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Dana Hess

Thinking about writing a cookbook

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I am a chef and single mom who is a believer in locally sourced(farmers market) ingredients, and I have never seen a cookbook geared toward smaller 2-3 person families that follows this principle specifically.  Would like any input as to whether everyone thinks it would be a good concept, or if i am just spinning my wheels here.  I know America's Test Kitchen puts out a cookbooks that deal with 2 person families, but it seems like they always use items from grocery stores...

 

I am no celebrity, so I am unsure about this...whether it would be a good thing to do...

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By definition - locally sourced - it seems the recipes would be an issue as there are so many different types of things available at different times across just the US; unless you are just going to paint broad strokes and idea pallettes and that concept does not seem solid enough. 

 

If you have not read David Lebovitz's recent blog post about the making of his new book I urge you to do so The complexity and attention to detail is staggering; and he is a seasoned and highly regarded cookbook writer (well he is overall a fantastic guy). http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/04/the-making-of-my-paris-kitchen-cookbook/


Edited by heidih (log)
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Thanks for that link, heidih.  I don't know whether to feel inspired or discouraged, but I'm certainly more well-informed than I was about the process of writing a cookbook and getting it published.   :wink:


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On the other hand there is the whole word of e-cookbooks that many bloggers are putting out. Wait - sooo - maybe a blog is the first step? 

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That's an interesting question.  Is this the future (or even the present) for getting published?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Can't hurt to try.  Getting published is really tough, selling the published books is even tougher -- but if you feel called to write the book, go for it.  The worst that can happen is you have an unpublished book.  In the meantime, you'll have clarified your own thinking, put together a bunch of recipes you like, and left a nice memento for your kids.  That's the down side.

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Frankly, Dana, the odds of your getting published are remote in the extreme.  Instead, this seems like a worthy blog project.

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Can't hurt to try.  Getting published is really tough, selling the published books is even tougher -- but if you feel called to write the book, go for it.  The worst that can happen is you have an unpublished book.  In the meantime, you'll have clarified your own thinking, put together a bunch of recipes you like, and left a nice memento for your kids.  That's the down side.

i would amend the above thought to say "the worst that can happen is you have a self-published e-book, or on demand cookbook."

these days, if you can't find a publisher (difficult if you have no famous restaurant, tv show or other huge platform, such as a famous parent, etc.) it is not too difficult to take matters into your own hands and self-publish. several recent award winning cookbooks are self-published. "stone edge farm cookbook" was recently announced iacp cookbook of the year--self published. 

good advice from heidih--so many cookbook deals in the past 5 years have gone to bloggers. you hone your skills, attract a following (platform), demonstrate to publisher that you can sustain the writing over the long haul (don't post three times a day for two weeks, then once a week for a while, then peter out.) while i still hold out hope that i will be the last food person on the planet without a food blog, i do see the value in this for a number of reasons. 

good luck!

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"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I am a chef and single mom who is a believer in locally sourced(farmers market) ingredients, and I have never seen a cookbook geared toward smaller 2-3 person families that follows this principle specifically.  Would like any input as to whether everyone thinks it would be a good concept, or if i am just spinning my wheels here.  I know America's Test Kitchen puts out a cookbooks that deal with 2 person families, but it seems like they always use items from grocery stores...

 

I am no celebrity, so I am unsure about this...whether it would be a good thing to do...

Every dream begins with a step.

I would encourage you to follow your dream to wherever it leads.

I'll be rooting for you along the way.

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I agree with Soba.  Julia Child also had a dream...  

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Also check out this website.

 

http://savorybooks.com/about-us/

 

Our CEO, Jonathan Aspatore, built one of the five largest business book-publishing houses in only a 10-year period as founder and CEO of Aspatore Books. After selling Aspatore Books, he decided to follow his passion for food and start Savory Books to help top chefs and leading restaurant owners share their special talents with the world. The over 50 writers, editors, designers, publicists, marketers and distribution specialists that work at Savory Books literally live for food.

 

 

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Dana, if it's something you want to do, do it.  These days there are a lot of different options.  

 

When I decided to write my first book (over ten  years ago, so a lot has changed since then) I started the work on it and when I had about 40 recipes tested and written out, I got a copy of Writer's Market and using it as a guide, put together a submission and then found about 100 publishers through the book that accepted unsolicited submissions and sent them out.  There were many rejections, but there were also a few offers to publish and I ended up with both a Canadian publisher and an American publisher buying the US rights.  The first run of 10,000 copies sold out and a few years ago a second edition was put out by my publisher.

 

The second book I did had a much narrower focus and wasn't a good fit with my publisher, so I decided to self-publish it.  The book-writing was very similar in both books, but self-publishing the second came with a lot more work when it was time to sell the books (I printed over 6000 copies and still have stacks).  I was lucky that sellers knew who I was from the first book, so took a chance on the second.  As a first time writer, it would be more difficult to get your book into stores.

 

But these days, there are great options.  One I'm looking into for my next book is a program Amazon runs.  Basically your book goes up on their site as an e-book, but they also print on demand.  So if somebody wants to order a hard copy of the book, they order it from Amazon and then it gets printed.  There are other companies that are POD, but for my purposes, I think the Amazon program makes the most sense.      (https://www.createspace.com/)

 

Lots of options, even if you are an unknown.   But if it's something you really want to do, start working on it.

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While I can't comment on the viability of your cookbook or going about researching it, I do have a recommendation on the publishing end. There are so many ways to publish your book for free or very low cost outside of the traditional book publishing business. 

 

I would recommend you look at something like Apples iBook, it's a very user friendly platform for publishing ebooks and allows you to submit items to their book store for a very nominal fee (I think it's $100 to $150 to add it to the online bookstore). Also, as Pam R mentions amazon has great self-publishing tools as well. 

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My mother-in-law is a published fiction writer, and she got her start by writing magazine articles.  You might think about that as a way to get experience.


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

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Heck, if self-publishing counts, I did that twenty years ago.  And still do.  I'm pretty sure that's not what Dana has in mind.

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Why not?  As an unknown (ie: don't host a cooking show or own a well-known restaurant), it's getting harder to find a publisher who will take a chance -- or one that will throw their resources at you. 

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My point is that self-publishing gives one a book, but it doesn't give one distribution.  If the former is all Dana is looking for, that's easy to do.  (Well, not easy, but doable.)  My read of the OP is that she's interested in the latter.

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