Jul 022013
 

Teaching at a Food Blogger Connect workshop in London last year (Photo courtesy of Sarka Babicka).

You can get a lot done online, but sometimes great opportunities come from face-to-face, particularly at conferences. Here is how my upcoming Dubai workshop in October came about:

Last summer I did a writing workshop at Food Blogger Connect in London (see this year’s conference July 5-6, with keynoter David Lebovitz). I was there because chef Dorcas Berry had invited me to Ireland on Twitter for a workshop, so I could combine trips after the London invitation arrived by email. How’s that for two amazing opportunities that came from online?

Now for the face-to-face. In London last year, some of my workshop students came to the conference from Dubai (including Sally Prosser of My Custard Pie and Samantha Wood of FooDiva). Organizer Bethany Kehdy and I started talking about Dubai. She said she was intrigued and would think about doing a workshop there with me. So this January, Bethany went to Dubai and scoped it out, talking with food bloggers about an event.

And on October 4, I will do a full-day writing workshop in Dubai! I can’t write this without wanting to Continue reading »

Jun 252013
 

Food Memoirist Judith Newton was surprised to learn her book is studied in university classes. (Photo by Eliot Khuner)

A guest post by Judith Newton

Judith Newton is Professor Emerita in Women and Gender Studies at U.C. Davis. Her recent food memoir, Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen won an IPPY (Independent Publishers Award) in May. She blogs at Tasting Home and the Huffington Post.

In American Food Studies classes, college undergraduates read the food blogs Smitten Kitchen, Orangette, Pinch My Salt, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks with the keen eyes of anthropologists studying the customs of an unfamiliar land.

They analyze the values embodied in recipes, cookbooks, food-related memoir, and fiction. They also study film, cooking shows from classic Continue reading »

Jun 182013
 

Menu board at Farm Burger in Decateur, GA from a recent trip to Atlanta. Amazingly good burgers. I also tasted my first boiled peanuts — salty and addictive.

It’s almost time for my next email newsletter for food writers, filled with useful links for writers, bloggers, recipe developers, cookbook authors and social media mavens. You fit into one of those categories, right? I thought so.

So you might want to sign up for the Will Write for Food newsletter, if you haven’t already. You’ll get only four emails per year, I promise. Here are 10 terrific links from my earlier newsletter, to whet your appetite for what’s to come:

1. Did you miss the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference in New York earlier this year? Here are videos to watch of selected panels.

2. The FTC Clarifies its Rules for Bloggers: New recommendations on Continue reading »

Jun 112013
 

It seems like a million years ago that Julie Powell started her career-changing food blog, The Julie/Julia Project, in 2002, about a government drone who makes every recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking over a year.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t read it. I didn’t even know about it. Eleven years ago, I scoffed at the idea that writing not found in print could be worthwhile or change the course of published writing in America. I was a journalist, after all, with a career only in print.

Then Powell got a book deal. The book Julie & Julia, based on the blog, came out three years later. I never read that either. It was 2005, the same year the first edition of Will Write for Food came out, where I didn’t even mention blogging.

In 2009, the movie adaptation hit the big screen. I saw the movie and wrote a post about it because I had Continue reading »

May 282013
 

Travel writer and food blogger Amy Sherman (middle) with a translator and guide (left) and Chef Amina (right) at a cooking class in Marrakech.

Soon after San Francisco’s Amy Sherman started her food blog Cooking with Amy in 2003, she wrote about vacations, which — being a food obsessed person like the rest of us — focused on eating the local specialties. That led to writing travel stories for websites, publications, and blogs, and now Amy goes on trips once or twice a month. (Here’s a list of recent stories she’s written for Fodor’s, CitySearch and others, using clipping.me, a free website that showcases writers’ work.)

I asked Amy about who invites her on trips, how to be taken seriously, and how to make travel writing work as part of a food writing career:

Q. You’ve been comped to take some amazing trips, like a food truck festival in San Antonio and cooking classes in Morocco. How do trips like this come about?

People contact me, especially the convention and visitor’s bureaus. Sometimes I’m invited on trips because I’m a food blogger, like going to Continue reading »

Apr 232013
 

Anthony Bourdain says he never tried to write for readers.

While paging through my copy of Kitchen Confidential recently, a quote from Anthony Bourdain struck me. Here it is, in an interview at the back of the book:

“I don’t get it. When I wrote Kitchen Confidential, my busines model was, ‘I Don’t Give a Shit,’ and I’m trying very hard to keep that as my operating business model. I never, ever think, what will they like, what do they expect, what should I do next.”

Now, I adore Bourdain’s writing. I could argue that he did give readers what they wanted: passionate, colorful stories written with fierceness and humor. Who wouldn’t like that?

But he was writing memoir, not “service writing.” That’s mostly what I do. It’s probably mostly what you do too. This type of writing tells readers how to do something, like Continue reading »

Apr 172013
 

Food writers, bloggers and emerging writers at Canada’s first conference, networking and schmoozing during a break. That’s Alison Fryer on the right, owner of Toronto’s 30-year old bookstore, The Cookbook Store. She moderated many of the sessions with wit and a stopwatch.

Gotta love those Canucks, eh? After years of attending food blogging conferences in the States and elsewhere, they’ve finally created their own.

The first annual conference was held at a gorgeous venue, the Hockley Valley Resort outside Toronto. There were excellent meals, wine, and snacks; tons of enviable giveaways; and most importantly, an outstanding group of Canadian speakers. Topics included writing as a skill and career, best practices for working with brands, and how people became successful as food bloggers, cookbook authors and freelancers.

Food Bloggers of Canada organizers Mardi Michels, Melissa Hartfiel and Ethan Adeland invited me to talk about getting comments on blogs and on how to get published. Speaking of that topic, I heard lots of buzz about this article on the Toronto Star Cookbook, an honest look (including advance numbers) about how hard it was to land a deal and write the book.

I had an additional qualification as a speaker: I’m Canadian, born in Vancouver (I moved to California in my 20s). Don’t get me started about how cool it was to be back in Canada, where people are polite and friendly and Nanaimo bars are on the menu. Plus, I got to stock up on Smarties, because my stash was running out from my trip to Ireland and London last year.

Keynote speaker David Leite tasted his first Nanaimo Bar.

During the sessions and over meals, it was satisfying to hear about the lightbulbs that went off in attendees’ heads as they listened to speakers give background and tips on writing, blogging, and career paths. I caught up with my buddy David Leite, the conference’s keynoter, who charmed the crowd with stories about his writing, for which he has won many national awards in the US. I too learned from talented speakers who were self-deprecating, generous about how they do their craft, and unfailingly nice. I hope to hear more from them on social media. Now, where are those Smarties?

To read more about the conference, see these early posts: