40 Blog Post Ideas for Building Your Platform
40 Blog Post Ideas for Building Your Platform

DesignAspiring cookbook authors have a dual-focus for tasks they need to complete, especially if they desire a traditional publishing contract. First, they need to build their platform and second, they need to write a proposal. One doesn’t necessairly come before the other, but both are important to focus on as you prepare to approach an agent or editor. If you are building your platform with a website as the hub and if you plan to blog, you may feel concerned that you have to always blog about recipes. That’s not true. What you need to do is create regular content that your audience is interested in. By regular I mean at least once a week. This is important. And for as long as your blog continues, commit to regular content. Topics for your blog post and content can vary. Your audience is interested in answers to their questions, your help solving a problem they have, and connecting with you. Here are some ideas for blog posts that aren’t directly related to recipes, but that you can easily write to create and update content and inspire and educate your audience.  You might even consider batch creating of blog posts. For the next 30 days, schedule time to write 12 blog posts. Then you get to take the next two months “off” of writing blog posts and focus on other projects.  It’s nice to get ahead and not have any writing emergencies. Here are numerous idea for blog posts topics.

1. Review a book from a competitor

2. Write a list of things that made you happy this month

3. Describe a day in the life of you

4. Review your favorite cooking or baking products

6. Provide advice on a topic related to your area of expertise

7. List what’s in your junk drawer

8. Explain things that inspire you

9. Give away your seasonal bucket list or bucket list for the next year

10. Describe what’s on your desk

11. Share one of your secrets related to cooking, baking, or your area of expertise

12. Describe your favorite ways to unwind after a productive day

13. List facts about you that you’re willing to share

14. Provide tips on how to stay organized

15. List your favorite posts from other blogs

16. Give your opinion on a topic of interest to your audience

17. List quotes you live by

18. Describe how you spend your time alone

19. Give advice for your audience

20. State the top 10 reasons you blog

21. Write a series: 7 days of the life of someone who wants to write a cookbook

22. Write an open letter

23. List 30 things to do before you’re 30, 40 things to do before you’re 40, 50 before 50, 60 before 60, etc.

24. Describe your perfect day

25. Expand on your most important life lesson

26. Write an A to Z post

27. Tell about things you don’t regret

28. Describe what apps you use every …

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 4
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 4

 

BOOK MARKETING

My 2nd cookbook, Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State continues to keep me busy. Most marketing efforts for this book are up to me. Every week I schedule time to contact new sales and signing leads and to follow-up on activities from the previous weeks.

One of my go-to resources for topics related to writing, publishing, and marketing is Joanna Penn, of The Creative Penn. You can read here her thoughts on marketing or if you’re interested buy her book, How to Market a Book where she discusses marketing principles, prerequisites for success, short-term marketing concepts, author platforms,and book launches.

WRITING ADVICE

November is #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). While this newsletter is about writing cookbooks, there are similarities between writing novels and cookbooks. As part of a #NaNoWriMo promotion, I became aware of this complimentary copy of The Ultimate Guide to Writing Advice

AUTHOR PLATFORMS

It takes time to build an author platform. It also takes time to write a cookbook proposal or manuscript. In this blog post, Chad R. Allen answers the question How Do I Write My Book and Build a Platform at the Same Time?

If you have questions about what an author platform is and how to build one, read my blog post and download the Build Your Author Platform worksheet.

FOOD TRENDS

We’re nearing the end of the calendar year and food trends for 2017 are starting to emerge. Reading about these trends is something I always enjoy. In the article written for Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, six trends are identified that “may move from cutting edge to mainstream.”

Follow my Food Trends board on Pinterest.

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. 3
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 3

 

Cookbook Writing

Many readers of my weekly newsletter, Fork, Pen, & Spoon, ask what are the specific steps to write a cookbook? In response to their question, I’ve written blog posts that include worksheets to guide you on the steps to start your cookbook project. Here is a summary of the topics covered so far:

· WHO is you cookbook audience
· WHY are you writing a cookbook
· WHAT is your cookbook concept
· HOW to you want to publish your cookbook

Take some time to link to the blog posts, download the worksheets, and identify your who, why, what, and how before we move to step #4.

