Jun 032014
 
Danielle-Svetcov

Literary Agent Danielle Svetcov

Literary agents are notoriously coy about interviews. So it was a pleasure to meet Danielle Svetcov, a San Francisco-based cookbook agent who’s part of a New York agency, Levine Greenberg Rostan, who welcomed the opportunity.

Here’s what she has to say about why she became an agent, what she’s looking for in a new author, and what’s new in cookbook publishing:

Q. So you’re a journalist, a professionally-trained chef, and you have an MFA. How did this massive education lead to you becoming an agent?

An agent wears a lot of hats: editor, writer, reader, critic, life coach, translator, therapist, news-junkie, diplomat, lifeboat driver — you need a lot of degrees for those jobs!

Here’s the actual path: age 13, request Sunset Magazine subscription, discover bologna has a fancier cousin, prosciutto; 18, fancy self a journalist and Continue reading »

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Jan 142014
 
Melt_Turkey and Robusto

Every recipe in Melt was tested four times by our band of recipe testers, including this one for Turkey and Robusto Mac and Cheeselets.

A guest post by Garrett McCord, co-author of Melt

One of the greatest fears of cookbook writers is that their readers — the people who have dedicated time, money, and ingredients –- will be unable to successfully execute the recipes. When Stephanie Stiavetti and I started working on Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, we resolved that recipes would be properly tested and that every single one would work flawlessly.

So how to go about this? Years ago I tested recipes for Jaden Hair’s first cookbook. Stephanie and I discussed the process and decided that the best way to test the book was with our blog readers. We put out a call on our Continue reading »

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Feb 192013
 

The web has made us impatient about our writing. We think that if we start a blog, it should take a few months to impact thousands, or if we write a book, we should finish it within a year.

I have often wondered how long it takes to create something of lasting value. Now I have a definitive answer from the late Steve Jobs, who knows a thing or two about making an impact: It takes seven or eight years.

Here’s what he told author Brent Schlender, who interviewed him countless times: “I have been trained to think in units of time that are measured in several years. With what I’ve chosen to do with my life, you know, even a small thing takes a few years. To do anything of magnitude takes Continue reading »

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Dec 082010
 

 

Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of the book division of Andrews-McMeel Publishing, based in Kansas City, MO.

When you submit a cookbook proposal to a publisher, what are your chances?

At Andrews-McMeel in Kansas City, MO, only 10 percent of the books its publishes are cookbooks. That’s 20 cookbooks a year.

Of those 20, perhaps half the books spring from ideas generated internally.

How many proposals compete for the remaining 10 spots? About 5,000 per year, estimates president and publisher of Andrews-McMeel’s book division, Kirsty Melville, who started the cookbook division in 2007.

That makes your chances about  one in 500.

Wait, don’t give up. Melville is always looking for new authors. If you’ve been to the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC), or the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers in the past year, you might have met her.

“I’m proactive, more entrepreneurial,” she explains. “I like to meet and talk to people.” Her attendance at the first IFBC conference in 2009 led to publishing the Foodista Best of the Food Blogs Cookbook earlier this year.

The cookbook department may be new, but it’s already launched best-sellers (Cake Wrecks and Bon Appetit Desserts) and national award-winners (My New Orleans: The Cookbookby chef John Besh; and The Art and Soul of Baking, a Sur Le Table book by Cindy Mushet). Recently Melville won an auction for Top Chef star Kevin Gillespie’s next two cookbooks, showing the publisher’s new clout in attracting star power.

What does it take to be published by Andrews-McMeel? “Being a good writer and Continue reading »

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