307: Will Write for Food – How to Make Money by Writing about Food with Dianne Jacob

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 An image of typewriters and the title of Dianne Jacob's episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Will Write for Food.'

Welcome to episode 307 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Dianne Jacob about food writing as a profession and the re-release of her book, “Will Write for Food.”

Last week on the podcast, we shared part of our most recent member Q&A with Andrew Wilder from NerdPress where he talks about Core Web Vitals. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Will Write for Food 

Food writing is both an art and a science, and Dianne Jacob is back on the podcast today to talk about best practices for writing cookbooks, working with publishers, and making an income as a food writer.

You can find the latest version of Dianne’s book, “Will Write for Food,” wherever books are sold, and in it you’ll find even more strategies that can help you get paid for writing about food online or in print. Leave a comment below about one major takeaway you had from this episode for a chance to win a copy of her book!

A quote from Dianne Jacob’s appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'Writing as a profession is not led by business people... people write because they have something to say and they want to be creative.'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How creating recipe content online has changed
  • Considerations for working with publishers
  • How much you can expect to make from writing a cookbook
  • If you can get a cookbook deal without a following
  • How food writers can create income
  • Why you don’t always need to monetize hobbies
  • How paid newsletters work
  • Where you can find Dianne’s book


If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Learn more about joining the Food Blogger Pro community!

Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: Hello, hello. This is Bjork. Welcome to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Today, we are chatting with podcast guest that we’ve had before Dianne Jacob. And she’s going to be talking all about writing and how that connects to the food world.

Bjork Ostrom: She actually wrote the book on writing in the food world. It’s called Will Write for Food. There’s a new edition coming out. And we’re going to be talking about that. And also, some of the trends around things like Substack or social media, how that ties into blogging, cookbooks, the advantage of doing a cookbook, the hard things with doing cookbooks, all about writing, and all about food and all about building a platform online.

Bjork Ostrom: And Dianne Jacob has been talking about that, writing about that, and coaching people through that for a really long time. So, she has a lot of insights and expertise in that area. So excited to talk to her.

Bjork Ostrom: One thing I will say, we’re giving away three copies, we’ll say three copies of her cookbook, excuse me, not her cookbook, her actual book, Will Write for Food, about cookbooks, at least a section of it. And all you need to do is go to foodbloggerpro.com/podcast, find this episode, and leave a note with something that was a takeaway, something that you’re interested in, maybe something that you learned or a good reminder that you had from this interview with Dianne. We will pick three people from that list. And we will ship them a book, a copy of the new edition of Will Write for Food that Dianne is publishing.

Bjork Ostrom: So, let’s go ahead and jump into the interview. Dianne, welcome to the podcast.

Dianne Jacob: Thank you. It’s great to be back.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, really fun to reflect. We were talking when we met at a conference way back when. And it’s fun to be in an industry long enough where you kind of have these friends that you can connect with through the years. A lot of times, people will come and people will go, but then you kind of have these anchors, and you know that, hey, this is what they do, this is what they love. And you are one of those people. So, good to have you back on the podcast.

Bjork Ostrom: For those who haven’t listened to the podcast that you were on before and maybe aren’t familiar with your story, Dianne, can you do a quick recap of who you are and what you’re about?

Dianne Jacob: Sure. Well, I’m primarily known as the author of this book, which just came out in its fourth edition, Will Write for Food. And we have a new subtitle. It says, Pursue Your Passion and Bring Home the Dough Writing Recipes, Cookbooks, Blogs, and More.

Bjork Ostrom: Love it.

Dianne Jacob: So, I mean, that book has been a huge help to people who want to write cookbooks, want to learn how to write recipes, want to become freelance writers, start a blog. And I also coach people in all of those areas and do a lot of speaking and teach classes and all that.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s like that tagline, the name of the book and the tagline is perfect for this podcast. So, it’s going to be an awesome interview because people who listen to this, that’s what they’re interested in. They want to figure out how do I create an income from this thing that I love, whether it be cookbook, blog, recipe development, you can go down the list.

Bjork Ostrom: If you had to pick from the interviews you’ve done, from the coaching you’ve done, from the shoulders you’ve rubbed up against, where does it seem like the shortest path to success is? Or is there one, when it comes to bringing home the dough as it relates to writing or creating content around food?

Dianne Jacob: Well, I suppose there are some miracle success stories of people who have grown an enormous following and then get a big book deal. But there’s very few of those. I don’t know that there’s a short path. I mean, people think your path to success was short with Pinch of Yum. But it took, how many years do you think yours to be successful.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I think probably three to … I think it depends on what your definition of success is. But three to five years of working on it. Both Lindsey and I, I think that’s the other thing that people forget is it was both of us working on it. Lindsey, probably more than me, but it was both of our side hustles and I think some people look at it and they’re like, “Oh, this was …” They try and compare their path as a single creator on their own to people who maybe have multiple people working on it, so, yeah, three to five years, probably.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah, that sounds right. And I think it was a little easier then than now because the field was less crowded.

Bjork Ostrom: Yup, yup.

Dianne Jacob: Now, more than ever is, I think it’s harder. Everyone seems shouting for attention at the same time in the internet.

Bjork Ostrom: So, one of the things that I think is always true is there’s a space that there’s maybe a lot going on, and it’s crowded, and it’s noisy. But there’s always going to be that space where there’s not as much going on and it’s not as noisy. Much like 10 years ago, blogging or publishing recipes online was that. Do you get a sense for where that might be right now when it comes to creating food content online? Or is it too hard to predict that and it’s easier to look back and be like, “Well, of course, blogging made sense.” And then for everybody who is doing some other thing, door to door food delivery or like, “Well, maybe that wasn’t the best business to be starting at the time.”

Dianne Jacob: It seems like there’s a lot of underground coaching going on, helping people find not employees necessarily, but people to help them in lots of different ways. There’s all these. And then it becomes not so underground. There’s several new people who are teaching bloggers how to self-publish their book, for example.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Yup.

Dianne Jacob: There are Facebook groups where all people do all day it seems is post photos of dishes that are available for sale. I still don’t really understand how it works. They post photos of donuts. And then I guess, if you like that, you pay $100. And you come up with your own donut recipe.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, interesting. I haven’t heard of this.

Dianne Jacob: But they’ve done all the photography.

Bjork Ostrom: So, the idea is almost like photography first, photography as the product. Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Hey, I created this beautiful arrangement or this beautiful dish. I photographed it. You can buy this for 100 bucks. And then you can just kind of create a recipe that essentially looks like this. Is that the idea?

