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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 16
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 16

It’s time for my monthly Cookbook and Food Writing Links issue. But first, a message about the app I use to save links to articles I want to share in this newsletter.

How do I keep track of the articles? I use Pocket app, or the Chrome extension also called Pocket. Previously known as Read It Later, Pocket manages my reading list of articles. When I want to save a link, I share to Pocket from my iPhone and/or desktop Chrome extension. I can even tag the article. The article link is synced across all devices for reading anywhere. Ads and other screen clutter are removed from the article. The tagging assists with future sort and search. I highly recommend it.

COOKBOOKS
Cooking and Sci-Fi Are the Hot Print Segments This Year So Far

GOOGLE DOODLE
Back in March, I must have missed this Google doodle where for the first time, a cookbook writer was featured in the daily doodle to celebrate her 310th birthday. Hannah Glasse, born in 1708 and an English cookbook writer wrote The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy in 1747. Her popular book hailed 972 recipes and was written in simple and conversational English.

BUSINESS ADVICE
Kathleen Tale, the owner of Tate’s Bake Shop, offers advice for small business owners, that she learned through the opening and eventually loss of her first venture, Kathleen’s Bake Shop. When it comes to starting a small business, she says, count on it being four times harder than you dreamed — perseverance is key, and so is getting up, moving forward, and not staying attached to mistakes and failures. She said she learned the hard way that you can care, but getting too emotional will crush you.”

KITCHEN ARTS AND LETTERS
Food & Drink Bookseller, Kitchen Arts & Letters in NYC writes a nice newsletter and blog. They recently featured their Fall 2018 Notable Cookbooks article as well as a post on Classic Cookbooks People Won’t Even Look At (because of no photos). KAL also notes that in their observation there is a lack of professional pastry books written by women. Home baking, by the way, is ripe with female authors and professional female chefs who write about both savory topics, and home baking, but not professional baking. An opportunity here maybe?

MOST POPULAR BLOG POSTS ON GREENAPRON.COM
(wait for it)
Steps to Write A Cookbook: Write A Cookbook Proposal
4 Ways to Find a Traditional Cookbook Publisher
5 Tools and Software for Writing a Family or Fundraiser Cookbook 
Oven-Baked Chex Mix (I’m not even kidding! So popular)


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 15
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 15

Today it’s time for my monthly roundup of links for cookbooks, writing, and productivity.

TRAVEL AND COOKBOOKS
Research about cookbooks and the stores that sell them has been on my mind lately. If you’re traveling this summer, you may enjoy this list of cookbook shops around the world.

BEST COOKBOOKS
Here’s a list of the best baking cookbooks according to pastry chefs and professional bakers.

And a list of the 25 Best-Selling Cookbooks of All Time.

SELF PUBLISHING
Check out Ingram Spark if you want to self-publish a hard-cover, full-color photography cookbook. With the Ingram distribution behind them, your cookbook can be easily be ordered by bookstores for signing and author events. They also have a podcast called Go Publish Yourself, offer a Pocket Guide to Publishing, and courses on the Ingram Spark Academy.

RESTAURANT TRENDS
Exploring the effect of social media on restaurants and hospitality, and the difference between “casual” restaurants, restaurants change and adapt to movements in technology and the needs of their customers.

PRODUCTIVITY
I’ve always loved mornings. And it seems that Mel Robbins does too. Read Mel Robbins’ approach to working on her goals, first thing in the morning.

WRITING
Here’s an interesting blog post on The Write Life featuring 20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

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

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

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

Sounds simple right.

Actually, it is pretty cut and dry.

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

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

We feel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 14
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 14

FAMILY COOKBOOKS
When you embark on a family cookbook, a traditional publisher isn’t your goal. You most likely want to either self-publish a cookbook or you may turn to cookbook and recipe software online. Here’s a review of The Best Cookbook and Recipe Software of 2018.

COOKBOOK WRITING
Many of my cookbook-writing clients ask about the difference between their cookbook introduction and their cookbook concept overview in their cookbook proposal. While they are very similar, the biggest difference is the audience:

Cookbook Introduction audience is the reader. You sell them what the book is about, who you are, and make them buy your book!

