Celebration Time, Come On!
I'm celebrating my 1-year anniversary.
I’m celebrating this newsletter’s one-year anniversary! 🍰 Thank you for reading my newsletter, for emailing me notes, for leaving comments, and for overall just being delightful readers.
So delightful, in fact, that I’d like to give free subscribers a gift.
I’m offering a sale on paid subscriptions.
For the next week, sign up for $24 per year instead of $30 for an annual subscription. For only $2 per month, you’ll get this free newsletter and a paid newsletter featuring food writing expertise that you can’t find elsewhere. And a few other things too, like community threads and polls.
While I‘m celebrating one year of writing newsletters, it’s only on this platform. I started my newsletter 17 years ago in 2005. In the old days I emailed it to groups of former clients and students. Sometimes I got locked out by my provider if my list was too large, a false indication that my emails were spam. Finally, I moved the newsletter to MadMimi, and then to Substack a year ago.
Substack is much more fun. I’m part of an active community. My paid subscriptions increase every month, thanks to you and to Substack’s own tools, particularly recommendations from other newsletter writers (thank you). On this new platform, new subscriptions went up by more than 20 percent in my first year. So thanks to everyone, and I look forward to what’s next.
In other news, you said you want more about recipe writing.
I did a survey recently, to see if there are particular subjects you’d me to write about. Recipe writing issues rose to the top. After that came freelance writing, and then “making money.” So stay tuned for more on all three. Thanks to everyone who took time to partipate. I appreciate you!
And I closed my blog.
Yeah. It feels bittersweet. After all, I’ve been blogging about food writing since 2009. Thirteen years.
I started my blog because I had to write a chapter about blogging for the 2010 edition of Will Write for Food. What better way to understand this then-new form by doing? Also, I could interact with readers between the new editions of my book, which came every five years.
Over the life of the blog, I received 23,513 comments. When I started the blog in 2009, hardly any social media existed, so readers were happy to comment on blogs. It was common to get 50 comments on a post. Here are a few of my most-commented on posts, in case you missed them:
Adapting a Recipe Doesn’t Make It Yours: 265 comments
Is Food Blogging Too Much Work?: 237 comments
Are You Making These 3 Mistakes on Your About Page?: 206 comments
Should Bloggers be Praised for Recipes They Don't Write?: 198 comments
By the time I stopped blogging, posts were down to just a few comments. That’s because the internet is all about engagement now. People want to know what you think about articles, recipes, photos, and their thoughts, so there are a million places to comment. Including on this newsletter.
(That was a joke. You don’t have to leave a comment here. But we’re getting to a bigger issue, and you might have something to say about that.)
Change Feels Good
Closing the blog and moving the newsletter to this platform taught me that I don’t have to keep doing the same thing forever just because it’s what I’ve been doing for years. It’s freeing and exciting to make a change.
Now I can concentrate on making this newsletter successful. I love that challenge.
Have you been in a similar situation, where you want to make a change but you put it off, because sticking with the familiar is comforting? Do you sometimes feel like you want to stop, but you put off making a change? Or maybe you made a big change. What led you to it? What were the pros and cons? Let’s discuss.
And in the meantime, please consider supporting my work and purchasing a discounted subscription by September 7 if you are a free subscriber. $24 equals only $2 per month.
P.S. If you’re a teacher, you can now purchase a group subscription. Get a discount of 25 percent if you purchase four or more subscriptions as a group. Click here to set up your group subscription:
What I’m eating:
Have you come across pink cream? Check out the ingredients when you click on the photo.
So You’d Like to Write a Cookbook? — Starts Soon!
Sunday, September 11, 2021
Civic Kitchen 3-hour Zoom Class
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. PT/ 1 - 4 p.m. ET
If you've always wanted to write your dream cookbook, and you're wondering what's involved in getting published (whether traditional or self-published), this is the class for you. We'll cover how traditional publishing works, what kinds of cookbook ideas and recipes editors look for, whether to get an agent, and whether to go the traditional route or self publish. Then there’s actually writing the book itself, testing the recipes…we have lots to cover. Get the info you need to start your cookbook process!
