As those of you who frequent our blog know by now, I represent a good number of cookbooks and narrative books about food and wine. It’s a category that has changed a lot since I started agenting almost 13 years ago, and we’ve seen a lot of trends come and go during that time. Chef books, single ingredient books, lifestyle cookbooks (vegetarian, now vegan), reality TV and Food Network personalities have all had their place in the market, and many continue to thrive with the right combination of elements.
One relatively new phenomenon we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years (and will be seeing a lot more of in years to come) is the rise of the food blog-to-book. There is such a strong network of writers in this community that it’s become a fast growing and successful subculture with a world and language all its own, not to mention a whole bunch of writers’ conferences. I represent a number of the members of this community, including the amazing Shauna James Ahern of glutenfreegirl.com, who was really at the forefront of this emerging market.
I work closely with many authors and editors to tap into new talent, and it’s become an interesting conversation to see which bloggers are getting book deals, which ones have growing stats, and which ones are rising above the pack in terms of subject, content, photos, or voice. There are so many that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what’s out there! I’ve been very fortunate to have authors and editors who have referred me to some great food bloggers, and I’m really eager to see what happens as many more of these books are published in the coming months and years. There are definitely critics out there who think it’s a trend and that publishers are overpaying for some of these books (there are at least a couple of recent sales that topped $500k), but we’re seeing sales that suggest otherwise. Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com is a successful blogger whose most recent book has been selling very well and has hit top 10 on the New York Times bestseller list.
So, it does seem to be a lot more than a trend, and I’d love to hear from our blog readers what your favorite food blogs are, and what makes them your favorites. Is it the recipes, the photos, the writing, or something else that keeps you coming back for more?