Dianne Jacob: Yes, it’s backwards.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting, yeah, yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Because all this time, we’ve been creating the recipe and then you can’t find a photo that looks like it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: And they’re starting with the photo and saying, “Here, make up the recipe.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: I think that’s how it works.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. That’s really interesting.

Dianne Jacob: So, there are all these different entrepreneurial things going on that come to the surface to help everyone do their job or their fun hobby.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, yeah. I remember thinking about this with a photographer that we knew. And he had a business and his business was essentially taking photographs, like senior pictures, maybe it’s like sports teams, things like that.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And suddenly, everybody’s getting a digital camera. And they’re like, I know the basic poses. I don’t need to pay however much it was, 300 bucks to do a session. I can just go out with my kid and take some photographs. And then we can use those, because I already have a camera that I paid 500 bucks for.

Bjork Ostrom: And you see that business start to decline, I remember thinking, there’s still an opportunity here. It’s not like the opportunity in photography goes away. It’s just that you have to think differently about how you’re then serving people with the product that you’re creating. And what’s interesting, anytime that there’s a market starts to get really competitive, if you’re trying to fit yourself into that area, that thing that people are doing, it’s going to be hard.

Bjork Ostrom: But what’s happened is now, there’s this entire new market that you can serve. And if you kind of think of it as like a pyramid, if the base of the pyramid gets really wide, you can kind of stack on top of that and say, “Okay, great, there’s all of these people,” let’s say it’s food or recipe sites, “what do they need that I can now create something for that then serves those people, whether it be taking photographs that you sell and then somebody else creates a recipe around it.”

Bjork Ostrom: But there’s still lots of opportunity, you just have to be kind of creative in how you approach that and how you think about it. So, as you work with people, do you see that shift starting to take place? Or is it still possible to, let’s say, on the cookbook side of things, hey, you can grow an audience. You can get a following. You can get a really good cookbook deal.

Bjork Ostrom: Or are you seeing like, hey, these are people who have maybe had to … You kind of have to serve five, six years of hustle and content creation and audience building before you can get to the point where you can justifiably go to a publisher and say, “Hey, you should pay me to create a cookbook.”

Dianne Jacob: You do have to put in the time because publishers want, they want someone with the platform most of the time and they want someone who knows what they’re doing as a recipe right, also, doing the same thing that everybody can find for free online by doing a search.

Bjork Ostrom: And the thing that they’re doing is building an audience essentially.

Dianne Jacob: Building an audience, not just building an audience because I think that it’s harder for the general food blogger to get a cookbook deal because if they’re just doing American comfort food-

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Dianne Jacob: … there’s so much of that available online for free. It’s like, what are you doing that could create a cookbook that people are willing to pay $35 for? So, I don’t think it’s just about the audience. You have to be doing something with the recipes that gets the attention of the agent or the editor.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. And that would be with your platform as a whole, are you seeing that so?

Dianne Jacob: With your platform, yeah, and your beautiful photography.

Bjork Ostrom: You are the sugar free or reduced sugar person or you are the keto person. So, you’re getting specific in who you’re serving and creating content for?

Dianne Jacob: I think it’s harder for all the people who are like, “I love food,” and don’t really want to make their blogs about anything in particular, just…

Bjork Ostrom: Yup.

Dianne Jacob: I think it’s harder to get a book deal in those situations. What you could get in those situations is I was actually in a store recently, which was new for me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes. And all of these strange new things that are happening.

Dianne Jacob: Right.

Bjork Ostrom: I was giving my parents a hug. And so, you’re going into a store, and…

Dianne Jacob: Yeah. I went into a store and it was one of those super curated stores like anthropology. And they had all these books that all had a similar theme. And it seemed to me that all these books, maybe the publisher had had the idea for the book. And then they found a blogger and said, “Yeah, hey, do you want to do this book?”

Dianne Jacob: So, there was one called Moon Milk: Easy Recipes for Peaceful Sleep. And there was Sunday Suppers: Go-To Recipes for a Special Weekend Meal, oil Pack Dinners: 100 Delicious, Quick-Prep Recipes for the Grill and Oven, Summer: A Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Lazy Days and Magical Nights, and Lemons and Limes: 75 Bright and Zesty Ways to Enjoy Cooking with Citrus. So, all these books-

Bjork Ostrom: So, it’s almost like these are publishers coming to creators who they know can do recipe development, photography, and saying, “We have an idea.” And this actually happened I remember early days-

Dianne Jacob: It happens all the time.

Bjork Ostrom: … where somebody reached out to us and they’re like, “Hey, we really want to do like a mini donut, baked mini donuts cookbook.” I was like, “What?”

Dianne Jacob: Very specific.

Bjork Ostrom: One donut recipe on Pinch of Yum. But I’m sure the idea is they can probably relatively affordably hire somebody who can do the photography, who can do the recipe development, who can do the writing.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Is it possible to get a deal like that and still make it worth it from a dollar amount? Or do you have any insight into how much you’d be able to make from those types of relationships?

Dianne Jacob: I mean, I think when you have a general blog, that’s the kind of deal you’re going to be offered because nobody really … I mean, Ina Garten doesn’t need someone to do a soup to nuts cook to compete with hers generally speaking. She’s doing fine.

Dianne Jacob: So, you’re more likely to be offered some kind of idea where they’re just the same recipes you can find anywhere else a lot of the time, but they’re packaged in this way that makes people go, “Oh, wow, foil wrap cooking. I’d like to do more of that.”

Dianne Jacob: And so, you have to decide if … A lot of the time these publishers want you to just drop everything and go insane developing all the recipes, shooting all the photos in a very short amount of time and they don’t offer that much money. But you have to decide, is this experience worth it so I can see what it’s like to do a cookbook. Do I still want to have my own cookbook? And if my cookbook was baked mini donuts, and then I have to promote it, do I want to be known as a baked mini donut expert for the next three years because I had to promote this book? Or would it be better for me to just say no?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It feels like there’s a lot of-

Dianne Jacob: I mean, I don’t think Lindsay wanted to be known as the expert in mini donuts, baked mini donuts.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right, right. And you know the other consideration is if I’m going to be producing 75 of these recipes, what would it look like if I just created 75 of these recipes on my site? You can’t do exact calculations on that, but you can kind of get to the point where you’re thinking about, okay, if this deal, probably not a great deal from a cookbook perspective because they maybe want you to use your audience to promote it.