Food Photography

Dark and moody describes the style of many images used in cookbooks, on food blogs, and in Instagram posts. Want to photograph dark and moody?

Writing

Whether you’re writing a blog post, newsletter, poem, or book, it takes courage to share what you write with others because they decide if they like what you write or not. Many fear this judgement and never write the blog posts, newsletter, poems, or books their audience needs to read. If you struggle with writing because you fear vulnerability, you may enjoy this article from Purpose Fairy that takes a look at courage and vulnerability.

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?

How Often Should You Blog?
How Often Should You Blog?

I’ve often told my coaching clients that I think it’s easier to write a book than it is to blog. Writing a book is finite, while blogging is infinite. Writing a book doesn’t require photography, at least not photography that I take. Writing a book will hopefully require photography, but I get to leave that job to the photographer. That’s not a skill set I’ve mastered yet. And my list of reasons goes on and on. Despite my reasons, a food blog is a good way to:

· test your writing skills
· gauge your commitment to a topic
· build the hub for your platform
· attract a larger audience
· gather email addresses so you can stay in touch with your audience

woman with laptop typingOne question many food bloggers have is how often to write a blog post. Today, I link to this blog post How often should you blog?. In this article, statistics are presented about how often food bloggers are posting content as of June 2016. The most amazing stat I read here was that:

“5% of bloggers were posting more than 10 posts a week on average. In descending order: I Am Baker, Serious Eats, Skinny Ms, $5Dinners, Six Sisters Stuff, Foodista, Lil’ Luna, Maangchi, Baking Bites and Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking.”

So, if you have a food blog I thought you might find this post interesting and helpful.

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? 

Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 2
Cookbook and Food Writing Links Vol. 2

Whether you write articles, newsletters, books, or blog posts, it takes discipline to sit down and write. There are so many other things I know I could be doing right now rather than writing this newsletter. The sun shines. The air is cool. My flowers need a drink of water. I’m hungry. I’m tired of sitting. I need some tea. My kitchen floor needs to be swept. And what about that good idea I had for a new project, maybe I will do some research?

1. If you’re like me, you have a lot going on and perhaps many writing tasks that need to be done on different parts of your work. Here are 5 Steps You Can Take Today to Organize Your Writing Life.

2. If you ever think of self-publishing your book (meaning you wear every hat in the publishing process) you’ll enjoy this review of  5 Must Read Blogs for Self-Publishing Authors.

3. It’s not unusual to hear writers complain about writing. Complain about agents. Complain about publishing. This article takes a look at positives of being a published writer from the perspective of Amber Lee Easton, from Mountain Moxie Publishing and Creative Services.

4. This article is over a year old, but stirred up a great debate recently in a Facebook group I belong to. If you write recipes, you might enjoy this article (from the UK) about recipes using volume VS weight.

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?

5 Links About Cookbooks and Food Writing
5 Links About Cookbooks and Food Writing

I enjoy reading articles and blog posts that lead me to new information about topics I’m interested in. Today, I’d like to share 5 links to interesting books, tools, and websites for writing, cookbooks, and food photography.

1. Millions of Cookbooks Sold About Slow Cookers

Originally published in 2000, Phyllis Good’s Fix-It and Forget-It series (based on slow-cooker recipes) has sold over 11 million copies.

Recently, due to chapter 7 bankruptcy, the series was sold to Skyhorse Publishing who plans to relaunch the series with a new title Fix-It and Forget-It Slow Cooker Magic. In addition to new titles, Skyhorse is working to build social media presence, as well as adjust the book’s trim size, and add new concepts for diabetic and low-fat recipes.

Phyllis Good, who still functions as the author says, “I am absolutely devoted to helping people cook at home where they’re in control of what they’re consuming, and I’m always thinking about whether a recipe I just made could be made in a slow cooker. I also keep on experimenting with how to make a slow cooker do its best work. People want and need convenience, but they also want tasty food. That’s the spot where I focus my energies!”

Read more about the Fix-it and Forget-It Lives Again.

2. Prolific Cookbook Writers

I enjoy reading About.com’s Cookbook and Food Writing newsletter. Recently, Allen Salking, About.com’s Cookbook and Food Writing Expert, wrote an article about Dorie Greenspan and Julia Child’s Foolproof Recipe Writing. They include a discussion about writing conversational recipes and being a prolific cookbook writer. Enjoy this interview, here.

