My baking book is available for pre-order! It’s called Fantastic Vegan Cookies, published by Page Street Publishing, and it’s all about scrumptious cookies and cookie bars of all kind. Check out the links below to pre-order your copy of cookie heaven ♥ In this post I will also answer the question: How to get a cookbook deal?
Fantastic Vegan Cookies – a delicious collection of 60 cookie recipes!
“Every vegan cookie imaginable is represented in this outstanding collection—from gooey chocolate treats and fruit-studded confections to no-bake delights and to-die-for bar bakes. No matter what you’re craving, there’s a cookie that’ll hit the spot, including:
Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Citrus Sandwich Cookies
Cookie Butter Bars
Piña Colada Cookies
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza
Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies”
Fantastic Vegan Cookies is published by Page Street Publishing November 2, 2021.
Click the images below to pre-order your copy of Fantastic Vegan Cookies
How to Get a Cookbook Deal?
Here’s a list of what I think are the most important elements in getting an international cookbook deal. Some of these are obvious, but I’m writing them down anyway, because all of these factors are tied together:
You need to have proven skills in cooking or baking and recipe writing either by profession or by hobby. Whether it is via your blog, social media or your work, your skills need to be “out there” witnessed by others.
My skills: I am a self-taught chef and baker, and my work can be best seen via my Instagram, this blog and the websites and social media feeds of various brands. I have worked as a plant-based recipe creator for 4 years. Recipe creation and food photography for brands is my main area of work at the moment. I learned to cook and bake vegan by cooking and baking A LOT; almost every single day for the past 7 years. I’ve learned tips and tricks from my parents, chefs and fellow food bloggers. And I am still learning.
Skills and passion often go hand in hand, and obtaining a skill is much easier and faster with an inherent passion for the subject. I believe when you have a passion for something, and you enjoy practicing and become good at it, your skill becomes infused with love. Yes, love. And when you share your skill with the world you also share love.
To find your true passion/s, the first thing to do is to start listening to your inner voice more. Let this voice be your guide when you are pursuing a new hobby, reading about a topic, walking in nature, or doing pretty much anything. Because your passion might also be something you have never thought about before! Pay close attention to when you start feeling a tingling inside, like a sudden burst of inner energy.
Also reminiscing about your childhood can help: what did you love to do as a child? What brought you so much joy you didn’t notice the hours passing by, you were simply caught in the magical flow of creation?
This part about passion relates to any passion in general, but when in the topic of cooking and baking, I have noticed a huge trend in niches. You’ve probably seen these niches on social media too: sourdough bread, bread baking in general, cake decoration, pies and tarts, chocolate and so on. If you have a niche topic you are passionate about, there are undoubtedly others who love that niche too.
My passion: I found my passion for baking already when I was 11. Me and my best friend loved to bake chocolate chip cookies and brownies. We even started a cooking club (just the two of us as members) as an excuse to bake more..haha we were pretty clever. I also baked a lot in high school, but mostly for others as I was suffering from an eating disorder back then. When I slowly healed in my twenties, I lost my passion for baking.
When I began baking vegan 7 years ago it was like stepping back in time. Not only did vegan food heal my relationship with food, I also found my passion for baking again. I felt like an 11 year old experimenting with creative ingredients and also eating what I baked with enthusiasm.
Vegan baking was once a niche (I’d say about 5 years ago when vegan food in general was a niche :), but now it’s definitely a huge trend already with the market quite satisfied. BUT there is room for everyone, and anyone can succeed when paying attention to the following:
When skills and passion are combined, you have the building blocks for creating something truly unique. Because it is Your skill and Your passion, your talent comes straight from Your heart, with love. This is the magical, intangible element, which can’t be copied by others.
Everything you do stems from this unique place of love: your style of cooking and baking, your creative recipe ideas, your styling an photography style too (if you photograph yourself). Your uniqueness is your brand and you should cherish it!
To reach a point where you have a unique offering to share, hard work is required. Sometimes it takes a year, sometimes it takes 10. Sometimes even 20. But time is irrelevant here, because what you are creating is your passion and you are doing it as much for yourself as you are for others.
This is something also your audience can sense and see when you share your passion with them. When you are true to yourself pursuing something you love, your audience will come to you because they want to see more. You have something unique of value to offer them.
An Active Audience
Promoting your cookbook via your social media platform/s and website is a vital part of the cookbook process. So it is obvious that being active on social media and having a substantial social media following is a must.
You don’t need to have an audience of hundreds of thousands (although it does speed up the process), especially if your cooking or baking passion belongs to a niche. But having a community of about 20k is a prerequisite as it shows you have great potential and what you are doing interests others.
Naturally the larger the audience you have, the more likely it is to catch the eye of a publisher or a literary agent. You also might get featured on various media outlets, which increases the chances of your unique work to be seen.
Important advice: do not ever buy followers or likes or any service, which claims to grow your audience via bought engagement.
My audience: First of all Thank You ♥ For reading this and supporting me and my passion: vegan baking! I started Myberryforest Instagram in the end of 2014. I have taken several long breaks from social media, which has not been good for engagement, but definitely good for my mental health.
Social media is very draining on so many levels. Taking care of yourself should always be a priority! So as you can see it has taken me a long time and hard work to reach this point.
Be passionate and patient. That’s how you grow in a healthy way!
The Big Idea
Having a big idea or several ideas for a cookbook is of course required to write a cookbook. You might already have a few if you’re a passionate cook or baker.
The practical next step to take is to have an idea so strong you can write a book proposal about it. Writing the proposal gives you a chance to test your idea: do you have a solid interesting concept, can you come up with initial chapters and a few recipes for each chapter, what is unique about your book etc.
Google ‘book proposal’ and start writing! This is a good exercise even though you wouldn’t proceed with the idea any further. This exercise is also important because you get a feel of the cookbook creation process. It is hard work and you really need to want it to be able to do all the work.
Literary Agent and Luck
This is what I heard a few years ago: without a literary agent it’s impossible to get an international book deal. Times have changed and I know there are several publishers who accept unsolicited cookbook proposals.
Having a literary agent is probably best when you have a huge social media following (over 200k), because you might want someone to negotiate a good deal for you. You might already have several publishers wanting to publish your book, so you want to get the best deal.
If you have all the above elements together:
- Unique offering
- An active audience
- The big idea
then you just need to wait for Your opportunity to arrive. You can wait actively (contacting publishers, literary agents, asking from your network) or just wait and continue business as usual and let it all happen when it is the right time.
Of course a little bit of luck is also needed for your opportunity to arrive, but all the elements for you to become the lucky one who gets a book deal are listed above.
I was very patient. I was also lucky. One wonderful email from Page Street Publishing in June 2020 changed my work plans for the year ahead.
One important element is still missing:
Believe in Yourself
When things are not going the way you want them to. When it is taking too much time for things to happen. When there are tough days, and you want to quit everything.
Believe in yourself.
Take a break and go find your passion and spark again by doing something totally different. For me this might mean napping (I love to nap hehe), reading novels, studying something random like how the brain works, singing (Taylor Swift songs are my favorites to sing).
Find the flow again and start working on improving your skills, share your passion with love, and build a community of food lovers who you love and who love you back.
With love from the forest ♥
My next post will be about the cookbook writing process. Stay tuned!