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The Recipe Writer's Handbook

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2001

    This is an excellent resource!

    If I had to choose two main books which discuss publishing a cookbook, this would be one of them. The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann would be the second book. While these books will cover most of the details, you will also need about 10 reference books. I have reviewed most of them. Barbara focuses on the technical details of writing the actual recipes, while Marilyn focuses on the publishing and marketing aspects. Writing AND publishing a cookbook could be compared to surviving Mr. Everest, but I think it can be done! Marilyn explains how you should first decide who you are writing for. Then you can focus on your audience and provide what they want. She warns her readers of all the hard work, yet she also knows cooks would not take the time unless they believed it was a worthwhile project. Throughout this book, Marilyn is right on target. The resource section is your door to the publishing world. You can choose which doors you want to open and how far you want to pursue your dream. The list of newspaper and magazine book review editors will make you wish your book was published and ready to ship out the door. You truly won't find all this information anywhere else. There is a complete section on book design, list of publishers, copyright and ISBN information and even sources for obtaining a bar code. She also explains promotion, advertising, sending out review copies and filling orders. Her information goes way beyond simply writing the book. This takes you to the next level. I also found it helpful to select a cookbook that you absolutely love! That way you have a reference for spellings and can back up your use of 'chile' instead of 'chilie.' 'The Best Recipe' by Christopher Kimball is an excellent choice. Any of the cookbooks I have reviewed are also the best resources I have found for the technical details of recipe writing. You will develop your own style and then your editor will have fun making you change everything! Keep your voice! Don't let anyone take that away from you. Choose one of the most recent cookbooks and check current cooking magazines and food dictionaries for the best spellings and word usage. Don't rely on a spell checker on your computer. Most of the time it won't recognize words like Fleur de Sel or Tellicherry peppercorns. So, think of writing a cookbook as a journey. It may take you a few years to complete your project. There are certain things you may never experience if you don't write your own book. It is magical, mind expanding, fun, and finally exhilarating when you realize it is almost ready to publish. Just keep on working and soon you will have a document that is ready to publish. As Irena Chalmers once said: 'The next best thing to publishing your own book, is to imply that you are just about to.' I can't wait for the updated version to be in print!

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