Pile of Food Blogger Cookbooks in the Works

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“So many food bloggers have books coming out right now!” declared Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy. She, Cheryl Sternman-Rule of 5 Second Rule (on the list below), and I were gabbing on the phone, preparing for our food blogging panel at the Book Passage Travel and Food Writing and Photography conference this weekend.

I had not counted how many, so Amy whipped up a list and emailed it to me. I added a few names, including writers I coached on book proposals (so proud!). And she’s right, it’s a pretty impressive list.

I happen to know that the advances on this list range from around $3500 to six figures. (A book advance is the amount the publisher pays you upfront.) Regardless of the advance size, there’s no doubt that cookbook editors think food bloggers are hot enough to follow, befriendand even comment on their blogs.

Food bloggers have tons of advantages as book authors. They come with their own list of potential readers. They’ve not only created a community but often they’re part of a larger community of bloggers that supports them when the book comes out. Food bloggers probably know more about marketing and social media than the average writer. And sometimes they take their own photos for the book, a two-for-one deal.

Most of the people on this list do not just define themselves as food bloggers, anyway. They are also freelance writers, journalists, cooking teachers, chefs, and recipe developers. All these skills help broaden their platform, experience, and credibility.

So take a look at this list of blogs. As you scan it, you’ll see asterisks at the end of some blog names. They indicate links to posts I’ve found about book deals or about writing the cookbook itself:

Know of another food blogger with a book deal? Let me know.

Comments

  1. says

    Some more for your list Dianne :) Some of these were recently published and some are in the works.
    And if I sat here for long enough I bet more will come to me…there are a lot!

    Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
    Jenny of Picky-Palate
    Sarah of Peas and Thank You
    Jenna of Eat, Live, Run
    Faith of An Edible Mosaic
    Alana from Eating from the Ground Up
    Bridget from Bake at 350
    Heather from Sprinkle Bakes
    Phoebe and Cara from Big Girls, Small Kitchen

    • says

      Also Debbie from Words to Eat By – her book will be out very soon.
      And I guess you did not mean ones that were already published or the list would be WAY longer.

    • diannejacob says

      Yes, I didn’t include anyone who was recently published, but that was kind of arbitrary. My, what a huge list! Thanks.

    • says

      Last night I attended a book signing / recipe tasting for Sarah, of “Peas And Thank You.” Her book (of the same name) is wonderfully put together, her recipes are accompanied by tempting photographs and her personality & sense of humor shine through from start to finish.

      This is one example of discovering a cookbook before reading the author’s blog. Not sure what took me so long to discover her, but I’m hooked.

      When you take a cook book to bed with you, then wake up and start making a shopping list so you can make some of the recipes, it’s a very good sign. First item on my list? Tofu Press!

      • diannejacob says

        Oh that is wonderful, Brook, to consider that people might by a blogger’s book even if they’ve never been to the blog. You are a dream cookbook buyer.

  2. says

    I’m always interested in reading books by food writers. I wish there were more available in stores here, but I’m getting mostly cook books. It’s nice to read these and learn from them. I’ll write these on my “must buy” list and maybe I’ll get lucky and find them. :)

    • diannejacob says

      Very good, Kat. Every blogger wants to know that potential readers like you are waiting for their books.

  3. says

    Just tweeted this post – love it. I’m excited to read Picky Palate’s cookbook and I’ve heard good things about Peas and Thank You.

    I would love, love, love to land a cookbook deal. It is my dream. Got rejected by a few agents last summer and haven’t pursued it any further (baby #2 got in the way!). All said my “audience” probably wasn’t big enough yet, but like the content. Maybe someday? Really wish a small publisher would at least give some of us little guys a chance…but then again I’m sure there are a LOT of bloggers out there hoping that!

    Again, great topic!

    • says

      Ally, I couldn’t agree with you more! Publishing a cookbook is my dream as well, and I’m just doing everything I can in my power to work towards making it a reality. I’m focusing on developing great recipes, taking good photos, writing compelling stories, and essentially building a great rapport with my readers on my site.

      I have friends who are working on their cookbooks and celebrating their book deals, and it’s easy to get a bit disheartened while still celebrating with them. I have a tendency to get caught up in the fantasy of getting published while losing sight of the present, and that’s something I’m working on remedying. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen, whether it’s next month or 10 years from now. Best of luck to you!

      Additionally, a huge, happy congratulations to all of the wonderful bloggers who are working on their books! I can’t wait to read them all!

