Welcome to episode 115 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork talks with Kathryne Taylor from Cookie & Kate about how she decided her blog would have a food focus, when she chose to make her first hire, and her advice for future cookbook authors.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork talked with Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer from Thriving Home Blog about working as a partnership on their blog. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
How to Write a 5-Star Cookbook
While Kathryne’s blog Cookie & Kate didn’t start out as a food blog, she transitioned to sharing healthy, whole food recipes. From there, Cookie & Kate became her full-time job, and she quickly learned the ins and outs of blogging, web development, and design.
Just a few months ago, Kathryne released her first cookbook, Love Real Food, which has gained a ton of praise (including nearly 200 5-star reviews on Amazon). She learned a lot from the cookbook publishing process, and she has a few tips that will help aspiring cookbook authors turn their ideas to realities.
In this episode, Kathryne shares:
- What she did before blogging
- Why she started her blog and transitioned to sharing recipes
- How she transitioned to working on her blog full-time
- How she learned how to handle the design and development side of blogging
- How she decided to hire help
- What her typical week looks like
- How she chose a publisher for her cookbook
- How she got paid for writing her cookbook
- What she learned from editing her cookbook
Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on iTunes or Google Play Music:
- Cookie & Kate
- The Faux Martha
- Show Me How To Do It
- Cupcakes & Cashmere
- What to Eat
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma
- Saveur Blog Awards
- Mr. Money Mustache
- Check out Kate’s cookbook, the Love Real Food Cookbook
- Follow Kate on Instagram and Facebook
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Be sure to review us on iTunes!
If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.
Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, we talk to Kathryne from Cookie & Kate about the moment she realized her blog should focus on food, how she made her first hire, and her advice for future cookbook authors.
Hey, everybody. Bjork Ostrom here, and today, we are talking to Kathryne from Cookie & Kate. It’s going to be a great conversation, and we’re going to cover a lot of ground. Kathryne’s going to talk about her story all the way back to when the blog first started, where I actually go back when we first kick off the interview and chat a little bit about where the name comes from and pull out some quotes from early posts that she has before it was a food blog. Then we get into talking about how that transition was made, and then really how she dove deep into publishing a cookbook and where she’s taken her blog since those early days. It’s going to be a great conversation, and I know that you’re going to get a lot out of it. Let’s go ahead and jump in. Kathryne, welcome to the podcast.
Kathryne Taylor: Hey Bjork, thank you so much for having me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Fun to chat. We are actually chatting at our good friend Melissa and Kevin’s house not too long ago in their beautiful backyard, so for those that haven’t checked it, The Faux Martha, they just redid their backyard. I feel like this is us reconnecting not connecting, so it’s fun to be chatting with you.
Kathryne Taylor: Very true. I love this podcast, though. It’s very fun to be on it.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh, thanks. Thanks for listening, and thanks for coming on, and I know that you have a lot of experience with this food blog space, and so it’s going to be a perfect fit for the people that listen to the podcast.
I want to start out with this, though. One of the things I’d love to do is go on to the way back machine, especially for people that have been doing this for a while, and to type in the address, so for me, I type in cookieandkate.com, and then I go back to the very farthest archive that’s possible, and for you, it was 2010, and, kind of mid–2010 I think it was, and I pulled out this quote from a post that you wrote. You said, “Well, I have a bad case of the Monday blues. Minute by minute, mandatory overtime is chipping away at my soul. I hope I can make it through the Mother’s Day rush without turning into a lifeless office drone. Think positive, Kate.” End quote.
Take me back there and talk to me about what were you talking about and what was life like for you back in 2010.
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I remember that well. I was working in Oklahoma City, living about a 45-minute commute away, and I was working in the web services department for a floral wire service. I would, generally speaking, I would work with florists around the country and explain to them how Facebook works, how Google works, how they can improve their marketing presence, but it wasn’t very fun. It’s fun to learn new things, and it was tremendously helpful for what I’m doing now, but it was basically me coming in at a set time every day talking to people on the phone, and then having a long drive home.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Were these people that owned … We have a flower shop on the corner of our block, or a couple blocks away. I think they own maybe one or two stores. These are people that are like that, they have a floral shop, and they’re trying to … They’re like, “We know we need to understand Google and Facebook. How do we do that? You worked for a company that explained that in the web floral business or in the floral business.”
Kathryne Taylor: Yes. Because I was working for a company that provided sort of just pre-built websites to florists-
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: … and so then they’d be like, “Why am I not selling more flowers,” and I’d talk to them. Sometimes it’d be like a grandpa and I’d try to explain how Facebook worked and sometimes it’d be a marketing person for a bigger shop.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Take me back to that time, 2010, Facebook, Google, obviously, still a huge deal. Facebook very different than it is now, but what were … Do you remember some of the strategies that you were employing or deploying or learning about at that point?
Kathryne Taylor: It was all pretty basic. I completely relate, especially now, as an actual business owner to what the business owners were saying, which was, “I’m too busy for this. I don’t wanna stop and talk about what I’m doing. I just wanna do it.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. For sure. Lindsay and I talk about, show me how to do a dotcom. It’s like, there are those things where you just want people to say, “Here’s how you do it and here’s where you go to learn how to do it.” It seems like I would assume that that was a lot of the interactions that you were having with those people.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. I’ve got to check that out. Yeah. It was hard because we were talking on the phone and there weren’t really many screen sharings, but the Mother’s Day reference was … Every major holiday, I had to stop doing my regular job and help place orders all over the country. Everyone in the whole office building would have to stop their usual work and help call florists and be like, “Will you take this order for so and so’s mother in Nantucket?”
