People who want to write a cookbook contact me all the time.
Often these potential authors have no background in writing, cooking, teaching, or any other credential that would make them appealing to a publisher. But they’re passionate about cooking.
Don’t write a book first, I suggest. Start with a blog.
But but but, they protest. Whenever they bring their chocolate-bacon cupcakes into the office or serve their lamb shanks scented with cinnamon, people tell them they should write a cookbook, because their cooking is just that good.
Great, I say. But it’s not that simple. Enthusiasm from friends, family and fellow employees is not what excites a publisher. What turns on publishers is a cunning idea, writing chops and a platform. Now if these potential authors would start a blog instead, they might get to a published book.
Literary Agent Lisa Ekus, who represents only cookbooks, said recently at a blogging conference that more than 80 percent of book queries to her agency come from bloggers.That’s perfect. The bloggers who contact her are writing about their passions and expertise in a blog, and they’re building a community of followers. Blogging gives them a cunning idea, writing chops, and a platform. Sense a pattern here in what I’m saying?
A book is not the only way to express a love of cooking. In fact, it’s a ton of work and can take several years, by the time you solidify the idea, create a proposal, find an agent or publisher, write the manuscript, and get it published.
A blog, on the other hand, has three main benefits:
1. It’s immediate. You launch it and it’s out there. Boom. You’re published on whatever you’re passionate about.
2. It helps you figure out what to write about. Some people start a blog and have no idea where it’s going, other than that it’s about food. After a few months, a theme emerges. They sharpen their ideas, zero in on a topic, and a solid focus emerges that might become a book.
3. You engage with future buyers of your book. If you start a blog on the subject of your book, you start a relationship with readers who might buy it. A former student just got a book deal. When she began the book proposal a year ago, she started a blog at the same time.
“By the time the proposal was in, the blog was well underway and became part of what sold the project,” she wrote me in an email. ” The blog has also been a great way to connect with my audience and get to know what their needs are in a cookbook.”
A blog delivers on the main reason people want to write books: It gets their writing published, immediately. So why, do you think, is there so much resistance?
- Pile of Food Blogger Cookbooks in the Works
- Why Authors Need a Platform More than Ever
- 5 Tips on what Makes a Killer Cookbook Idea
(Photo by Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)