Apr 012014
 
Food blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz. (All photos by Ed Anderson.)

Food blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz. (All photos by Ed Anderson.)

Writing books is both a struggle and a joy. That was David Lebovitz’s experience for his latest cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. It’s full of stories of his life in Paris, with gorgeous photos for classic and modern recipes. I caught up with David on email, to ask about his writing process and philosophy:

Q. Why did you want a book with so many stories? The recipes often have a story in front of the headnote! That’s a lot of work.

A. We all spend so much time online, madly scrolling through things and clicking around, that I’ve realized how much I miss sitting in a chair (or curling up in bed), with a book. The idea of My Paris Kitchen was to present a personalized picture of Paris. I like telling stories and the story of the book is how I Continue reading »

Mar 252014
 

A guest post by Sally Cameron

Sally Cameron

Food Blogger Sally Cameron, proprietor of A Food-Centric Life, questions who benefits from her content appearing on other sites.

I log in to the admin page of my site and there they are: the pingbacks. These are links to websites that use my content and recipes, usually without permission.

One type is from newbie bloggers who do not understand the courtesy of crediting my site. I inform them politely. Usually they are apologetic and add a link and credit.

But lately I’m getting pingbacks from the other kind: content aggregators. These are big groups, big sites, with tens to hundreds of thousand of followers. They take my content for free, for their own benefit, sometimes without notifying me and without asking for permission.

They may not take the full post. Maybe it is my photo and a list of the recipe ingredients, with links back to my site for the recipe directions. Here are my Continue reading »

Mar 182014
 

Recipe-RobberI’ve written many times about how individual  recipes can’t be copyrighted here in the US. But did you realize that you can defend a copyright if parts of your recipe contain “substantial literary expression?”

What exactly is that, and why should you bother?

“Substantial literary expression” establishes the information in a recipe as yours. That could be just as important as copyright, when it comes to theft.

Let me explain. US copyright law defines substantial literary expression as: Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
David-Joachim

Author, co-author, ghostwriter, and reference writer Dave Joachim has the drive to do it all.

Dave Joachim has 40 books under his belt, almost all of them cookbooks, including the “A Man, A Can, A Plan” series of five books which has sold more than 1 million copies.

I spoke with Dave about his latest book and his thoughts about cookbook negotiating and writing: 

Q. Congrats on your latest book, Global Kitchen. Is it a work-for-hire with royalties, from Cooking Light? That’s an unusual arrangement. 

A. Actually, I got an advance for this book. The material I created – apart from my 30 recipes — was a work-for-hire. The publisher, Time Home Entertainment Inc., owns Cooking Light and several other publications and they own the rights to use the material in Global Kitchen elsewhere.

Regarding the 30 recipes, the publication has the right to the material for a certain time, and then the rights revert to me. So if I want to Continue reading »

Mar 042014
 
Thai-Sandwich-With Cheese

Is a cookbook author’s Asian Sandwich with cheese “perfect for every occasion?” I think not.

Recently I edited a cookbook manuscript for a publisher, where the author used  “perfect for every occasion” in one too many headnotes.

I lost it. I struck out the phrase and then went back and struck it out every time it appeared.  “Perfect for every occasion” screams 1950s housewife to me. And it doesn’t make sense.

Here’s why:

1. Most of the time, readers don’t need ideas for  “occasions.” They need food for  meals.

Okay, they might need the occasional dish for a potluck, a baby shower, or a new neighbor. Those are specific events. A dish cannot be perfect for every occasion. I guarantee you that the author’s Asian sandwich with cheese (oh yes, I did Continue reading »

Feb 252014
 

A guest post by Nancy Baggett

2DayaWeekDietCookbookREDOFINAL-72-small

Something new for these two authors: a Kindle book for $3.99 that must be promoted online for best results.

After writing 16 cookbooks for mainstream American cookbook publishers over nearly three decades, I just co-published my first Kindle book. It’s a 250-page co-authored work called The 2 Day a Week Diet Cookbook, with 75 recipes and 50 color photographs for $3.99.

What made this project different was that, from the beginning, my co-author Ruth Glick and I planned to create a Kindle book. We never considered pitching it to publishers. Ruth had already written a number of Kindle books (mostly novels), and when she proposed that we collaborate, I promptly agreed.

In retrospect, I can see how this self-publishing process would be daunting for inexperienced authors. Going the indie Kindle route meant foregoing a publisher’s hand-holding and the usual editorial, production, and marketing assistance. Having written numerous cookbooks, we felt confident doing the recipe development, editing and proofreading, and even writing blurbs. The jobs that were less familiar, particularly Continue reading »

Feb 182014
 
Bonnie Benwick

Recipe Editor Bonnie Benwick at the Washington Post is open to pitches. (Photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey.)

Bonnie Benwick, deputy food editor and recipe editor at the Washington Post, is obsessed with good recipes. She tests and edits a slew of them every week for the paper’s Food Section, and wrote the Post’s first cookbook.

She also manages a crew of 30 testers, sometimes makes dishes at home for the photo shoots, and is not above running around town to find a prop or ingredient for a dish.

We met on e-mail, when she told me she was reading my book, Will Write for Food, while on vacation! More recently she interviewed me on cooking smarter, and after discussing my rant on not specifying the amount of salt in recipes,  she wrote this feature article: ‘Salt to taste,’ taken with a grain of regret. Here are her thoughts on what makes a good recipe for the Washington Post, should you wish to pitch her:

Q. Where does the Washington Post get its recipes ?

A. It’s a mix. I choose some from new cookbooks, some come from Continue reading »