It goes something like this: you and your closest girlfriends are sitting around at a table. You’ve brought your signature dish. They’re busily and hungrily diving into the delectable treasure, eating like greedy, starved pirates. Between bites, one entrepreneurial friend declares that you should publish the recipe. Not be left out, your other friend announces that you should publish a cookbook! You three laugh and agree. I mean, how hard could it be to write a cookbook? You’ve already got the recipes written, right? Just retype them, send ’em to a publisher, get some photos taken, print up 5,000 copies, sell, sell, sell, and make a couple thousand dollars. Easy as pie.
I spent this last year as a freelance writer. My husband nobly agreed that I could spend the summer of 2010 writing articles for different websites, such as Examiner and Livestrong. I searched out titles, wrote as furiously as my stamina would allow and my attention would focus. I think I made less than $5,000. Okay, I wasn’t getting into the mainstream publishing world, but that sort of wasn’t the point. I wanted to see if this were a gig for me. I know of some professional writers who do make a living writing. But not so much me.
But this isn’t to discourage you from writing or publishing your cookbook. The point of this post is that you should get into writing your cookbook with your eyes wide open. In fact, if you dive into writing and seeking a publisher for your cookbook or food book, then you should be equipped with a snorkel and flippers, too. And I know of just the event and workshop that you have got to attend before you start.
The event is called “From Pitch to Publish,” and it’s a Foodportunity Expression Workshop designed to provide you with insider tips on how to solidify your great idea into a pitch and how to get that pitch picked up by publishers. It’s on Monday, April 25th at 6:30pm in the Hyatt in Bellevue.
Don’t worry, I’m not the guest speaker. Nay, the guest speaker is none other than Amy Treadwell, a publisher and editor for Chronicle Books. Pause for dramatic effect.
While I’m pausing, rush over to your cookbook stack and check out the side spine of your book. Among the publishers of your various cookbooks, you’ll probably find Chronicle Books. It’s a pretty hefty publishing company, responsible for books like Bakerella’s Cake Pops, Flour, Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table and Edible School Yard and publishing authors like Chefs Michael Chiarello and Alice Waters. So, now you know that this guest speaker comes with some impressive qualifications.
In addition to the workshop style presentation that she’ll be giving, Treadwell will be available to answer questions. This is a great time to take the pitch you’ve been working on to see if it has some legs to stand on. You’ll also have a chance to network with other potential writers, current published writers, and others.
Although I’m probably not planning to write a cookbook within the next 6 months, I’m attending because I am in the “sponge mode.” I want to learn from writers that I meet, and I want to see what it takes to write a cookbook. Way back in the day, at an American Dietetic Association Conference in Riverside, CA, I attended a cookbook writing session. I’m just storing up knowledge for the day that I do decide to write or help a friend who is writing. I also know that it will help me as a food blogger and recipe writer.
I’m also attending because I want to see who the up-and-coming authors are. What are the good ideas coming from Seattle’s community of writers? Who is getting published soon? What books should I add to my ever-growing-but-never-shrinking (Insert Holiday here) Wish List? Who are the well-to-do published authors who got their starts with Chronicle Books? What tips could they provide?
I’m really excited about the event, too, because it’s unusual. I haven’t been swimming in the writers pond for very long, but I haven’t heard of publishers meeting with a room full of writing hopefuls to tell them how to convince the publishers that their books are the next great best sellers. I’m really grateful to Keren Brown and those involved for developing the workshop and providing the opportunity for us.
The event costs $25, and it is worth every penny. First, it’s being hosted in a nice location (Hyatt Bellevue) with food and beverage provided. Second, you’re getting a chance to chat with and learn from one of the editors who would be reviewing your pitched idea. This is like attending a study session when the professor tells you what’s going to be on the exam! Finally, as one wise Vice Chancellor of my Alma Mater told me recently: If you really want it and really want to achieve it, then no admission ticket cost is going to prevent you from going. So go.
In case you want the more official, detailed information, here’s the PSA for it. I hope you can attend. See you there. Then I’ll look for your book in about nine months. And speaking of books to look forward to, I’m waiting for The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle.
To borrow and change the signature phrase of Cornichon, “What are you reading right now?”
Media Contact: Keren Brown
Keren Brown Media
“From Pitch to Publish”
A Foodportunity Expression Workshop
Food & Wine Editor
MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2011
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hyatt Regency Bellevue Hotel
900 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
For Immediate Release:
Seattle, Wash., March 24, 2011: The next “Foodportunity” expression event will take place in Bellevue on Monday, April 25th, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue Hotel.
The guest speaker, Amy Treadwell of Chronicle Books http://www.chroniclebooks.com/
, will offer insights into the world of publishing: a process that begins with writing a convincing book proposal. Attendees will have the opportunity for a question & answer period. The event will end with a networking session, giving participants the opportunity to mingle with other participants.
