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 ball: where is the cookbook industry going with the advent of digital media?

I do believe that people like to hold cookbooks in their hands, they don’t want to bring their Kindle into the kitchen with them.  They are so beautiful and people treasure them.  But the internet offers people quick access to recipes, so it’s hard to compete with that.

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