Jumpstart Your Cookbook Proposal
3 Thursdays, October 27, November 3 and 10, 4 - 7 p.m. PT/ 7-10 p.m. ET
Civic Kitchen 3-hour Zoom Classes
12 students maximum
Are you procrastinating about writing your cookbook proposal? Or maybe you're not sure what to write, or you need accountability and support. If so, this is the class for you.
You’ll get lots of strategic insider advice gained from my years of covering cookbooks in my blog, judging them for contests, and from writing my own. I'll lay out how the publishing industry works and what editors and agents look for in a proposal. Then I'll discuss what goes in each section of successful proposal.
You will write first drafts of several proposal sections in the class. At the end of three weeks, you'll have the start of your proposal, and the knowledge of how to make it irresistible to an agent or editor.
Bonus: It's unusual to see someone’s successful cookbook proposal. I'll share one of mine, which led to a beautiful cookbook by Rizzoli.
Through a partner, Delicious Experiences
One-hour consult: $250
For years I've had a five-hour minimum for consulting. But now, through Delicious Experiences, you can book a Zoom call with me for just one hour or more. If you’ve wanted to start your dream cookbook, get your book published, or get better freelance assignments, let’s move you forward. I’ve talked with writers at all levels about a variety of food-writing topics.
What I'm Reading
The 24 New Cookbooks of Fall 2022 We're Adding to Our Bookshelves. from Simply Recipes.
Introducing the Cookbooks of Fall 2022! Paula Forbes of Stained Page News has collected and reviewed dozens of cookbooks to bring you this compilation.
Samin Nosrat’s Kitchen Is a Small and Efficient Dream. It’s compact and beautiful but lacks a dishwasher. Also read I Fail Almost Every Day, an interview with her in the New Yorker.
Who are the finalists for the International Association of Culinary Professionals Annual Awards? Here’s the list.
Why Chef John Doesn't Show His Face In His Videos. He has 4.2 million subscribers without showing himself. That seems like an old-fashioned idea now. The story includes a link to my blog post about him.
Get Out There Like Gaga. An inspiring essay about facing rejection, and what happened when one writer pushed forward. If you’re feeling stymied about sending out your work, read this.
Diana Kennedy, Culinary Lightning Rod. A reminiscence by Evan Kleinman, host of the radio show Good Food.
The Pain-Writing-Money Trifecta: On Nora Ephron and Grief as Copy. About the ambiguity and contradiction of memoir, and what crosses over into fiction.
371: Becoming Full-Time Entrepreneurs and Growing Multiple Businesses with Bjork & Lindsay on the Simple Pin Podcast. It’s worth listening to (or reading the transcript of) this podcast, to understand how this couple became super successful.
Soleil Ho Is (Still) Eating Their Feelings. Writer John Birdsall, a former restaurant reviewer himself, seems in awe of Soleil and her approach.
The Struggle Cookbook Authors Face In 2022. How hard it is to get published. This quote is useful: “Donnaud estimates that authors usually will be able to convert around 4% of social media followers into book buyers. That number could perhaps climb to 6% if the author is very proactive in the promotional process.”
Book indexers have long labored in obscurity. Now, they’re getting a long-overdue moment in the sun. Great piece about appreciating the way that indexers think and how they work.
The Recipe. A meditative essay by a woman living a fascinating life who compulsively cooks one dish, not identified until the end.
Advances, sigh. A small press publisher ruminates on high book advances compared to sales and wonders if the industry will ever change. She says the average book sells only 2000 copies.
This 1980s Cookbook Taught Me How to Live. Mollie Wizenberg writes about the impact of Molly Katzen’s 1988 book of menus on her.
David Lebovitz chats with former cookbook editor Susan Friedland about cookbooks, editing and great authors she has edited.
News About Clients and Students
(I like to brag about food writing accomplishments here. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Renae H. Getlin has a new website about life, food and books.
Anna Mindess wrote Deaf-Owned Restaurants Offer Cuisine and Community for Atlas Obscura. You might want to attend this September 16 Zoom panel about food writing that she’s on.
Edible East Bay published Alison Negrin’s essay Cooking Eggplant Meltdown for my Father.
Thanks for Reading
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Editor, Writer and Coach
Disclosures: I am an affiliate of Food Blogger Pro, Amazon and Bookshop.org.