        • says

          I completely agree with both of you, Jaclyn and Dianne. There’s so much going on in the food world and, for those of us who are still establishing our footing, it’s incredibly easy to feel “overlooked”. On the days I begin to feel envy creep in, I now know to put my head down, focus on my own goals and work that much harder. If it’s meant to happen, I truly believe it will. Congrats to everyone who has already reached that goal!

          And, good luck at the Book Passage conference, Dianne! I was hoping to be there, but my plans were thwarted, unfortunately. Next year…

          • diannejacob says

            You are so right, Elizabeth. Jealousy goes with insecurity, and it’s easy for beginning bloggers to feel that way when they see others get a book deal. You have the right idea.

            Sorry to hear you will not make it to the Book Passage conference. We all had a blast there last year.

          • says

            As a newbie to the kitchen, I haven’t felt the pressure about cookbooks… but I’ve certainly felt pressure about blogging! What’s great though is that the initial, overwhelming shock over the span of the blogosphere has evolved into, well, appreciation. I really had no idea that there were so many talented people out there!

            What’s also great is that this leads to an almost infinite number of niches. Now, I’m just surfing through blogs and seeing which ones I’m most interested in following. I feel like I’m defining myself, even as a reader. It’s quite the self-discovery process.

          • diannejacob says

            Yes, it would be great if I could tell you how many food blogs exist in the blogosphere, but I don’t have a solid number. Hundreds of thousands? Millions? And probably, most of them aren’t active. So congrats for starting your blog. Who knows where it will lead.

          • Michelle says

            Thanks! I’ve been learning a lot in the past few days, when I’ve really put energy into it. The biggest lesson? Just blog, be happy, and don’t force anything. It’s almost like a lesson for life :) Also, I came across Hyperbole and a Half – it’s hilarious! Now I’m interested in blogs at large… oh dear. Laptop time, here I come

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks Ally. Quirk is a small publisher who’s working with food bloggers. But the food bloggers they work with are not necessarily small. Just keep working on your blog and building it.

  4. says

    Lordy, what a list!
    Not happening to anything like that degree here in Oz, as far as I know. There are one or two in the works, but it’s mostly the Masterchef contestants who are getting published here.

    • diannejacob says

      Well, you need to work on changing that, young lady. Especially since Australia puts out some killer cookbooks.

  5. says

    If this is a list of forthcoming blogger books, I’d add Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen, Jessie Oleson of Cakespy (out next month), Jess Thompson of Hogwash, Lara Ferroni of Cook & Eat (one out, more in the works), Jules Clancy of Stone Soup, Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life, Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious, Stephanie Lucianovic of Grub Report, Ivy Manning of Ivy’s Feast, and Katie Quinn Davis of What Katie Ate. There are a few more in the works that I know about, but the ink is not yet dry.

    If you’re including published titles, then: Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, Langdon Cook of Fat of the Land, Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (just out), Shauna James Ahern of Gluten-free GIrl (two books), Faith Durand of The Kitchn, as well as Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan of The Kitchn (2nd book just out), Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York, Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and of course, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman and Julie Powell of Julie and Julia.

    And little old me :-)

    • diannejacob says

      I’m not including published books. Had to draw the line somewhere or this list would be easily twice as long. But what a great list of even more bloggers, Tea! And I knew about some of them and forgot. Thank you.

      By “little old me,” do you mean you’re working on your second book?

  6. says

    Also, Irish blogger Niamh Shields from ‘Eat like a girl’. I think her book is coming out in the Autumn sometime?
    I love your Blog Dianne. Always something well worth reading.
    M’f3na

  7. says

    Are all of these cookbooks as opposed to stories or memories with some recipes?

    I also want to comment on what Amanda pointed out: I get the impression that the US market is unique in their jumping on the food blogger market, promoting and publishing cookbooks by food bloggers. Just to play Devil’s Advocate (knowing that I hope to be published one day although not strictly a cookbook and also that I love buying cookbooks): do you think this only inundates an already saturated market with more cookbooks, spreading it too thin and do you think this has changed the whole dynamics of food blogging? For better or worse? As I said, living in Europen my vision of what goes on in the US is somewhat distorted and I don’t see it all.

    • diannejacob says

      Good questions, Jamie.

      Most of them are cookbooks, because most successful food blogs in the US are recipe driven.

      Cookbook editors are always on the hunt for the next new thing, and right now it’s all about celebrities on television, restaurant chefs, and bloggers. These are all people with a big reach who can help sell cookbooks. Of course, not all books sell as well as expected, because that’s the way book publishing works. But when they get a big hit, it floats all the other books that don’t sell so well.

