Coaching on Book Proposals and More
“Working with Dianne was more useful and enjoyable than I could have possibly imagined. She knew everything there is to know about the book publishing industry and was very creative. It was my first time writing a proposal and her words were so encouraging, motivating, and on the mark – I couldn’t believe how my initial proposal had evolved into something ready to be sent out to agents! I can’t wait to continue working with her down the line.”– Reem Kassis, The Palestinian Table
“I’ve worked with Dianne for many years, and her knowledge, ability, and kindness is unmatched. I recommend her to anyone who is considering writing a cookbook, starting a blog, or simply wants to improve their writing. She inspires confidence and helps create fantastic results.” — Denise Vivaldo, Denise Vivaldo Group
“Thank you for introducing us to our new agent. We are excited about taking this cookbook to the next step. I honestly can’t thank you enough for all the work you did with us throughout this past year. I am grateful you decided to take us on and coach us through the proposal process.” — Mary Cressler, Vindulge.com
“Once again, another substance-packed and useful-tip-filled hour with Dianne. Dianne is a fantastic coach! She built up my confidence. ” — Jaqueline Chio-Lauri, editor of the anthology The New Filipino Kitchen, Norway
“I really enjoyed coaching with Dianne. She helped me be more conscientious in my writing and created a joy that wasn’t there before. Plus, I got to spend time with someone passionate and sincere.” — Jessica Gavin, JessicaGavin.com
“I am amazed when I look back at where the proposal was before I consulted you and how far it has come. You really helped me hone in on my vision and goals and cleaned up a lot of my bad recipe-writing habits. I am extremely grateful to you for that and for all your support.” — Annie Fenn, Brain Health Kitchen
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with Dianne. Her support, guidance, and feedback have helped me find the courage and authenticity I need for my writing projects. She was very much present with me while I was writing, editing, and re-writing pitches. Her support has helped develop not only my writing but more importantly my confidence.” — Nico Vera, Pisco Trail.com
“I hired Dianne to provide tips and edits for my blog’s website and posts. She gave me encouragement and advise on how to narrow my blog’s focus. We reviewed my website section by section, and she gave a lot of helpful feedback. She sent detailed edits of my blog posts, which was exactly what I wanted and needed. She was timely with responses to my questions and assignments. — Anonmyous
I had a wonderful experience with Dianne, and I hope to work with her again. I highly recommend working with her. In the meantime, sign up for Dianne’s newsletter, if you have not already. I look forward to her bi-weekly messages and find them very informative. And get her book, which has one of my favorite book titles of all time, Will Write for Food. Thank you Dianne!” — Litsa DJulio, Northeast Small Kitchen, CT
“I think of her often as my “first mentor.” — Bonnie Portnoy, TildenDaken.com
“The blog continues to be somewhere between pure joy and an emotional roller coaster. Overall it is the most gratifying thing I have ever done. Dianne was so helpful to me. I can’t thank her enough. — Ellen Shick, An Italian Dish, Davis, CA
“Thought you’d like to know what happened with my query to the (national magazine) editor. She responded within minutes of me sending the query. She said she loved all three ideas, and would discuss with the senior editor to see where they could fit stories into their calendar. Thanks again for your help!”– Colette Martin, Learning to Eat Allergy-Free
“Dianne was respectful and encouraging, yet realistic and firm. She listened to my vision and gave me milestones (with due dates) to help me accomplish my goal. First, she helped me set up a new blog with a much tighter focus than the one I had previously. Then she gave me a gentle push to aim for a bigger magazine for my pieces. We worked on one story idea and query letter. When it was accepted, she helped me polish my essay — and the editor only changed one word. That was the start I needed and now I’m writing my tenth food article for Oakland magazine.” — Anna Mindess
“Dianne’s edits and analysis are why I need her and LOVE all her feedback.” — Marisa Curatolo
“I hired Dianne to help me find a traditional publisher for my self-published books. She gave me excellent suggestions to make my query letter stand out. She also researched a list of literary agents who would have the most interest in my subject. I felt more confident immediately.” — Patricia Noel Drain, Phoenix, AZ
“Perhaps desperation was inspiration. I had no clue and no connections. Dianne bridged that gap. Hiring her gave finality to my project, justification, and confirmation. She made it real. With Dianne, I went from trying to doing. Otherwise, the book and proposal would still be floating out there in my mental soup.” — Melissa Guerra, Dishes of the Wild Horse Desert, McAllen, TX
“I got out three query letters today for Carb Wars and already have answers from two who want to see the proposal. One agent replied about 2 minutes after I hit the send button! Dianne ROCKS!” — Judy Barnes Baker, Mt. Vernon, WA
“Working with Dianne has been very helpful. I have very much appreciated your focus, your insights, your clear vision. Her suggestions have helped me to see what does need to be done next on this proposal.” — Anitra Kitts, Santa Rosa, CA
“I finally published my cookbook. Without Dianne’s coaching and helping me with the title of the book I don’t think I would have pursued my dream. — Josephine Zanetti, Nine Servings of Vegetables
Editing Manuscripts and Writing
“Yesterday I just finished writing three chapters. Now I feel like the project is actually doable. — Maggie Zhu, OmnivoresCookbook.com
“Working with Dianne was such a valuable experience. She didn’t just mark up my blog posts with a red pen and call it a day – she taught me how to review my work, make real changes, and apply those lessons in my next post. In the end I walked away with an editing toolkit filled with real techniques that I can leverage on my own moving forward.” — April Anderson, Girl Gone Gourmet
“The 70-page proposal I sent Dianne for my third cookbook was equal parts mud and song. She quickly ascertained the strengths and weaknesses, explained her assessment with encouragement, and provided useful templates and a list of potential agents.
