View Full Version : Piching a Cookbook?

07-30-2013, 11:54 PM
I have an opportunity coming up to meet with an agent that handles cookbooks. I've had a cookbook idea floating in my brain for the last 15 years or so and it may be time to get it down on paper. My question is: Is there anything different about pitching a cookbook than any other type of work?

I'm familiar with non-fiction proposals and would generally follow the same format, a synopsis, table of contents, sample chapter and a marketing plan. Would that be correct?

Thanks for any tips. I have a few months to work on this and want it to be good. After all, cookbooks still sell. :)


Old Hack
07-31-2013, 10:59 AM
There's no real difference as far as I know. Which means that just as in every other genre, you need to have some sort of reputation and expertise in the subject for most publishers or agents to be interested in publishing your book.

Siri Kirpal
07-31-2013, 09:54 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Only one difference that I know of: You may be asked to supply sample recipes instead of sample chapters.


Siri Kirpal

07-31-2013, 09:59 PM
Perfect timing for asking this question. PW is hosting a webcast tomorrow on this very topic. You can register via this page (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/51220-publishers-weekly-webcasts.html). But yes, in general, the proposal for a cookbook follows the general non-fiction book proposal format.

Some of my published books aren't cookbooks per se, but have recipes as an integral aspect. I know the inclusion of the recipes had a lot to do with getting my initial contract (my editor said, "I've been looking for something along the lines of Like Water for Chocolate"--which I hadn't read so I wasn't aiming for that parallel.) This was all pre-blogging and before home cooks could be viewed as experts or have any kind of 'following.'

One of my favorite haunts is the bargain section at B&N--especially the cookbook section. While many of the cookbooks published each year are written by chefs or celebrity foodies of one sort or another, a number are written by relative unknowns who have a unique slant on a particular aspect of cooking. For example, there are a number of cupcake books out there, and they're not all written by people who run a cupcake shop or bakery.

I'll be listening to the webcast tomorrow. I have a book idea that is more categorically a cookbook than anything else (which isn't true of my other books that contain recipes); I--and my agent--are interested to hear what is said about opportunities in the genre.