Irena’s Recipe for Publishing A Cookbook

Working Family Cookbook

Irena Chalmers, Working Family Cookboo

Total Time from contract to publication: Far longer than you anticipated.
Level of Expertise: Subject to interpretation particularly if there is wine in your glass.
Yield: One soft-cover and one Kindle edition.
Shelf Life Expectancy: Somewhere between milk and yogurt.


For the Brilliant Idea
Don’t make it too brilliant or no one will understand it. Instead position your title to ride the crest of an existing wave but not one that is already on its way out, i.e. No. No. Not Tuscany again, or cupcakes or bibles.
Cookbook “Bibles” Listed on Amazon
Meatball Cookbook Bible
Barbeque Bible
Best Ribs Ever: A Barbecue Bible Cookbook
New Bible Cookbook
Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible (revised?)
Appetizer Bible
Sexy Forever Recipe Bible
Yogurt Bible

All references to sin and the devil’s food must be avoided. (Rich desserts are frequently called sinful and religious folk are (mostly) opposed to sin.)

Obesity is a perennially hot topic. Immediate weight loss must be guaranteed even while eating a 36-ounce steak and anything chocolate.

For the Proposal

A platform is essential. A platform requires the author to already be recognized as a food superstar with a million followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media that no one has time to read, only to like. An endorsement by a TV hottie may trigger interest from a prospective publisher.

Essential (but unstated) Characteristics of the Author (when appearing on TV)

Hair: A distinctive (weird) hairstyle is a huge asset as is deeply revealing cleavage. The ability to feign oft-repeated, astonished, orgiastic bliss is essential upon tasting everything from Jell-O to duck confit. Mmmmmm.

Accent: A Southern accent is acceptable though a British accent is always superior. French accents are a huge turnoff.  Italian is O.K. as long as the author sticks to recipes using spaghetti.

The ability to intersperse incandescent banalities among predictable culinary clichés is important as is the constant interjection of a signature phrase such as  Bam! Bad Boys, EVOO and How Easy is That?!

Nose: The ability to swoon over the aroma of a cup of flour and ½ teaspoon of salt is essential along with the rhapsodic facial expression accompanied by the inevitable predictability of the pronouncement: “Smells SO GOOD!”

Irena Chalmers Books

Irena Chalmers Books

Physical Appearance of the Book

This is not worth fighting over as most of the books will be sold on Amazon, and the buyer has no idea what it looks like until it is bought with a single click.

* Note One:  Don’t worry about the money, as there probably won’t be any — or not much.

* Note Two: It has been suggested, (by me), that if you really, really want a cookbook, it is far easier to go out and buy one…

Food Job: Literary agent

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