Bjork Ostrom: But also, it seems like a lot of times in a situation like that, the cookbook is like, “Hey, we’re going to put this on an end cap at a cookware store.” And it’s going to be the equivalent of a pack of gum or Snickers where, you’re checking out and on the way out, you’re like, “Oh, that’s kind of like a new, creative thing. Maybe I should buy that.”

Dianne Jacob: Impulse purchase.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Versus if it’s like your cookbook, then you’re selling it to your audience. People are interested in it because of who you are.

Dianne Jacob: Right.

Bjork Ostrom: So, yeah, it makes a lot of sense to kind of the considerations that go into it, both from a branding perspective, but also from a business finance perspective. Does it make sense to dedicate all this time and energy to it? This is a really hard question because there’s no concrete answer to it. But when it comes to cookbooks, how much can you expect to make? And how do you make that more of a lucrative thing as a creator? What does that look like?

Dianne Jacob: I think most people do not go into writing a cookbook because they’re going to make a lot of money. Most people are not going to make a lot of money. And if that’s why you want to do it, it’s going to be really hard for you to get a cookbook deal.

Bjork Ostrom: To justify it, yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah. I mean, you have to go in it because you’ve decided that this is your next step and this would be a good credibility product for you to have. And the market is right for you to be the author of this particular book.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Those are really the reasons. I mean, you hear about stories every once in a while, they happen. For example, I have a new client who shall remain nameless, who is basically an influencer, who has built a big platform putting recipes into her Instagram posts.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Dianne Jacob: And she just got a six-figure deal. And then they said, “Okay, you’re doing all the photography and you’re writing the book. We’ll see in the year.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: She’s like…

Bjork Ostrom: There’s a lot of work. Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah. And she just know that she’s never done this work. So, I’m going to help her figure it out. That’s pretty rare that that happens.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: I heard that kind of in the general business world as well, from people who write books where they’re like, “Hey, I’m not doing this as a financial decision necessarily. It’s more of a strategic decision.” One of like, I want to go in this direction. I want to have credibility. And there’s something about credibility of media that people are more accustomed to, books, TV.

Bjork Ostrom: I remember the first time I’ve told this story a couple times where we were on the local morning news. And there was probably 75 people watching. So, it’s like, morning news in Minnesota at 7:00 AM. But there’s a couple friends who are randomly watching and then our family, some family friends watch, and they’re like, “You guys are legit, right?”

Bjork Ostrom: We have been doing what we’re doing for so long, and I feel like a cookbook does a similar thing where when we moved in, this was one house ago, not the house we’re in now, but then we moved in the neighborhood and we were telling some people what we did, and we’re trying to explain it. We’re like, “Well, what do we call it?” Lindsay and I always had this conversation. She’s like, “Well, we have this blog.” And it’s like, people don’t really know how to respond, where they’re like, oh. It’s almost apologetic.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: I hope that you find work eventually. But if you say, “Oh, I’ve published a cookbook,” there’s something about that that legitimizes you as a creator for whatever reason. And I think that ripples in really significant ways.

Bjork Ostrom: The other piece that I think is important to consider what you kind of hinted at was, and Lindsey talks about this, but almost like legacy and the difference between, like our grandkids looking at posts that Lindsay’s posted on Instagram and a blog versus opening Lindsay’s cookbook that she created, and that just feels different. It feels different to have something you open, that you can tangibly hold, that you can wrap in wrapping paper and give to somebody.

Bjork Ostrom: And I think as creators, that’s one of the considerations we have. It’s not always financial. It’s also, what am I doing in the world and how am I contributing? And I know for a lot of digital creators to be like, the only thing I’m doing is putting pixels on the internet. And a lot of times, especially if you’re like a designer or developer and four or five years that all goes away, and there’s just kind of a cycle to it. So, I think the physical-ness of it is really important.

Bjork Ostrom: But also, you kind of have to have a digital presence in order for it to work. Are you seeing-

Dianne Jacob: Yes, you do.

Bjork Ostrom: … any cookbook deals where somebody has no presence online, and they’re still able to get cookbook deals? Or is it a nonnegotiable that you have to have a following?

Dianne Jacob: I think you have to have some following. But I think publishers are also very aspirational about what they … Just like bloggers that are aspirational about where they want to get, publishers are aspiration. Like if you ask them, they’ll say, “Well, we’d really like to find somebody that’s half a million followers or half a million hits on their blog.” Well, of course, you would. You’d like to find the next Ottolenghi also and the next Ina Garten.

Dianne Jacob: That doesn’t mean that they won’t publish people who are not at that level. And they’re very funny about it. It’s always a very weird conversation when you try and pin someone down about, well, what is the right number, and this and that, because their model is the same as venture capitalists, where you invest in a whole bunch of companies. And if one of them turns out to be 1/20 the size of Google, then you don’t care if the rest of them fail or don’t sell much, or whatever. So, posting is the same way.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting.

Dianne Jacob: They have to pay all their bills and their bonuses all come from the heavy hitters. And then there’s everybody else.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And in venture you see where if something doesn’t catch, then they’re not going to give attention to it.

Dianne Jacob: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: It falls off. You’re kind of forgotten. And it just kind of sits there. But if you become the shining star, all the resources, all the focus, all the marketing, you get all of that.

Dianne Jacob: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: But it’s not like attention is given equally to all venture.

Dianne Jacob: Oh no.

Bjork Ostrom: And it sounds like in publishing as well.

Dianne Jacob: Absolutely not.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: No, because if they’ve given someone a one and a half million dollar advance, then they’ve got to pay. They’ve got to devote resources to that person because you want them to earn that money back and more.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Whereas if you’ve given somebody $15,000, it’s much less of a risk, and you’re like, oh, whatever, yeah. You can do all your own publicity.

Bjork Ostrom: Right. So, out of those cookbooks, that’s one option. And I think people will kind of have a general sense, like, hey, I could maybe do a cookbook early on, but if I’m doing it early on, chances are the arrangement is more like, hey, I’m being hired almost as like freelancer to recipe develop, photograph, write. It’s not necessarily. Sometimes it’s just probably both end, like also being hired for my audience.

Bjork Ostrom: As you grow and scale your following, you also have more leverage to market, so there’s more value for a publisher so you can maybe have a bigger advance and then more negotiating power.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So, that’s one option is kind of the cookbook option. But in that tagline for your book, Will Write for Food, which while I’m thinking of it, comes out officially the next … Is this version three of the book or?

