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a plan unfolds (or so I want to write a cookbook)

Posted Mar 18 2013 5:53pm

When I was five years old, I made a bold statement that went something like this, “When I grow up I’m going to be a writer.”


Several years ago and again last week, I followed up with another bold statement. “I’m going to write a travelogue cookbook with photos, stories, and recipes.” Now let me pause a minute to tell you I’ve talked myself out of this plan an inexhaustible number of times. Why? I wrote a book proposal about food and music in 2009 which was accepted then dropped. That pretty much sucked. I picked up my tiresome ego, dusted her off, and went on with the practice of writing. New projects and cookbook ideas surfaced in the meantime.

Fast forward to last Monday when I read “So You Want To Write A Cookbook?” (a contest sponsored by The Lisa Ekus Group) on twitter. Yes, of course, I do. So I sent out three tweets and was surprised and humbled to read that one of my ideas was chosen as one of the 16 finalists. There were a number of clever concepts, some that did and didn’t make it into the finals, but will hopefully get written either way.


Here’s my cookbook concept that was chosen:

Road Trip Recipes—diy market pickles, parking lot s’mores, camp stove calzones. Comfort foods made fresh for any trip. #signmesal

The next step was to write my POD (Point of Differentiation) aka What makes this concept unique?. We had two chances to get this right.

and my POD(s):

POD Original field guide. Retro style. Cooking on/off open road. Travel light. Make/Shop to order. Market fresh. > flavor < stuff. #signmesal

POD Unique spin on homemade to go (quick recipes, tips, photos, & travelogues), real food made simple for adventure lovin’ folks #signmesal

Now for my gut stabbing exciting news…I squeaked by and made it into the Final 8 . Eek. I spent the morning trying to ignore my growing nausea and nerves. As much as I wanted to remain detached from the outcome, I realized how much I want to write this book. I can already imagine it—the tone, look, and feel of the book. I’ve realized (yet again) what it means to be vulnerable, to put your ideas out into the world (twitterverse), and to accept fear and carry on. It does get easier over time—if only the smallest bit. Any support you want to throw my way is really appreciated!

The final 8 will be whittled down to 4 then 2 and after a twitter chat on March 25th (stop by and join in!), one. One person will win agent representation for their book concept with The Lisa Ekus Group. No matter what happens, this has been an invaluable experience to distill a large concept into 140 character responses. Not only does my shrewd internal editor like the tight edit challenge, but its also a useful exercise in word economics.

Here’s wishing everyone in the contest good luck and keep writing no matter what…

The next step is to write 3 ideas for promoting my book by Tuesday, March 19th at 11:59 pm. You can check out the twitter contest via my twitter feed @artandlemons and #signmesal. You can also follow literary agents and sponsors @SallyEkus and @LisaEkus for details as well.

On to dinner.

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