Cookbook Concept Overview audience is the agent or editor. You sell them on representing you and publishing your idea.

Here are a few articles on Cookbook Introductions:
Cookbook Introductions: How to Write One and Why You Should Read Them

How to Write a Cookbook Introduction

Here is advice on how to write a cookbook proposal that attracts agents and publishers.

MY ADVICE ABOUT CONTENT IS CONSISTENCY
As a writer and business owner, I talk a lot about creating content as a cornerstone of a successful business.

Content is about offering your audience value and helping them. Give them something they like – a tip, recipe, mindset shift.

Now, here’s the rub: no matter how you deliver this  – via post, podcast, newsletter, print media, YouTube, or other social media platform, the one key to it all is consistency.

Here are my 5 secrets to create consistent content.

COOKBOOK NEWS
Ina Garten’s 11th cookbook is coming out in October. She feels lucky to be writing cookbooks. She keeps notes on what she wants to cooks. She works with flavors and combinations and cooks what she loves. That sounds like a recipe for success to me.

Have you heard about ckbk an online site to search, save, and share from an online database of cookbooks launching in Spring 2018? I have heard it called the Spotify for recipes. Visit ckbk.com to learn more.

And, finally, as if we need to buy more cookbooks, here is a list of 10 Books About Food To Add To Your Home Library, presented by eater.com.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write

How To Trust Yourself
How To Trust Yourself

 

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

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

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

The sad thing is I listened to my brain.

I didn’t create.

I didn’t write.

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

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

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

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

Maybe this sounds familiar?

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

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

After some introspection, I was onto myself.

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

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

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

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 13
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 13

BRAIN TRAINING
When I travel I like to ask my brain how I can offer value in my business for my clients. With the change of scenery it comes up with lots of ideas.

Have you ever tried to ask your brain a specific question? My business coach taught me to direct my brain. She says an undirected brain is like an unsupervised toddler. It can get into trouble.

Brains that are unattended like to worry or ruminate on made up stories about what we think others are thinking.

Direct your brain: How can I best use my time today? What is the one thing I can do to offer more value for my clients? How can I help my audience get results ahead of time? What is a new way to offer information of value to my audience? Try it. Your brain is amazing. Put it to work for you, not against you.

SPRING 2018 COOKBOOKS
Spring is one of the prime seasons for publishing cookbooks!

Here are some links to Spring 2018 Cookbook Reviews:
Spring 2018 Cookbook Preview: The 37 New Cookbooks to Buy This Spring

Every Spring 2018 Cookbook That Matters

The 18 Spring Cookbooks We’re Most Excited About

17 New Spring Cookbooks We Can’t Wait to Stain

 

Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

If you want to write a cookbook: You have to write
If you want to write a cookbook: You have to write

This may be a rant of sorts, but I have something on my mind.

We all have dreams.

Dreams to own our own home. Raise a family. Live a life of travel and excitement.  Some dreams may be more specific such as open a restaurant, buy season tickets to the New Orleans Pelicans, or live on a wooden houseboat in Sausalito, CA. You get the picture. Your dreams are your dreams. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

But, if you have a dream of writing a cookbook, or a blog, or a newsletter for your audience, you have to get practical at some point.

Practical, not in the sense, that “you-can’t-write-a-cookbook-because-you’re-not-a-celebrity” practical (I don’t buy into that one. You’re looking at a four-time cookbook author who is not a TV star), or, “no-one-is-reading-your-blog-anyway” practical,  but practical in the sense that “you-have-to-write” practical.  “The-words-have-to-get-on-the-page” practical.  or “Talk-your-book-and-have-it-transcribed” practical.

Here’s what I mean.

This blog post didn’t write itself. My cookbooks didn’t write themselves. And, my weekly newsletter isn’t produced by a content creator other than me.

I’m sitting here at my computer, in my office, writing these words.

My fingers are typing on a black keyboard. There’s a load of laundry in the dryer, the dog is barking at people lined up at my neighbor’s house for an estate sale, and my college-aged daughter just texted me about moving out of her dorm. This is called LIFE – all the things and people and stuff we do in between the time when we write our cookbooks and our blog posts and newsletters.