Dianne Jacob: This is the fourth edition, believe it or not.

Bjork Ostrom: Fourth?

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s incredible. And you showed me the copy of it and it’s packed full of information.

Dianne Jacob: It’s huge.

Bjork Ostrom: I’ve read the edition three, and even that was packed full of information and so, excited to see this next edition coming out.

Dianne Jacob: Thank you.

Bjork Ostrom: There’s a few different tagline. In that tagline, there’s a few different things that you’d mentioned. How are you seeing other food writers and food creators earning income? We talked about blogging. That’s one piece of it. But can you speak to some of the other ways that people can be thinking about income generation around food and food writing?

Dianne Jacob: Well, I think first of all, writing as a profession is not led by business people. That was like the understatement of the year, right? I mean, people write because they have something to say and they want to be creative. It’s like painting. Okay.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yup.

Dianne Jacob: And so, that’s where all the food writing stuff was for a long time. There were some people who could manage to get a full-time job like restaurant critics/

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Dianne Jacob: But for everybody else, it was more of a hobby. And this big shift in maybe the last 10 years has been by people with an entrepreneurial mindset. The ones who are succeeding, the ones who have six-figure incomes, I think are not just creative people. They’re entrepreneurs, and they understand how to have a business. And their business is selling recipes.

Dianne Jacob: And I think bloggers actually have created this. I mean, they’re not even called bloggers anymore. I mean, you and Lindsey are not bloggers.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, right.

Dianne Jacob: You’re sort of internet entrepreneurs in the food space.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Blogging isn’t the right word.

Bjork Ostrom: Right. And Food Blogger Pro isn’t a great name for what we talk about, which is like, something we’ve mentioned a few different times, but it reaches so far beyond just blogging.

Dianne Jacob: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: So, yeah, attracting.

Dianne Jacob: So, really, it’s a business. And I think that’s really new in the writing world, that you could have a business that makes money. But I still think most writers don’t really have that mindset. Because so much of food writing before was about writing for free. And even as bloggers, you put all this free content on the internet. So, the shift has been that people are still writing for free, but they figured out how to monetize it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, right. Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Which is brilliant, right?

Bjork Ostrom: You’re publishing content. It’s free, as it always was. The thing that has changed is the ability to create income around free content with ads, or sponsored content, or affiliate or whatever it might be.

Dianne Jacob: Yes. Because before, it’s a providence of almost entirely white women because white women had the luxury of creating content, either for free or for very little money. And so, that has been one of the shifts that’s really interesting to me is that the internet created a space now for different kinds of people to just kill it on Instagram, on the internet. I mean, and they’re not women who depend on someone else for income.

Dianne Jacob: Walks of Life, Just One Cookbook, those are amazingly huge sites by Asian Americans who circumvented all the gatekeepers and built a huge business.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes.

Dianne Jacob: And that’s a different model, but they’re still giving away free content, which is what writers have always done it seems, or been very badly paid for content.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Dianne Jacob: Because the assumption was, well, you’re doing this, you’re reviewing a restaurant for fun and you get to eat the meal, so I’m going to pay you $40. Or if you’d like to write for me, write whatever you want, and then I’m going to pay you nothing, or $25.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right, right.

Dianne Jacob: I mean, that is still happening, but at least there is this corner of our industry where people are entrepreneurial and figure out how to be successful.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s one of the great things about the internet, right? Anybody can start whatever they want, a blog, an Instagram account, TikTok can start creating content and it’s kind of democratized the ability to do that. And to your point, less gatekeepers, although there’s probably still, I would say there’s still those certain gates or gatekeepers that exist.

Dianne Jacob: Oh sure.

Bjork Ostrom: But are just different.

Dianne Jacob: In publishing, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, or wherever it might be, whether it be sponsored content or advertising or who knows, but still exists just in different ways. But changed significantly.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And really encouraging to be able to see that. One of the things that you’re talking about was this idea of this marriage of entrepreneurial mindset with creative mindset. And what if somebody is just creative? There’s a lot of those people and they have this incredible ability, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to package that up in a way that translates into dollars. So, is that kind of a hopeless situation for those people?

Dianne Jacob: Oh, no.

Bjork Ostrom: What do they do? How do they approach that?

Dianne Jacob: Well, first of all, if they’re enjoying being creative, a lot of people are very satisfied having a hobby, where they’re on Instagram as a hobby or they’re on TikTok as a hobby. And that’s fine.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Exactly as you would if you were a guitar player, if you like playing guitar.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: You go home, you play 45 minutes, an hour. You love it. You’re in a band. But you’re not like, how do we make as much money as possible from this show tonight? It’s like, no, I just want to play for a live audience.

Dianne Jacob: Exactly. So, I think all creative pursuits are the same in that way. And then at some point, sometimes people decide that they want more than that. But a lot of people don’t. A lot of people are perfectly happy to do something on the side and for fun.

Bjork Ostrom: Yup, yup. Yeah, it’s interesting I think of if Lindsay-

Dianne Jacob: So no, they’re not failures.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Well, finish that thought. Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: No, it’s not a sign of failure. It’s your hobby.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes. I love that. And I think sometimes I think about, what would this podcast be like if Lindsay was doing it. Because you talk about kind of the entrepreneurial side of a business and then the creative side of the business. If this is Lindsay, this podcast would look very different. And she’d be talking about creative, she’d be talking about recipe development, she’d be talking about writing and photography.

Bjork Ostrom: But because my interests bend towards entrepreneurial, finance, business building, it’s kind of where we naturally talk. And I think, therefore, podcast listeners would maybe kind of bend in that way as well. But without the creative things that Lindsay’s doing, if I’m 2xing zero, there’s still going to be zero. But what Lindsay is doing is putting something there that allows there to be growth, which is the biggest luxury that somebody who likes business can have is somebody who creates the raw material and assets that then you can say, “Okay, great. How do we be strategic with ads for this?” And that’s a relatively easy job compared to creating really good content in the world.

Bjork Ostrom: I’d be interested to hear your thoughts for … So, in one category, hey, if you are doing this and you’re satisfied in the pursuit of this as a creative endeavor, that’s a win. And you can stop there and that can be your thing. And that’s awesome. And end of story.

Bjork Ostrom: There’s also going to be a camp of people who are like, great, all of those things, and I want to figure out how to be entrepreneurial and how to grow this. But again, maybe they don’t feel like that’s a muscle they want to build or a skill that they have and want to pursue.

