Dec 262012
 

Nancy Hachisu makes rice bran pickles in her Japanese farmhouse. Photo by Kenji Miura. (Courtesy of Nancy Hachisu)

When I met Nancy Singleton Hachisu in Mexico in 2010, I was taken aback by the sight of another woman in her 50s at a food blogger camp.

Over our week together, more surprises came. Nancy had moved to Japan to teach English 22 years earlier, married her English conversation student —- an organic farmer, and raised their three boys in the Japanese countryside, living and working on their farm.

My head was spinning. How did a blond white woman from an upscale California neighborhood live in rural Japan with her family and mother-in-law, where there were no others like her? Plus, she spoke Japanese with ease, established an English immersion preschool near her home, and cooked traditional Japanese meals with her husband. How did she do all this with such gusto?

Fortunately, now there’s a 400-page cookbook to explain, called Japanese Farm Food. (Disclosure: I helped Nancy with the book proposal.) A hefty hardcover with a spine wrapped in indigo cloth, the cookbook features stunning photographs of Nancy’s food, family, and life on the farm and off. Personal essays make the book almost memoir-ish, but in a no-nonsense, affectionate way, not confessional or nostalgic. Simple vegetable-forward recipes are based on seasonal fresh produce from the family farm, flavored with classic ingredients such as miso, sake and soy.

Nancy began her writing career in 2008, with two magazine articles published in Japanese about Slow Food and Alice Waters. A year later, she took Stanford Continuing Studies writing classes and started a blog called Indigo Days at the encouragement of fellow writers, about Continue reading »

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Sep 172012
 

Here’s what Facebook would charge Stephanie Manley to post to fans and friends.

Do you use a Facebook fan page to promote your blog and books? How about Google? Do you depend on Feedburner for free blog feeds?

Free was great, but now it’s over.*

Stephanie Manley of CopyKat Recipes alerted me that Facebook now wants us to pay to promote our posts to viewers. In her case, the cost is $30 per post and $75 per post for fans and their friends. That comes to…let’s see, almost $11,000 annually to send a daily post to her fans! Without payment, only 11.1 percent of her 18,400+ Facebook fans see her Fan page.

That’s not effective at all. But it’s still free.

Facebook says an average of 84 percent of your fans are no longer seeing your posts. They justify it this way. To find out what Facebook is charging you per fan page post, click on the promote button, on the bottom right of your posting window. Surprise!

I emailed another food writer with a huge fan base, David Lebovitz, to get his reaction to this Facebook news. “It leaves a Continue reading »

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Jul 102012
 

Melissa Joulwan started out selling only on Amazon, but sales are so good she’s publishing the books herself and sending them to a distributor.

You may have heard of the latest craze, the Paleo diet. Cookbooks on this subject are selling like crazy since they started appearing in 2010.

Austin, Texas-based Melissa Joulwan started a paleo diet three years ago. Both she and her photographer, husband David Humphreys, worked in ad agencies for 20 years and have a background in marketing, social media, and web development. She quit her job this year, after the success of her cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love to Eat.

Q. How long were you on the diet before deciding to write a cookbook?

A. I started eating paleo three years ago, and I started posting recipes on my website two years ago. It was more of “what I ate last night.” Once I started writing that you could substitute Continue reading »

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Jul 022012
 

Debbie Koenig hosted a potluck for her book, selling out on Amazon in a day. (Photo by Bennington Photographers)

Your cookbook’s coming out and you’d like lots of bloggers to cover it. How about an event where all their posts appear on the same day and drive sales?

Debbie Koenig coordinated a potluck party for her first book, Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents (Morrow, 2012). A book marketing executive turned food, diet, and parenting writer, Koenig sold out Amazon in one day, when bloggers reviewed her book and posted recipes.

In this guest post (the first on my three-year-old blog), Koenig explains how a virtual potluck for bloggers works, and why hers succeeded.

By Debbie Koenig

I first heard the term “virtual potluck” three years ago, when Monica Bhide was preparing for the publication of her cookbook Modern Spice. Monica hosted the potluck as a one-night-only, online gathering of food bloggers, all cooking from her book and

Continue reading »

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