Bjork Ostrom: Oh, interesting. It was during that rush you, essentially, had to press pause and totally switch your role in a way.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes and it was mandatory overtime, so I was working 10 or 11 hours a day. Then, the hour and a half commute and especially in the spring before the sun comes out.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Kathryne Taylor: It didn’t feel like much of a life.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. For sure. You have this blog that you started at the time, Cookie & Kate. It was fun to even go back and see pictures of Cookie. Can you explain, for those that aren’t familiar, kind of the idea behind the name Cookie & Kate? Then, we can kind of jump in to talking about how it got started.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Well, so Cookie is my dog. She’s a rescue dog, and I think I’d had her for about a year before I started the blog. Well, I was reading a bunch of blogs at work when I wasn’t supposed to be. One day it was like, “Why don’t I just have my own blog?” I didn’t have a focus for it. Food wasn’t even on my list of initial topics I thought I’d talk about. In the absence of a specific subject, the only name that I could come up with that I thought was kind of catchy and memorable was Cookie & Kate.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Interesting enough when you do eventually pivot into recipes, just by chance you lucked out that your dog’s name was … It was a food item.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. I know. It’s hilarious. Her name was Cookie when I got her and for a couple days I thought about changing it. Then I was like, “No, No, no wait.”
Bjork Ostrom: Little did you know how perfect it was.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: You start the blog and you’re doing it kind of on the side along with work and I would assume it’s in some ways kind of a creative outlet. Did you also understand, at that point, it could build into something? Did you have that hope? You felt kind of the crushing reality of what it would potentially be like to be a lifeless office drone as you say, and was this blog like, “Hey, I can see a tiny sliver of light and this might be my way out?”
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I started it because I felt like I very much needed a creative outlet. I’d always enjoyed writing. I loved photography and I’d taken several classes in college and I actually already loved web design, so it was kind of a perfect fit of interest. At the time, I was reading more like fashion blogs and interior design blogs, so I remember Cupcakes & Cashmere. She was blogging full time and I thought, “Wow. That’s cool,” but really I didn’t really want to admit it to anyone, but I knew that I wanted it to be a destination. A place that people wanted to visit.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: It didn’t have a monetary value at all.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, but the hope was, “I want to build this into something. I want to create something that is valuable, not necessarily like monetarily valuable at the start, but create something that’s valuable enough that people come. They engage with it. Their interested in it. It’s almost like starting out with the artist approach of like, ”Hey. I want to create something that’s valuable in the world that people will engage with and come to.” Is that kind of the basic idea with starting out?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Absolutely. In the beginning I shared pictures of Cookie, pictures of flowers in the spring and I was like, “People are not gonna come back every day for this.”
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I just barely dabbled in style posts and interior design stuff. It became very apparent to me that I didn’t want to … I didn’t want to add to the materialism that’s already all over the Web. I didn’t want to say, “Hey guys. Look at this awesome $200 shirt that I can’t afford. You’d want it, too.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Right.
Kathryne Taylor: I didn’t feel good about that. It didn’t take long for me to realize, “Okay. I only want to publish like unique content. I don’t want to republish anyone else’s photos.” Then it was like, “Well. Hmm. What do I talk about?”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s when you had the idea, “Maybe it’s recipe and food.”
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I just thought one day, “Well, maybe I can take pictures of this salsa recipe that I’ve been making a lot lately.”
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: I hurried home and I took picture of this salsa and added a cute picture of Cookie by the salsa and then I shared it and I got, I don’t know, 5 or 10 comments saying they liked it and it was just a major light bulb moment for me because I was like, “Oh. This is like healthy, attainable, approachable content. I feel good about sharing it. It gives me something to take photos of and to write about.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, as opposed to what you’re kind of coming up against or running up against before was like maybe you post about … I feel like Goop as the ultimate example of like, “Here are these earrings for $1400 and here’s why they’re great.” It’s like, “Ugh.” Kind of shifting and thinking, in a lot of ways, “What is the content that I feel good about putting out into the world? If I know I want to create this resource and this place where people come, what do I want that to be about?”
Wanting it to be about something that doesn’t make people feel like, “Hey. You need to spend $1200 on this fashion item,” but instead saying, “Hey. Maybe recipes and food is a better place to go,” especially, food that tends toward real food, probably healthier items, vegetarian-leaning. At that point, did you know that’s the niche that you wanted to go into or was that a further refinement down the line?
Kathryne Taylor: Growing up, I had grown up with sort of a health-conscious mom, which was very good for me. In college and just shortly after, developed an interest in nutrition. I read a book by Marion Nestle called, What to Eat, and I was like, “What? I don’t need to drink three glasses of milk a day,” and a lot of these ideas that I’d heard about growing up we’re just not true. Low-fat diets aren’t necessarily what they were made out to be. I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. That is when I stopped eating meat.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. When was that?
Kathryne Taylor: That was probably the year after college, so just before I started the blog.
Bjork Ostrom: That was something that you had been thinking about and processing before starting the blog. It was already something that was kind of a part of your thinking in the way that you viewed recipes and food and …
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. I’ve always just shared recipes that I really like and they all happen to be, generally, on a healthier side and definitely vegetarian.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. You are kind of moving into this niche. You get some traction. You post a recipe and then you’re like, “Oh. People responded to this. I have some comments.” Especially in the early days, I feel like comments, it could go from zero to five. It’s like, “Ooh. What was this about?” Nobody responded and then five people responded or usually a couple of people respond and then it’s 10 comments. You can kind of gauge a little bit. You have this gut reaction to that of like, “Oh. I see that there’s some engagement on this. Maybe this is something that I can continue to post about.” I’m guessing that then you kind of continued to iterate on that. At what point did you say, “Hey. Maybe there is hope for me to leave this job. I won’t become an office drone, but I can maybe make this into something that is my job. It’s a career that I can build a business out of this.”
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I can’t remember exactly the timeline, but I was really shy about the blog for the longest time. I didn’t want anybody I knew to look at it because I felt just nervous, like they were looking at me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: I think it took a whole year for me to say, “Okay. This is gonna be like a food-focused blog.” Then, I think about two years after I started the blog, I submitted my own site to Saveur’s Food Blog Awards and I said, “This is my blog and I work hard on it. Please consider it.” I was one of the, their nominees for Best Cooking Blog. That just blew my mind. I was so flattered and I thought, “Okay. Maybe this has some potential. Maybe I don’t have to hide it from people.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. For sure and when did you say that was?