Bjork Ostrom: So, in situations like that, what would your advice be? Or what do you even see you as some of the people you work and coach in regards to how they can partner with somebody or maybe be coached by somebody. You do some of that. What’s your advice for the creatives who don’t necessarily want to be the entrepreneurial person but want to be building an entrepreneurial thing?

Dianne Jacob: Well, for example, there are a lot of freelance writers who want to be paid more and get into bigger publications. And for some reason, they don’t seem to be bloggers. It seems like there’s two different groups, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Yup.

Dianne Jacob: And those people are, they’re hardcore writers. But it’s still a side hustle for most of them because it’s almost impossible to make a living full time writing articles.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: So, for example, there was a student years ago came to me who wants to start freelancing who started in small publications, that didn’t pay any money. Then she got into the Washington Post. Then she got into a national magazine. So, it built and built, and she got paid better. But she still has a full-time job.

Bjork Ostrom: Yup.

Dianne Jacob: And this is on the side.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: So some things, the model is just not really there to make a lot of money. So, I would say the model is there with blogging and being an … I don’t really understand how influencers make money other than sponsored content, I guess, is really the main way, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: It’s not about ads.

Bjork Ostrom: Right. I think there’s some platforms that are starting to … Snapchat is experimenting with paying creators who have a snap that goes snap, I don’t even know, is that what they’re called? I don’t use Snapchat at all. Or like YouTube, you can run ads against it and ad income, obviously. But yeah, I think for the most part, the understanding is like, if you have a following on social platform, you are either creating an income from sponsored content or you have some product that you’re selling. The ultimate example being like the Jenner-Kardashian families.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah, they’re the ultimate.

Bjork Ostrom: But also, maybe it’s like you have … I’m trying to think. Maybe it’s somebody who has a huge, huge following and you create a cookware line or you’ve interviewed some bloggers who start to create their own, have their own olive oil that they’re branding and things like that.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: I feel like sponsor content and then for select percentage, it’s their own product, which is obviously a new level of involvement. Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: True. Okay. So, there are internet ways to get income from ads or sponsors. But then there’s the freelance writing, which leads to most of the time is, you’re not going to be compensated for the amount of time you put in first write.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: But then, some of those people have been able to get work as content creators, that’s the term, content creators, which is very vague to me. But basically it means working for corporations, doing some kind of food writing, like white papers, research, writing recipes, working with them as the person who hires influencers, or doing their social media. There’s all that kind of work, too, that can be very lucrative.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Do you see anybody or do you know any food writers who have created like a Substack account? So, like a paid newsletter subscription that are kind of doing that as their main form of income? It’s something that-

Dianne Jacob: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: It would be the opposite of what we talked about before where it’s like writing for free. Now, it’s like only writing to be paid for it. And can you explain how that works for people who aren’t familiar with what that is?

Dianne Jacob: Okay. So, Substack is a company where you can have a newsletter that’s free. It’s always free, but then there is a paid option. And so, if there’s a paid option, then you have to produce more content that is only for paying subscribers. So, the person at the top of that food chain right now is Alison Roman. Remember Alison Roman? She was a recipe writer for The New York Times and Bon Appétit and all that.

Dianne Jacob: And then there was this huge takedown where she kind of got cancelled. But I get her free Substack newsletter, and it’s terrific. She’s absolutely hilarious. Just take yourself self too seriously. She’s had a lot of therapy and she talks about that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: She’s still alive, which is good because it was really horrific. So, she’s at the top. And she has a paid version, free version, and she also does a video that goes with her recipe. And then there are, I think, Alicia Kennedy is maybe number two. And she’s a big thinker I guess is what I call her. She writes essays about veganism, about the corporate food business, thinking deep thoughts, and she has come up a lot of deep thoughts because she recently interviewed me and she had three interviews that week, plus whatever she was writing.

Dianne Jacob: So, it has become … I think she probably makes around 50,000 a year just from her newsletter. And then there’s whatever else she has going on the side. She got asked to teach a class recently. She’s working on a book about veganism. So, that’s how she’s making her living.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I’m going to throw something out there and I want to hear your thoughts on it. It seems like as people are I think contemplating who do I want to be in the world online and do I want this to be my full-time thing or not, there’s a few different variables in that equation. I’m going to name off a few. And I’d be interested to hear if there’s any others that you would add to it.

Bjork Ostrom: One would be, am I trying to do this as my career or am I okay with it being a hobby? Another one would be, do I want to be the building a thing like, Pinch of Yum? Do I want to be building a blog or a following? Or do I want to be building a career as a writer. And it doesn’t matter if I’m front and center and people are following me or I just get to write and that’s what I want to do similar to that, like guitar playing. I just want to put my fingers to a keyboard and express my thoughts and ideas about something. Doesn’t matter if I have a following or not?

Bjork Ostrom: And once you know that, figuring out where is then the best place to do this, full-time, not full-time. Do I just want to work on the thing that I’m passionate about? Or do I want to build a brand, a blog, a following? Then where is that avenue in terms of the best place to fully live out that desire or that goal? Is there anything you would add to that as people kind of contemplate how they want to work within the world and the world of food?

Dianne Jacob: Well, I would say that you have tremendous privilege just to entertain those options.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Because if you’re a single mother, you can think about all these things that you would like to do. But the bottom line is you have to bring in X amount of money while raising your child.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, with almost no bandwidth or margin.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah. And I have worked with people in those situations where they’re juggling lots of different things. And maybe they have a catering business on the side and they’re just trying to figure out how to make it work to bring in the income and all these disparate things that they do don’t really add up to enough money, but they love doing them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: I worked with somebody one time, who she hired me for, I have a five-hour minimum. She hired me for five hours. We spent all five hours working on one piece, because she really wanted to write this one piece of writing, an essay with a recipe at the end.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: And she was running a food pantry on the side. She had a grown kid and two young kids. She had like 20 things going on simultaneously. And none of them were bringing in enough income. So, that’s what I’m saying about the privilege of being able to choose things regardless of how much money they bring in. I think we need to be more aware of that, first of all, that you’re really fortunate that you even get to have those conversations yourself.

Bjork Ostrom: Have that conversation, yeah, or to be thinking about that. Yeah. And a follow-up question to that would be, if somebody does find themselves in that position, to use a really basic example, single parent raising their kids, working, period, for most people, that’s going to be maxed out.

