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Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reviews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction and More

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Will Write for Food is for food lovers who want to express themselves, guiding them from their earliest creative impulses to successful article writing, restaurant reviewing, and cookbook writing. Dianne Jacob—journalist and food-writing instructor and coach—offers interviews with award-winning writers such as Jeffrey Steingarten, Calvin Trillin, Molly O'Neill, and Deborah ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 21st 2005 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published April 10th 2005)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  673 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Start your review of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reviews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction and More
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great how-to guide and resource for aspiring writers. Jacob offers the same advice I'm finding in many of the writing books I'm reading - write every day, use the active voice, read, learn, etc - but she also adds lots of online and print resources ... not only for selling material, but for self-education as well. ...more
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-writing
For anyone thinking of writing food pieces in any medium, this book is a must have. The field is extremely competitive, but determination and work will result in publication, even if that publication will be developing a strong personal blog. Some food bloggers are making a living and have started major trends in writing. The most famous of these is, led by Amanda Hesser, editor of The New York Times Cookbook and regular NYT contributer. The Pioneer Woman, while not a pro, has an extr ...more
Oct 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2010, yum
Good advice on good writing. Everyone I've ever read and respected makes an appearance, from MFK Fisher to Hemingway to Deborah Madison to the author of that Jewish cookbook Katie gave me for Hanukkah to the guy from Gourmet whose blog I just started reading. And, best of all, everyone I haven't read yet! My to-read list is now overflowing with gems of food writing.

Oh, yeah, and there's all kinds of industry advice here that seems indispensably helpful if you're actually trying to get published
Cory Van Horn
May 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was so excited with I first bought the book. Since it had won an award for great writing, I figured with would provide me with new insights into the food writing world. Sadly, the book was so boring I had to retire it to the “will read later pile” after finishing the second chapter. The author seems switch between her own narrative and quotes from other books almost every other paragraph. This causes the book to take on a textbook feel.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in writing a book about food or filled with recipes, I would definitely suggest you read this book. Very interesting and full of information, plus the author interviewed several authors who are actually writing in this genre to find out what they had to say. Each chapter has writing activity suggestions to help you put into effect what she has taught you. Just one warning: Be prepared to take a lot of notes. :)
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great reference chocked full of practical information, frank advice, and examples of how to work intelligently. I am impressed that the author got so many famous food writers to share their personal stories, too!
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for anyone beginning to think about writing professionally. Good tips on crafting and refining. I enjoyed all of the stories from well known food writers.

Willow A.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to get into food writing
Shelves: food-lit, 2016
I applaud this book on being incredibly thorough. You'll find reasonably detailed information on virtually every aspect of food related writing you can think of here, from blogging and cookbook writing to freelancing and fiction – including various ways people make money with each, and plenty of grounded reminders of the amount of time, work, and sometimes luck involved for those who do it successfully.

Whatever kind of food writing you want to do, you are likely to find some useful advice in thi
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a book filled with advice about writing and the love of food.

it’s for people that are interested in food writing -clearly with that title!- but it also just generally a great read for writers over all - a lot of advice on where to start and writing exercises after each chapter- and it’s for everyone that loves to learn about food.

is food a passion for you and you love to read about it or watch movies about it? this book will give you not only a background view into of that’s done but also a lot
Jan 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is a level of snobbery here that was a real turn-off. Jacob leaves the reader who is potentially looking to learn how to write about food but not already a food journalist and successful food blogger feeling as though one has bungled up the attempt at writing before putting pen to paper. This book is not enlightening or helpful in any way and really serves as an ode to who Jacob knows in the food writing business.
Katie Mather
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really helpful, practical advice with plenty of nudges to motivate and inspire.
Shannon Leader
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! I learned so much about writing recipe and sustaining a passion for doing so. I loved this book so much I bought it after reading it for free from the library.
Lizzy Seitz
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5 stars

This book was assigned for a food writing class at my university. So I read most of it at the beginning of 2016 however I wanted to finish it because this book is really well done and jam packed with information about writing with food. Overall seriously enjoyed it
FreshGrads .Sg
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Especially in foodie-haven Singapore, food writing is everywhere – in magazines, newspapers and most prevalently on the world wide web. If you are an aspiring food blogger or simply a foodie looking for extra sources of income to supplement your guilty indulgences through writing, this is the book for you.

Will Write for Food is based on the author Dianne Jacob's own experiences as a blogger, cookbook author, freelance writer and former magazine editor. The comprehensive book covers, in individua
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, writing
According to Goodreads, I’ve been reading this book since April 24, and it is now November 17. It’s time to admit that it’s likely I won’t finish it right now, and to put it back on the shelf. How ironic that I got stuck in the chapter “Memoir and Nonfiction Food Writing,” since this is the closest chapter to what my food blog, Seasonal Eating is about.

IMHO the best way to read this book is to go right to the chapters that are about the kind of food writing that you do or aspire to do and read
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I saw ‘Will Write for Food’ on a bookshelf in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, I was surprised and excited that a book existed for such a narrow topic. I don’t usually do this, but in this case, I bought it immediately without even browsing the chapters and rolled the dice that the author (Dianne Jacob) had done her homework. As I was walking home, I realized how easily a book like this could be slapped together and sold to people like me, who just started a food blog ( ...more
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A bible for all things food-writing, I highly recommend this for anyone that has any interest in the area at all. Written in a tone that seems like you are having a conversation with a friend, this is a must-read that you won't want to put down. Chapters include information on writing a food blog, developing a cookbook, the art of memoir, fiction that includes food, freelancing, writing restaurant reviews and getting published.

