How Blogging Got My Book Reviewed on Epicurious

Aug 042010
 

All right lissen up, you food writers who are not bloggers. I’m about to tell you how having my a blog got the new edition of Will Write for Food reviewed on Epicurious.com,  a massively popular website, then tweeted to around 50,000 people.

No, it didn’t go like this: I wrote a new book, the publisher sent it to Epicurious as part of its regular mailing, and someone at Epicurious decided to review it. Life would be easier that way, but also duller.

Let’s back up a little so I can tell you how it happened and how this affects you (always the critical part of any story).

First, I started this blog. Then I joined a Google Group called BayArea Food Bloggers, which sends an email around with messages (if you’re local and want to subscribe, see this). Fast forward to July, when an email from a local blogger appeared on the listserv and began this way:

    “Epicurious at the Ferry Building July 20th, Stop by and say hi to editor Tanya Steel!
    Hi Everyone, Christina here from Farm and a Frying Pan. For my day job, I am the PR Manager at Epicurious, and next week kicks off our summer Farmers Market Tour with our first stop at the Ferry Building Farmers market on the 20th…”

A chance to meet the editor-in-chief of Epicurious! I was all over that, even though I didn’t have a food blog and I wasn’t going to interview her about produce and healthy eating. But I had a writing blog, so I had a place to publish our interview. After the interview I asked for Tanya Steel’s card, something that takes nerve but I did it anyway.

Knowing she would never see the post unless I told her about it, I sent an email to Steel, providing the link. (Do you always do this, if you have a blog?) Days later, a response said, simply: “Thanks so much. Great to meet you.” Just remember that she is exceedingly busy and, because she’s a Brit, exceedingly good mannered.

In my email reply to her, I mentioned that I asked my publisher to send her a copy of my new book. I figured it couldn’t hurt, since Epicurious probably receives dozens of new books every week. I didn’t want mine to be lost in the shuffle.

And a few days later, this positive review appeared on Epicurious’s daily Epi-Log. It began with a link to my website and then said my book “should be mandatory reading for everyone who aspires to be a food writer.” After that came an Epicurious tweet to around 50,000 followers, with a link to the review. That’s gold, baby!

Now, why am I telling you all this, and what does it mean for you? A few things:

1. If you are a traditional print author with a new book, you need a blog to take part in opportunities like this.

2. If you are not on Twitter, get with it. Right now. You never know who will pass on your tweets to their readers, potentially building your base of followers.

3. My launch has been so much more successful than the first edition, five years ago, because of my blog and the opportunities it provides for exposure. You never know who’s reading you and who will pass you on to their blog and website readers either. Eater.com, The Food Section, and Publishers Weekly’s  Cooking the Books, for example, have picked up recent posts. I got on Martha Stewart Radio last Monday because the person who contacted me said she “heard it was out.” Since I made the announcement on my blog and on Twitter, that’s how she found out. To top it off, the home page of Martha Stewart Radio is selling my book. And blogger Stephanie Stiavetti has already done a giveaway on Wasabimon.

So that’s my testament to using social media for a book launch. If you have any other tips, would love to hear them.

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  26 Responses to “How Blogging Got My Book Reviewed on Epicurious”

  1. BRAVA! I would say as important as having a blog is getting out from behind your desk and meeting an editor IN PERSON. When I meet an editor in person and I send a pitch later, it gets a much better response then if I have never met the editor. Many bloggers think they don’t have opportunities to meet editors, but if you go to every event you can, eventually you WILL meet editors.

    • You are the queen of that philosophy, Amy. I don’t know how you do it! I hardly ever get out from behind my computer so this is a good reminder to do so more often.

  2. Good for you Dianne! Social media can be so powerful…thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Good article, thanks! And I just retweeted Epicurious’s tweet on you book to my almost 4000 followers. This is how the world turns. :-) Best…Susan

  4. The post seems to imply a causal relationship between the review, and the blog post. I will be contrarian and say if you haven’t made the individual effort to promote your book, it wouldn’t have been reviewed, blog post or otherwise. Kudos to that, not so much the blogging.

    As for the remainder of your 1330 Twitter followers, we have no book to be reviewed, and the blog will always be… just the blog.

    • Not sure I understand your point, but I think there’s a compliment in here somewhere, so I’ll take it.

  5. Outstanding, Dianne. I was impressed with your launch 5 years ago! Your books are in great demand. Congrats, Pat

    • Well, I don’t know about that. I guess if I stay in my little world of food writing, it looks pretty good from here. Thanks, Pat.

  6. Way to go Dianne!

    Do you think this successful launch was largely due to social media? Or to the fortuitous visit with Ms Steel?

    • The visit with Ms. Steel came as a result of being on a food blogger listserv, so I give credit to social media.

  7. Huge congrats and well-deserved too. Tried to get the book in the UK and US when I was there last month with no success. But I see it’s now available so will have it sent to Singapore. Basically, get off my butt and re-start the blog eh?

  8. BRAVO! Diane
    I just added Will Write For Food to my Amzn widget.
    Now all I need is an interview to move some books! :)
    Carolg

  9. Fantastic! Just another of the many reasons why it’s important to network.

  10. Just a note to let you know I’m enjoying going through your archives. Also, I got your new book (after some resistance because I already had your old one) and it really opened my eyes to some things about my blog that needed improvement. Thanks so much.

    • Yes, I can understand the resistance. But I’m glad you thought the blogging chapter was worth the price of admission. Thanks.

  11. Hi Dianne, I am interested in checking out BayArea Food Bloggers (I’m in Petaluma) but the link you provided just goes to a generic help page. I have searched within Google Groups (with and without a space between bay and area) but no luck. Do you have a more direct link?

    Thanks!

  12. Dianne, your post just reinforced why a yet unpublished Grandma Moses author whose mantra is “Will Write for Love” is stepping out in the digital world, and loving it.
    thanks for your helpful tips on promotion.
    Your link was given to me by Romney “Nani” Steele who has published a beauty of a book called “My Nepenthe”. Have your read it??? got to.
    Best wishes, Mary

  13. IuQOrI Hello, YA serche drocher!!!
    p.s. serchedrocher!

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