Truth be told, I created the space and energy to be sitting here. I’m not too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, or too exhausted, to sit here with my fingers on my keyboard and write. For this is what writers do. We write whether we “feel” like it or not. We show up for ourselves. We create content. We write books. We get them published. We send newsletters. And, deep down we know that if we don’t write, none of the books, blogs, or newsletters happen.

Here’s the upshot: dream all you want. I love dreams. I love living dreams. I adore watching my clients speak their dreams and make them come true. But, like I tell them: if you dream of a cookbook, or a regularly updated blog, or a newsletter for your audience –  you have to sit down and write.

No matter how busy you think you are, no matter how much time you don’t think you have, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, no matter the design of your blog, or your logo, or your Instagram feed. If you want to produce a piece written content, you have to put your fingers on your proverbial black keyboard, or your pen to the notebook, and WRITE.

Writing takes time.

Writing takes up space in your day, or your evening, or your morning, or your night.

Writing means we’re not doing other …

11 Tips From Q1
11 Tips From Q1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 12
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 12

$200 Cookbook

This is older news, but did you ever hear about Tom Brady’s $200 Cookbook?

He created a system and wrote a book about it. It sold out at $200. What’s stopping you from creating your system and a book for your audience?

Recipe Copyright Projection:

As a member of IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), I have the opportunity to attend their webinars.

Last month IACP hosted an excellent webinar presented by attorney Joy Butler.

In her webinar, Joy talked about protecting, sharing, and adapting recipes.

I thought you might enjoy her blog post that summarizes her answers to a series of questions asked on this webinar about copyright protecting for recipes.

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

Consuming VS Creating
Consuming VS Creating

One of my favorite things to do is consume. I love to read. Eat. Drink red wine. Watch reruns of Downton Abbey and The Great British Baking Show. Listen to podcasts. Look at Instagram. Read the Wall Street Journal. And the obituaries in our local paper. I mean who doesn’t?

  • Some consuming is educational. We learn.
  • Some consuming is relaxing. We take care of ourselves.
  • Some consuming is essential to life. We have to eat.
  • Some consuming has a net negative effect. Like drinking too much wine. It’s called a hangover.
  • Some consuming is at the expense of the work we need to be doing. My coach calls that buffering. Others call it procrastination.
    Consuming rarely offers value to others.

Creating is where our power lies.

  • Creating content, programs, and connections.
  • Creating meals and a picked-up home.
  • Creating recipes or book manuscripts.
  • Creating value and making an offer of a sale.

It’s important to balance consuming with creating.

Your clients, customers, audience, and family may thank you.

But, they may not.

Even if your creation goes unnoticed or not appreciated,  you’ll know that you’re doing the work.  And that’s what it’s all about.

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

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 11
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 11

In our businesses and personal lives, we are either creating or consuming. I love to consume as much as the next person: social media, articles, webinars, seminars, books, cookbooks. All consuming. Taking in information.

Creating, on the other hand, produces a result. In my business, the results that I consistently produce include classes, cookbooks, webinars, mastermind groups, email marketing materials, blog posts, and recipe content.

I try to pay close attention to my consuming time VS creating time. It’s fun to consume. It’s easy to consume. I learn when I consume. But, it’s in the creating that the real work gets done, my friends.

I get really excited when I read print news about cookbooks and cookbook writing. They are fun to read and give me eternal hope for the role of the print cookbook in our kitchens.

Today I want to share a few links to cookbook news I’ve consumed recently. I hope you enjoy them, and that they ultimately lead you to create something of value for your clients and customers.

COOKBOOK CONCEPTS
Have you heard the buzz about The Immigrant Cookbook? Read this LA Time pick for Cookbook of the Week?  Also, check out the publisher of The Immigrant Cookbook: Interlink Books. They have an impressive list of International Cookery books.

COOKBOOK DEALS
Develop a concept, set yourself apart from others, find an agent, sign a book deal, and other suggestions in How to Land a Publishing For Your Cookbook by Marisa Churchill, chef and cookbook author.