Kathryne Taylor: I think it was about two years in.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, it was 2012.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm . Great. You had been working on it for two years and then you have this moment where you’re like, “I think I’m gonna start kind of tryin’ to be intentional to put this out there a bit.” You submit it and it gets accepted as a nomination for Best Cooking Blog. A huge validation. Did that then tip you over into saying, “Okay. Now what can I do to start to be more intentional with promoting this?” Being a little bit more … ah … being a little bit more intentional about putting yourself out there?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I think it all happened around that time, but I will say I realized when I was thinking about leaving that job that I didn’t like, I realized that I was trying to find a job that would allow me more time to work on the blog and if I were going to sacrifice other, “sacrifice my other career” for the blog, then I should really turn it into a good one.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. That was looking for, essentially, the next step out that would maybe allow you to transition. Kind of a transitionary period job.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes and I found that. I was really lucky because I went to work for my mother.
Bjork Ostrom: Right. Can you talk about what that period was like?
Kathryne Taylor: I grew up around marketing and publishing. She owns a family-focused magazine in Oklahoma City.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: At the time that I just couldn’t stand my old job anymore, I called her and she said, “Well, I’m about to redesign the website completely. You should come on and manage that project.” I ended up art directing the magazine later on, so I would design it, but the cool part about that is that in between those monthly deadlines, I would have more time to work on the blog.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm . Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: Just being home and not commuting an hour and half each way.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s for sure. A book that I’m reading right now is talking about that. I’m really interested in these, not in applying, but just observing. There’s all of these personal finance bloggers, like Mr. Money Mustache is one of them. Then there’s another guy, I forget his name, but they all talk about these, like frugal living, essentially. One of the things they talk about most often is commuting. Just not only how much time it takes up, but the cost of it. I think that’s a huge takeaway for people that are looking to claw back some time. For people that are doing the … Building your business, bootstrapping it on the side, I think the commute can be a huge thing, either moving closer to work or finding a job that’s closer to home, whichever one is more flexible. It seems like, especially, in your case, man, hour and a half a week? That’s like a week a month. You know what I mean?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: You’re getting five hours a day. It’s like five to whatever. It’d be five to seven hours a day, which is like a part-time work week every month, which is huge to be able to deploy that against working for your blog and building that, which is awesome.
You have this transitionary period. Lindsay and I had those as well, where we kind of cut back from our jobs and made this slow transition over where we knew we wanted to continue to work on it, knew we wanted to continue to build it, but we weren’t like, “We’re gonna burn the boats,” and “We have no way back.” We were the opposite where we’re like, “We’re gonna keep these boats really well maintained, so if we want to turn around and go back we can.” That allowed it to be less stressful. It sounds like that was kind of similar for you.
At what point did you say, “You know what? I think it’s gonna make sense for me. I can stop a ”normal job,” and dive into Cookie & Kate full time.
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I think it was right about the time that my blog income matched what I was making at my other job, which wasn’t much. It really wasn’t much. It’s much easier to make that leap when you don’t have a giant income that you’re trying to replace or justify leaving.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep and same for Lindsay and I. I was at a non-profit and Lindsay was a teacher and so it’s not like we had these lifestyles that accounted for this corporate income that we’d been working at for 10 years. Can you remember what that first moment was like? That first week that it was like, “Hey. I’m not going into work, but I’m just working on my blog.”
Kathryne Taylor: Well, it didn’t feel like a big transition, really, because I was already working at home.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: I don’t really remember a whole lot actually.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Sure. Because it was the transition from doing the … It was a different type of work, but in terms of your normal routine, it probably looked similar because you were working from home doing the art directing for the magazine. Is that right?
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: I will say my family was awesome. I think a lot of people find working for yourself to be unconventional and really scary and my family was just like, “Oh. Of course, you should do that.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, which is so nice, for sure.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. There’s a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, so they were just like, “Of course, you’ll do that.”
Bjork Ostrom: They understood. Yeah. One of the things that I wanted to talk to you about is … It kind of ties into the piece where you talk about being the art director for the magazine, but also know that before that you were doing a lot of marketing and social media-type consulting for the floral company. You have this really unique skillset that you’re able to use for building your business, where you do, if I’m right, you do all the design and development on your site. Is that right?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Because I’m a crazy person.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay, so you do the design, you do the development, you do the photography. You do all of the writing. You do the recipes. It’s an incredible skillset and combination that you have and, not only that, there are people that do that, but then you do it and it’s done at such a high level. It’s so quality and I’m interested to know how you learn because I’m going to pull out this quote again from 2010 to go back, and it’s a little bit longer, but I feel like it’s fun for people to hear this because I think people relate. Bear with me as I read through your … It’s like every blogger’s worst nightmare to go back to earliest posts and then to hear somebody else say it.
Here it is, “Since it’s Monday, I thought I’d share this picture of Cookie’s first bath. Aw.” I actually literally had that moment, where I was like, “Aw,” when I saw that photo that said, “Cookie’s first bath this winter, which is far over do,” and then you said, “Dear my eight readers, family members,” and then you reference two people Jord and then Jess. “I promise I’ll posting more soon. I’m busy trying to set up my blog the way I want it, on its own domain, cookieandkate.com, so far I’ve been thoroughly confused, but I seem to be creeping forward. I can’t wait till I get all this technical mumbo jumbo straightened out, so I can focus on writing and photography.” Then you say, “CSS, CMS, WordPress. I need a drink.”
Can you tell me what that was like in those early stages and how you stuck with it and learned? Because now you have those skills, and you’re able to use those to build your job to make changes to make implementations, to make it look good, but that’s not an easy thing to crawl through those early stages when it feels like you’re learning at such a slow pace. Take me back there and talk about how you stuck with it and continued to learn.
