The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks,
Blogs, Memoir, Recipes and More
Revised and Updated, July 2015
“Will Write for Food is a concise, illustrative and eminently useful guide to the nuts and bolts of professional food writing. Dianne Jacob gets right to the heart of what it takes not just to write—but to write well— about food. And she’s managed to wrangle a remarkable group of veterans to share their experiences and examples.” —Anthony Bourdain, author of the New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential
“Will Write for Food should be mandatory reading for everyone who aspires to be a food writer.” —Epicurious.com
“I quite often recommend and give a copy of Will Write for Food to new authors…it’s a terrific introduction to cookbook writing.” —Robert McCullough, Publisher, Appetite by Random House
“An engaging, informative handbook for hobbyists and aspiring professionals. Worth purchasing even if you have the first edition.” —Library Journal
“If you are a budding food writer, or know one, “Will Write for Food” by Dianne Jacob (Da Capo Press, 353 pages, $16.99), now in its third edition, is a good volume to have on hand. Jacob, who for more than 30 years has written and edited for many publications, takes the novice through the steps of getting published in a variety of forms: from blogs and print to cookbooks and memoir. In her latest edition, she discusses monetization of food writing (the ever important how to earn income from your work). In addition to her advice, she includes interviews with successful food writers and offers writing exercises to bump up the literary skills of the reader in this thorough, well-organized reference.”— Minneapolis Star Tribune
Considered the Food Bloggers’ Bible
Whether it’s a food blog that became a movie like Julie & Julia, an article on eating with a conscience in the New York Times, or a family recipe passed down through generations, food writing and food blogging is everywhere. It’s constantly adapting to evolving palates, publishing trends, and new technologies.
This newly revised and updated edition of Will Write for Food, covers cookbooks, recipes, memoir, fiction, culinary travel, restaurant reviews, and a large chapter on food blogging. While food blogging is mostly a hobby, many would like to make it a business. My new chapter, “Bringing Home the Bacon,” gives readers lots of ideas on how to move forward.
Chapters, complete with skill exercises at the end, cover everything from freelancing and writing pitch letters to constructing a cookbook and how to take gorgeous photos for a blog.
“I purchased Will Write for Food and particularly enjoyed the first chapter, where I felt like anything I had ever written was complete crap and questioned whether I will ever know what it means to show rather than tell. I know that doesn’t sound like glowing praise, but I always enjoy realizing how much more I have to learn.” — Naomi Huzovicova, food blogger, Slovenia
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What, Exactly, Is Food Writing?
Chapter 2: The Gastronomical You
Chapter 3: The Food Writer’s Mise en Place
Chapter 4: On Food and Blogging
Chapter 5: Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer
Chapter 6: Dining Out
Chapter 7: The Cookbook You’ve Always Wanted to Write
Chapter 8: Mastering the Art of Recipe Writing
Chapter 9: Crafting Memoir and Nonfiction
Chapter 10: A Recipe for Good Fiction
Chapter 11: How to Get Your Book Published
Chapter 12: Bringing Home the Bacon
Will Write for Food is based on my own experiences as a blogger, cookbook co-author, freelance writer and former magazine editor. It contains interviews with dozens of the country’s most successful food writers, food bloggers, literary agents, cookbook editors, and recipe developers. I reveal what kind of food writing is working now and why, and show readers how to improve theirs. Featuring strategic advice and “break into the business” stories from award-winning writers like cookbook author Mark Bittman, food blogger Shauna James Ahern, and former Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons, Will Write for Food is an essential tool for food-obsessed people who want to express themselves.
Read this book review from a writer who read the first and third editions: Dianne Jacob Offers Great Tips for Bloggers in Will Write for Food.
Listen to this podcast about my book, which also answers these questions:
- What’s the key to a good blog title?
- Are you a foodie thinking about a lifestyle blog? Find out why this may be a bad idea.
- What pitfall should new bloggers avoid?
- What is she sick of seeing on the web?
- What to do to prepare for a restaurant review?
- What is the news source for food critics? The answer might surprise you.
More praise for Will Write for Food:
“I wish I’d read Dianne’s book before I started a tiny little food blog on a whim years ago. For current and aspiring food writers, it’s positively dropping with helpful advise and information.”
—Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman Cooks
“Whenever someone emails me about how to pursue a career in food writing, I politely tell them they’re in the wrong place, that I have no idea what I’m doing, and to buy this book instead.”
—Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen
“A thorough tour through the increasingly dense jungle of the business of food writing. Dianne’s bok will prove invaluable to all writers who want a new or bigger audience for their work, whether in digital form, in blogs, in magazines, in cookboks, or in food memoir.”
—Michael Ruhlman, blogger and author
“Will Write for Food is a great gift, not just for those who are new to food writing, but for those already ensconced in the business. Dianne’s clarity, kind suggestions, and nudges and admonitions to work well are truly inspiring.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
“Considering today’s food-writing labrynth, Will Write for Food leads writers to success, step by step. It’s a must on my can’t-do-without bookshelf and a resource I always recommend to food writers.”
—Antonia Allegra, past director of the Symposium for Professional Food Writers
“Dianne Jacob has done a masterful job in this book of amassing everything a fledgling food writer needs to know. Whether one yearns to review restaurants for a local newspaper or turn a passion for food into magazine articles, or even a cookbook, Will Write for Food offers invaluable practical advice along every step of the way.”
–Fran Gage, author of several cookbooks
“This book does a great job of covering the nuts and bolts of food writing, for sure, but Jacob delivers much more than the usual advice: She shoots straight about the realities of the business, provides loads of insider insights and practical exercises, and radiates enough genuine enthusiasm to get both beginning writers and seasoned pros up and at ’em.”
—Martha Holmberg, cookbook author and former publisher, Fine Cooking magazine
“Dianne Jacob has presented budding food writers with a clear blueprint on how to get started in the business.”
-Michael Bauer, Executive Food and Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
“My only complaint about Will Write for Food—and it’s a big one—is that it wasn’t around when I started my career. If you’re serious about becoming a food writer, save yourself years of banging your head against the wall in frustration and run to the checkout with this book now.”
—David Leite, food writer, and publisher and editor of Leite’s Culinaria
“You’ll find everything you need to know about becoming a food writer in this indispensable information-packed book. And if you’re already a food writer, this book will help you become a better one. Dianne Jacob takes you by the hand through every step of the process from hatching an idea to getting published. Useful writing exercises concluding each chapter help sharpen your skills. Dozens of quotes from successful food writers tell how they got started and what their working lives are really like. If food writing is your passion, then grab a copy of Will Write for Food and get busy!”
—Greg Patent, winner of the James Beard Award for Baking in America
“In Will Write for Food, Dianne Jacob combines all the right ingredients for a delectable read.”
— Joanne Fluke, author of Sugar Cookie Murder and other Hannah Swensen Mysteries
“I found your book at a time when I was in serious need of a nudge in one direction or another. It was instrumental in steering me down the winding path of food journalism. Starting out more than a decade ago I never thought I’d quite end up here, but that’s life!”
— Mark Kurlyandchik, Restaurant Critic, Detroit Free Press
” I believe Will Write For Food is one of the best books on writing, food and otherwise, that I’ve ever read. I use it often in my lectures.”
— Mark Mayfield, former editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine, and food writing instructor, University of Alabama