You Got a Free Cookbook! Now What?

Package-in-the-mailPublishers send lots of cookbooks to food bloggers, hoping for publicity. If you choose to write about a book, they might supply images and recipes. If you’re not going to write about it, they might say: how about a shoutout on social media?

Do you owe them something in exchange for this free book? If so, what?

This is an area of confusion for many food bloggers. You want to be nice and do the right thing. But understand that, first of all, you owe them nothing.

Even if you requested a book, you are entitled to read it and decide not to [Read more…]

I Earn a Living Because of My Blog, Not From It

Amy-Sherman
Amy Sherman started a food blog 12 years ago, before there were ads or sponsored posts.

A guest post by Amy Sherman

Right now there’s a lot of buzz about how hard it is to earn an income from food blogging. I find it hard to be part of those discussions because I have never looked at blogging as a way to earn a living. I think of my food blog as a marketing vehicle and a platform and it’s led to a thriving career.

I started my food blog, Cooking with Amy, in 2003. There were no ad networks, no ads that I can remember, no sponsored posts or spokesperson deals. Food bloggers weren’t getting book deals or TV deals — let alone movie deals — and they certainly didn’t expect to [Read more…]

17 Useful Links for Food Bloggers and Writers

Eggs-OxbowMarket.Napa
Steak tartare, fried eggs and Vietnamese herb salad, an unusual combo but it worked beautifully for brunch.

I adore links that teach me how to be better at what I do. Sometimes people send them to me, and sometimes I discover them online. I cull through dozens to find the best information for food writers. As a result, these kinds of lists are some of my most popular posts.

This particular list came from my last quarterly newsletter. I’m collecting links now for my next newsletter on March 30. It’s free and won’t clog up your inbox because it only shows up 4 times per year. So please consider signing up.

Now, on to what’s new in our world:

  1. How to use the DMCA to prevent people from stealing your online content.
  2. To see what’s trending online in recipe searches, here are sites to visit.
  3. Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks writes about maintaining a long-term blog.
  4. How Ten Speed Press became a cookbook powerhouse.
  5. Here’s what happens on a cookbook shoot.
  6. If you write about special diets, here’s an excellent exploration into the gluten-free craze.
  7. Why is it so hard to catch your own typos?
  8. Need a media kit for your blog? Here’s a free template.
  9. If you want to become a star, start your own YouTube cooking channel.
  10. Mark Bittman changed the way he writes recipes for his newest cookbook, and says we’ve all been doing it wrong.
  11. To pitch newspaper food sections on your latest book or a story, here’s a helpful chart.
  12. The New York Times held a Food for Tomorrow conference and you can watch all the videos for free.
  13. Food magazine editors moved around a lot last year. Eater has a chart.
  14. If you want to write long-form journalism, Eater is interested.
  15. If you take ads on your blog, you might want to know which ad network has the biggest market share.

Just for Fun

  1. Here are classic New Yorker stories about chefs, free to read.
  2. Like Food Memoir? Here’s a long list of the best ones, according to a reviewer at Abe Books.

[Read more…]

5 Foolproof Ways to Thrive as a Writer

Thriving
I feel grateful to be alive when I imagine myself here. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this sensation more often?

Don’t you love the word “thrive?” It’s not about just getting through the day, making lists, or driving yourself to do more more more. It’s about a healthy, beaming, happy you, satisfied with your life and filled with gratitude.

Doesn’t that sound incredible? Who doesn’t want to be that kind of person?

As writers, we need constant reminders to stay positive. Otherwise we get distracted by what we’re not doing (not enough pitching, social media, awards, contracts, published work, classes, blog readers), versus what we thrive on (writing!).

Here are five ways to keep writing and moving forward:

1. Believe that you have something to say and people want to read it. Otherwise, when you doubt yourself, you create roadblocks that crush productivity. Manage your internal critic. Learn to recognize [Read more…]

Frustrated by Smaller Can Sizes for Recipes? I Am.

15-ounce-can.small
Do canned goods makers have any idea how it affects recipe developers  and cooks when they reduce their can sizes?

…and I was just baking, not developing recipes.

Over the holidays I made a pumpkin bread from a favorite recipe in an older cookbook. The recipe called for one 16-ounce can. Yet cans of pumpkin are no longer 16 ounces, but 15.

The manufacturer removed 2 tablespoons instead of raising the price! I repeat: 2 tablespoons. That’s all it takes to mess up  [Read more…]

Thank You

Bouquet-of-flowers
A virtual bouquet for you, dear reader.

Today I’m saying thanks for being a reader. It’s my fifth year of blogging, and I still love writing my weekly post on food writing. Most of all, I love hearing from you and having a conversation.

If you lurk, I’m thrilled to have you as a reader, regardless of whether you’ll ever leave a comment.

If you’re a regular commenter, I’m grateful when you take the time to type something, even if it’s “thanks.”

When you tell me you’re a long-time reader who has finally commented, I love that.

If you have corrected me or told me I’m flat out wrong, I’m thankful that you set me straight or offered a different perspective.

If you have tactfully emailed me about a typo, I am grateful, grateful, grateful. To those of you who [Read more…]

Working for Free Has Value at Each Stage of a Career

Julie-Van-Rosendaal
Working for free at any stage of your career has value, says food writer Julie Van Rosendaal.

A guest post by Julie Van Rosendaal

I’m not being paid to write this. It’s a guest post, a format whose popularity has slipped in recent years as the concept of writing for exposure began to lose its luster. It seemed more popular back when no one was making any money at this blogging thing.

So why am I writing it, if I’m not being paid? Because I like and admire Dianne, I read her blog and want to give back for all the knowledge she’s shared with me, and because I’m part of this online community and find it an interesting conversation. Because I do what I do for plenty of reasons, and only one of them is monetary.

Derek Thompson made a good point in The Atlantic, that most of us [Read more…]