, and who published it? When was it published?

My latest book is The New Fast Food™: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Minutes. I published it myself although that was not my intent when I started this project. When I started, I did have publisher. The book was just released.

Do you have any experience writing other books, or is this your first?

My first book is The Veggie Queen™: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment which I happily self-published, knowing what I wanted to do.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook and the working title? Was a blog a part of the contract? Or was this self-published? Why did you choose to self-publish?

As I mentioned, I had a contract for my book. I have always wanted this book to be titled The New Fast Food™. I already maintain a blog and a blog was not part of my book contract.

I think that I was attractive to the publisher because I have a platform. I have had a blog for almost 5 years, a website for 7 years and I am active in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

I chose to self-publish The New Fast Food™ because the time schedule was not going as planned, and I feel as if this is the time to release the book. I also had finished writing it and didn’t want it sitting around. It doesn’t make any money for me if it’s not published. This way I can have it available this holiday season.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  Or any recommendations about building a platform?

You can’t sell a cookbook without an audience so use whatever means necessary to build an audience.  I am not sure if every cookbook author needs a blog (I think that you mean website of some sort) but you need a way to connect with your audience. In this day and age, the internet is certainly the easiest way. A blog also allows people to get to know you and see what you’re all about.  It is essential to build a platform but you get to choose what you want to do. You don’t have to do it all.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

I had been teaching classes and had been talking about writing a cookbook for a few years. The truth is that about 5 years before I even started talking about the book, I had written a small book which I called a cookbooklet. It was titled Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: Volume 1. I sold about 500 copies of my 44 recipe cookbooklet. Between that time and when I started thinking about writing again, Deborah Madison wrote Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone so my title was gone. Luckily, I had gained the title The Veggie Queen™ which is far easier to remember for most people …

Cookbook Author Interview: Joe Carlin: Hang Around With Smart People Who Write About Food
Cookbook Author Interview: Joe Carlin: Hang Around With Smart People Who Write About Food

Do you have any experience writing other books, or is this your first?

Cocktails: A Global History will be my first book.  Over the past 10 years I have written several book chapters and contributed entries to four encyclopedias.  As Associate Editor and contributing editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America I wrote 29 of the entries.

 Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbook and the working title? Was a blog a part of the contract?

I was offered a contract by Reaktion Books Ltd., aLondonpublisher, because my editor in chief for the Oxfordproject was editor in chief of the new edible series (30 + titles on the history of food) for Reaktion and he knew from experience my writing style, scholarship and ability to meet deadlines.  Now that the cocktail book is done and accepted by the publisher, he is promoting my name with the publisher to take on another title.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?  

I have to frankly admit that I do not visit food blogs on a regular basis but I expect that I will in the future if only to promote my cocktail book.  I do own the web site www.foodbooks.com but I am not marketing books as I did for ten years beginning in 1996.

 

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

I have been writing articles about the history of food in America for over 20 years.  Over that time I became an expert in several areas including Colonial food and drink habits,  fireplace and hearth cookery and the history of the American cookbook.  Since I live in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the clam capital of the world, I became an authority on the history the American clam industry.  With this knowledge, I wanted to make a contribution to the growing field of food and culinary history.  I have written a book on clams but I haven’t had time to edit it for a particular publisher or target audience because of my other writing assignments.

Do you find the publishing industry daunting in any way?

I don’t see the publishing industry as daunting.  It is like any industry that has a product to sell and a targeted audience.  My advice is to know what they sell and direct your book to that audience they reach.

What are your thoughts about TV celebrities writing their own cookbooks?

I don’t have a judgment about anyone writing cookbooks, but I suspect many celebrity cookbooks are probably written by staff and of mixed quality.  I sometimes wonder just how much involvement non-food and even food TV celebrities have in the actual development of recipes found in their books.  As a result, I think that some of these books lack a “voice.”

 

What is your advice for an aspiring cookbook writer who is reading this interview? Any suggestions for building a platform?

My advice for aspiring cookbook writers is to hang around with smart people who …

Cookbook Author Series: Sandy Nissenberg: If There's A Hook Out There You Want To Explore, Go For It!
Cookbook Author Series: Sandy Nissenberg: If There's A Hook Out There You Want To Explore, Go For It!

I am pleased to introduce Sandy Nissenberg, M.S, R.D, Editorial Director for Cooking Magazines at Publications International, Ltd. Sandy is fellow R.D. (Registered Dietitian). She helped me personally more than one time because she steps forward when I ask a question on our e-mail listserv for dietitians who own their own businesses. Once again, and consistent with her previous willingness, Sandy graciously volunteered when I put out a call for this interview series.

Tell us about your book writing experience?
I have 13 books to my credit, one which was Quick Meals for Healthy Kids and Busy Parents, beginning in 1989 and continuing through the last few years. It seemed as though I hit on an area that worked for me and then I was approached to write additional books along the way–some my ideas, others from the publisher.

Can you tell us how you were offered a contract for your cookbooks? Was a blog a part of any contract?
I was called by the publisher to present ideas for my cookbook contract, then after I agreed to the terms, the publisher mailed the actual paperwork. The title was finalized by the publisher. Although, I provided suggestions, it usually came down to them deciding on it. I did not have blogs attached to any of my book agreements.

Do aspiring cookbook authors need food blogs?
I’ve been doing this for awhile, blogs were not part of the “deal,” although I can see the benefit. I don’t know if they are always necessary, but they couldn’t hurt.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?
I had left a full-time position to raise my family and wanted to stay involved in the field. Plus, since I write primarily about childhood nutrition, I felt I was in the midst of it while feeding my kids, getting to know other parents, and being active in the schools.