Amy Treadwell started her publishing career as a sales assistant at Chronicle Books and moved to the editorial side in 2000, where she has been editing cookbooks ever since. She recently co-authored a cookbook called “Whoopie Pies” .
She has worked on titles such as “Cake Pops” by Bakerella which hit the New York Times Bestseller List, “Cooking Up A Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the New Orleans Times-Picayune Newspaper,” and the upcoming “Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts” cookbook.
“The purpose of this Foodportunity,” says series organizer Keren Brown, “ is to help aspiring book authors to get a more clear outline of the publishing world and how it works”. Attendees are expected to include local food writers, bloggers, restaurateurs, food producers, PR professionals, companies and anyone interested in learning more about publishing books.
Previous Foodportunity events have covered food-related topics such as food styling (Delores Custer), and food writing (“Foodportunity Expression” series with Rebekah Denn and Diane Jacob).
The event will take place at the recently expanded Hyatt Regency Bellevue
. The 733-room property, located in the heart of Downtown Bellevue, is known as a dynamic and versatile venue and for its luxurious accommodations. Onsite parking , will be free for 3 hours with a validation for registered Foodportunity guests.
Food bites will be provided courtesy of Twisted Cork
. Located on the premises of the Hyatt Bellevue, Twisted Cork offers a twist on classic dishes focusing on seasonal Northwest flavors and ingredients. Wine will be provided by Vin Du Lac winery http://www.vindulac.com/
The event will be sponsored by the Seattle based Foodcaching Movement powered by a cloud based real-time marketing system and a free social shopping application already available for iPhone and Android smartphones. The Foodcaching Movement’s restaurant members offer consumers great value, high quality food and a fun dining experience, not just discounts. The best restaurants in Seattle stay connected with their customers by providing real-time information about special offers, new seasonal dishes, specials and promotional events. For more information please visit: www.foodcaching.com
* * *
Keren Brown, aka Frantic Foodie, conceived of the food networking idea known as Foodportunity and has held more than a dozen food-related events last year in both Seattle and Portland. Recently recognized by MarthaStewart.com as “Doer of the Week”, Keren also organizes monthly events for Seattle food bloggers where she holds Q&A sessions with famous authors, tours of food companies and other events to help bloggers interact. Keren’s food events information can be found at Frantic Foodie in the Seattle PI, www.FranticFoodie.com
and on the events page of MyNorthwest.com. For more information, visit www.foodportunity.com/portland
and follow us @foodportunityOR and #Foodprtpdx and #Foodprt.
About Hyatt Regency Bellevue
Hyatt Regency Bellevue is a AAA four-diamond hotel situated on Seattle’s Eastside, in the heart of downtown Bellevue, Washington. Nestled between Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountain Range, the hotel is part of The Bellevue Collection, the Northwest’s leading shopping, dining and entertainment destination, and offers premier services and amenities to both business and leisure travelers. Recently completing a $185 million expansion, the hotel offers groups more than 70,000 square feet of flexible state-of-the-art event space – from the third largest ballroom in the state to an intimate 12-person boardroom – 733 luxuriously redesigned guestrooms, an expansive 7,000-square-foot workout complex and a comfortable, spacious lobby. For more information, please visit www.bellevue.hyatt.com
About Twisted Cork and Twisted Cork Lounge
Twisted Cork and Twisted Cork Lounge offer downtown Bellevue a new look and a new menu featuring fresh, local ingredients and a ‘twist’ on the expected lounge fare. The daily breakfast at Twisted Cork offers a seasonal, rotating menu featuring some of the area’s most beloved purveyors, including Macrina Bakery and Beecher’s Cheese. In the evening, guests can enjoy tapas-style dining, cocktails and entertainment in Twisted Cork Lounge. Located off the lobby of Hyatt Regency Bellevue, the 293-seat restaurant and adjoining lounge create an open and inviting space for Bellevue residents and out-of-town guests alike. www.hyattregencybellevue.com/twistedcork
About Vin Du Lac
Vin du Lac is a family owned and operated winery that crafts truly Boutique wines through hand harvest and small-lot production techniques. Since its first crush in 2002 Vin du Lac has vinted a long, stunning streak of award-winning wines, which include its highly sought-after Cabernet Franc and its Lake Chelan AVA wine series “LEHM”. Vin du Lac is inspired by all things French, which is evident in the Wine Styling, the wine labels and branding, and Vin du Lac’s on-site French Bistro and Tasting Room. The winery’s Tasting Room is open daily from 12pm-5 pm. The bistro is open for lunch from 12 pm-3 pm and dinner from 4pm -8pm, Thur-Mon. www.vindulac.com/