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All photographs from this post were taken by Dottie Foley Photography. Dottie is a great photographer and if you need wonderful photos of any event I highly recommend her.
I recently got asked to speak about self publishing at the Eat Write Retreat conference in Chicago for food bloggers. I was part of an hour long, three person presentation and hour long follow up panel focused around all aspects of publishing a book.
Eat Write Retreat is a great experience for food bloggers and I highly recommend checking it out if you are hoping to learn a ton about successful food blogging, as well as to make connections with other great bloggers. As they put it, "Eat Write Retreat is an intensive learning weekend focused on strengthening connections within the food community through shared exploration of cooking, photography, and writing".
The conference was definitely intensive, with about three to four speakers a day, each going one to two hours long, plus events scheduled from 9 am until 9 pm. There were more than 60 food bloggers there, as well as another 10 to 20 speakers and sponsors, making for a large, but still intimate group.
I was joined on the publishing panel with Sally Ekus, an agent for the Lisa Ekus group, and Robyn Webb, an award winning author. Both of whom were fantastic to work with and very accomplished in their fields.
The talk was called Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing But Were Afraid to Ask with Jason Logsdon, Sally Ekus and Robyn Webb, and here is the description from the conference organizers:
Thinking about publishing a cookbook, but not sure where to start? Hear from three industry pros about the challenges and decisions you'll face, whether pursuing a traditional publishing journey or venturing into self-publishing. Learn the skills and tools you'll need to shepherd your recipes from your blog to proper cookbook format-they're not the same! Discuss the ins and outs of working with a traditional agent and publisher, including book proposals, advances and royalties. Dive into the technology and cost benefit analysis of designing, printing and marketing a cookbook independently. Armed with an intensive review of all the options, you'll come away knowing the right path for your next cookbook!
It was great talking with so many food bloggers and describing to them how self publishing had pushed my blog to success and how to apply the same results to their own blogs. My part of the presentation focused around two facts: 1) Anyone can self publish a cookbook, and 2) How to make publishing a part of your blogging strategy.
Going in, we did a show of hands on how many people were interested in self publishing...and about 4 people raised their hands. At the end, we re-asked the question and almost half of the audience had come around and had their hands raised! It's a great feeling to be able to inspire people and show them that they can publish a cookbook and make it a valuable part of their blogging strategy.
It was also very helpful to get Sally and Robyn's more traditional take on many of the publishing concepts. As a whole, the three of us were able to provide information about all aspects of publishing, both from a traditional and self publishing side. Self publishing isn't right for everyone, and neither is traditional publishing, so having a frank discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each was really helpful.
Eat Write Retreat was a great experience, both as a speaker and an attendee, and it is something I hope to do next year. I plan to be publishing some more information from my talk, as well as some videos, so stay tuned.
- Jason Logsdon