3. Food Writing Sins

In another About.com article, Gillian Speiser discusses with Gabrielle Langholtz the 10 Sins Newbie Food Writers Commit. This article discusses catching the attention of an editor and how to avoid the pitfalls of new food writer.

4. IACP Award Winners

On March 29, 2015 at their annual conference in Washington, D.C., IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) presented their annual awards for cookbooks, magazines, food writing, and photography both in print and in the digital space. Here’s the complete list of 2015 winners. If you want to write a cookbook pay attention to the publishers, the editors, and the concepts. The Judges Choice award was a self-published cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day by Leanne Brown.

5. Food Photography for Bloggers

If you want to tweak your food photography, and “be proud of your food photos”, you might be interested in this eBook Tasty Food Photography by Lindsay who writes and photographs the Pinch of Yum food blog

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?”. 

Eight Reasons Writers Procrastinate
Eight Reasons Writers Procrastinate
Procrastination means at its most pure form putting off what we need to do and doing something else instead. The “instead” isn’t always less important, or mindless, but sometimes it is. Sometimes I’m an expert at procrastination, especially when I don’t have a deadline. “Instead”, I look at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, work on my bookkeeping, Google my name, shop online for  shoes, run errands, make “to-do” lists, clean the kitchen, play Two Dots on my iPhone, check blog unsubscribes and newsletter opt-outs, watch YouTube videos, and fritter away my time with everything but writing.
Procrastination creates stress because my writing tasks don’t go away. And, if anything, when I procrastinate the writing project acts like a toddler and pulls on my leg until I pay attention to it.
Many aspiring cookbook authors struggle with procrastination too. For the next few blog posts, I’m going to write about procrastination. Today, I’ll cover common reasons why writers procrastinate. In the next blog post I’ll give some suggestions to stay focused on your writing.
Here are my top eight reasons why writers procrastinate:
1. We can’t do our project justice. We know we need to do more research or that we have the wrong answer. We need to do more background work in order to maintain our standards, but we don’t want to. We just want to write, not fix something or do research. So instead, we don’t do anything.
2. The project isn’t good for us. It may take our career in a direction we don’t want to take. Or maybe, it’s not right because we’re underpaid for the job and we’re working way too hard for the pay. There are even times when there’s no money attached to a cookbook for self-publication or when writing a cookbook for our families. We think that no one will ever know if we stop working since this project isn’t good a good fit or earning money.
3. The project is too easy. If it’s too easy, we become bored and when we are bored, we aren’t interested in working. It’s hard to sit down and work on an easy, boring project. Just ask any intelligent 6th grader. They’ll tell you if it’s too easy, the next step is boredom. Then comes finding other things to do that seem more exciting.
4. We are paralyzed by the idea that we and our book concept isn’t good enough. At the deepest level, we fear being exposed for the fraud we actually are. We ask ourselves, “Will anyone know that I haven’t earned this spot to write this book or article?” As a result, we seek out familiar tasks where we shine (such as writing status updates on Facebook or sending funny Tweets).  Our followers like these posts, plus it’s easier than writing where we risk our reputation.
5. We compare ourselves to writers with “natural talent”.  We have unrealistic expectations about what writing means because all we see from other successful writers is their …
Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives
Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives

Over the summer, I developed a habit of listening to audio books using the Audible app on my iPhone or iPad. Yes, I do still enjoy reading physical books, particularly at night, but I made the decision to use my time to catch up on some books I’ve been wanting to read instead of listening to the radio or watching the news while driving, folding laundry, or working in the kitchen.

One book I listened to recently was, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Ariana Huffington. In her book, Huffington encourages “readers” (or in my case “listeners”) to develop their “third metric” and to work to redefine success in their lives “beyond money and power”.

One concept presented that resonated with me was creating, or recognizing, wonder in our daily lives. Huffington asks readers to pay attention to the small details that often go unnoticed or under-appreciated as we move through our day. She argues that we’ve gotten so busy in our quest for career advancement and moving ourselves, and our children, up the ladder of success that we’ve lost our sense of wonder.