I love to read the obituaries in my local paper. A little fact about me that maybe you don’t know. Cookbooks about funeral food won’t die, and in this article, you read the story about a publisher reaching out to an author to write about a trending topic.

Appliances drive topics for sales of cookbooks. Case in point: Urvashi Pitre. Butter chicken in an Instant Pot. Bingo. Cookbook deal.

COOKBOOK AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Healthyish. A cookbook that returns cooks from extremes and is written by an author with a very popular Instagram photo of a cookie. See the interview with author Lindsay Maitland Hunt by Bon Appetite Magazine. 

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

Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 2: Define Your Cookbook Concept
Steps To Write A Cookbook Part 2: Define Your Cookbook Concept

Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 2

This is part #2 of a series of blog posts to help aspiring cookbook authors walk through the steps to writing a cookbook. In part #1 we discussed the importance of identifying WHO you are writing your book for and WHY you want to write a cookbook. Your WHO and your WHY are unique to you. Every aspiring cookbook author has a different audience and set of goals for their project, so it’s important not to skip part #1.

The next step involves identification of your WHAT – what is the topic of your cookbook? What is your cookbook concept?

NOTE: If you identified your family or a fundraiser cookbook as your WHO and WHY it may not be necessary to define your concept in a lot more detail. You know that you plan to write a cookbook to share a set of family or curated/collected recipes. You may decide to add stories, genealogy, history, or photos to the recipes, but your reason to write your cookbook is clear. The next steps for a family or fundraiser cookbook involve the process to collect recipes, organize them into chapters, write a table of contents, and make decisions about how to compile the manuscript, design the book’s interior, and print the manuscript. Refer to this blog post for 5 Tools and Software for Writing a Family or Fundraiser Cookbook.

Outside of family or fundraiser cookbooks, if you identify your clients, customers, or other cooks and/or bakers as your audience, then the concept for your book needs to be defined in more detail.

Cookbook Concept Development

To more fully develop your cookbook concept make time to identify a topic that is in alignment with who you are and what you teach, cook, or bake. Use your brand identity to define the type of cookbook your clients or customers would expect from you. For example, if you are a diabetes expert and nutritionist, your audience probably wouldn’t expect you to write a cookbook about fancy cakes and buttercream frosting.

Below are some questions to help you develop your unique cookbook concept in more detail. Before you work through these concept questions, make sure you have clearly identified your WHO – describe your audience in more detail: their age, gender, income level, and cooking experience. Then ask yourself:

  1. What information do you have that your audience would be excited for you to share with them?
  2. What unique set of cooking or baking skills do you want to share?
  3. What is your area of expertise?
  4. What secrets do you know about baking, cooking, or nutrition that you can share with your audience?
  5. What challenge can you help your audience with?
  6. What questions does your audience ask?
  7. What problems does your audience need you to solve for them?
  8. What is your audience curious about?
  9. What excitement about food, cooking/baking, nutrition, or the kitchen do you share with your audience?

Mindset Barriers

Mindset barriers often arise when aspiring cookbook authors start to define their cookbook …

Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 1: Identify Your Goals for Publication
Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 1: Identify Your Goals for Publication

Steps to Write a Cookbook Part 1

There are many reasons that someone wants to write a cookbook. Maybe they want to write for their family, or perhaps to showcase their restaurant’s recipes. Maybe they have a nutrition business and their clients need help cooking, or perhaps an organization they volunteer for wants to publish a cookbook to raise money. Regardless of the reason, many aspiring cookbook authors feel overwhelmed by the scope of a cookbook project.

I know how they feel. I’ve been there before with my own cookbook projects. When I work with aspiring cookbook authors they often ask me what is the first thing they should do to write a cookbook? To help answer this question I plan to create a series of blog posts to walk aspiring cookbook authors step-by-step through the process of writing a cookbook. This will include key decisions you need to make before you get started.

Before you start with your cookbook project, it’s important to be able to answer clearly two important questions:

  • Who are your writing your cookbook for?
  • Why do you want to write a cookbook?

Let’s take a look at these issues a bit more in-depth:

QUESTION 1: Who are you writing your cookbook for?

