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Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More (Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Blogs,) Paperback – July 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Passion is the theme of this informative guide focusing on the art of food writing. "Many food writers I've met are enthusiastic, intense, and energetic in an obsessive kind of way, and love nothing more than immersing themselves in research," writes Jacob, seasoned food editor and writer. The author devotes much of the book to outlining the elements of good writing, like finding one's own unique voice or knowing the most vivid adjectives to use in reviews. Covering all the various careers available in food writing, Jacob offers tips for creating a successful cookbook, writing recipes with clarity and even writing food-related fiction novels. The end of each chapter includes helpful writing exercises, allowing readers to put her advice to practice immediately, and the book also contains plenty of practical information (e.g., how much freelancers should expect to get paid). Less useful are the brief but generally uninteresting stories about how successful food writers got their start. Still, this comprehensive guide, though at times monotonous, is a great tool for anyone looking to make a career out of a love of food.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Food writing so often appears an enviable profession to the outside world. Jacob casts a cold light of reality on just how difficult making a living in the world of culinary journalism can be. For those yet undaunted by the challenges presented, she provides a practical guide for getting published as a cookbook author, restaurant reviewer, or food magazine writer. She begins with advice applicable to any professional wordsmith: the critical importance of research, fitting an article to a publication's needs, working with editors, and the like. She provides sound direction for those aspiring to restaurant criticism, a job many romanticize but for which very few have the requisite stamina, talent, and discipline. Addressing the sensitive area of remuneration for the writer's efforts, Jacob honestly confronts the role of competition and of limited publication budgets. Her observations and instructions on matters of writing style would well serve writers of all sorts. To make her points, Jacob records advice and guidance from a host of successful food writers and editors. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Blogs,
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Second Edition edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738214043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738214047
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dianne Jacob was born in Vancouver, Canada, the first-generation daughter of Iraqi Jews from Shanghai. Her dad, an amateur poet and songwriter, gave her writing assignments from a tender age. One of her first poems was about a frog with gastro-intestinal distress. She wrote about her parents in this essay, The Meaning of Mangoes:

In her 20s Dianne graduated from journalism school and became a newspaper reporter and editor. She later moved to the US to work on two international magazines and a city magazine as a top editor. Her last full-time position was as editor-in-chief of Books That Work, an interactive book publisher in the Silicon Valley.

Since 1996 Dianne has been an author, writing coach, freelance editor and writer, teacher and speaker. She has led workshops around the world, including in London, Ireland, Australia, Dubai and Hawaii. She is a popular speaker at many conferences.

Her first book, Will Write for Food, won the 2005 international Cordon D'Or Award for Literary Culinary Reference. Her second edition in 2010 won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in its category. The third edition of Will Write for Food came out in July, 2015. She has also authored two books with chef Craig Priebe: The United States of Pizza (September 2015) and Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas.

Dianne started a blog on food writing in 2009, also called Will Write for Food, aimed at food bloggers, food writers, and cookbook authors. For more information, see her website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Heather Ivester on August 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
What is food writing? Before I read Jacob's book, I thought I might learn a few techniques for writing restaurant reviews. Wow -- I was wrong! This is a huge, magnificent field, of which I've merely sampled my first appetizer.

The author's research in compiling this book is extensive. In presenting her ideas, she doesn't limit readers to her own personal experience; she interviewed hundreds of successful food writers and asked them how they got started, what a typical day is like, and what advice they have to give.

Despite her years of industry experience, Jacob truly understands the heart of a beginner, and her voice is as far from snooty-hooty as one can be. Readers will feel encouraged and energized after reading chapters on the secrets of restaurant reviewing, cookbook compiling, recipe writing (yes, it is an art form!), memoir and nonfiction food writing, and food in fiction.

Jacob's passion is so contagious, her words dance across the page. She seems especially interested in the trend of narrative food writing, and she gives you tips on how to make your writing full of jolt and flavor. What are the three laziest adjectives used to describe food? She says "nice," "wonderful," and "delicious." She writes, "They are so vague that readers don't know what you mean other than something positive." Instead, she offers an extensive list of adjectives in chapter 5 that make it well worth the price of the book.

I'm only a simple home cook. My creativity usually involves whipping up kid-friendly favorites without having to dash off to the grocery store for exotic ingredients. Although I've written a few of my own recipes, I certainly didn't realize what an exciting art form food writing can be.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on April 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book about food writing. It has advice on writing cookbooks, restaurant reviews, articles, memoirs and fiction. Although I have written several cookbooks and many food-related articles, the excellent advice in this book will make my future books and articles even better. I also got ideas for new markets for my writing.

One other thing I loved about this book were the quotes from food writers and exerpts from books. I now have a huge list of books I want to read.

"Will Write for Food" is a book I will definitely refer to again and again.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Debbie the Book Devourer on November 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Like many people who have picked this book up, I'd like to someday write something about food, whether it be reviews, essays, a memoir, or a cookbook. Ms Jacob's step-by-step advice has proven inspiring, eye-opening, and realistic. Besides giving the how-to of getting published, she gives great tips for getting the creative, ahem, juices flowing. She also reminds us how competitive the field is and reminds us to start small, to take little bites (sorry). Finally, the book is chock full of references to books, websites, and groups that cover writing in general, writing recipes, finding agents -- the whole enchilada (I just can't help myself).

The only reason she got docked a star is that the book is full of typos, mistaken words (like not even usage errors, but those are there too), missing words, and at least one case of apostrophe abuse. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I think that if you write a book on writing, you'd really best make sure it's flawless. Still, it's a book I might actually add to my personal library at some point. I'd highly recommend it if you're at all interested in writing about food, or even just writing in general.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Will Write for Food' by culinary journalist and writing teacher, Dianne Jacob is a must read for everyone who has any intention on entering the culinary writing field. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Ms. Jacob makes it clear that like virtually every worthwhile endeavor, success with culinary writing is difficult. As I have occasionally given some thought to trying my hand at submitting culinary writing for publication, I have thought that there may be some `easy' markets, if I were just clever enough to find them. Ms. Jacob has convinced me that there are no easy markets, at least none which actually pay real money for publication. Even the seemingly `easy' outlets such as local newspapers, magazines, and niche magazines have so many sources of either free or relatively inexpensive material that even these markets may be tough to crack. The major national markets such as `Gourmet', `Saveur', and `Food and Wine' are virtually unreachable by the newcomer.

The second most important thing about Ms. Jacob's book is that it does not intend to teach you how to write. She does give a few pages of suggestions and hints, especially on word usage in culinary applications are spread here and there around the book. And, a few references to sources on training for writing are given, including my very favorite `The Elements of Style' by Strunk and White.

Thus, the book is more about the food writing market than it is about writing. This is a very good thing, as all your writing efforts are worthless if you don't have a clear notion of your audience, your medium, and your medium's picture of their audience. And, the quantity and quality of sources, especially web sites given in this book are truly astounding.
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