So, I decided to be more intentional and to pay attention to the small details of things that delighted me. First, the faithfulness of my pet dog “Maggie” – her favorite place is in the same room with me. Not on my lap, but nearby, ready to give me a tail wag or a look in the eye. I also noticed the beauty of the handmade Shaker broom one of my sisters gave me as a gift. It’s the perfect tool for sweeping up Maggie’s hair and the ever-present crumbs of food on the kitchen floor. Made here in Kentucky, in the traditional Shaker style, it’s all a broom should be. And, finally at dinner last night, I wondered at the eyes of my 17-year-old son as he smiled and told me about how great his senior year in high school was going.

Little did I know before I read Huffington’s book that Arianna Huffington and I share the same birthday, smack dab in the middle of the summer. According to Huffington this would be no coincidence. For when we look at the world through eyes of wonder we realize there are no coincidences. It’s just up to us to open our eyes to our own well-being, wisdom, and wonder, and to not brush off coincidences as mere chance, but instead, to see them for what they are – a gift of wonder in our lives.

If you’d like to read the book: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

And here’s a link to the Audible audio-version of the book for your listening pleasure: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of

5 Techniques to Create a Daily Habit of Writing
5 Techniques to Create a Daily Habit of Writing

Twice a day I brush my teeth. Once a day I cook a meal. Every night I sleep for seven hours. Every morning I eat breakfast, empty the dishwasher, and dress for the day. These are a few examples of habits ingrained in my daily routine. I can’t imagine a day without doing them and most of the time I do them without even thinking about it.

As a writer and author, I also have made an effort to create a daily habit of writing, whether I need to write a recipe, cookbook chapter, blog post, or newsletter. I know firsthand how difficult it can feel to write when we don’t feel inspired, but regular writing habits drive projects to completion.

When I struggle to take time to write I remind myself that whether I write or not, time will pass. So, I have a choice – do I want to let the minutes of my day pass away without progress on my writing projects? The answer is typically no. No, I don’t want the day to pass without progress. In order to make progress on my writing projects, I have five techniques I employ to create my daily habit of writing.

1. Schedule time to write
When I look up from my computer three months from now I want to have made progress on my new cookbook, regular blog posts, paid writing work, and my weekly eZines. In order to do so I schedule at least 30 minutes every day to write. I haven’t figured out any other way to make progress and I’ve learned that in order to be a successful and published author I have to do this every day. And here’s the real secret – most writers feel better about themselves, and their work, when schedule time to write whether they feel like it or not.

2. Pick your most creative time
When I have a writing deadline, I work every morning on my project. The morning is my most creative and prolific time of day. I like to sit either at my desktop computer or use my iPad (with a keyboard) at the kitchen table. I like my environment to be quiet. I like to light a candle and open a door or window if the weather permits. I block out distractions from email, text messages, and the strange attraction of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media. I’ve realized these sites for me are a window to procrastination.

3. Write an imperfect first draft
Every writing project has a beginning and for me the beginning is rarely organized or publishable. In creating this “imperfect first draft” I set aside any hopes of creating something someone might want to read and I just focus on getting my thoughts out on the page. I’ll outline if I need to, but then I have to start filling in the blanks. This calls for perseverance knowing this draft will go through rounds of revising, rewriting, and editing. …

Cookbook Writing Tip  - Study Other Cookbooks
Cookbook Writing Tip - Study Other Cookbooks

To learn more about the cookbook you want to write, and inversely more the cookbook you don’t want to write, immerse yourself in cookbook reading, and cookbook window shopping. Spend some time at the library (libraries usually have extensive cookbook collections), on-line, or in the cookbook section of a bookstore as possible.  Find cookbooks that you like to hold, read, and cook from. Pay attention to what delights you about other cookbooks. These are all clues about the type of book you may want to write. 

A word of caution: don’t let looking at other cookbooks deter you from writing your book. While there may be many thousands of cookbooks published already, it’s important to remember that the book you want to write hasn’t been written yet. Your unique message and your passion in the kitchen can only be written in a way that you can write. You are the one to write that book and connect with your audience in a way that only you can.

******

Through her cookbook coaching packages and programs Maggie gives aspiring cookbook authors permission to pursue their dream of writing a cookbook.

Make time today to schedule a complimentary Cookbook Content Clarity phone call.

 …