I am out of town today, but wanted to share an exciting article that appeared today in the New York Times.
If you have ever dreamed of writing a cookbook (or any book, for that matter), but dread the idea of waiting months, or even years, before an agent or publisher opens and/or reads your proposal, then you need to read today's article, because it may permanently alter--in what could be a very good way--the publishing process for would-be and current authors. Take a gander:
Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing
Pretty exciting stuff. If this has you fired up, the next step is to get a copy of Dianne Jacob's book, Will Write for Food. I had the pleasure of taking a food writing class with Dianne years ago at Book Passages bookstore in Corte Madera; it changed my life. Her book covers all of the ins and outs of food writing and the publishing process (plus great references for additional sources of information). Dianne has a great blog, too: Will Write for Food Blog.
Here are a few other books I've found indispensible over the years:
1. How to Write a Book Proposal, by Michael Larsen
There are many books on this subject, but I think Larsen's book is, hands down, the best. I followed it to the letter for writing my first proposal--accepted!--and have used it for all subsequent proposals.
2. Writer's Market
Ever wonder where to find listings of literary agents and publishers? Here's your answer. For agents, it gives all of the necessary contact info (names, addresses), whether to send a proposal or just a query letter, etc. For publishers, it provides contact info (i.e. the specific editor for sending your proposal), whether they publish cookbooks, whether they accept un-agented proposals (i.e., direct from you), percentage of books published annually that are by first-time authors (so valuable if you are trying to break in), and so much more. Really useful for finding smaller, regional publishers (that's how I broke in)--they are often more likely to accept un-agented, first-time authors.
3. The Recipe Writer's Handbook, by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane Baker
The everything-you-need-to-know style guide for writing recipes in a professional manner.
Let me know if you have other books you've found useful! I hope an idea is already brewing...