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Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reviews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction and More

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Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reviews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction and More [Paperback]

Dianne Jacob
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 10, 2005 --  
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Book Description

April 10, 2005 1569243778 978-1569243770
Will Write for Food is for food lovers who want to express themselves, guiding them from their earliest creative impulses to successful article writing, restaurant reviewing, and cookbook writing. Dianne Jacob—journalist and food-writing instructor and coach—offers interviews with award-winning writers such as Jeffrey Steingarten, Calvin Trillin, Molly O'Neill, and Deborah Madison, plus well-known book and magazine editors and literary agents, give readers the tools to get started and the confidence to follow through. Comprehensive yet accessible chapters range from restaurant reviewing to cookbooks to memoirs. Focused exercises at the end of chapters stimulate creativity, help organize thought, and build practical skills. Will Write for Food is the first and ultimate ins and outs guidebook to the incredibly popular world of food writing.

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.

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

Product Details

  • Series: Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Blogs,
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569243778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569243770
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
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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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for foods writers 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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! April 21, 2005
By Paulina
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't believe no one came out with a book like this sooner. Thank you Diane Jacob. Finally a book that deals with the actual writing about food. I have read many books on how to publish magazine articles etc... but none of them deal with the actual style in which you write. I even attended a food writing workshop and to my dissapointment we barely touched on improving our writing skills. We were told "it can't be taught".
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good advice and good reference November 15, 2005
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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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reource for Culinary Writers. Buy It! 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars and I LOVE it already
I haven't even been through 1/3 of the book, and I LOVE it already!! Not only does it show you a different mind set of how to see and write about food, but it gets your brain... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Jessie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very infoative
Published 13 days ago by Stephen Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Especially useful is Jacob's discussion of how to find your own ...
This is an indispensable book for anyone starting to write about food. I'm already starting to apply some of the tips on my Facebook foodie page... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Robb McLaren
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for New Food Bloggers, Writers or Blog Marketers
Already knew most of the stuff in the book, but there were still points of value made throughout the book. Excellent for anyone new to Wordpress, blogging or writing.
Published 1 month ago by D. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and gives a wide rage of topics within ...
Well written and gives a wide rage of topics within the food writing industry. I purchased this to work on my recipe writing, but I found the other topics in the book interesting... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every food blogger!
Wonderfully helpful book. I just started a food blog & I wanted some helpful info on writing better. This book is well written & very helpful. I am so glad that I purchased it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by LOVETHEBEACH21
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fun book read. I am taking a course in food writing and it is useful and informative.
Published 5 months ago by debra thurston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Essential if you want to write food blogs, cookbooks, or anything else that is food related.
Published 6 months ago by Lena McGarvie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by Diane Stelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Still reading - will let you know after I am done
Published 8 months ago by Debbie
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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.

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. While in journalism school a second time, she interned at Playgirl magazine, where she reviewed incoming slides of naked men and designed surveys about reader satisfaction.

Her last full-time position was as editor-in-chief of Books That Work, a pre-internet publisher of CDs containing multimedia book content and interactive software. One of the books she worked on won a Literary Marketplace Award for Technical Innovation.

Since 1996 Dianne has been an author, writing coach, freelance writer, freelance editor, and teacher. Her first book, Will Write for Food, won the 2005 international Cordon D'Or Award for Literary Culinary Reference. She started a blog on food writing in 2009, also called Will Write for Food. For more information, see her website at http://www.diannej.com.

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2005 vs 2010
The 2010 edition has an enormous new chapter on food blogging. There are 16 pages just on photography, for instance. The rest of the book has been updated to include food blogging and interviews with food bloggers, as they have had an immense impact on food blogging. If it were up to me, I... Read More
Aug 14, 2012 by Dianne Jacob |  See all 3 posts
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