Yes that’s us, according to Wiley and Alpha book publishers. It’s kind of a questionable strategy to think of your readers this way, don’t you think? Maybe someone could start another line for Morons.
Regardless, some of these guidebooks are quite good. Here are two new ones on food blogging and getting published worth your consideration:
1. Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste food blog, also the Associate Editor of Gourmet Live, recently authored Food Blogging for Dummies. Well written and upbeat, it’s perfect for those who want to start a blog but have no idea how. She walks readers through how to set up a blog, find your voice, design a blog, take great photos, and how to promote and distribute content.
I like Senyei’s writing advice about how to make a good impression. She says to project confidence, rather than writing with insecurity as your guide; avoid mimicking other writers you admire because “it’s way more work to fake authenticity;” and to envision your brand to make your blog a destination, with you as the attraction.
She’s quite practical, suggesting readers establish a posting schedule. This is a good tip, as so many new food bloggers wait for inspiration, and as a result, don’t write regularly enough to establish an audience. Even if it’s just a hobby, posting more often will increase your skill level. She advises that you determine a realistic number of posts per week based on how many new ideas you can generate on a consistent basis.
Since I am not a beginning blogger, I didn’t find much that’s new, which is fine because I’m not the target audience. I read her section about monetizing with eagerness (maybe I was hoping for some kind of miracle) but found the usual advice about networks, sponsorship and affiliate programs, plus offshoots like freelancing, food styling, recipe development. That’s not her fault, as it’s the right list and content I cover as well. Admirably, she conducted a survey to determine food blogger income and discovered that one third earn between $25 and $500 in monthly ad revenue.
2. Literary agent Sheree Bykofsky and non-fiction author Jennifer Basye Sander collaborated on The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, now in its fifth edition. This is a general book with a little bit on everything to do with book publishing. There’s good advice about examining your motivation, which books sell, figuring out what’s selling, how to submit to publishers, and then how to find agents, editors and what happens when you get a book deal, including understanding a contract. In other words, the whole megillah.
Unlike other similar books, often the info doesn’t end once you get a book contract. The authors tell you what an editor goes through in an average day, how to format your manuscript, and how to sell and promote the book. There’s also a section on self-publishing, under “Continuing Your Career as An Author,” which implies that you should go for it only after you’re established.
For cookbook authors, there’s nothing about the role of photography and how that process works in publishing houses, which is disappointing. The subject of cookbooks gets a paragraph as part of a longer discussion of types of non-fiction books. There’s a terrific story that kind of makes up for these omissions, about Malena de Blasi, author of Regional Foods of Northern Italy, now out of print:
“Marlena did find terrific writing success, but it wasn’t as a cookbook writer, which was how she originally perceived herself. She wrote the lyrical story of her midlife romance with an Italian man who swept her off her feet and convinced her to move on a whim to Venice. Her book, A Thousand Days in Venice, became a literary travel best seller. A scant two years later she wrote a sequel, A Thousand Days in Tuscany. Then came That Summer in Siciliy and Amandine. Marlene lives and writes in Italy year after year, including recipes in her books but never again trying to be just a cookbook author.”
So take a look at these two books and see if they’re right for your or friends. I’m still traveling in Ireland and about to fly to London for the Food Blogger Connect annual conference. See you back here next week.
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[Disclosure: This post contains links that could lead to an income of a few cents if you click through and purchase.]