  8. says

    Oh wow what a list! It’s so great to see so many bloggers realising their dreams! I only wish publishers in New Zealand (and Australia where I now live) would start seeing the potential us food bloggers have to offer. I spoke to a (top NZ) publisher late last year at a Christmas function about my idea for a cookbook, she still thought there wasn’t enough of a market for gluten-free cookbooks in NZ (???), failing to recognise the potential overseas readers I would have also *sigh*. Not that that’s stopping me… I’m still going to get my proposal out there. And cross my fingers 😉

    • diannejacob says

      That is strange, isn’t it, considering how big of a trend it is here. Keep working on it. The Australian cookbook market is admired by many publishers and cookbook sellers in the US, but maybe only for a certain kind of book: the big, gorgeous hardcovers.

  9. says

    Wow, this is an impressive list, comments included. Thanks for including me, Dianne. I guess the moral of the story is: if you want to publish a cookbook, start with a blog!

    • diannejacob says

      Definitely. That’s a message I give my clients. Otherwise they have no platform to interest a publisher or agent.

  10. says

    How about Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer at thecanalhouse.com? They are publishing subscription based seasonal cook books. A very interesting concept and a terrific website.

    • diannejacob says

      Yes, it is a fascinating concept, and doing well for them. I wouldn’t call them bloggers, although they would make a great interview. Thanks for the reminder.

    • diannejacob says

      Hey Souper, thank you. It makes a statement about the book publishing industry and what interests them, doesn’t it?

    • diannejacob says

      Hmm. Would you call them bloggers? I would call them Internet entrepreneurs and publishers. But I’m excited about their book.

  11. says

    What an impressive list of talented food writers. I wish them all much success. It’s easy to be envious and fall into the “why them not me?” trap. Most who are passionate about their writing, including myself, have publication as their ultimate goal. I keep reminding myself that even the most acclaimed food writers were unknown at some point in their lives. Everybody has to start at the beginning.
    Diann, could you roughly estimate the breakdown of professional chefs to home cooks from the list?
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge….again!

    • diannejacob says

      Hmm. I don’t think anyone on the list is a professional chef. I don’t think they have time to blog!

      And yes, everyone has to start somewhere. It’s a breathtaking rise for many though, and a triumph over traditional methods of publication to get established.

    • diannejacob says

      She’s a local white girl from Atherton, who moved to Japan years ago to teach Japanese. Fluent in a few languages, super brainy. One of her pupils was an organic rice farmer. Now Nancy lives on a farm in rural Japan with her husband, 3 teenage sons and mother-in-law. I coached her on her book proposal.

  12. says

    Thanks Jane, Tara, and Faith – yep I’ve got an Herbivoracious book coming out in the spring of ’12, published by Harvard Common Press. It is exciting to see how many other folks from our community have books in the pipeline!

  13. Carol says

    Don’t forget Kate Hopkins of the Accidental Hedonist. She wrote 99 Drams of Whiskey and I think she’s working on a book about Candy.

    • diannejacob says

      Food bloggers are getting more sophisticated about readers, technology, recipe writing — and they are getting respect. It’s definitely exciting.

  14. Jim Brams says

    Don’t forget my good friend Virginia Willis’ exciting new “Basic to Brilliant Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress them Up for Company” that Ten Speed Press is publishing momentarily. Her first cookbook, “Bon App’e9tit, Y’all” went through five reprintings and all her friends in Atlanta and around the country are excited to get the followup cookbook! I also cooked/tested two of the recipes in it with her.

    • diannejacob says

      Hey Jim, oh yes, I adore Virginia. I don’t know if I would call her a food blogger, primarily. But she has a blog and she’s welcome to this list. I’ve seen an advance copy of her cookbook and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

  15. says

    As always a great and helpful post Dianne. Thanks. I really resonate with Jaclyn and Elizabeth! I too hope – no, plan – to see my name on a list like that in the future. I’ll keep blogging, writing, developing my voice, building readership, focusing on great, useful, meaningful content for my readers. It will come. Perseverance, growth and time are all required. Nothing worthwhile and good is ever easy! Oh, and I love reading the titles of these books. Such creativity and fun!

    • diannejacob says

      That’s the right approach, Sally. All these bloggers have worked their tushies off in the areas you mentioned to get to this point. And for many, they’re just getting started.

