EPISODE 010: FROM FOOD BLOGGING TO PUBLISHING A COOKBOOK WITH JAMIELYN NYE
Blog Title: I Heart Naptime
About Jamielyn: Jamielyn Nye is the creator of IHeartNaptime.net, mom of 4 kids, chocolate lover and cookbook author. I Heart Naptime is a food and lifestyle blog sharing easy recipes and tips, to help families create unforgettable moments.
Notes from Episode #010: From food blogging to publishing a cookbook
Cookbook author and food blogger Jamielyn Nye takes us through the process of going from food blogging to being a published cookbook author.
It doesn’t matter what stage of blogging someone is at, everyone can start a cookbook. However, bloggers with a higher audience/following level have a better advantage to help promote it.
Jamielyn did this and recommends it for anyone ready to commit to a cookbook - brainstorm ideas for your cookbook, think about what isn’t out there. Focus on your brand when deciding what kind of cookbook to make, especially as you get started. Once you have 3 main topics, it’s a good time to reached out to an agent.
Writing a proposal is a big commitment! Jamielyn’s proposal was 55 pages.
Why you’re qualified to write a cookbook, why your readers would buy it, the concept of the book, target market, market analysis, why it would do well and a brag page.
Table of Contents, listed the chapters out, basically wrote the first chapter and added sample recipes, photos,
List out competing books similar to what you’re writing. Come up with endorsement ideas.
Look for an agent or begin directly pitching to the publisher. When beginning to look for an agent - look at your favorite cookbook and check the acknowledgements and see who was listed. Talk with other food bloggers too for a recommendation.
Even if you have an agent, an attorney is still recommended to look over a contract. You don’t want to be locked in with one publisher forever and not know that it’s what you signed up for.
Ask for recommendations from your food blogger community.
Select the publisher that is the best fit. Qualities the publisher had that Jamielyn wanted and had: creative freedom for design (fonts, layout, etc).
Benefits to pitching to a publisher with an agent: an agent has a lot of experience. Let them help you negotiate an advance for your book - this is probably more you’ll be able to negotiate on your own. Jamielyn shares that an agent helped navigate a variety of things that she didn’t know how to do on her own, like knowing which publishers are good to work with. An agent helps you make good decisions because of their knowledge of the industry.
You have an accepted proposal, you have an agent, you have an attorney, what’s next?
Write a paragraph about each recipe for the head note. OR
Take notes as you go through the recipe testing then use them to help you write the head note and first pages.
Better to start with more than not enough in terms of word counts and content.
Think about the process and what you want to hire out so you can keep everything moving forward. You can hire a recipe tester, a ghost writer, photographer, etc. Jamielyn shared that she found her recipe tester in an online facebook group.
Recipe testers are great for a variety of reasons. For one, they help keep you on track. They hold you accountable to your timelines as well. Create a plan of action for how many recipes you will test/make each week and then you can work together.
You’ll want to send the recipes to test groups. Find about 100 fans and put them into groups and send each a different recipe. Select a range of recipe testers (based on location, skill level, age, etc.) Let them test your recipes and provide feedback so the recipes become perfected. This is a great way to were taken into consideration tips you can include on the recipe such as altitude and different baking techniques.
Have the recipe tester you hire to edit the recipes based on feedback from recipe testers and adjust recipes as needed.
Once the recipe has been fully tested, photograph and edit for final product.
Work on manuscript - send first round to editor.
Keeping up the momentum to marketing the cookbook: you can be burnt out at this stage. Plan your launch and marketing of the book long term.
PR agencies can help - whether they are in-house for the publisher or a separate agency.
Jamielyn used the personal touch by adding her logo on a cookie and then included them with the cookbook to send out to people as gifts when asking people to review it.
You can do online and/or in-person book tours.
Jamielyn went through 3 full rounds of tweaks and edits before her cookbook went to print. It was two years from start to finish for the whole process from proposal to print.
Hire a VA to help and contributors and republishing old content to help keep your blog going while you are taking on the task of a cookbook.
Jamielyn said that publishing a cookbook helped her blog - it helps EAT with google, gives her authority when working with brands and having a product that was hers and that she could share with her audience.
Encouragement: Just do it. Whatever you’re thinking about doing! You’ll never feel prepared or ready, so just go for it. If you don’t start, you never will.
Supporting food bloggers who tackle writing a cookbook is extremely important!