Kathryne Taylor: Well, the irony is that I could’ve written that yesterday because I’m dealing with lots of, more technical stuff now. When I started the blog, I started it on Blogspot. I think actually I wanted to make it a WordPress website because I knew what that was, but I was just kind of too afraid to do it. I thought it would be almost silly like, “Oh. She thinks she’s gonna have a real blog.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Sure. Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I decided to do it on Blogspot, but just a few months in I was irritated by the limitations because I was working … I knew enough about search engine optimization to realize that the features that I needed were already missing.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: Oh, I can’t remember. I got everything transferred to WordPress, to a self-hosted WordPress and then I started with a super basic, sort of bare bone’s theme. Then I modified it a whole bunch.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. You essentially jumped in and said, “Here are the things that I want, the features that I want,” and then it’s digging into the code and saying, “How can I implement those?” Lots of Googling, I would assume?
Kathryne Taylor: Yes. Lots of Googling. Lots of just trial and error. Lots of breaking things and fixing them.
Bjork Ostrom: For sure. Did you go to school for computer science or did you have a background in that?
Kathryne Taylor: I was a nerdy kid, who read a lot of books. I think in fourth grade, my friend Gary Lou was taking a web design summer class that was offered by my school system. I thought everything Gary did was cool and so, I signed up for it, too.
Bjork Ostrom: Wow. Good for you.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, so I learned some stuff when I was 12 and I just really latched on and loved it. My first website ever was about Beanie Babies-
Bjork Ostrom: Nice. Yeah. For sure.
Kathryne Taylor: Purple background. Rainbow scrolling text. It was great.
Bjork Ostrom: This is fun fact for you tangent. I’m holding right now, a Beanie Baby in my hand because I have one on my desk and I will tell you this, the tag is not intact, which I know isn’t good for Beanie Baby value, but it is the Ty 2K Beanie Baby. It’s like the Y2K Beanie Baby. It is almost 17 years old and it’s like this running joke with my parents where we pass it back and forth. We try and hide it. I put in in my dad’s glove box and then he’ll find it. It’s actually in the wedding photos for Lindsay and I, in some of them, because they put it up in the candle holder or something like that. Lindsay was like, “Oh no. There’s a Beanie Baby in our wedding photos.” Okay, you first site is a Beanie Baby website.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. It was about Beanie Babies.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay, yeah. For sure.
Kathryne Taylor: That was sort of short-lived along with my Beanie Baby phase. A couple years later I started a blog that I didn’t tell anyone about, but it was about interior design for teenagers.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Cool.
Kathryne Taylor: Actually, it looked pretty cool honestly, but it was mostly text ideas, lists of ideas of ways you can spruce up your bedroom.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Which is interesting to think back because it’s so obvious that photos would be a part of that now, but in early Web it was just not as common. That’s one of my favorite things to do is look at the evolution of websites and the early, early websites, photos weren’t as prevalent as they are now. Now it’s like, “Well, of course, photos are included.” I think it’s interesting to see that shift now with video, like 10 years ago it wasn’t common to have video, now that’s becoming something that’s much more common.
For somebody that’s interested in being that, having that role to understand that a little bit and have some control of their website, what would you advise be for somebody that wants to learn how to do maybe Programming 101 or Programming Lite or Development Lite?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I know that it’s easier for some people to wrap their head around it than others. I think sometimes it’s definitely a good idea to hire a web designer, but I know that when I started my blog I wanted to spend no more than $5 a month on it. If that’s you, you can totally do it. I would suggest trying to find maybe like a good online course that actually walks you through it because I’m always trying to piece things together from little bits that I find across Google, and I think it would be far more efficient to just take a little course on WordPress and HTML.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure. Treehouse is one that I’ve used in the past and I know some people have used I think it’s teamtreehouse.com or Lynda is another one. Codeacademy, I think is another good one that people could check out. It’s one of those things, where, it’s easy to go back and forth with the chicken or the egg. Do you hire somebody right away and then you have to pay that money upfront or do you try and learn it on your own and you can then have those skills that then you can use to make changes and make updates.
I think what it comes down to, essentially, is probably time and money. If you have money that you can invest into the business and less time, then it probably makes sense to use some of that to hire somebody to work with. If you have a lot of time and less money, when you’re starting out, it probably makes sense to take some of that on. Especially, if you think it’d be something that you’d be interested in.
One of the things that you said is, when I mentioned this you said, “Like a crazy person.” You do the design, you do the development, you do the recipes, you do the writing like a crazy person. What did you mean by that when you say, “Like a crazy person”?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, It’s a bit much for one person.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: I love what I do. I love the combination of skills that I can apply to what I do. I think that since I got the cookbook deal, that just really forced me to take a good look at what I was doing and what I could not do and what I could finally hire help for.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about that? I know that was something that we talked about on The Faux Martha’s backyard patio, but I’m interested to hear you share with the audience here, what those first, like the first step into bringing somebody in to help out with some of that stuff was and how you made those decisions.
Kathryne Taylor: When the cookbook deal was definitely going to happen, I almost really recognized that I was just going to have to get help. I never brought on help before and just always wanted to do everything. I’m very much like a DIY, Do-It-Myself kind of person. The cookbook was big and scary and I recognized that I was just overthinking all of the recipes. A recipe that I would’ve published on the blog and felt so good about, I was thinking, “Oh, but what if it’s to this or too that or it’s too similar to another recipe or, ”Is it really good enough because it’s going to be printed forever.”
Bjork Ostrom: Forever. Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: I was dating someone at the time who ran a business, he encouraged me to get some help too and helped me. I wrote a job listing and he helped me get it on the Missouri School board job listing place. I put it on the local community college because they have a culinary program, but I only got three or four applicants and only one of them answered the questions, but she answered them like, knocked them out of the park. I met her person. She had actually saw my mention that I was hiring on the blog. She was already reading the blog. She was local and she’s just the most delightful person.
What worked for her … She was in nursing school at the time, so she had Friday’s available, so I would save most of my recipe development for the cookbook until Friday’s, where I would have to be organized with a grocery list and 10 recipes printed out with changes to make. It was just immensely helpful to have someone there to offer feedback and suggestions and stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: I think it would be interesting to talk through those different steps. You put together a job description. How did you decide what it was that you needed? Were you looking at the things that you enjoyed the least or you knew like, “I just don’t have time for this.” What did that look like?