  16. says

    I love reading this list! I think it’s most bloggers dreams to have a book deal, and though it’s human nature to be envious and jealous of other bloggers that have books coming out, something to keep in mind is that every time one blogger becomes successful, it legitimizes the work that all bloggers are doing. A successful book from a blogger opens doors for others.

    As for bloggers with books coming out that you missed, I believe Brooke McLay of Cheeky Kitchen has books coming out, Kelly Jaggers over at Evil Shenanigans has a book coming out, Kelly Senyei from Just Taste & GourmetLive has a book coming out and Tea Austen of Tea and Cookies is working on her second book as well.

    • diannejacob says

      Good lord, lots more bloggers to add! Thanks Irvin. This list size astonishes me. Tea commented earlier but I wasn’t clear if she was working on book No. 2, so I appreciate the clarification.

      I guess it would be good to think about why bloggers want a book deal in the first place — why having a successful blog is not enough, in and of itself. Want to venture into that territory, Irvin?

      • says

        Hmmm. Well I think there’s a number of reasons and I don’t want to speak for others. But one of the biggest reasons I can imagine, is there’s a legitimacy that comes from having a published book (or any printed piece for that matter) that you don’t get from a blog. No matter how successful a blog is (and success is completely relative), a printed piece and a printed book has a weight that digital does not.

        That said, for myself, I know that I have specific book concepts and ideas that I think would work better as a cookbook versus my current blog. A book would allow me to narrow my focus and create recipes around a single subject topic such as cookies or fresh fruits that I would love to explore more in-depth but would be too restrictive for my blog, which tends to be more of a general baking blog (albeit, with my own personal twist – which leans toward more complicated desserts).

        I can imagine that a whole blog post could be devoted to reasons on why someone would want a book deal/publish a book vs just having a successful blog. That said, the two certainly aren’t mutually exclusive and I can only imagine that they feed on each other. Look at David Lebovitz who started out as a pastry chef, moved onto writing cookbooks and now has a successful blog, or conversely, Shauna of Gluten Free Girl who created a successful blog and then went onto write a best selling cookbook. I think the dream is to have both. A successful blog AND a best selling book.

        Perhaps you should do a survey of people who have book deals, asking them why they are publishing one, and then create a post on their responses. It would be fascinating to read their reasonings.

        • diannejacob says

          That is a great idea, Irvin. I think you are right about legitimacy. There’s still some stigma attached to being a blogger. But it’s fading fast…

  17. robynski says

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Kelly at EvilShenanigans. She’s inked her second book. Ist is due out any day – All About Pie

  18. says

    It makes me feel good to be part of a community that is growing exponentially – so much to learn and aspire to.

    Despite earlier comments, there are three Aussie bloggers I know of that have book deals due for print this year..

    Linda from Bubble and Sweet has a cookbook titled Sweets on Sticks coming out soon. http://bubbleandsweet.blogspot.com/2011/07/sweets-on-stick-bubble-and-sweet.html

    What Katie Ate has signed a deal with Penguin for a cookbook http://whatkatieate.blogspot.com/2011/04/toot-toot-what-katie-ate-book-deal-with.html

    And Katrina who is a freelance writer and recipe developer launched a blog this year to complement her website and has a cookbook due out in November http://thelittlecrumb.com.au/cookbook

    • diannejacob says

      Excellent news. I hope the bloggers there are doing just as well as they are here in the US. Now I’m wondering about Canada.

    • says

      Thanks for mentioning the Aussies who have a book on the way and alerting me to this post @Di-licious. Although I am from Australia my book is a US release. I’m not sure it is fair to say the publishers are not as forward thinking here in Australia or New Zealand. We have to remember that our market is much smaller.

  19. says

    I’m in Australia and working on a cookbook that is currently a blog. It’s seasonal recipes that happen to be vegetarian. I have to admit I’d never considered trying to get a publisher as it seems too easy to go the self publishing route. After seeing this post, I may change strategy. Seems like the time is ripe.

    • diannejacob says

      Whether you self-publish or try for a publisher, the issues are the same, Fi. You need to know how sell your book. Publishers will be looking hard at that section of your book proposal. Good luck!

  20. says

    Dianne. Thanks for the love. As my countdown for the manuscript being due nears 3 weeks, I’m on pins and needles. Positive feedback leads to productive days. So your emails and this post have been a godsend. As have others from friends in the food community. I love that we can boost each other up. I’ll email about the Sept trip. N.