Her comments and resources gave me direction for a sharpened concept, a strong structure, and the right audience in new agents. I’m happy to say my new agent will send the new proposal out in two weeks. Thank you, Dianne!” — Pastry Chef Susie Norris, Los Angeles, CA
“Her skill as a cookbook editor and soulful reader who appreciates words, thoughts, and emotions in a cookbook is rare. I appreciate her style and all her careful work.” —Pastry Chef Susie Norris, Los Angeles, CA, author of the forthcoming A Baker’s Passport.
“Dianne’s assistance in evaluating my manuscript was invaluable. She offered not only detailed and practical advice, but also provided the encouragement that is of such importance for the confidence of a first time author. Her suggestions are going to result in a better book. Thanks Dianne!” — Roger Franklin, New South Wales, Australia
“When I give you my writing, I see it as an ongoing class. You tell me how to improve, and I can see that I do after your comments each time. I really like your editing and feedback over the years.” — Nissa Pierson, Bodega Bay, CA
“You never need to ask whether I like your edits. I always do. Rarely do I disagree with what you’ve done to polish the ‘dumping’ of my thoughts. Over the years you’ve allowed me to be lazy in working on the tips to a point they are more polished by the time they get sent your way. I always know you’ll make them shine. Thank you for all you do! With great appreciation…” — Syndi Seid, Advanced Etiquette, San Anselmo, CA
“This is a quick note to tell you that I’m about to sign a cookbook contact. Not so much that, but to say I wrote the proposal using the template you shared at IACP, and I followed it quite closely. I don’t think I would have ever finished that proposal if I hadn’t had your template as a guide. The publisher was really struck with how thorough and organized the proposal was, which was gratifying to hear.
Obviously you know that your template works, but it’s always nice to get feedback. Tell your clients that good things await persistent people who can follow instructions and give a distinctive voice to a great idea.
Thank you for giving out such solid advice.” — Sara Bir
“I’d like to thank you personally for the perspective-rich session at the Writing Salon in San Francisco this month, as well as the benefit of your brilliantly distilled experience in Will Write for Food.
Rather than feeling discouraged by my lack of credentials, I’ve come away energized with the possibilities of new – and focused – directions. About the form of the project (considering a memoir with recipes complementing the anecdotes). About the mode of (self) publication. About marketing the publication.
I’d say you are as gifted a teacher as you are a writer. When I have a draft, I hope you will allow me to engage you for some editing advice. I have no doubt it will be as insightful – and encouraging – as your teaching and writing. Thank you again.” — Susanna Mould
“Thanks again for the wonderfully inspiring class. It is always a thrill to meet the author of a book that I open again and again.” — Anna Mindess, East Bay Ethnic Eats.
“I cannot speak more highly of the class. I found your book and teaching style to be informative and engaging. I learned more than I could imagine from the other students. The format of your classes was perfect.Starting with a review of the writing assignments and then moving onto the new content was just right.
You have had a profound impact on my awareness of food writing and appreciation of the skill set needed to succeed in this specialized writing arena.You are an outstanding teacher. I recommend your class to all interested in the world of food writing.” — Sasha Mardikian
“I found you to be an inspiring and down-to-earth teacher. You made me believe that a career in food writing was more than a dream, that it could be a reality, as long as I broke it down into small steps.
Your segment on writing a book proposal was especially enlightening to me. Despite having worked in journalism and public relations in the past, I would not have known how to “get it right” without her class. I know from after class discussions with other participants that it was especially helpful to them as well.
Your class was a life-defining experience for me. I plan on taking future seminars from you and would not hesitate to recommend others interested in food writing do the same.” — Faith Kramer, Blog Appetit
“As far the Smithsonian class is concerned, it was one of the best, if not the best class I’ve ever taken on creative writing. Dianne’s in-class exercises were inspirational and idea generating. I especially loved her analysis of metaphors and memory in food writing, which made the whole process come alive with possibilities. I read her handouts, which were perfect examples of original and diverse writing and made me look at writing in a new way.
I was also very entertained by her guest speakers and found her questions to be exactly the kinds of things I would have liked to have asked myself.
As I said, I’d take the class again tomorrow if I could. I’m halfway through Dianne’s book and feel both prepared and inspired to write but daunted by the hard work it takes. Thanks again to Dianne, for teaching me something.” — Angela Schaffner
“If I see a new post from…Will Write for Food, I’ll almost always stop what I’m doing to read it.” — Deborah Perelman, Smitten Kitchen
“Yours is one of the very few blogs I read regularly. And my inbox is littered with older newsletters of yours that I want and need to go back to.” — David Leite, Leitesculinaria
“It seems like everyone blogs about food these days, but the weekly postings from former journalist Dianne Jacob are required reading. She holds forth on thorny topics ranging from taking freebies to creating your own recipes (Note: It’s more than copy and paste.). Her pithy, candid observations and advice serve anyone who melds words and food.” — Leslie Cole, The Oregonian
“I want to thank you for continuously producing great content. Yours are quite literally one of the only blogs that I read consistently.” — Alisa Fleming, GoDairyFree.org
“I find your blog posts incredibly useful and empathetic towards fellow recipe editors and food bloggers.” — Bhavani Natarajan, editor
For my newsletter, see these testimonials.