Kathryne Taylor: It was both of those things. I’m in like a little Facebook group of other bloggers and I knew that one of them had, a couple of them had hired assistants for the cookbook. I just realized that was the thing that I could do. I love making recipes, but when I was developing recipes for both the blog and the cookbook at the same time it was just at a pace that I could not manage myself.
Bjork Ostrom: Right. The recipe development is the thing that you know they’re going to help out with the most. You kind of build up this job description and then you said you posted it to two different job boards and those were both job boards for colleges or schools. Did both of those have a culinary program? Is that the reason for connecting with both of those job boards or posting to both o those job boards?
Kathryne Taylor: The local community college had a culinary program. The University of Missouri, I’m not sure that they did, but I think I’m remembering now that maybe this person could help with marketing, as well as cooking.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: But I was kind of open to help anyone in those areas.
Bjork Ostrom: Then you get a handful of people that apply and you do follow-up questions, I’m guessing. Is that what it was? Then one person really stood out as like, “Okay. If there’s gonna be anybody that we pick from here, this is kind of the clear winner.”
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, I think I had asked them to answer a few questions in their initial letter-
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: … and she crushed it and the other ones were like, “Hey, did you get my resume yesterday?”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I’m like, mmm.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. We’ve done a few different rounds of hiring and it’s amazing some of the stuff that you’ll get in, in terms of like, “Whoa, this is … ” Sometimes it’ll even be the wrong company name. It’s like, oh no. It’s interesting to hear you say that she was already following along and reading the blog because that’s one of the things that we’ve noticed is the best places to find people are from your own community because these are people that are passionate about or interested in certain things and also, people that understand who you are and what you’re about.
We have a small team that we work with, both for Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum and across the board, every single one of them is such an awesome individual and we’re just super proud of the team that we have cumulatively, and I think that’s because it’s people that understand the greater business itself. I would really encourage if people are thinking of doing that, to think about reaching out to friend of friends, first or people that follow along with what you’re doing because it’s the exact same story for us. We’ve found that to be really helpful.
What did you learn in that process in bringing somebody in? Obviously, it’s a difficult thing to do, especially if you’re somebody that likes to have your hands figuratively and literally in lots of different pots. Can you talk about what that was like and what you learned through that process?
Kathryne Taylor: It immediately forced structure on my week. That was tremendously helpful because sometimes days just sort of …
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: … just a big pile of things and-
Bjork Ostrom: “Like what did I do today to get to the end?”
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: For sure.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. It just helped me organize my whole week and allowed me to say, “Okay, so from Monday through Wednesday I’m going to focus on the blog and then Thursday and Friday I’m going to work on the cookbook with Mira. Then when I was trying to make tougher, couple of deadlines I would just stop everything and just do cookbook.
Bjork Ostrom: That was actually one of the questions I wanted to ask you about was a typical week and a typical day. I know that you really can’t say like, “Oh. From 8 to 5, I do this every single day,” but I’d be interested to hear you talk about, now that you’ve been doing this for a while, what your typical week looks like and then within that what a typical day looks like. What are the things that you’re focusing on and working on?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, well, I feel like I’m really big on batching. Sometimes to my own detriment I’ll put stuff off until I can do all the things at once in that area, but otherwise I feel like I’m just flipping around to different things and dealing with notifications that pop up and it’s not a good way to really get the most important stuff done.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I try not to be looking at my inbox, Instagram, all the things, all the time.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about batching, that concept, for people that aren’t familiar and how you find that beneficial?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, so instead of just doing things as they come up, I have a … Let me pull up my to-do list.
Bjork Ostrom: What do you use for your to-do list, just out of curiosity?
Kathryne Taylor: Everything’s in Evernote. I’m utterly obsessed with Evernote. I wrote my cookbook in Evernote.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool.
Kathryne Taylor: I have a list for errands. I have a photography sizing issue on the blog and I have a list of to-dos for that. Search engine optimization project going on, accounting, some cookbook promo stuff. I’ll just try to find, if I have an afternoon, I’ll try to tackle one of those lists.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Idea bing that it’s a general category so general category might be accounting and you know that, “Okay. I need to do all of these things.” Instead of flipping back and forth between a bunch of different things, you know that, “Hey. I’m gonna put all this stuff together. I’m gonna batch through it. My brain space is gonna be in the general same area, so I’m not having to do a task switch,” and they talk about that with task switching how much it’s like a mental drag.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: And how much efficiency we lose when we’re switching tasks.
Kathryne Taylor: I feel like I run into that all day long. I just get tired of making decisions, so I’ve got to be careful about what I’m taking on. Again, if I’m just flipping through all the things, it’s just a hot mess.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes and it makes you realize why people like Mark Zuckerberg, he just wears the same thing every day. He’s just like, “I’m just gonna drop one decision. I don’t have to make that anymore. Like I can reserve that brain space for other things.”
Kathryne Taylor: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: It makes a lot of sense, especially at an insanely high level like that. I think people can relate to that that are listening to this. If you can’t yet, you will eventually once you get to a certain point where you’re having to make an incredible amount of decisions when you are the person that is responsible for keeping the ship moving and also directing the ship and what ends up happening is you then have all of these things that come in that you have to decide on.
Can you talk about maybe your mental motto for that? Let’s say you have 28 things that come at you in a day. How do you field those and then redirect those? Are you adding to the batching list? Let’s say an accounting thing comes up, are you just like, “I’m not gonna work on that right now. I’m gonna put it on the list and then come back to it,” or how you do you approach all of those decisions?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Right now my list is nice and organized. It’s not always so organized, but I might keep just a running list of stuff that I need to get out of my head and onto the list to deal with later. Yesterday I just went through and I really organized my projects, so they’re more manageable.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Yep.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, but I have to get them on paper or Evernote, so I can get them out of my head.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. That’s, I think, maybe one of the biggest takeaways for people that aren’t in the mindset of processing and sorting ideas and creating lists from those or putting those in buckets is like it gets stuff out of your head. That’s such an important piece of it because the brain is such a terrible place to hold to-dos, at least mine is. I would lose them in seconds, so to have a place-
Kathryne Taylor: I think that you sense that you’re forgetting something and it just stresses you out or you can’t go to sleep or …
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, so I got to get it down on paper.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep.