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: What does that look like? Is it tabling the thing or the thing meaning like your passion or your goal, or is it setting realistic expectations?

Dianne Jacob: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: What does that look like if you are in that situation?

Dianne Jacob: Well, it’s kind of soul crushing to table it. And I feel like sometimes I’m a part of that because sometimes someone has just started and they want to write a book. And they have no … I said, well, okay, a book means that you have … It means that you have to be a writer to write a book. Okay. That’s how it works. So, what evidence do you have for a publisher that you are a writer?

Bjork Ostrom: Twitter bio.

Dianne Jacob: And they don’t have any, but they still want to write a book. So, I think sometimes it is a little soul crushing for someone like me to say, “Well, this is not step one.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: You have to build towards this point.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Because people are always contacting me and saying, “I want to write a book.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: And that has nothing to do with whether they’re ready to write a book or whether they will be perceived by a publisher as someone who can write a book. They’re not. They’re not the same thing. I mean, someone could be teaching kids how to cook and have done that for several years, and they could probably write a book about how to teach kids to cook and be in the kitchen more. But if they have no social media platform, and they’ve never published a recipe, publisher is going to be like, “Well, how do we know that you can pull this off?”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, the greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Dianne Jacob: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: If you don’t have a strong history of past behavior that’s aligned with what you’re pitching somebody on, it’s going to be hard for them to sign off on it.

Dianne Jacob: Exactly. And so, you kind of have to be the person who wrote the book before you even write the book. Because that way, you’re like the most obvious person for the job.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: So, if you’re an influencer who puts recipes in every Instagram post and you build a big following? You seem like someone who could produce a book based on that.

Bjork Ostrom: Right.

Dianne Jacob: So, that’s a good risk for a publisher. So, yeah, I mean, you still have to have your dreams, but you have to be realistic about whether someone else thinks you can pull it off.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. And I would say one of the phrases or concepts that I’ve talked about on the podcast before is that people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years. And I think that as you think about your dream, or your goal, or the thing that you would love to be in the world, I would encourage people to think about working on it as much as possible in the moment, but also to not have this compressed aspiration in terms of, I want to be at this point in six months. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Dianne Jacob: In six months, yeah, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: But to your point about the reality of what margin looks like and privilege around being able to daydream like what do I want to be in the world to hold both truths at the same time. Hey, now is like a really difficult time. And I don’t have a lot of margin. And realistically, due to the effort that it does take to manifest this thing within the world might not be realistic. But like you said, doesn’t mean table it, maybe it just looks different. And instead of thinking about it as like, am I going to do this in the next three months, maybe it’s the next three years. Or instead of thinking about one year, maybe it’s 10 years.

Bjork Ostrom: And I think there’s some things you can do that kind of sharpen the tools in your tool belt. So, when the time does come, if you do have more of that margin or as seasons change and maybe kids aren’t in school, and then they are in school, or whatever it might be, everybody situated. There’s thousands of different situations to consider. But even little things like listening to a podcast or you’re on a drive or maybe when you’re doing the dishes, or it’s all kind of sharpening the tools in your tool belt.

Bjork Ostrom: So, my encouragement to people who do have that goal or aspiration would be to not let go of it, but also to be gentle with yourself in terms of the realistic amount of traction that you can get with limited margin and capacity. So, I appreciate your thoughts around that an important reminder and the reality for a lot of people. Always.

Dianne Jacob: Yes, it really is true. People do think that you can get somewhere right away and that’s normal to think that, I guess.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: But most of the time, it’s just not true. I mean, another woman contacted me and she had also no social media following and had never published anything in writing. But she was determined to write a cookbook. And she insisted that she hire me immediately to work on the proposal. And I kept telling her, “Well, I don’t want to take your money. I don’t want to waste your time, but…”

Bjork Ostrom: Not a good fit.

Dianne Jacob: You got to do this other work first. And I think some people really don’t like hearing you got to do this otherwise, first. And I don’t like hearing it either. But it doesn’t diminish the fact that sometimes you have to go in a certain order.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. And I think a good reminder as we come to the end here, as people think about working towards the thing that they enjoy doing most in the world, whether as a hobby or as a profession, both of those things being important considerations and different for people depending on what their goals and hopes and dreams are. But to think about it with a long term mindset and to think about showing up.

Bjork Ostrom: We talk about this all the time in the podcast, but this idea of tiny bit better every day forever, showing up doing the work in the margin that you can do it in, in for some people that’s more than others, but to not have this expectation that it’s going to pay off really quickly. And one of the ways you can do that is by continually learning. People who listen to this podcast know it.

Bjork Ostrom: But using that as a segue into one more time talking about your book, Dianne, for those who listen to this podcast, it’s going to be a great fit for them. In talking about sharpening the tools in your tool belt, one of the ways you do that is by learning, and I think your book would be a great way for people to learn.

Bjork Ostrom: We’re going to do a giveaway. So, we’re going to do this with Food Blogger Pro and we can kind of handle the logistics of it. But before I talk about that, can you talk about where people can find it and order?

Dianne Jacob: Sure. Well, I mean, it’s for sale May 25th. You can find it anywhere. You can buy it from an independent bookstore. I would appreciate that. And it’s got a ton of content between how to write recipes, how to get published, how to be self-published, how to make money. It’s a lot on photography, social media. So, you name it, it’s pretty much in there, except there was a chapter on fiction writing once I ended up getting…

Bjork Ostrom: Oh really?

Dianne Jacob: Yeah, yeah. There’s actually a whole category of food writing in fiction. There are murder mysteries, like the caterer is the main character and there’s lots of recipes. They’re called cozies. But anyway, yes, you can go just about anywhere. And you can also come to my website and sign up for my free newsletter about food writing, which comes up twice a month. And what else? Oh, yeah, I have a blog about food writing, tons of content. That’s been going since 2009. So, it’s all at diannej.com, D-I-A-N-N-E-J dot com.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And we’ll link to that in the show notes as well. And then what we’ll do for this is we’ll do a … After this podcast goes live for two weeks, if you’ve listened to this podcast, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/podcast, find this episode and leave a comment with one takeaway that you had from this episode. One thing that was interesting, something you learned, maybe something you’re going to do a little bit different after hearing Dianne talk about some of this stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: We will pick three of those at random and send a copy of the book to them as a thank you, Dianne, for coming on. And so, be sure to do that, foodbloggerpro.com/podcast for everybody who’s listening.

