America’s Foremost Food Writing Guru
Do you have a cookbook in you? Thinking about a memoir with recipes? How about a food blog? Have you ever yearned to be an Instagram Influencer or dreamt of joining the waning ranks of restaurant reviewers?
If that’s the case, stop whatever you are doing and get ahold of “Will Write for Food: Pursue Your Passion and Bring Home the Dough Writing Recipes, Cookbooks, Blogs and More” by Dianne Jacob, out this month in its fourth edition by Hachette Books. It’s no exaggeration to say that Dianne Jacob is America’s foremost food writing guru, and “Will Write For Food,” first published in 2005, offers the most comprehensive, unvarnished look at the always developing and perennially competitive world of food writing on the market today. “Will Write for Food” has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Spanish, and is used as a textbook in universities and culinary schools. “Will Write for Food” has received three international awards for excellence, including the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book in 2005. The second edition won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2010 for best book in the USA in its category, and the third edition won a Silver Nautilus Award in the Creative Process category. Now a fourth edition is being released in May 2021 by Hachette Go.
Food Changes Constantly; So Does Food Writing
When Jacob first wrote Will Write for Food, she confesses to having a somewhat “snobby” view of food bloggers, a segment of the food writing world that was just gaining momentum. In the second edition of Will Write for Food, Jacob dedicated a lengthy and comprehensive chapter to food blogging, charting the meteoric rise of the superstars such as David Lebovitz, Deb Perlman (The SmittenKitchen), and Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman). She has updated that chapter for the current fourth edition and outlines the challenges to making a food blog pay.
What it Takes to Make it in Food Writing Today
“Will Write for Food” also tackles the knotty problem of cultural appropriation, at a moment when food writing is becoming more global and inclusive and offers solid advice on how to celebrate foreign cuisines not by purloining them but by assiduous attribution and helping to shine a generous spotlight on the chefs and restauranteurs creating these innovations.
“Will Write for Food” deftly navigates the immense role played by social media in food writing today — another aspect of the guild that Jacob confesses was not on her radar screen when she wrote the first edition of the book. And while social media stardom is not a sure path to success in food writing, Jacob is at pains to point out that it is an important part of the food writer’s toolbox, as is photography and videography, and a strong writer’s voice, adroit recipe writing skills, and an ability to convey the sensual aspects of food to the page.
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Upbeat Encouragement with Cautionary Advice
At the heart of “Will Write Food” is Jacob’s own inimitable voice and vast experience, which are echoes of her excellent blog and engaging teaching style. She is both cheerleader and guidance counselor, offering many encouraging entry points into food writing for the neophyte, but also much-needed cautionary advice to anyone ready to hurl themselves into the craft without sufficient understanding of its inherent challenges and pitfalls. Jacob’s long tenure in journalism serves her very well: “Will Write for Food” draws on lengthy interviews with some of the leading figures in food writing today, hard statistics, and a voluminous and generous list of resources. Jacob’s willingness to revise and update “Will Write for Food” regularly keeps this invaluable resource current and will ensure a steady demand for the book by each new generation of aspiring food writers.
Enjoy my conversation with Dianne Jacob about “Will Write for Food”
Dianne Jacob is a writing coach, author, and free-lance editor. She has coached food writers around the world, and many have signed with major publishers and appeared in leading broadsheets, websites, podcasts, and magazines. Dianne’s popular blog and indispensable newsletter help writers and bloggers keep up with trends, issues, and techniques in the world of food writing. Dianne is a popular speaker and teacher throughout the world. She is the co-author of two cookbooks with Chicago chef Craig Priebe, The United States of Pizza (Rizzoli, 2015) and Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas (DK Publishing, 2008). Find out more about Dianne on her website, www.diannej.com.
Other Recommended Reading for Food Writers
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Exploring food markets, developing recipes, and just eating was once my hobby, but now it is a full-time job. I write about food markets around the world, develop recipes, and study culinary history and emerging trends. I have a particular interest in Russian and Eastern European cuisine and culinary history.
I believe that great books are part of a life well lived and this extends to audio entertainment. Under the Lifestyle umbrella, I review books, podcasts, and audiobooks, I discuss writing and reading and am constantly on the lookout for new ways to be productive and clear all manner of clutter from my life.