Kathryne Taylor: Let’s see, so to answer your question about my schedule, I’m more of a night owl, so I’ll wake up at like 8 o’clock in the morning, take my dog out, coffee. I always eat a simple breakfast. It’s one of those sort of routine deals, so I don’t have to think about it too much, like toast or something. Well, I’ll commute over to my couch-
Bjork Ostrom: Nice.
Kathryne Taylor: … which is like 30 seconds.
Bjork Ostrom: You’ve cut down on the commute.
Kathryne Taylor: I have. Well, if it’s a day that I have to publish a post, I’ll probably dive right into that. If it’s not one of those days, I might deal with a pressing issue or one of these chunks of projects. Then, I take my dog out a few times a day. Lunch might be leftovers or like a little experimental recipe. I’m really into yoga, so I’ll use yoga class to sort of help me structure my day and that kind of forces me to get in gear because I have a natural deadline coming up.
Bjork Ostrom: You have to finish the things that you have to finish because you have this hard deadline of yoga.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Have you felt like that’s informed or impacted your blog and your business, yoga?
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: How so?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, every time that I go to yoga it’s such a relief because I’m … I just have to show up and something tells me what to do for an hour. That’s a major relief on my brain. I feel like I sort of reset during yoga. It’s just super good for your body and brain to tie breath to movement and to get out of your head space and relax. I like really challenging classes because they actually … I can’t think about anything else.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Yep. It ties back to what you were talking about before, this idea of having to make so many decisions and for an hour or whatever it ends up being, you’re not having to make decisions and what a relief that is.
Kathryne Taylor: It’s so great and I can’t … There’s so many forms of exercise, but I don’t see myself ever doing one that’s like going to the gym and imposing 20 exercises on my self and counting to 12 reps. Every time you have to move to another machine it’s like, “Okay. I gotta get … convince myself to do this.”
Bjork Ostrom: For sure. For sure. It’s maybe more of the same thing where it’s using the motivation and getting things done and kind of ties into the stuff that you’re doing throughout the day, which yoga seems like the opposite of that.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. I have never done yoga, but I know a lot of people that love it, so maybe I’ll have to give it a try. I’ll start with … I’ll be the yoga version of your blog, where I’m not going to tell anybody about it and I’m not going to make it public. I’ll just do it with the shades down in my room before I go out in public to do it.
Kathryne Taylor: You have my full support.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay, good.
Kathryne Taylor: Do it.
Bjork Ostrom: I want to talk a little bit about the cookbook. I pulled it up before and it has 200+ five-star ratings. It’s a rare book or cookbook on Amazon when it’s, there’s not like almost all full stars when you look at the ratings. It’s just a block of five-starts. People love it. It’s done really well, but I know it was also not the easiest thing in the world. There were some ups and downs with it. Can you talk, before jumping into that, about when you decided to do a cookbook and what the primary motivation was with it?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. I think writing a cookbook was sort of already on the back of my mind because I saw other people do it and I thought, “Oh, wouldn’t that be cool if I had a book some day.” When I was little, my mom had actually published a book, so it’s like, “I want to do that,” but I didn’t want to admit it to anyone.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I always just wanted to do it kind of to do it, but I knew if I was … I had watched my mom self-publish a book when I was younger and I saw just how hard that is. I knew that I only wanted to make a book with the support of a really good publisher. I was going to wait until that opportunity came up.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm . What was the book that your mom published about, just out of curiosity?
Kathryne Taylor: Oh, it’s called, Exploring Oklahoma With Children and then she did another one called, Exploring Oklahoma Together. It’s like travel books within Oklahoma.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh, cool. Great. You saw her do this. You saw how difficult it was to go through the process of self-publishing. You said, “I know that I want to do this, but I’m gonna wait until I connect with a publisher.” When did that point come? Did somebody reach out to you and say, “Hey, we would love to work with you to publish a cookbook.”
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, actually … after the Saveur Awards, maybe three or four years into blogging, an editor from one of my favorite publishers reached out and asked if I would consider doing a book and I was like, “Well, I don’t know. If you want me to I will.” I nearly lost my mind trying to put together a cookbook proposal in just one month. Ultimately, the editor was for it, the publisher was for it, but the sales team didn’t go for it. That was like, it was disappointing. I felt rejected, but in hindsight, I’m so glad that it didn’t go through because I wasn’t ready for it yet. I didn’t have the cooking space let alone the recipe development skills. Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: To look back, do you have any thoughts on why it didn’t go through with the sales team?
Kathryne Taylor: I think it was going to be kind of the Cookie & Kate cookbook and they felt like my audience wasn’t big enough yet.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah or vegetarian cookbooks weren’t doing well enough at the time or something.
Bjork Ostrom: Then you have a little hiccup. You wait, how long until you re-engage with that world?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I just let it sit on the back burner for a couple more years. The editor who initially contacted me after the deal fell through, she put me in touch with an agent to see if I might want that agent to shop the book around to other places. That agent, I got bad vibes from her. I kept emphasizing, “I only want to do the book at the right time with the right publisher. I want to like do it big.” She was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me just like get some money out of this.” I just put the idea on hold and then a couple years later my agent, Steve, reached out and he got it. We just really clicked. I think, everyone will tell you you should talk to multiple agents before you pick one, but he had great references, he’s worked with amazing people, and I just felt like, “I’m gonna do this.”
Bjork Ostrom: How do you know … For those that aren’t familiar, what is the role of an agent in the cookbook process?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, agents do more than I realized. Steve and I worked very slowly on a cookbook proposal together, so I would work on it for a while, send it back to him. He’d look over it or his people would love over it and send it back to me. That process took like a whole year, which was fine because neither of us were in a hurry. If it were a cookbook idea that was on a trend like Spiralizer or something, you might want to hurry and get that out. This is just the book that I was going to make that nobody else could make just because it’s what I do.
Bjork Ostrom: Right.
