->Q4 2013 Newsletter, Vol. 9 No. 4<- In this Issue: The Writing Life: Consistency is Not Overrated Keep in Touch: How to Find Me Where’s Dia


->Q4 2013 Newsletter, Vol. 9 No. 4<-

In this Issue:

The Writing Life: Consistency is Not Overrated
Keep in Touch: How to Find Me
Where’s Dianne? – Upcoming Classes and Events
News from Clients and Students
Useful Links
Just for Fun


The Writing Life: Consistency is Not Overrated

I’ve been making pizzas like a mad woman for our next cookbook: Naples style thin crusts, New York style sturdy, puffy Sicilian pan pizzas, and tangy sourdough pizzas. They’re all fabulous because of my co-author, chef Craig Priebe, who has a brilliant palate.

As you might guess, I am extremely popular with friends, neighbors, colleagues and my exercise classmates. I am also avoiding the scale.

Now that I am writing a cookbook again, no issue that makes me crazier than ensuring consistent language. Consistency means that you say the same thing the same way every time. I suppose it’s not critical for a blog, but it’s critical for a cookbook.

So when Craig sends me recipe drafts that say:
* Ladle the sauce onto the dough
* Spread the sauce onto the crust with a spatula
* Pour the sauce onto the middle of the crust
I must change it to say the same thing each time. It might sound boring, but it’s necessary, and somehow Craig’s voice must come through to keep the text from sounding wooden or dull.

I know consistency is an issue because I am paid by cookbook editors to make language consistent, as one element of editing. Now I get to tackle it up front. And boy, I have renewed sympathy for prolific cookbook authors.

Cookbook authors must also standardize the ingredients, stating them the same way each time, and often in the same amounts. If Craig wants to sprinkle parsley over a pizza, it should be the same amount. If it’s basil, that’s a bigger question. Sometimes he shreds it; sometimes he chops it into ribbons, so the only thing I can standardize is the amount: 7 leaves.

To keep the amounts and language consistent, I’ve started a style sheet. I made a list of how I state amounts and how I say to prepare them, and I leave the file open when I’m typing up recipes. This system works brilliantly until I decide to change the way I’ve said something. Then I have to find every single instance of the phrase and change it.

But otherwise, I’m having a blast, and learning a lot about doughs and how to make a super-tasty pizza with a crisp bottom crust. I’ve made about 40 and I’m not tired of them yet. We’ll see if I feel that way by the next newsletter at the end of March 2014.

Keep in Touch

You get this newsletter only four times a year, so why wait? My weekly blog, Will Write for Food, gives you a more immediate way to read about recipe writing, freelance writing, book proposals, and food blogging trends and issues. Join my group of thoughtful and intelligent readers, who often make the comments the best part of the post.

Here’s a round up of the most commented-upon posts from the last quarter:
* 100 Verbs for Recipes, from Julia Child
* Let’s Take the Baby Talk Out of Recipes
* Male Food Writers Promoting Male Chefs

Let my weekly blog come to you, by email or in an RSS feed, so you don’t have to remember to visit. Sign up on the blog’s right-hand side column.

If you’d rather not wait three months to find the links I provide below, I post links several times a week on my Facebook fan page. Click “Like” and you’ll get the links on your Home page. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter, where I post links and have conversations, and friend me on Facebook.

Where’s Dianne?

Friday, January 24, 2013, 1 – 5 p.m.
Food Writing for Food Lovers
Birmingham, AL

Have you been to Food Blog South yet? It’s a wonderful, inexpensive conference, with money raised going to charity, and two evening parties featuring alcohol and Southern food. How can you go wrong?

I’m teaching a four-hour seminar the afternoon before the conference begins, focusing on how to tell a story effectively, and dissecting the techniques award-winning food writers use. There’ll be time for writing exercises and a chance to amp up your writing skills.

February 15, 2014, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Food Writing for Food Lovers
The Writing Salon
Berkeley, CA

After a long absence, I'm back for a one-day workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here is an inexpensive overview of food writing, particularly the craft of writing. We'll also cover freelance writing, blogging, recipe writing and getting a cookbook published. Come join us!

News from Clients and Students

-- Running Press will publish Maureen Abood’s forthcoming book about Lebanese food.

-- Chronicle Books published Winnie Abrahamson’s book, One Simple Change.

-- Sunset magazine’s blog, Westphoria, featured an article on Kevyn Allard, who tests recipes for the magazine.

-- Lisa Melsted has begun a series on local food artisans on her blog, foiegrasandfunnelcakes.com.

-- Culture magazine published Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord’s piece, The Highs and Lows of Recipe Testing.

Do you have news about an article you’ve sold, a blog you’ve begun, or a book deal? If you are a former student or client, please drop me a line at dj@diannej.com. I’d love to include your bragging rights in my next newsletter.

Useful Links

-- For book promotion, read 31 Ways to Find New Readers, Outside of Your Network.

-- And if you’re getting interviewed about your new book, here’s a slide show from Random House about acing it.

-- Lastly, read Six Components of a Successful Book Launch.

-- Wondering how to make money from your blog? Here’s a list of ideas, plus more in the comments, taken from a seminar I gave in Canada in October.

-- To up your success rate pitching magazines, read this post from a magazine editor.

-- Ever wondered if you should get an MFA to improve your writing? Read The Low-Residency MFA.

-- Here’s the latest on the best time to post to Facebook, send emails, publish, etc.

-- Did you self-publish a book this year? Congrats. Submit it to the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Deadline is March 14, 2014.

-- You’re about to have your book manuscript edited by a copy editor. What should you expect? Read Copy Editors: What they Really Do.

-- Have you heard of Swallow magazine? It's supposedly the “anti foodie” magazine, based in New York. I can’t find contact info, but you can follow on Twitter @SWALLOWMAGAZINE or Facebook. Read this article to see the new food magazine in print.

-- There’s always something new to say about recipes. Here’s How to Write, Create, and Test a Recipe Like a Pro, from a dietician’s point of view.

Just for Fun

-- The television show Portlandia pokes fun at the farm-to-table movement in this clip: ”Is the chicken local?
-- The “world’s best chefs and food writers” have 19 Cookbooks That Will Improve Your Life.
-- The Guardian discusses the best literary breakfasts, answering whether the dishes sound appealing.
-- The great food writer Phyllis Richman muses on coining the term “comfort food.”
-- Here are The Top 25 Must-Read Food Memoirs of All Time, according to Grub Street.
-- Don’t miss a panel on legendary Southern food expert Edna Lewis, including Judith Jones, the retired senior editor at Knopf and Julia Child’s editor.
-- A guide on how to collect cookbooks from Abe Books includ a list of the top 10 most expensive cookbooks sold on the site.
-- Sweet Morsels: A History of the Chocolate-Chip Cookie. It’ll make you want to rush into the kitchen to bake.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested. (By the way, I've joined the 21st Century with this new edition. I'm trying Mad Mimi). New subscribers can sign up here. To change your address, email me at dj@diannej.com.

Happy New Year and best wishes for a prosperous and joyous 2014,


Dianne Jacob
Editor, Writer and Coach
Author, Will Write for Food
Office: (510) 923-1770
Web: www.diannej.com
Twitter: @diannej
Facebook: www.facebook.com/foodwriting