Jacob not only provides a wealth of information for the aspiring writ
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
Blogs must not have been big in 2005, when this book was published, because otherwise I'd be shocked at their almost complete lack of existence in this book about food writing. A food blog is why I picked up this book, to get some helpful ideas for writing my own recipes, critiquing other peoples' recipes, reviewing restaurants and the like.

Will Write for Food takes a comprehensive look at the food writing "industry" and informs readers how to hone their food writing skills in many ways, and no
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-lit
I am a food and travel blogger and I have been wanting to write a novel with a food focus. I also have been writing food and travel articles for free and was thinking about getting my work published. I bought this book to help me in all aspects of my writing. I graduated university with a major in creative writing and found myself out of my element when it came to writing articles about restaurants, food history etc. so I looked to this book for help and direction. I definitely found every chapt ...more
Pearse Anderson
Jacob did complete the goal the back of the book promised, just not very well. She seems obsessed with food blogs and cookbooks, focusing on them over what I really came for: how to write about food and write food fiction/journalism. The book is too focused on certain aspects that don't apply to me or anyone, really. A lot of the book felt like Hell to get through, just dry, bad writing. She makes a lot of statements I had to highlight and add a massive "?" to because they were so ridiculous. Wh ...more
Julie Davis
#66 - 2010

Not sure why I picked this up except that, flipping through, I noticed there were nuggets of insight offered by many big food writing names. Reading books about writing can be interesting even if you do not plan on writing, as reading On Writing by Stephen King proved to me. I skimmed some sections, such as those on writing recipes or writing cookbooks, but read all the others. Probably only people somewhat familiar with the food writing world would be interested in reading this if the
Rogue Reader
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-writing
Excellent reference work on writing about food - it's a style guide that's customized for food writing. Jacob offers comments and insights from well known and much loved writers along with her own perspectives gained from her experience and her blog by the same name. A nice feature are the writing exercises that are included at the end of each chapter. Great for beginning writers and wanna bees with good content for the experienced writer. And no recipes to detract from the writing! Well deserve ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will Write for Food is a pleasant overview of various forms in which food writing can manifest. Dianne Jacob's voice is largely one of encouragement to follow your dreams of food writing, with an underlying and persistent parental tone reminding the reader that your journey is going to be less glamorous than anticipated, filled with hard work in writing and other unexpected tasks, and peppered with frequent disappointment. As a 'complete' guide to food writing Will Write for Food certainly can b ...more
Mightyko Jackson
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so important if you are interested in any kind of food writing-- books, blogs, news... It gives a lot of background to the food writing industry, techniques on improving yourself as a food writer, as well as insight on good writers' lives and beliefs about writing. This book also helped me to focus in on what my purpose is as a writer and whether I wanted to be more serious/realistic about it.
Dianne's blog is also wonderful for issues in food writing. I encourage you to follow it.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A library loan. It is informative and in many respects dull. Such is life.

I don't doubt for a second that this author was anything but thorough in her explanations about the industry of food writing.

The chapter on writing cookbooks bored me to tears but the memoir section was good.

Again it was useful as probably the most truthful information about getting published and self-publishing. Worth my time to get it out of the library a second time when I was ready to read it. What a difference a year
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, z2005
If you are a writer, or read a few books on writing/getting published, you might not get anything new from the “how to” parts of this book. But, I enjoyed the stories by established food writers about how they got started & what inspires them. She interviewed some of the best in the field, although in spots I felt she was just name dropping. The bibliography itself was worth the walk to the library to pick it up.

Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
pretty interesting and this author talked to everyone who is anyone. my opinion is i really didn't think the author's writing was that good. as a result, the book was lackluster and could have been huge. i did learn some things. my favorite sentence was "Who are these people who like muffins?" i was amazed with the story of Judy Kancigor's family cookbook turned Melting Pot Memories. pretty awesome though i can't find it's still in print. ...more
Serge Pierro
Dianne Jacob's book on food writing is probably the best source of information on the subject currently available. However, the book does lack a certain "spark" and seems to be more of a gathering of anecdotes, than an original source of instruction. Lots of topics are covered, and for the neophyte, lots of foundational information. But for the food writer with any previous experience, the material is somewhat pedestrian. ...more
Leigh Kramer
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, nonfiction
Great resource for anyone interested in writing about food. While I don't personally have that goal, I do read a lot of food memoirs and cookbooks and thought this would have good behind-the-scenes insights, which it did. I read the 2005 version, which did not cover the rise of food blogs (they had not yet risen) or even how food memoir has grown even more popular in the intervening years. This appears to be included in a revised version. ...more
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bible for anyone that wants to be involved in the Food business: whether it be cookbook writer, food writer, or food blogger, you need to own this book now. Jacob puts everything on the table in a clear and concise way so you know what you're getting into and how to improve your chances on getting published. Excellent. ...more
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Dianne Jacob is the author of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. The first edition won the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book in 2005. The second edition won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2010 for best book in the USA in its category. The third edition came out July 15, 2015, and featured a new c ...more

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