Dorie Greenspan's Online Ephiphany

Dec 102009
 

book_cover_high_res_2When Dorie Greenspan’s ninth book, Baking from My Home to Yours, came out in the fall of 2006, she witnessed the power of the online community. Egullet started a threadChowhound made it a cookbook of the month, and bloggers championed the book.

“It was so exciting to see people baking and posting pictures of what they had made every day. It was thrilling,” she recalled.

Inspired, the Bon Appetit freelancer and Parade Contributing Editor started a blog. “I had never even thought about being online,” Dorie confessed. “I wasn’t paying much attention. ”So when I finished my book tour, I started a blog in January 2007 as way to be in touch with these incredible people.”

A year later, she got an email from a fan and blogger, Laurie Woodward, who wanted to bake from the cookbook with a couple of friends and post what they had made. She asked if Dorie minded. Dorie, of course, was delighted. “I don’t think either one of us had any idea what would happen,” she said.

Laurie started Tuesdays with Dorie, which now has 200 bakers who make a recipe from the book and post about it. “Every week I’ve looked to see what they’ve baked, and  I leave comments on their blogs,” says Dorie. “It’s totally separate from me. It started without me and runs without me.”

Photo by David Lebovitz

Photo by David Lebovitz

Last January, on TWD’s first anniversary, Dorie answered a long and excellent Q&A about her baking, her writing and her life.  Laurie asked her to choose the recipe bakers would make, and she picked a French Pear Tart. “I got such touching comments from them,” said Dorie, “and I loved seeing the confidence they get, how their skills are improving, how it goes out into other areas of their life.”

I asked her how writing recipes online differs from writing from print. Because of comments, she said, she can keep refining her recipes, adding information and helping people. She can fix an error. “In print, it kept me up nights when there was a misprint.”

She also loves adding in-depth information through recipe links. “I did something on caramel, and I was able to refer people to an incredible link on David Lebovitz’s site about making perfect caramel. Before I would filter the info, and now I can send readers off, and it more than doubles the information.”

  17 Responses to “Dorie Greenspan's Online Ephiphany”

  1. Dorrie has been a wonderful example of a book author embracing new media. She does it well and enjoys it too, which is so very rare.

    She’s also just delightful. I’m so glad she’s bopping around the internet.

  2. I love Dorie! I was thinking of working to de-gluten a handful of her recipes from this book. Ah, yet another project I don’t have time to complete.

    • Stephanie, yeah, blogging can create serious time management issue. Plus I don’t have a clue how you would convert those recipes.

  3. Dorrie is an inspiration. I am new to blogging (ahem, like 6 weeks new!)
    http://www.mariesimmonsvegetarian.blogspot.com/ I began because I wanted to write about my new cookbook project (it’s vegetarian) and hoped to get blog followers interested in the new book. I also miss the dialogue I had with many readers of my local newspaper (Contra Costa Times) column The column was cut due to the downturn in newspaper revenue. A blog has the potential of wider coverage….eventually. I know what Dorrie means about enjoying the delicious opportunity to tweak recipes by adding clarification along the way. It is almost like teaching a class, without having to leave your home office. Perfect! Thank you, Dorrie and Dianne.

    • Thanks Marie. Good luck with your new blog and a new dialog with readers. I think it’s my favorite part of blogging.

  4. I hadn’t realized Dorie had a blog, so glad to know and now also see how she approaches it. I’ve heard of the TWD before, but never made the connection, either. Funny. Going to look up her Q and A now. Thanks Dianne.

  5. Too bad they didn’t ask better questions, or at least edit them–I mean the “how come you are so skinny” question so many times is a little ridiculous, no? She does seem to be the genuine thing, which is always nice to see/hear in people you admire.

    • It’s a normal question. Restaurant reviewers who are thin get that all the time. I remember Flo Braker saying it was the number one question people asked her.

  6. I like that more book writers are adding an online presence. Learning doesn’t stop when a book is published. New information is generated all the time and it needs to be shared right away instead of waiting for a 2nd edition or a new book. Also, authors can get ideas for what to write about by interfacing with their most loyal fans – those that comment on the blogs.

    • Nate, well said. It takes a while for print writers to understand the value of social media, especially those of us (ahem) over 40.

  7. Such nice words of support — thank you. Reading these comments, how could anyone not want to join the online community?

    • Hi Dorie, great to hear from you. Yes, having a relationship with readers is the most satisfying part of having a blog, so I can only imagine how much you enjoy it through Tuesdays With Dorie.

  8. I just bought Dorie’s book and love it! The only problem is deciding which recipe to make next?

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