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 your niche, that will make you stand out as unique.

What will be the biggest challenge in completing your manuscript?

The time frame. I wrote both books in less than a month and a half!

What is your biggest fear about writing a cookbook?

Because of the time constraints I was very concerned about not being able to go over every last detail several times. Unusually when I write I like to edit myself to exhaustion.

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