Kathryne Taylor: We’re still not done on that. Then he one day was like, “Okay. I think it’s done. I’m gonna start sharing it,” and was like, “Eh.” Then the agent picks one editor at each publishing house, which I didn’t realize. It’s not that he’s shopping it to an entire publishing house, he picks one editor at each one, who he thinks might be the best yet.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: He shopped it around. I think about 12 publishers were interested. There was one week, where I had a whole bunch of phone calls with them all. He was on all the phone calls and I was mostly talking and he would just interject.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. He’s kind of playing the role of intermediary between you and the publishers and obviously for an agent then, that’s what happens is they go in and then is it standard that then they get a cut? Is that kind of like sport’s agency-
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: … a similar thing? Is he doing negotiation as well? Because that’s one of the biggest questions. How does that world work? I have no clue at all because I’ve never been in that world. He handles all of that essentially or she if you were working with a female agent.
Kathryne Taylor: Right. Yes. It’s awesome. After the initial calls, only three were interested enough to actually like put in offers, which was kind of a bummer, but then I got to choose between those three and he helped me negotiate. Part of that negotiation was one offer was better than another, but I liked the lower offer more actually because I liked the publishing house better. Then we would use the higher offers rates to negotiate-
Bjork Ostrom: Right. That makes sense.
Kathryne Taylor: … with the next one.
Bjork Ostrom: When you say you like a publisher, what is it about them that you would like or not like?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I looked at the quality of their books, just paper, color, et cetera. I also consulted with other bloggers or bloggers that I knew who had made books with them to get their feedback on it. It was almost just, how much did I enjoy talking to the editor? Did I get good feelings? Did I not?
Bjork Ostrom: A lot of those things are the, and I talked about this earlier, but kind of your gut response. “Is this somebody I would like working with,” “Is this somebody that I would feel comfortable when they’re pushing me for a deadline or am I gonna come to like despise them throughout the process?” I think our important, albeit soft things are not hard. It’s not numbers or it’s not something really concrete, but I think it’s also really, really important to consider those things.
Kathryne Taylor: It really is. I wanted the editor who had been reading my blog for years.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh, yeah. Yep. What a big impact that makes. Yeah. Cool. Tell me about the process with the cookbook. What were the things that were great about it? What were the difficult things, maybe some of the things that surprised you? I’d love to hear about it.
Kathryne Taylor: One of the things that surprise me was, we sort of verbally agreed that the cookbook deal was definitely happening with my publisher, Rodale. Then it took, I probably didn’t get a finished contract to sign for four months. Some people will wait until they actually have a signed contract work on it and I was like, “No. This is only a year that I have to make this thing or nine months and so, I’m gettin’ right to work.”
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm .
Kathryne Taylor: Oh, another surprising thing was even after I signed the contract I didn’t get my first check until like six months in-
Bjork Ostrom: Hmm. Can you explain how that works for people that aren’t familiar, like the staggering of those payments?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. That’s another negotiating factor. Basically, I think, cookbook deals are usually split up into three to four payments. You’ll get one payment when you sign the contract. Another payment when you deliver the contract or deliver the materials and another payment when, on the publishing date.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Surprised at the fact that the first payment that you had, you would have expected that a little bit sooner, but it didn’t come through necessarily right away.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Because it’s called an advance. The idea is that you get money in advance-
Bjork Ostrom: In advance.
Kathryne Taylor: … so that you can afford to take on this project.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Was that something that you follow up with them and you’re like, “Hey, can we make this happen,” or is it kind of like, it happens when it happens?
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I would bug Steve, my agent, and he would talk to them about it, but sometimes it’s just with these giant companies, they’re slow.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Yep. It’s not like an individual that’s able to just process something, but it has to go through all the different departments and get signed off on.
Kathryne Taylor: So many things. And another tidbit about an agent is that whichever agent you’re working with, they’re usually under a house of agents, the last contract that they’ve finalized with the publisher is going to be like the template for the contract they make with you.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about that? Explain that a little bit?
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. I don’t know what book it was that Steve had done with Rodale, my publisher last, but that means that they took the last finalized contract and then used that as the basis for all my terms.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kathryne Taylor: If you were working with an agent who wasn’t as on top of it or hadn’t tried to negotiate terms that you might not want, it would be a longer process. It might be more just like nonsense in your contract.
Bjork Ostrom: Because the contract isn’t as refined, if it’s one that was more loosely put together or they didn’t pay as much attention to it.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. Got it. What are the other thing that surprised you about the process or were maybe more difficult than you thought they would be?
Kathryne Taylor: I guess I thought that the deadlines would be more hard and fast. I heard that this varies. depending on who you’re working with, but my deadlines seem to always be shifting and there were times when I just had no idea when the book was going to land for me to edit it again and that was super stressful.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: Because I couldn’t plan around it and there were times … I worked on the book on Christmas, on my birthday, on one of the deadlines. They just fall from the sky at times that are maybe more convenient for them then me.
Bjork Ostrom: I would assume then it comes in, “And the deadline to get back to us is yesterday.”
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. That was rough because the blog is a full time job, so this was all … It was a full time job on top of a full time job. That’s kind of impossible to manage.
Bjork Ostrom: How about on the other side. Some of the things that maybe have surprised you in a positive way? I know that people talk about just the realities of how difficult it is to do a cookbook, especially on top of doing a blog and managing that process. Talk to me about some of the things maybe you didn’t expect that have been positive.
Kathryne Taylor: It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I gained so much experience along the way. I feel confident in that I am a professional recipe developer, photographer and writer now. I am that. The editing process was hard. The copy-editor that I dealt with was just, she tore everything apart and sometimes I argued against it and sometimes I was like, “Okay. Yeah. You’re right. That’s better.” I already knew the basics of writing a recipe, and I was already good enough at it, but I understand how to professionally write recipes now and consider factors that I never even knew to think about prior to the book.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you have an example of what some of those are?
Kathryne Taylor: Just the way she would have the subsections for recipes or not subsections, like do the salad ingredients need to be separately from the salad dressing or that’s kind of a basic idea. Just so many things.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah and the idea being that she comes back to you as an editor specifically for recipes, is that right?