Bjork Ostrom: Dianne, great to connect again. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

Dianne Jacob: Thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And you guys are still knocking it out of the park years later.

Bjork Ostrom: Thanks. Yeah, we really appreciate it.

Dianne Jacob: Okay.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Dianne Jacob: Take care.

Bjork Ostrom: Thanks Dianne. That’s a wrap for this episode. Thank you, Dianne, for coming on again. It’s been great to stay connected with you through the years and great to stay connected with you, podcast listener, through this podcast that we do every week. It’s a privilege. It’s an honor to be in your earbuds and our hope, as we often talk about, is that we can help you get a tiny bit better every day forever. That’s why we exist.

Bjork Ostrom: Just a reminder, if you are interested in checking out Dianne’s book, you can either buy it or that’s what I’d say, you can go buy it. And then also, leave a comment on this podcast episode, foodbloggerpro.com/podcast. And one takeaway that you had, something that was interesting, something that you learned, maybe it was just something that you were reminded of, that’s important. And we will pick three of those and ship a copy of Dianne’s new edition of Will Write for Food to you. And we’ll close it two weeks after this podcast goes live.

Bjork Ostrom: So, if you’re listening to this a month, two months down the line, you’ve missed your chance. And that is our plug for you to listen to these podcasts in real time, which you can do. Check out this transition by subscribing to the Food Blogger Pro podcast in your favorite podcast app.

Bjork Ostrom: And you can listen to these when they come out in real time. And then you’ll have your chance to win things like a free book. But don’t wait. Don’t wait to see if you want the free book. You can order a copy and then, if you also win, then you can give a copy away to your friend or you can just keep it and give it as a gift to somebody who likes writing and likes food and maybe it will be an eye opening read for them.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a wrap for this episode. Make it a great week. Thanks.

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  1. This was a great episode. One big take-away was that future success is based on past evidence. That’s my best paraphrasing. I like how Dianne pointed out that publishers are looking for proof that you’re capable of producing quality work as seen by having a large following or successful blog. It has to be more than desire…you must do the work!

    1. Love this so much, Shannon!

      “Future success is based on past evidence” — I just might have to print that out and put it above my desk. Such an awesome reminder to keep in mind!

  2. Great episode! I have Dianne’s 2005 version of her book; and was so excited to hear about her upgraded 2021 version. Just ordered it on Amazon and can’t wait to dive into it! Thanks for all the words of wisdom. She’s so right – you have to do all the “pre-work” first and it will pay off in the long run; especially if your dream is to write a cookbook. Appreciate all the insight.

    1. We’re so glad you enjoyed the episode, Liz! I have an old version of Dianne’s book as well and love flipping through it. I need to pick up the new copy ASAP!

  3. This episode was fantastic – I loved how Dianne talked about the need to be very specific and niche in food writing to help getting a book deal: “General” food writing isn’t enough! I’ll definitely be thinking about as a good writer and cater more to my niche audience. Thanks for this episode!

  4. I like this too, I have one observation to share:

    It’s true that a lot of people won’t connect with the idea of someone being a “food blogger”, but I find it’s very generational.

    Younger folks might not connect with the phrase “food blogger” specifically, but they will usually connect with the idea that you’re a “content creator.”

    1. This is a great point, Tim. I feel like the phrase “content creator” has become so trendy nowadays, and a lot of people really resonate with it more than blogging specifically. Definitely something to keep in mind!

  5. I appreciated the commentary about having the time to produce content as I felt it was speaking to directly me! I am learning and have started and stopped because I am raising kids with disabilities so my time is limited. But, it doesn’t mean the dream has to die, it just means it will be a little later than what I may want.

    1. We’re so glad you enjoyed the episode, Sarah! It can be so helpful to reframe your perspective and think about the work within the context of a larger time frame. 🙌🏻

      Like Bjork (and Bill Gates) said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Thinking of that quote really helps keep me grounded and working towards my goals!

  6. I’ve read Will Write for Food in the past and love Dianne! She’s simply incredible. It felt so reassuring to hear her say that building these things take TIME. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s success and assume it happened quickly and easily for them.

    1. 1000% yes, Chelsea! It can be so easy to look at others and fall into the comparison trap, but we have to keep in mind that it often takes years to get to the place we want to go.

  7. Great podcast! I’m a newbie and leaned a ton from this podcast!! My take away was that it takes a great deal of prep work before one is ready to write a book and how to begin preparing for that ultimate goal—get a little bit better (and prepared) each day! Thanks Food Blogger Pro!

    1. Love this so much, Debbie! All this work that you’re doing now is so important and will be so beneficial later if you want to pursue a cookbook. 🙌🏻

  8. My major takeaway was that to be successful in blogging, one must not just think of it as “blogging” but as being an entrepreneur in the online food space.

  9. Hi Friends! I absolutely loved Dianne’s podcast episode and would love the chance to read her book. Even if I don’t win it- I’m
    Buying it!
    Dinanne, thank you for your time and encouragement in this podcast. I started my IG (@CucinabyElena formerly @mamamiamangia- recent change) a year ago. I am also a part time reading specialist with three children. It is an honor to serve the community I’ve built with achievable Italian recipes and, sharing stories about food, tradition, family, and other topics that connect people. Your words inspired me to keep going, growing, and serving. I appreciate the reminder that it takes time to grow in this space. Thank you for the honest advice on writing cookbooks! It was interesting to hear what publishers think and how they seek out authors. I hope to write one someday…

  10. I always enjoy your podcast. This particular one is very helpful, sometimes I just need to hear insights in regards to food blogging. It’s “not a sprint but a marathon”. Honestly sometimes I think I’m too old to do blogging, I’ll probably be in my 80’s just to make a real paycheck. Then, I realize, why not just enjoy the journey and see where it’ll take me.

    Thank you for sharing insights and valuable information.

    Lots of love from my home kitchen to yours!

    1. Love the idea of thinking about it as a marathon, Jen. It goes hand-in-hand with our idea of 1% infinity over here — as long as we’re taking small steps towards our goals each and every day, we’re making progress!

  11. An amazing and educational episode, thank you! The takeaway that I got from this episode was “Writing, as a profession, is not led by business people.” I love this and it’s a good reminder, to write for yourself and the people you want to help.

    1. Love this, Nadia! Writing is such a creative pursuit, and I loved hearing Dianne’s thoughts about how food bloggers are really just entrepreneurs in the food space.

