I wanted to share this piece in today's New York Times
about the year's best cookbooks where I was so glad to see two of my books (Flour
by Joanne Chang and Christie Matheson and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern) included, as well as one of Jane's (Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
by Alice Medrich). It's a really eclectic and diverse list, and I think Julia Moskin does a good job explaining why each of these books works and what they have to offer for different types of cooks or food enthusiasts. For me, it's a peek into the cookbook marketplace, and how for all the talk of it being a dying breed, there is so much unique, innovative and interesting content being published each year. There was a time here when I thought I'd stop working on cookbooks because the market was shrinking, there were fewer publishers (and editors) producing cookbooks, and it seemed the only ones that were working well were the books written by Food Network stars. But I keep on selling them, and I think we've seen something of a resurgence the last couple of years, with a shift away from the glitz and back to the basics. This article highlights that trend. And there's not one Food Network star to be found!
There's another area to me that's worth noting. A lot of food bloggers have been getting books deals recently, some on a very large sale, and a few represented by us, including Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
from this list. The Internet in general has become a place to share stories, recipes, and ideas and people are definitely responding to the good ones, especially those who are also savvy marketers. But one of the things that's interesting to me about Julia Moskin's list in this article is that there are very few bloggers on it. Many of the books she highlights are written by familiar names in the food world who have previously published books. Authors like Alice Waters, Alice Medrich, and Madhur Jaffrey are all considered authorities in their field, and new books from them are always paid attention to, for good reason. Next year will bring a lot of blogger books to the market, so I'll be curious to see how many of them make next year's list.
It's also interesting, and I think a testament to the changing industry, that she discusses a self-published book: Matt Moore's Have Her Over for Dinner
. That's not something that happens very often in this type of treatment, so good for the author for writing a book that got the attention of a critic's eye at the Times
Personally, I'm glad to see so many new cookbooks being well-published and well-received in the marketplace. I will continue to work on them, and have fun reading and eating my way through them! Do you have any cookbook favorites from this year not included on this list? I'd love to hear about them.
by Rachel S.
It’s true. I’m new to the whole business of book publishing—
newer probably than a lot of you reading right now. I learn things about the business every day and while I certainly know more now than I did six weeks ago, I’m still no authority on how to get your book published or even how to perfectly market it so anyone takes interest.
I am not, however, new to reading, writing, or writing while reading. Those things I’ve been doing for years and have gotten pretty good at them! On a functional level at least… In any case, I’m familiar enough with the mechanics of all three (the last is my newest skill as I was never an underliner or write-in-the-margins type of girl until about a year ago). I know what works best for me, personally, when I want to really focus and concentrate on the literary task at hand. Location is key, and the rest of the elements kind of follow from there.
I work and concentrate best, I’ve found, away from home. In my apartment, I get too distracted, listless. My internet is out this week, so I can’t even blame the world wide web as a whole. I don’t know what it is about being in whatever place I’m calling home at the moment, but I can never really concentrate whilst there. If I have a great book I’m eager to read, a piece I need to write, or some other sort of work to get done, my best bet is a coffee shop. Currently, I live exactly one block away from my very favorite coffee shop, so it’s never an issue of getting there when I want to read or have work to do. And thus, I’m on a first name basis with most of the people that work there.
Being out of the house means that I have to be dressed in appropriate out-of-the-house clothing. Which means my brain is more likely not to think that it’s okay to fall asleep or stop working in some other, disastrous way. Being in a coffee shop means that I get a big, warm mug to hold in my hands, which I really find soothing and comforting, while working out any more complicated ideas I may need to put the book or pen down for.
There’s an atmosphere of liveliness that I find invigorating, but not too distracting—
unless I feel the need to be distracted, that is. In any case, coffee shops and cafes where the servers leave you well enough alone are my havens of productivity. (Though I did just have a lengthy discussion with a friend over the perils of reading books likely to make you cry in public.)
I’m curious to see if others share my love of chalkboard menus and all the varieties of caffeine you could want or if you’re on a totally different side of the fence.
As someone who represents a good number of cookbooks and loves food, I found this piece by Melissa Clark
about food and writing to be sweet and enjoyable. She is passionate about food, and it shows in her prolific writing and recipes. Although I don't know her personally, we have friends in common and I hear she's a nice person. I hope someday I'll have the opportunity to visit her home and have her cook for me. It sounds like a warm, inviting place to be.
I love cookbooks. Mostly because I love food. Having worked on many amazing cookbooks over the years, I enjoyed seeing this eclectic list that Epicurious.com compiled
for their 15th anniversary of their favorite cookbooks since 1995. It's nice to see our own Alice Medrich's Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts
, which Jane represents,
as their #1 pick! There are some classics, and some familiar faces (no Rachael Ray?!), and of course it's such a small sampling of the many wonderful books available. Enjoy looking at these, and I hope they inspire you to cook something fun and different, or at least to read some of the books listed, even if you don't actually have time to cook -- one of my favorite pastimes, especially with four little ones at home!