Kathryne Taylor: Yes. That was a copy-editor. Something I’ve realized also, another benefit to going with a good publisher that I didn’t even know to think of was, great publishers will invest more in the editing. I’ve heard from smaller book deals that people have done, there might be only one round of edits or two.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Kathryne Taylor: I had four and the copy-edits were super intensive.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. I would assume that’s also probably one of the biggest stresses with releasing a cookbook is like or any type of book is like it’s so permanent and to have the relief of the four rounds of edits to know that it’s been really intentionally reviewed before you’re putting it out.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah, it is. It’s really helpful. I learned a ton.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Got it. We’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve talked all the way back to Cookie taking her first bath to publishing a cookbook. I’d love to hear you talk about … If you were to go back and do it again or maybe I’ll say it like this, not if you were to go back and do it again, but if you were speaking to somebody that was interested in starting their own thing, maybe it’s a food and recipe website. Maybe it’s another type of blog or website, something online. What would be the advice be that you would give to them kind of in these beginning stages?
Kathryne Taylor: First and foremost, do it because you love it not for other reasons. There’s plenty of ways to make money these days. Don’t feel like you need to do everything that everyone else in your sphere is doing. I’ve never invested as much time into social media as a lot of people have and I’m glad for that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Can you talk about that. It’s a little bit of a tangent, but I’d love to hear you talk about that.
Kathryne Taylor: Well, I think I’m always saying I’m not social enough for social media. I’m kind of an introvert and I love groups of friends, but I don’t want to walk into a giant group of strangers and just mill around and talk to them. I feel like social media feels sort of like casually blasting my thoughts into the air and it’s never really appealed to me. I know it’s important, but I think that it is, often time, overrated. I’ve invested amount of thought and energy into creating the Cookie & Kate website. I’ve literally placed every little element and thought about how they work together. It’s a very branded experience. I’ve made it easy to print. I’ve made it easy to comment and you’ll get responses by e-mail, and all these things, so it doesn’t really make as much sense to talk about the recipes in other places because it’s not the right environment.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: I was listening to a podcast the other day and it was Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s a social media guy, and somebody was asking him about what does it take to be successful on social media and he said, “I think you have to have a bend toward narcis … You have to have narcicisstic tendencies and I think that’s really interesting. I don’t think in a negative way, but I think you have to be somebody who’s okay talking about yourself and the things that you’re doing.
I think it’s worth pointing out that your self-aware enough to know that you’re not somebody who’s naturally going to talk about yourself and you hear that as a repeat thing with your story is like, “I had this blog and I didn’t really want to tell anybody about it,” or like, “I had this fashion blog as a kid, but I didn’t really talk about it.” To say, “Hey, I’m interested in design and development building a brand, building a blog, but I’m not interested in these other things and knowing that you don’t need to just because other people are doing those things, you don’t need to personally be somebody who does those things. It doesn’t mean that cooking can’t have a social presence. It just means that you personally probably aren’t investing as much in that.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. One of the reasons why I didn’t tell people about the blog is because I felt like it was inherently narcissistic to put my ideas out there and expect that other people might want to read them and that’s just what a blog is. Yeah. In the comment section on my blog, it feels like a conversation between a group of friends that I like.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep and it’s a match for who you are and how you feel like you operate best within kind of the world of business building, blog building social media. All of those things.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah and I think social media’s kind of overrated because some people have amazingly huge followings and I guess that’s great for getting sponsored posts and stuff, to have a million followers, but the reality is only like, what maybe 20,000 of those people see one of your posts? It’s not a direct corelation.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s such an interesting world that we live in, in that there … Social can have such a big impact on consumer behaviors or … If you look in a … You’re on the train and you look and it’s like, well, there’s a pretty good chance people are going to be on Instagram or Facebook, but then also as a business builder or brand builder, at any given time Facebook can shut off the spigot and then you can’t reach those people. I think that it’s an important point to take away. It definitely does not hurt to have a strong presence and is probably a good thing on social, but also, if you only focus on those things, then that stuff can go away really quickly. If you don’t have the main thing, like your site, to come back to or an e-mail list or something like that, then you could be pretty quickly in a tough position if something pivots within the social world.
Little bit of a tangent, but I think that’s great and interesting to talk about. To go back to what you were saying, for somebody who’s starting now to sum it up maybe you were saying something kind of along the lines of be self-aware. Know that you don’t need to focus in on everything that everybody else is doing just because other people are doing it.
Kathryne Taylor: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s awesome. Kate, super fun to talk to you and we can go on and on and on here talking about what you do and how you do it, but you also have a lot of great resources. Photography-related and what not on your site and I know people would love to check out what you do in general, so can you talk about maybe where people can find your cookbook. Then, also, where people can connect with you online.
Kathryne Taylor: Yeah. My website is cookieandkate.com. If you’re interested in those blogger resources, they’re sort of in the bottom of the side bar area. Then, I’m Cookie & Kate everywhere on social media and my cookbook is called, Love Real Food.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Great. We’ll be sure to link to those in the show notes as well. Kate, thanks for coming on the podcast. Really appreciate it.
Kathryne Taylor: Bjork, thank you so much. This was fun.
Bjork Ostrom: One more big thank you to Kathryne for coming on the podcast and a big thank you to you, yes you, whoever has your earbuds in listening to this or maybe listening on speaker somewhere. It’s incredible that we get to record this conversations. We get to record me sitting her in my home office and then get to connect with you all around the world. It’s an honor and a privilege. Really appreciate you tuning into the podcast each and every week and really looking forward to staying connected as we continue to produce content. That’s a rap and make it a great week. Thanks, guys.
This has been such a great podcast…I love tuning into these each week. I’ve been a long time fan of Kate and loved listening to this interview. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring! 🙂
So glad you enjoyed the episode! 🙂 Kate is so awesome.
It’s really refreshing to hear that Kate doesn’t put a lot of stock in social media.
I agree! Loved hearing her insights 🙂