  12. Diane Jacobs is an industry queen. I loved listening to this episode. She inspired me to finally start the newsletter of my dreams that I’ve been putting off for years.

  13. So cool. Just what I am looking for. I am brand new to food blogging and this was a great subject. I love cooking and I love eating …Hahaha! I have to look up her book.

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed the podcast, Frank! Dianne has so much knowledge to share, and I know I learned a lot while listening to the episode.

  14. Thank you for such a frank, honest and ‘down to the brass tactics’ episode. I love learning about all the processes that go behind creative work and this podcast helped illuminate that in a very relatable, no nonsense way.

    My biggest takeaway was to not underestimate where we can be in 10 years and how to not overestimate where we can be in 3 months!

    Thank you Dianne and Bjorn for that. It was reassuring and “real”.

    1. Love this takeaway so much, Pankhuri! It can be so easy to feel like you’re not accomplishing your goals quickly enough, and focusing on this mindset can really help put things in perspective.

  15. Thank you so much for hosting this episode!

    I’d been looking forward to it all day and it did not disappoint! I especially loved the part (towards the end) when Bjork talks about the need for sharpening our skills, building on our dreams one action at a time, and being patient with ourselves in the process.

    Personally, I’m 47 years old, following my heart, and struggling in that space where I’m trying to understand what it means to pursue my “passions”. What am I sacrificing by doing it now, or postponing it? Can I earn enough money through it and or in combination with my professional income? What are the consequences of not giving this my all?

    Needless to say, this past year has been a huge learning curve for me and I see will continue to sharpen my skills in the meantime, thanks to incredible people like the FBP Founders, team, and guests here. Thank you!

    1. So good to hear from you, Ali! And we’re so glad that the episode resonated with you. 😊

      Though it’s not always easy, having patience and enjoying the journey is key when it comes to creative pursuits. You’ve got this!

  16. I like the idea of taking a pre-existing photo, create and matching a recipe to that photo. To challenge my food photography, I will take it one step further by creating a completely different photo of the same dish. Thank you for the value bombs. I have been considering putting together a series of cookbooks. Your interview with Ms. Dianne Jacob has helped me with think about her comments and my goal.

    1. We’re glad you enjoyed the episode, Ralph! And I love the idea of creating a completely new photo of the same recipe. It can be so fun to challenge yourself and work on growing your skills!

  17. Great interview! This episode really made me think about picking a blog niche and to get specific about who I am serving.

    1. Such a great takeaway, Kathleen! This is something I’ve had on my mind a lot recently too, and it was great to hear Dianne’s thoughts about choosing a niche.

  18. I really enjoyed this podcast with Dianne. I think it really addresses all of us here, whether we’re beginners, like me, or pro food bloggers.

    A great takeaway was, for me, more of a reminder, which was “Do I want to be known as the mini donut expert?” It’s easy to get lost in writing a book of recipes about entremets, or choux pastries, but it’s always good to remember how to efficiently market ourselves in the business of food blogging.

    1. I really enjoyed that part of the episode too, DJ! It’s so important to focus on what kind of content you want to be delivering, as well as how you can best serve your audience.

  19. Great episode! I learned so much. One nugget was that it’s not easy to get a publisher on board. And it helps to niche down. Very helpful.

  20. This was an awesome podcast. I have a BA in Creative Writing and English, so I was super stroked to listen to this particular episode. I have also wanted to self publish a cookbook for awhile, so I appreciated their thoughts on that too.
    I liked when they talked about how inundated the market now is with content creators, and how “wide the pyramid” is, but finding out what the people need, and going out and creating something that serves those people. Because my problem seems to be that my reach is too general and not niche enough, so it gave me a lot to think about.

    1. We’re so glad you resonated with the episode, Allison! And that’s such a great takeaway — it’s so important to focus on how you can best serve your audience and create content that will help them.

  21. I was so lucky to see and meet Dianne in person at Tastemaker Conference in 2019. She was so inspiring and helped to solidify what I thought about food writing. Something I’ll never forget for sure! Queueing up this episode…can’t wait!

  22. I read Will Cook For Food while I was starting my blog a few years ago. Can’t wait to get the updated version! This episode is packed with inspirations! I’d like to particularly thank Dianne for her reminder of not everyone has the luxury to choose her/his path. This is so important yet often neglected.

    1. We’re glad you enjoyed the episode, Wei! And that was one of my favorite takeaways as well. Just such an important reminder that we don’t always keep in mind.

  23. Thanks, Bjork and Dianne! I just subscribed to Dianne’s newsletter to help me get a little bit better everyday. I wrote a newspaper column for more than 20 years (COVID casualty), then wrote a book (self published), now creating recipes, blogging, and teaching online cooking classes. As Dianne mentioned, people often ask how I got where I am. One step at a time! I appreciate FBP podcast!

  24. Love Dianne and her book. Thanks for having her on the podcast. I appreciated the reminder about having a niche, which is something I need to work on more with my blog. Looking forward to checking out her latest edition!

  25. My takeaways:

    I think that aspiring food bloggers and chefs alike get disoriented by the notion that the work will fill the allotted space of the idea. We all do. The effects of social media, has heightened our reflex of weighing our own self worth to those of successful people we idealize. We dream of story points we desire to be a part of our own narratives, without actually building upon our own character.

    In a very real sense the ability to choose your path or pursuing a passion -with the hope of someday integrating a sustained income- is a privelege. It’s something I don’t recognize as often as I should. I am very grateful to have a place to stay during these debilitating times, an amazing partner, and enough income to pay my bills.

    The long and short of my interest with food writing it is that I want to publish a cookbook on north Brasilian cuisine, foodculture, and history. Along with the reasons mentioned in the podcast: tangibility, credibility, legacy, there is a deficit of awareness in the ancient history, technologies, food systems, and environmental prowess sustained by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. There is a lot of violence going on right now. Brasil is pushing hard against the constitutional rights and protection of the Amazon and its people…

    However, in reality I have no platform, I have no publications, training, or “past evidence” indicating future success in the plane of writing. I need work, a good teacher, and a consistent practice. A decade goes by and I may have something that could qualify as qualification. How can I serve and protect what I love in the time it takes to fulfill this aspiration? Do I want to be an activist? Or a record keeper?

    1. What incredible takeaways, Lucas. I’m glad the episode sparked so many thoughts and ideas! I love the idea of your cookbook, and it’s so important to have a vision for what you want to create that you can work towards.