By answering this question, you will be better able to identify the best way to get your cookbook published. Once you identify how to publish, the steps to publication are easier to map out. Here are three common groups of people that cookbooks are written for:

Family and/or friends
I suspect that if you want to write a cookbook you’re an experienced cook or baker, and as a result have recipes to share. Your family loves your home-cooked meals, and your friends think you’re the go-to person to bring a signature casserole or cake to a party or get-together. They all want you to share your recipes, and you know this because they’re always asking you for your recipes.

You may be wondering if these reasons are compelling enough reasons to write a cookbook? Yes, it’s a good enough reason. Your audience is on the small side, but they are important. Your recipes and style of cooking for friends and family needs to be preserved. Plus, if they’ve asked for recipes, they will enjoy recreating the dishes you make when they cook for their friends, move to their own apartment, head off to college, start their own family, etc., a cookbook written for them will fill that need.

Clients or customers
If you have a nutrition-focused business, and you help your clients with weight loss, disease management, or wellness, I suspect that food preparation might be part of what you teach them. You also know their challenges when it comes to food, cooking, and nutrition. You know what motivates them to cook, and you know what their barriers are to cooking. Your cookbook can help them live a healthier lifestyle and provides a preset way to connect with them in the office.

If you own a restaurant or catering business, …

10 Ways to Persevere When Writing A Cookbook
10 Ways to Persevere When Writing A Cookbook

Perseverance1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Cookbook Roundup
Fall Cookbook Roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 …

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

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

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

Writing a solid cookbook proposal takes time and energy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Target Audience: It’s important to have your audience defined. Be specific. Who are you writing this book for? It is fine to write a cookbook to fulfill a personal dream, but in the end if you want to sell the book (after you write it) you need to have an

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 10
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, …

5 Reasons Writing  A Cookbook Is Easier Than Maintaining A Food Blog
5 Reasons Writing A Cookbook Is Easier Than Maintaining A Food Blog

I’ve often said that it has been easier for me to write a cookbook than to maintain a food blog. I say this because I’m writing my 3rd and 4th traditionally published cookbooks and have never had a food blog. Maybe you want to write a cookbook, but you think you can’t, or worse you shouldn’t, dream it or write it because you don’t have a food blog. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. A food blog may draw attention to your work and for many cookbook authors a food blog forms the foundation of their platform, but you don’t have to write and maintain a food blog to write a cookbook. In fact, for me, I enjoy the cookbook-writing-process more than the thought of maintaining a food blog. Here are my five reasons why I don’t see a food blog in my future either:

1. Physical product
A book can be held, carried, shelved, sold, and traded. I’ve always loved books. I love having a book to show to my audience and sell at events or cooking classes. I like cookbooks to give as gifts and I frequently donate by books for fundraisers and silent auctions. Plus, from a cookbook user perspective, I like the ability to write notes, thumb through the pages, and refer to a book when I need a recipe. I realize that digital books offer the ability to write with a stylus or electronic pen and that a Kindle or iBook offer a “thumb through the pages” action, but that doesn’t provide the tactile enjoyment of a physical book. Plus, in the kitchen, we interact with knives, cutting boards, and ingredients. Those are real, tactile things. So is a cookbook belongs there, inthe kitchen, with other things I can touch. And I like that.

2. Food Photography
Food blogs that stand above the rest are highly visual and I suck at food photography. I’ve never had the desire to invest my time and energy to learn how to be a better photographer of food so that I can have a food blog (or photograph my own cookbooks for that matter). Nor have I wanted to invest money in a camera orthe software to edit photos. I do enjoy content creation, but I’ll leave the photography to someone else. In addition, I have success at negotiation with my publishers to pay for the photographer for my books, so book over blog is a cost-effective proposition for me.

3. Money
If you generate a cookbook concept and write a proposal about it, it is possible that you can find a publisher for your work. And, there’s a very real chance that you will receive an advance for your work or the very least royalties. I choose to think positively about the money surrounding a publisher. They make more money off my book than I do, but they also help me get my book into the marketplace. I don’t earn all of my income off my