    • diannejacob says

      You’re in the same boat with a lot of people on this list, Nancy. It’s thrilling — and scary — to turn in a manuscript. And then there’s the letdown that follows, after all that adrenaline. It’s going to be a gorgeous, weighty book.

      You’re coming to the Bay Area next month? Look forward to hearing more.

  21. says

    What an amazing list – thanks for including me! Like Nancy, I’m on the 3 wk tick-tock, and to say that it’s stressful around here is an understatement. Who knew that writing a cookbook would be such an emotional roller-coaster? The process itself is more challenging than I ever imagined – but that said, I’m sure that it’ll be that much more satisfying on the other end. Maybe we should have a food blogger/cookbook writing support group. Back to the kitchen…!

    • diannejacob says

      Congratulations to you! I love the “3 wk tick-tock.” Clever. Yes, it is a roller coaster. I remember that with my first book. And it’s a high, so when you come down after turning it in, you’ll definitely notice.

  22. says

    Gracie’s Sweet Life has one coming out on Italian Desserts:
    http://gracessweetlife.com/2011/05/torta-caprese-flourless-chocolate-torte-graces-sweet-life-goes-to-print/

    I do wonder the same thing like some other commenters….everything is online, are we going to hit the wall with this cookbook craze going on soon? I know the feeling that you have to have a book in your hand sometimes.

    What about self publishers? Do you think that trend will come soon? I know a lot of online sites let you publish your own book but I guess you can not really sell it at the national bookstores then? How does that work?

    • diannejacob says

      I don’t think the cookbook craze is going to die down anytime soon, Ilke.

      Self publishing is great if you have an established platform that will buy the book. It’s rare for a national bookstore or big distributor to sell a self-published book.

  23. says

    Love this idea Diane. I did write a recipe book for my family and friends a few years ago. i had it printed and handed to them with love; it was to celebrate my 60th birthday 10 years ago. Where have the years gone?
    Rita

  24. says

    Forgive me if it’s already been mentioned; I didn’t read all the comments, but Faith from An Edible Mosaic is working on a cookbook as well. :) She broke the news about a month or so ago.

  25. says

    I believe Andrea Nguyen of “Into the Vietnamese Kitchen” is working on a tofu cookbook.

    And Bee Yin Low from Rasa Malaysia has an Easy Chinese Recipes cookbook that’s about to be released in the US (it’s been out in Asia for a few months already)

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks Nate. I don’t know if I’d call Andrea a blogger, primarily, but certainly she’s been doing it for a long time, so maybe the definitions are starting to blur. I’ve seen Bee’s first cookbook — will have to look for the next one.

  26. says

    What I find most interesting is the simultaneous shift from printed newspapers to online news aggregators. If being printed, being physically present, lends credibility, then why are newspapers fading away?

    I’m also interested in learning about your thoughts on whether this could be considered the “D-Day,” in a way, for blogger cookbooks. Could this be another rendition of the dot-com bubble? I feel like publishers will be looking very carefully at the resulting sales of these cookbooks, and that these will be setting the foundation for future deals.

    • diannejacob says

      To your first question: Newspapers are fading away for several reasons, including the fact that they are owned by giant corporations interested in shareholder profits. To your second, no, I don’t see it fading away anytime soon, because as long as bloggers have audiences waiting for their books, publishers will be interested. They have advantages over other kinds of writers.

  27. says

    Wow! Such an impressive list. I have been food/nutrition blogging for 1 1/2 years now and have learned so much from reading the aforementioned bloggers, meeting others at conferences and through trial and error. I am a little backward…I garnered my book deal first, then started my blog. There was so much I wanted to add to the book, but there simply wasn’t enough room, so RealMomsLoveToEat (dot) com was born. I really enjoy your blog and appreciate your support of others. So lovely to see/read. Cheers!

    • diannejacob says

      Beth, to get your book deal first, you must have already had a way to attract an audience, without a blog. Now I’m curious to know what it was. Couldn’t find it on your blog.

  28. says

    This compilation of bloggers with books is absolutely astounding and hardly points to print publication in decline. My book (Pure Beef, due out May 2012) came about through the traditional route (i.e. a protracted proposal writing process and an awesome agent), but before its publication next spring I am dedicated to enhancing my blog.

    This list provides all the examples of great sites I’ll need in combination with the thoughtful and organized advice from your book. It’s really a symbiosis (blog to book and back or vice versa), and I am more committed to blogging than ever.

  29. says

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours Pile of Food Blogger Cookbooks in the Works. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

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