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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  103 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 3.97  · 
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 ·  946 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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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
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!
Carmen Tracey
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly written, full of useful information, and relevant not just for people writing about food, but anyone with an interest in writing and publishing a book. Made me want to sit down and start writing.
If this book were aimed at international English-speaking would-be food writers, I would give it 4 stars. But because it is a tiny bit parochial with its bias for writing material for the USA, I felt compelled to lower the score. A book cannot have "complete" in the title if it is only aimed at one country's citizens.

Also, while the book is not at all a cookbook, I've grouped it in the cookbooks simply because there is a large section on how to write a cookbook.

Here is why I read it: When searc
Stephanie Craner
Such a great book for aspiring food writers!! I’ve learned so much in a short span of time thanks to this book. Would recommend to anyone interested in food writing!
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.
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
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. :)
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had such a wealth of useful information for people at all levels of food writing. It has a ton of resources and ideas for where to develop certain skills further, and I have lots and lots of passages bookmarked. Such a great tool!
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.

Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! There were so much useful advice. Some of the chapters don't pertain to what I want to do right now, however, I know I will be going back to reference this book many times. ...more
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.
Deanna Martinez-Bey
This book is jam packed with helpful information!
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
Marilyn Sue Michel
Honest, knowledgeable discussion of the many aspects of producing writing about food. The final chapter describes jobs that might pay more than writing itself. I enjoyed it very much because I do not write about food at all. I only photograph my own baked goods. I have read several of the books cited, but only because I borrowed them from the library. Jacobs estimates 98 to 99% of all book proposals are rejected by agents and publishers. I think this is realistic.
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
April Helms
This was for the food memoir category. I admit this one is a bit of a stretch for this category; Jacob's book is more a guide on writing a food memoir. Or blog. Or cookbook. Or any food-related publication. Or write reviews. This is a must for anyone wanting to do any writing connected with the culinary world. This book is even a good resource for those who want to write, even if their interest is not in food (I'm about as non-foodie as you get, but even I had some good takeaways from this). Ja ...more
Linda Kissam
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: New and sesasoned food writers
Recommended to Linda by: A good friend after asking her for the 100th time what is a good substitute for "yummy."

This book is kind of a finishing school course for food writers. Read this and you'll definitely smooth out some rough edges and learn new attitudes that get you invited in the front door and then asked back. If it is a polished look you're after in the foodie field, this would be the vehicle to step in to get there.

A great book for new food writers, it also has value for more seasoned writers. It hits all the right "hot spots" including how to make an income from food writing, how to publish yo
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
This is one of the most helpful and concrete books about any type of writing that I've read. Most books about writing are abstract and give you advice that doesn't take you through the steps of exercising it. While the book got off to a rocky start for me because I feel it's irrelevant--when the publication industry has undergone enormous changes since print reigned supreme--how well-established food writers worked their way to the top because these people have been doing what they do for decade ...more
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Dianne Jacob is the author of Will Write for Food: Pursue Your passion and Bring Home the Dough Writing Recipes, Cookbooks, Blogs, and More.

Awards for her book include the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book, the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best book in the USA in its category, and the Silver Nautilus award in the Creative Process category.

Dianne is co-auth

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