Do you find the publishing industry daunting in any way?
Sometimes I felt like I would like to have had more “say” in what the final outcome would be, but overall I had to put myself in their position and do what was best in the long haul. With my experience, I paved the way into the publishing world as an employee for a publisher, I can see why certain things were done at the time.

What are your thoughts about non-Food TV network stars writing their own cookbooks?
Basically anyone can write a book today, so we just need to create our path and niche into the marketplace as not just providing cookbooks, but information to eat healthfully as well.

What is your advice for an aspiring cookbook writer who is reading this interview?
I constantly spend time with RDs and aspiring writers seeking to break into the writing world. I can say that it may be even easier to get into the world of writing today as one can create a blog or even write a digital cookbook. Printing on demand also helps save …

Cookbook Author Interview: Amelia Saltsman - Cookbooks Need Universal Message
Cookbook Author Interview: Amelia Saltsman - Cookbooks Need Universal Message

 

Earlier this year I participated in a conference call sponsored by IACP. The guest speaker was Michael Ruhlman and his presentation was about his cookbooks and how he has translated the information in his cookbooks to the world of apps and digital media.

During the Q & A portion of the call I heard Amelia Saltsman ask several astute questions of Michael. Michael knew Amelia and gave the shout out that Amelia had self-published her cookbook.Since I’m always on the lookout for cookbook authors to interview for this column, I e-mailed Amelia to ask if she’d be willing to be interviewed. She graciously accepted we recently spent some time on the phone to conduct this interview.

Nothing brings me a whole lot more joy than speaking with other cookbook authors. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, writing a cookbook is a labor of love. But with some passion around a topic of the kitchen, the dream of writing a cookbook can become a reality.

Thanks, Amelia, for taking time to be interviewed for this series. You’re a gem and terrific resource for anyone who wants to self-publish a cookbook. When I look at your cookbook it shines.

1. Is this your first cookbook?

Yes, this was my first solo cookbook. I have contributed to other cookbooks, worked as a food stylist, media escort for cookbook authors, recipe developer, and written for magazines and newspapers, and had a strong regional platform with the LA Times food section and on radio, but didn’t have a cookbook of my own. I felt strongly that if I was going to write a cookbook it needed to enter the market with a strong presence and splash in order to compete against other cookbook authors who were writing amazing books. Some of these authors I had worked with and others that I just knew were out there writing terrific cookbooks.

2. Did you have a food blog prior to writing your cookbook?

No I didn’t have a food blog, blogs were not as much of a presence when I wrote my book. That said, a lot has changed since I wrote my book related to food blogs. There are very many food blogs and very many good food blogs, but as a cookbook editor once said, “…with so many food blogs it’s hard to cut through the “noise”. That said a food blog can be a platform for a cookbook author or food writer.

In a more tangible way a book is also a big part of a writer’s platform. This real thing, the book, becomes a touchstone for their work and can lead a cookbook author from a regional platform to a more national platform. For me my universal message about seasonal ingredient shopping and cooking, and the story of the market, became very real through my book and this message speaks to cooks all across the country.

3. What compelled you to write a cookbook?

First, I have a …

Cookbook Author Interview: Jeanne Sauvage - A terrific way to get a sense of the process is to write a cookbook proposal.
Cookbook Author Interview: Jeanne Sauvage - A terrific way to get a sense of the process is to write a cookbook proposal.

Over the past nine months I (Maggie) have come to grips with a new reality – cookbooks are my passion. Cookbooks, more than a printed recipe off the internet, are a window into the heart and soul of the author. You learn a lot about a person by reading their cookbook – the way they write, cook, eat, and more.

For almost 30 years I have loved to read cookbooks and have amassed quite a collection. For the past 10 years I’ve worked closely with cookbook authors in several capacities, and now as if in a dream sequence, I have written my first cookbook The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook.

As I moved through the process of writing my  cookbook, I kept thinking about how lucky I was to have this opportunity. I then started thinking about all the  individuals who would love to be where I am, writing a cookbook of their own, but in all honesty  don’t have a clue where to begin. For that reason I am happy to launch a new interview series with cookbook people – authors, editors, agents, designers, production specialists, readers, etc. My goal is to support aspiring cookbook writers in their goal – writing a cookbook.

I’m so excited because my interview today is with Jeanne Sauvage, or as I know her @fourchickens (Twitter handle). Jeanne is newly under contract with Chronicle Books for an upcoming cookbook –Gluten-Free Holiday Baking. Jeanne is under a tight deadline so I’m grateful for her time to do this interview. In it she  shares her opinions about writing cookbooks, food blogs, and some timely advice for aspiring cookbook authors.

You can follow Jeanne on Twitter @fourchickens or visit her lovely blog www.artofglutenfreebaking.com. If you check her recent blog post  you’ll see her call for recipe testers. Maybe you might be a great recipe tester for her book?

Thanks, Jeanne. You are a treasure in the world of cookbooks, recipes, and food. I can’t wait to see your upcoming book.

Do you have any experience writing other books, or is this your first?

This is my first cookbook, but I do have a Ph.D., which required me to write a 500 pp dissertation, so I do have experience writing a book.

Can you tell me how you were offered a contract for your cookbook and the working title? Was your blog a part in a contract?

I was contacted by an editor at Chronicle to write a gluten-free holiday baking cookbook. The editor said that she had been following my blog for a few years and was pleased with what I had done with it. I had no idea she was following my blog. What was helpful here, I think, is that I had been approached by a regional publisher last spring. At my meeting with them, they told me that they wouldn’t publish me until I had strengthened my “platform”–i.e., my blog, Facebook, and Twitter presence, teaching classes, doing demos, etc. Thus, I had been working …